The sudden concern of certain luminaries in the Formula One firmament over whether spectators at the German GP are getting their money’s-worth seems somewhat belated when one considers that the last 22-lap event was in 1957. Why did we not hear similar pleadings in 1971 when the race was cut to only 12 laps? I suspect the GPDA were still recovering from the shock of finding themselves back at a Nurburgring which still presented most of its old challenge, while complying with all their safety demands. There must have been quite a few people in Formula One in 1970 who thought they had seen the last of the Nurburgring and were looking forward to nice, cosy German GPs at Hockenheim.
Since no specific part of the ‘Ring can be regarded as “dangerous” like Burnenville or ‘Woodcote, the Safety Committee has had to look elsewhere for an excuse to desecrate one of the few remaining really worthwhile aspects of GP racing. Far from the call for better PR and a more “professional” outlook demanded by Stewart in the past, the GPDA have taken refuge in one of those faceless committees where unpopular decisions can be taken without the instigators having to answer to the paying public.
Quite a number of cars broke their suspensions on the ‘Ring last year so presumably one of the reasons for softening-up the German GP is to save some designers the trouble of building a car to the minimum weight without having to worry whether it will fall apart. The current practice of adapting circuits to the shortcomings of Grand Prix designers, and drivers, will eventually produce cars as totally divorced from motoring reality as a dragster or a Land Speed Record projectile.
There are two factors which maintain my enthusiasm for GP racing: the continued participation of Ferrari, and the continued existence of the Nurburgring. The former is of course a personal preference, but the Nurburgring is something I am sure all real enthusiasts would wish to save, so let’s all kick up a heck of a row.
Morley D. ELLIS