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Some wine-inspired silliness


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#1 Coogar

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 00:56

Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me as a veteran of several weeks, that for most TNF-ers the cars are more interesting - with a few notable exceptions - than the drivers - certainly in recent years.
The efforts of enthusiastic but (arguably) hopeless teams make for more interest than successful 'super smooth' outfits who win championships and whose subsequent histories are guided by PR people, and even those which have achieved moderate success make for better stories than those which - according to current principles - 'did it right'.
What, then, do we make of the current trend towards one-make series ? Is it all to become a personality thing - at just the moment when racers appear to have lost theirs ?
Has our sport actually been stolen/sold ? And most likely by those who didn't own it in the first place ?
Maybe I'm a bit slow on the uptake.........And maybe it's because I've just enjoyed an excellent bottle of Bordeaux - something no modern racer will admit to !
Personally, valiant 'also rans' are more interesting than winners, and heroic failures make for better reading.
Is it possible then, that the current scene - at all levels - is removing itself from our field of interest ?
Maybe this has all been done before ?
Maybe I should just go to bed !
But before I go, glass in hand.....Here's to heroic failures ! CTA Arsenal, SEFAC - even Gordini, HWM and Connaught - all the way to Eurobrun, Life, Onyx, Pacific, ATS etc etc....Maybe even BRM, and their equivalents in lower formulae.
You are the ones who made this fabulous sport fascinating over the years - along with some (but not all) of your drivers !
Cheers......
PS: Might this inspire some memories ?

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#2 2F-001

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 08:03

Richard - in light of your ref to less-than-perfect Grand Prix teams, your first port of call might be...
http://f1rejects.crosswinds.net/
often referred to here, it's a cybershrine to mediocrity (and worse) - but done with affection.

I wonder if the apparent preoccupation with machinery is just a reflection on topics that have been to the fore in recent weeks? I guess the cars, and the statistics that relate to them, are more 'provable', easier to be emphatic and definitive about than the lives and personalities of the drivers - which may guide the historian/statistician/ archivist type to those subjects.

I think there is, on the whole, a great interest and affection for the characters, both the stars and the 'tryers' her on TNF.

I was tempted to raise, by way of example (which doesn't prove my case at all) , David Bruce Brown who is oft discussed here (and I was reminded of yesterday) - but then to be fair, he is most oft discussed in relation to the quest for his true birthdate (and hence his age), so that's a study of a statistic rather than a life.

Interesting thought you raise about the one-make business. Many bemoan the 'lack of personalities' in current racing. Parity of machinery - which should put the emphasis of differences between drivers - might, in turn, leave scope for 'personalities' to come to the fore. I don't know if that was a prime intention but I don't really see it happening despite the massive thrust of the marketing machine.

I'm rambling now - and I've not had the benefit of your Bordeaux! - just a poor night's sleep. I'll shut up. (I think I'm talking disjointed rubbish now - I'll have to come back and edit this again!)

#3 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 11:18

One-make racing is very much the bane of modern racing...

In tintops it's totally devoid of character and clean racing, inspiring biffing and barging. In other classes it's similar, but in openwheeler or sports racing categories it denies the spectator variety.

May it soon come to an end...

#4 Mallory Dan

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 13:30

Richard, you're spot on about 1-make formulae. Dull dull dull..., how we get back to more variety I'm not sure, too many vested interests in promoting 1-make, and too many of those interests don't seem to like competition. A 'relatively' cheap single seater formula, with big engines, loose rules, is my dream, can't see it happening though I regret.

F5000 for the new century, what a thought !

#5 petefenelon

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 13:53

Originally posted by Mallory Dan
Richard, you're spot on about 1-make formulae. Dull dull dull..., how we get back to more variety I'm not sure, too many vested interests in promoting 1-make, and too many of those interests don't seem to like competition. A 'relatively' cheap single seater formula, with big engines, loose rules, is my dream, can't see it happening though I regret.

F5000 for the new century, what a thought !


