By the way, here is what Gregor Grant wrote for the 7 November 1958 issue of Autosport if you have not read it before:
When the guests went to the R.A.C. on 29th October for the presentations to world champion Mike Hawthorn, and constructors Tony Vandervell and Charles Cooper, little did they know that a bombshell was to be dropped which threatens to blow Grand Prix racing right out of the circuits altogether. The decision of a group of men, who appear to be completely out of touch with motor racing, is that from January 1961, Formula 1 will be limited to un-supercharged engines of not more than 1,500cc, not weighing less than 500kgs.
In order to arrive at this ridiculous decision, members of the Commission Sportive Internationale deliberated many hours, calling in drivers such as Maurice Trintignant, Mike Hawthorn and Stirling Moss, and constructors Tony Vandervell and John Cooper. The advice of these experts was completely disregarded and, owning to the support of delegates from countries which neither build nor organise formula races, the proposal to make it a 1.5-litre formula was adopted.
When Pat Gregory, the RAC press officer, made the announcement on behalf of CSI president M. Perouse, it was greeted with a storm of jeers and catcalls. Normally staid gentlemen reddened with anger, the Italian delegate, Count Lurani, shouted: “This was certainly not supported by the Italians!”
The scenes that followed have never been witnessed within the august portals of the Royal Automobile Club. A gesticulating crowd surrounded M. Perouse, bombarding him with questions. Chaos reigned: the president tried to answer as best he could, but eventually the meeting broke up in disorder.
Racing drivers such as Hawthorn, Moss, Roy Salvadori, Jack Brabham and Graham Hill were shocked to the core: entrants Vandervell, Cooper, Colin Chapman and Rob Walker could scarcely believe that such an outrageous thing had happened; press representatives wholeheartedly agreed that it spelled the end of Grand Prix racing as a spectacle.
There is a story going round that a camel is a horse designed by the FIA. Few will disagree that this sums up the position entirely. It is difficult to envisage anyone other than lorry manufacturers attempting to construct a type of machine which bears no relation to a Grand Prix car.
There would certainly be no lack of drivers for a “1500” weighing over half a ton, but none of the star men would think it worth their while to exert their skills in machines which cannot possibly be made to go faster than a present-day F2 Cooper (pictured below at the 1958 German GP, with Bruce McLaren at the wheel) or Lotus.
The crowds which flock to the grandes epreuves will never come to watch the pathetic sight of small-capacity machines dragging along totally unnecessary weight at speeds which are likely to be exceeded by GT cars of even smaller engine capacity. Not only that, but the things have to be equipped with starter motors and roll bars.
It is incredible that, in this day and age, a minority should be controlled by a minority. Wilfrid Andrews, during the presentations, stated that the CSI would doubtless have made their deliberations in a democratic way. Well, then, if this is democracy…I ask you?
Earl Howe and the members of the RAC Competitions Committee did not agree one whit with the new formula, but Great Britain possesses only one vote, exactly the same as more less disinterested delegates whose countries contribute absolutely nothing to motor sport. That France, a country without a single decent racing car, and nothing in the way of sportscars, should be able to influence the CSI owing to the support of non-racing countries, is a complete and utter disgrace.
There is, however, one ray of hope. It is proposed that for races between USA and Europe, a three-litre limit should be adopted. If France refuses to have anything other than 1,500cc Grands Prix, then that country should be ignored altogether, leaving other countries to organise events to the three-litre formula.
This would have tremendous repercussions in France generally. Even sportscar manufacturers would tend to support the GP people, and the classis events such as Le Mans might disappear altogether, for who in the right mind would go to the Sarthe to watch a flock of blue-painted “tiddlers” circulating?
It is obvious that the delegates who supported the decision cannot regard Grand Prix racing in its true perspective. It is the highest form of automotive engineering possible, and with powerful, fast cars, produces the greatest spectacle in modern sport. It offers a challenge to the skill and ingenuity of designers and constructors, who could possibly overcome the restrictions set by the 1961 formula, but would be woefully handicapped by producing machines which no one would wish to watch racing.
As regards to the actual conference, a letter was read from Enzo Ferrari, expressing his regrets at being unable to attend. He did, however, send a rather lengthy letter setting out his proposals, amongst which were that GP cars should, as well as sports cars, run on 96/100 octane fuel, as available from pumps. He did not favour a 1,500cc formula, but might support a two-litre one – a limit which he thought might also be applicable to sports cars in the world championship series.