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Mapping the 2000s in the context of motor racing nostalgia?


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#1 DNQ

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 03:56

Here is a thread that borders on contemporary discussion, and nostalgia: how would one go about "mapping" the present decade in the context of the history of motorsport? :confused:

For example ... perhaps the last few decades would look like this:

  • 1980s: The 'turbo' era of F1, the big four of 'Senna/Prost/Mansell/Piquet', the decline of Tyrrell, Lotus and Brabham as F1 powers. Group A touring cars, Group C Sportscars.
  • 1990s: The demise of the last 'true' privateers in Formula 1 and the rise of Schumacher and ultra-commercialism. The glory-years of CART in America, and ultra-competitive tin-top racing in England and Europe. Decline of World Sportscar Championship.

Maybe this is a suitable 'gist' of the current decade?

  • 2000s: The manufacturer years of F1 (Honda, Toyota, Mercedes, Fiat, Ford, BMW), Ferrari and Schumacher domination. Total fragmentation of American Open-Wheel racing, and int'l Sportscar racing (Audi dominance at Le Mans). Resurrection of Touring Car racing (WTCC, rising BTCC, V8s, DTM with ex-F1 stars) after turn-of-century lull.

What do you think?

How will the 2000s be viewed when they become "nostalgia"? 2000 was already six years ago ... what seems so recent is slowly moving from the present to the past.

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#2 cosworth bdg

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 04:32

Every one to their own opinion......

#3 DNQ

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 04:45

Originally posted by cosworth bdg
I think the 2000's will be viewed down-under as the final decimation of Openwheeler Racing by C.A.M.S. and PROMOTERS .....

That is a ridiculous comment ... tell me ... ten years ago, open-wheel racing in Australia was in probably a worse state then it is now. How has the 2000s made it anyworse?

I've noticed this attitude coming up a lot in threads about Australian motorsport - blaming CAMS and so on. But face it - the public - and 95% of fans who only casually watch racing - do not care about open wheel racing. Simple as that. They don't care it exists, don't want to know it exists, have no interest. They want to watch cars similar to what they drive.

That is a fact, and you can not expect a top tier open wheel racing series to run in a country with no audience for it.

America aside (where CCWS and IRL are failing badly anyway ... ), and perhaps Japan (nations with 300 and 120million people respectivly) there is no domestic, top-tier, single seater class anywhere in the world that exists.

It is not viable to have an open-wheel racing series in Australia. Any Australian open-wheel top-tier class would get no manufacturer support, no TV deal as "no one" would want to watch it, and would be a total, catastrophic failure.

Until you can come up with an idea for an open-wheel series that could work in Australia, then I think you need to stop looking at the past with rose-tinted glasses. It won't work anymore.

Sorry - I am not having a go at you, but I think you need a reality check.

#4 David McKinney

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 05:22

It is impossible to summarise the 2000s until they are over, and preferably until you can put the period in context maybe 20 years further on
IMHO

#5 D-Type

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 13:22

As an aside, what will be the 'Journal of record', the way that Motor Sport , Autosport etc are for an earlier era? Particularly outside Formula 1 and NASCAR. Come to think of it with some of the revisionist history they come up with perhaps they should be included.

#6 DNQ

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 06:13

Some threads are made to be lead balloons ... this was evidently one!!

Well, in light of my original post ... how would one go about decscribing each decade, encapsulated in a few phraseSs?

#7 Paul Parker

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 08:17

I believe that the nature of motor sport has so irrevocably changed over the last 25 years or so that nostalgia as perhaps most on this forum understand it is not possible with latter day events/technology/politics and so on.

The modern genre lacks not only aesthetic appeal, both in machinery and the sterile backdrop (industralised, homogenised and openly hostile to direct public access) that from a punter's point of view it has become simply IMO a question of continuity, like watching a soap opera.

Additionally drivers have long since become as Mark Hughes so accurately summed up in Autosport recently, mere employees (with one or two notable exceptions) rather than the adventurers of yore.

Yes modern racing cars are wonderful bits of kit but they lack soul as do their conductors. Nostalgia, it's not what it used to be.

#8 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 08:54

Never confuse "nostalgia" with history. I am a historian not a "nostalgian."

Hard to be "nostalgic" for something that is not even in the past, much less something you could scarcely stand in the first place.

#9 ensign14

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 09:06

Will there be nostalgia for the 2000s? Or will it be a bit like the mid-20s Grand Prix scene - pretty much airbrushed because competition was lacking, the formula was contrived and the racing excruciatingly dull?