Once in a blue moon, someone makes, almost word-for-word, the post I was going to make. It just happened again ;)

I think what I want is a separation of the "pyramid" that leads to F1 into an hermetically-sealed FIA-approved little world of its own full of joyless computational fluid dynamics wonks and kids with no personality who've been karting since they were in the womb from the eral world of "real motor racing" in which the likes of Gerry Marshall bestride the Earth as Gods and drive cars that make the ground quake.

#6 jph

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 14:59

This thread surely sums up why a lot of us spend our time browsing TNF in preference to other parts of AtlasF1. One-make racing has turned from an amusing novelty to a scourge. Just look at the variety not just on the F1 grid but throughout the lesser formulae and in sports cars, saloons etc even 15 years ago, compared to now. Drivers who openly enjoy the sport and/or display any opinion other than the corporate (be that manufacturer or FIA) line are frowned upon. The sums of money involved at the top levels mean that far too many meritorious drivers are squeezed out by less worthy well-backed individuals, and the dominance of F1 means they have few places to go - BE and MM have between them made a good job of stifling other forms of top-level racing. Worse still has been the emergence of the rabid, blinkered and xenophobic tendencies among the spectators - the 'if it isn't Ferrari/Williams/Alonso/(insert as appropriate), then it must be c**p' attitude. Result: history is much more interesting than current affairs.

#7 Vitesse2

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 15:53

Originally posted by jph
This thread surely sums up why a lot of us spend our time browsing TNF in preference to other parts of AtlasF1. One-make racing has turned from an amusing novelty to a scourge. Just look at the variety not just on the F1 grid but throughout the lesser formulae and in sports cars, saloons etc even 15 years ago, compared to now. Drivers who openly enjoy the sport and/or display any opinion other than the corporate (be that manufacturer or FIA) line are frowned upon. The sums of money involved at the top levels mean that far too many meritorious drivers are squeezed out by less worthy well-backed individuals, and the dominance of F1 means they have few places to go - BE and MM have between them made a good job of stifling other forms of top-level racing. Worse still has been the emergence of the rabid, blinkered and xenophobic tendencies among the spectators - the 'if it isn't Ferrari/Williams/Alonso/(insert as appropriate), then it must be c**p' attitude. Result: history is much more interesting than current affairs.

Originally posted by petefenelon
Once in a blue moon, someone makes, almost word-for-word, the post I was going to make.

Ignoring the various Mini classes, I suppose the first of the current one-make series were those pro-celeb Escort Mexico thrashes, mainly at Brands. Do we blame John Webb then?

#8 petefenelon

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 15:55

Originally posted by jph
Worse still has been the emergence of the rabid, blinkered and xenophobic tendencies among the spectators - the 'if it isn't Ferrari/Williams/Alonso/(insert as appropriate), then it must be c**p' attitude.


:clap: :clap: :clap: Agreed 100%. I wasn't aware that racing had become a downmarket cousin of soccer, but looking at fan behaviour, and some of the attempts at writing, I despair for the future of the sport!

The good news is, the morons are getting the modern soccer-like tribal "sport" they deserve (lots of teamwear dress up in while you're jeering at other "fans", easily identified "heroes" and "villains", carte blanche to mock the nationality/tastes/sexuality of anyone who dares to admire the "wrong" team, watching the sport fenced into enclousres miles away from the cars, meaningless competitions that exist only to gouge more money from the punter, identikit competitors and vapid mouthpieces on television spouting platitudes).

The bad news is, we have to put up with it too :(

#9 petefenelon

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 16:01

Originally posted by Vitesse2


Ignoring the various Mini classes, I suppose the first of the current one-make series were those pro-celeb Escort Mexico thrashes, mainly at Brands. Do we blame John Webb then?


No - those races were explicitly "a bit of fun".

The rot in national racing, for me, set in with the plethora of one-make saloon series that "support" the BTCC.

Driving standards in them have got worse and worse, and the old amateur tuggers with no hope of ever making it into the BTCC persist in either settling old scores with one another season after season, or ganging up and punting off anyone who might actually have a future.

The nadir of British racing is the Clio series. I have yet to attend a meeting where there hasn't been at least one safety car period in the Clio race.

