I am sure CR Hefford (Letters, Motor Sport, January 1989) is not alone in thinking that Grand Prix racing should adopt unleaded petrol; that all conscientious sporting motorists are health-minded I have never doubted, especially the open-air types who are especially exposed to a lead-saturated atmosphere. Soil is exposed to tetra-ethyl-lead which will join the food chain one way or another, so affecting animals as well as humans. I am certain that this unleaded fuel is far less harmful to engines, than is popularly believed. And even if not, the balance should be toward human well-being rather than engine life. Many modern engines outlive the flimsy structure that surrounds them. As for early engines, it appears that up to 1939 most good quality engines were capable of running satisfactorily on unleaded fuel, and suffer more from the lead, which has corrosive properties.
Richard Hulford, Westerham, Kent