There will probably be nostalgia for 2005, on the basis that driving skill came a bit more to the fore with tyre maintenance a required skill. Incidentally MS was nowhere that year. With tyre changes brought back and "racing" turned into a bunch of sprints against a shadow opposition MS is again at the forefront.

#10 petefenelon

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 10:42

Originally posted by ensign14
Will there be nostalgia for the 2000s? Or will it be a bit like the mid-20s Grand Prix scene - pretty much airbrushed because competition was lacking, the formula was contrived and the racing excruciatingly dull?

There will probably be nostalgia for 2005, on the basis that driving skill came a bit more to the fore with tyre maintenance a required skill. Incidentally MS was nowhere that year. With tyre changes brought back and "racing" turned into a bunch of sprints against a shadow opposition MS is again at the forefront.


Very interesting point; if I look at my bookshelves I probably have fewer books on the Grand Prix scene in the 20s than any other "important" aspect of racing. It does just seem to be a historic black hole - there's far more literature out there about Brooklands, Indy, Le Mans etc. than there is about the ostensible pinnacles of racing. The cars are incredibly evocative and elegant, some of the drivers are great names, but as you say what little one can read about the racing does imply it was utterly lacklustre, reaching its nadir at Miramas...

#11 petefenelon

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 10:44

Originally posted by ensign14
Will there be nostalgia for the 2000s? Or will it be a bit like the mid-20s Grand Prix scene - pretty much airbrushed because competition was lacking, the formula was contrived and the racing excruciatingly dull?

There will probably be nostalgia for 2005, on the basis that driving skill came a bit more to the fore with tyre maintenance a required skill. Incidentally MS was nowhere that year. With tyre changes brought back and "racing" turned into a bunch of sprints against a shadow opposition MS is again at the forefront.


Something I wrote elsewhere a couple of years ago.


> I don't doubt that at some time the major manufacturers will pull in

> their horns and we'll be back to garagistes running mass-produced

> Cossies at any circuit which will have them. Personally, I'm

> thoroughly enjoying the battle between the likes of BMW, Mercedes,

> Renault, Toyota and Honda to out-gun Fiat's champion.

> In fact, I think

> the historians may look back on this as a golden era.



History tends to be written by the winners, but in this case I tend to

doubt it somehow. This will be a 'golden era' to historians of

technology, but I think to any narrative historian, the last 'golden

era' was the Prost-Piquet-Mansell-Senna-early Schumacher spell that

ran from about the end of ground-effect rules through to the death of

Senna, with possible flurries into greatness when Hakkinen was able to

edge out Schumacher.



Right now, Schumacher and Ferrari *should* be winning virtually

everything, and I don't grumble that they are - they spend more (than

everyone except Toyota), work harder and have greater continuity. But

I think that virtually nobody would claim that (say) Ascari's domination

in 1952-3 was a 'golden age', it took the extra spice of a competitive

Maserati, Mercedes and later Cooper, Vanwall and Lotus presence to turn

the 54-60 formula into a widely-perceived classic period.



> After all, I bet

> there were plenty of people bemoaning the fact that Mercedes and

> Auto-Union were ruining Grands Prix with all Hitler's money before the

> last war.



On the basis of period material I've read, this doesn't seem to be the

case. Remember, through the 20s the fortunes of Grand Prix racing had

ebbed and somewhat, reaching some pretty ludicrous lows circa

1926-7 (it's difficult to call a French GP with three starters, all

Bugattis, "Grand" in any way!).  The addition of the German teams to the

mix of Bugattis, Alfas etc was initially perceived as adding some depth

to the sport, and even as they came to dominate was regarded as adding a

lot of spectacle. The impression one gets reading the likes of Walkerley

or Monkhouse on that period is that spectators were thrilled by the cars

which were clearly spectactular to watch, by the competition within and

between the German teams....


#12 ensign14

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 10:55

((it's difficult to call a French GP with three starters, all
Bugattis, "Grand" in any way!)

Although "Prix" seems oddly appropriate.

#13 Stephen W

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 11:05

Originally posted by ensign14
Although "Prix" seems oddly appropriate.


:rotfl:

#14 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 14:19

While racing in Europe languished thoughout pretty much the entire 20s, up until about the 1926/27 (and perhaps 1928) period American racing was doing quite well. Indeed, it was on of the more fascinating periods of American racing. Alas, it too hit the doldrums begining the late 20s and struggled.