Mini racing is and always has been different, it's enthusiast stuff rather than "look at my budget and hospitality suite!" stuff - I'll always pay to see the likes of Sollis and Baldwin giving it some hard, clean wheel-to-wheel stuff.

Single-seaters - well, I'm not too bothered about whether they're one-make or not at national level, what does bother me is that dad's chequebook might as well be the thing that's used to judge the results on.

#10 2F-001

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 16:19

On the subject of one-make tin-tops... were any of you fellow UK-based folk "fortunate" enough to witness the Seat-challenge-series-thingy last year? It had a valuable prize of, I think, a funded drive in a more major series his year. It was populated largely by young offspring of well-heeled or well-connected fathers: the driving standards were generally shocking, with no regard for machinery or cost or manners or general decorum. I know that aspiring racedrivers shouldn't be pussycats, but this was really apalling. I even heard on-circuit commentators taking the p*55 out of it. Even the edited TV coverage seemed to major on the sheer recklessness. I was surprised that any major manufacturer wiuld want to be associated with it. Maybe there is a marketing tactic in there somewhere... it doesn't work for me though.

Interestingly, the championship prize must have had quite a pull though, because also competing where former ''going-places' names like Paula Cook and more notably, Julian Westwood, neither getting on especially well. I wonder how they could stomach it? Aside from feeling ancient compared to some of the karting-age kids, I'd have thought the general atmosphere would have grated on them.
More and more I have to accept that modern racing is just not made with me in mind. (I'm only mid-forties). Sigh...

#11 2F-001

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 16:21

On a slightly more TNF-typical theme...


From an article in last week's Autosport:

"The Vanwall name is to return to production with road-going versions of its classic grand prix single-seater (oh, really?!) after UK firm Glacier Vandervell Bearings was granted exclusive rights to the famous marque's name.
GVB managing director and Vanwall enthusiast Arthur Wolstenholme has formed Vanwall Cars and, in the long term, hopes to involve the company directly in racing projects.
Wolstenholme sais: "I'd like to see a championship recreating the days of the front- and rear-engined GP cars of the late 1950s."

(Being wilfully provocative about this... wasn't the Vanwall ugly enough without festooning it with mudguards and headlamps and indicators...? - - - Dons crash helmet, flameproofs and dives for cover...)

#12 petefenelon

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 16:24

Originally posted by 2F-001
On the subject of one-make tin-tops... were any of you fellow UK-based folk "fortunate" enough to witness the Seat-challenge-series-thingy last year?

....former ''going-places' names like Paula Cook


I'm afraid that Paula has always been a "Formula Dad" driver as far as I'm concerned. Never better than mediocre in F3 or touring cars. Her career went into reverse when her dad's business went titsup.com, it's only now that she's actually managed to get a deal together to drive a Corvette in the British GT series. Interestingly enough she's only a grade 'B' driver in that series, along with most of the other semi-pros.

#13 2F-001

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 16:30

Ok - fair enough - I picked a poor example there... :)

#14 Mallory Dan

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 17:39

Tony/Pete, I realise we're Grumpy Old Men, but we're all spot on with this. Too much money has ruined it all at Club/National level. Too many manufacturers supporting their own series only, and seemingly unwilling to compete against each other.

The good days were in the 70s and 80s, probably before that too, when there was a wide variety of cars in each race, much less involvement from the makers, much less cash around. In, say, Prodsaloons, you didn't get career drivers on the make, just talented amateurs out for a good weekend, eg Marshall/Whizzo/Lanfranchi, many makes on the grid, so what if they didn't aspire to a drive in "Touring Cars" (that term infuriates me, its always been 'Saloons' as far as I'm concerned).

We've said it before, and no doubt we will again, but I'm convined its not just rose tinted spex.

#15 petefenelon

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 17:43

Originally posted by Mallory Dan
Tony/Pete, I realise we're Grumpy Old Men,


Speak for yourself - I'm 35 ;)

#16 David Beard

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 19:15

Originally posted by petefenelon


Speak for yourself - I'm 35 ;)


Don't worry Pete....no one can tell ;)

#17 Coogar

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 20:10

Pete,
You may just have invented the next big thing in racing.......A wonderful idea.
'Formula Dad'.....Now what would the regulations be like I wonder....?
I know at least one person who believes that cages should be built at the gates of all circuits and drivers' Dads kept therein until after every meeting but I suppose they could still push cheques through the bars.....

#18 petefenelon

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 21:23

Originally posted by Coogar
Pete,
You may just have invented the next big thing in racing.......A wonderful idea.
'Formula Dad'.....Now what would the regulations be like I wonder....?
I know at least one person who believes that cages should be built at the gates of all circuits and drivers' Dads kept therein until after every meeting but I suppose they could still push cheques through the bars.....



Anyone with an ex-F1 Dad is ineligible, they go straight from karting to F3 Euroseries and an F1 test deal, as a bare minimum

Anyone with a Showbiz dad gets 10 bonus points and a bird with big knockers, a badly-bleached perm and a Hermes pass-holder.

Anyone with a dodgy dad from the East End or Manchester gets 5 bonus points and lots of guys with mono-brows hanging around the paddock.

Anyone with a dotcom dad only gets to do half the season because his company's gone titsup.com.

Anyone with a third-world-dictator dad is allowed an engine from the next category up, but is only on a race-by-race deal in case of coups d'etat (er, we won't mention Tommy Suharto's FBrabham race at Selangor when he was allowed a full-spec F3000 engine, will we? - I mean that kind of thing just doesn't happen, does it?)

Anyone who's been in a development deal with Ron Dennis since he was nine (A) gets his car painted to look like a proper racing car (B) gets some stickers for his bike © gets every teenage and younger girl at the meeting mobbing him in the paddock.

Anyone forced into the sport because their dad peaked in FF1600 coming seventh to the likes of Dave Coyne and wanted his son to do much better than him, despite the fact that the son has little or no interest in the sport -- well, unfortunately they're sadly typical of the grids in FDad and get no perks.

#19 petefenelon

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 22:08

A story about Tommy Suharto and Formula Dad ;P

http://groups.google...a.org.au&rnum=2

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#20 VAR1016

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 22:23

Originally posted by petefenelon


:clap: :clap: :clap: Agreed 100%. I wasn't aware that racing had become a downmarket cousin of soccer(


TNF is the place to learn, no doubt.

I had no idea that it was possible to be downmarket of soccer....


PdeRL

#21 jph

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Posted 27 January 2004 - 17:57

I’m getting agitated about the Grumpy Old Men references that have inevitably appeared in this thread, not least because I do not consider myself to be even middle-aged, yet most of the people in that TV series were several years younger than I am. So, to try to introduce a degree of objectivity, I have just dug out the British Grand Prix programme from 1973 to compare what was on offer then with what happened thirty years later.

In 2003, the GP had 20 starters from 10 different teams/manufacturers. There were four support races (three of them for one-make formulae and a historic sports car race). One of the support races (F3000) was run on the day before the GP. It had 18 entrants. The support races on the day of the GP consisted of a Maserati race for wealthy nonentities, a Porsche race and, after the GP, the historic sports cars.

In 1973, the GP had 31 entrants, 29 of whom practiced. 28 started the first part of the race and even after Mr Scheckter’s little indiscretion, 19 took the re-start. The 28 original starters represented 12 makes of car and included 3 ‘private entrants’ – Hill (Shadow), Beuttler and Hunt (Marches). There were four support races on the day of the GP, for F3 - 35 starters, 9 makes; Touring cars (I honestly thought they were called saloons back then, but that’s not what the programme says) – 38 starters, 10 distinct make/model combinations; F Atlantic – 28 starters, 11 makes; and 36 starters in the historic race, including I think the only drivers who competed at both the 1973 and 2003 events – take a bow, John Harper and Murray Smith.

Statistics can be made to prove anything, but the sheer variety makes the 1973 event a much more appealing proposition. Also, I’ll bet that there were a lot more future F1 drivers in the 1973 support races (9 on a quick count) than will have been the case in 2003.