It is interesting to consider that the 1930s were not much better. Consider how the German stranglehold on Grand Prix racing generally sucked the life out of it. As much as that period truly interests me, I tend not to view it quite as others do, the "Golden Age" and all that. Indeed, I don't think there really has been a golden age in grand prix racing, rather a series of years that happened to stand out from the others. This is often for no end of reasons, sometimes for reason not having much to do with logic, but some visceral, emotional or other subjective reasons.

We are a long ways away from having any clue as to the context of the first years of the 2000s. We are still just beginning to get a grip on the 1970s and 1980s -- and not just in the narrow, insular, myopic world of formula one. Indeed, using grand prix or formula raciing as the metric to measure motor racing is perhaps to dismiss the context and, therefore, largely ignore everything else or consider it irrelevant castings one gaze solely on one aspect of things.

Then again, it is not just that the winners write the history, it is those winners who control the vision which guides the groupthink and, utilimately, influences the context.

#15 ensign14

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 16:28

Originally posted by HDonaldCapps
It is interesting to consider that the 1930s were not much better. Consider how the German stranglehold on Grand Prix racing generally sucked the life out of it.

But how futuristic it must have looked! Gorgeous silver cars, one with the engine at the back and a much more modern shape than the Benz of yore, and races where they were doing 170mph...it must have been an entirely different concept to the upright Alfas that were not obviously different to cars racing 10-15 years earlier. The one thing the Nazimobiles definitely had was charisma...something sorely lacking in F1 these days, and gradually being destroyed in all other forms of racing (Dale or Dale Jr?)...

#16 sterling49

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 17:07

Originally posted by DNQ

What do you think?

How will the 2000s be viewed when they become "nostalgia"? 2000 was already six years ago ... what seems so recent is slowly moving from the present to the past.



Sorry I am a bit late on this thread, interesting to see your age in the profile, great to be that young!!!!! I speak for myself but would not be surprised if others might agree. The modern era just does not "float my boat", I live 4 miles from Brands Hatch GP circuit, yet am seldom tempted to visit these days, even though, I can still hear the cars whilst in my lounge! Now the only temptation comes with the Classic Cars and Historics F1. It may be just that the cars were "of my time" just like music it becomes emotive, but I see Motor Racing (as with manufactured groups and music) soul free these days and of no interest to me. As an enthusiast I cannot understand how avid fans get so excited discussing F1 these days..... :yawn: ! My point being, as a young guy, these are the days of your life and so hold great interest, unfolding treaures and mysteries for you, I however, have a more synical view on life and the course that it takes. Be that F1 is just business now, and the spectator does not really matter and as long as everyone gets paid we are all happy. Frankly, I put this decade of f1 as the most boring ever, Schuey will go down in history, but he ain't no Jim Clark or Jackie Stewart.......................

#17 Roger Clark

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 18:25

Originally posted by ensign14
Will there be nostalgia for the 2000s? Or will it be a bit like the mid-20s Grand Prix scene - pretty much airbrushed because competition was lacking, the formula was contrived and the racing excruciatingly dull?

I have to disagree with this analysis of the 1920s. The first half of the decade was very interesting with technical innovation and close competition. The racing was largely in the pre-war tradition of competing factory teams. We even had American involvement in Grand Prix racing for a while. The second half of the decade saw a serious decline in Grand Prix racing but the variety of cars and quality of drivers that replaced it more than made up for the loss. We saw the rise of the privateer and a large increase in the number of races. It was a period that sowed the seed for the next seventy years of racing.

It is true that it is a period sadly neglected by European historians (Americans are more fortunate) but that surely leaves more opportunities for the amateur.

#18 ensign14

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 21:24

I dunno...a GP with 3 Bugattis, Delage fiddling with driver order so Benoist could complete a clean sweep, and a total breakdown of the whole Grands Prix system does not a Golden Age make. At least not for the supposed pinnacle of the sport.

#19 Roger Clark

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 21:57

The years 1926-28 were a turning point in the history of European racing. Previously the calendar consisted of a small number of races, dominated by major manufacturers. From 1928 there was a much richer calendar with races every weekend, some of great importance, other less so; drivers, previously employed by large teams were made to earn a living wherever they could. Of course there was a three car Grand Prix along the way but you shouldn't judge a decade by a single race. Others may consider whether history might repeat itself on an eighty-year cycle.

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#20 canon1753

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 17:22

I do think that the 00's will be known as a the time when the motor manufacturers took over F1, and F1 in so many contexts is the only racing on the radar. US racing will be the time when NASCAR reached a clear national supremacy, CCWS and IRL finally went their own ways and tried to coexist or ignore each other. (Like F5000/USAC ChampCars in the mid 70's in the US).