From our Archives

Stirling Moss Attacks the FIA

In a circular sent to most of the motoring press, Stirling Moss has attacked the attitude of the Commission Sportive Internationale in its control of motor sport.

He criticises the CSI's call for batteries on GP cars from 1961 onwards as extremely dangerous if a car overturns. He takes to task the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile for being master of our sport instead of acting as its servant; months elapse before urgent matters are settled and "the CSI meets all too rarely, perhaps four or five times a years," says Moss. He cites several examples of FIA inefficiency, such as the announcement of the change in fuel regulations made a mere three months before the 1958 Argentine GP, after the FIA had undertaken to give at least six months' warning of changes in race regulation, the lag of five months before competitors in this race knew whether or not this race would count towards the Drivers' Championship and the fact that, although thereafter it was clearly laid down that regulations must be in the hands of National Clubs at least three months before the Championship race to which they apply, the Targa Florio, which counted towards the Sports Car Championship, was run a few weeks later, a mere month after regulations covering it had been received.

Moss also triers to the anomaly that Championship races have been held which do not comply with the FIA requirement of a minimum length of 300km. And a minimum duration of two hours, and of the Championship status of the Sebring GP last December although it had never been held before, as the FIA ruling on Championship events requires. He then expresses disgust at the time lag in sorting out protests arising from the RAC Rally.

In making these points, the earlier ones of which have oft-times been discussed before, Moss will have almost every follower of motor sport firmly behind him. He goes on to attack the new sports car race rules, which look like killing the 170mph sports-racing machines stone dead and have caused Aston Martin and Lister to withdraw rules issued some 18 months after the FIA guaranteed that the former regulations would stand unchanged for three years.

Moss is concerned that the new sportscar requirements will make such racing more dangerous than it has been in the past. He glosses over the requirement that the cars must have reasonable steering lock, which, however, is sensible in that it prevents freak cars running at Le Mans, for example, in which there is so little lock that a serious skid would be difficult or impossible to correct and/or in which the tyres might foul the body work on the sharper corners, neither of which makes for safety. Stirling feels that instead of calling for a minimum ground clearance and luggage-boot capacity in its desire to have sports cars that are nearer to the original conception of a Le Mans model and less like thinly-disguised GP racers, they should insist on 1000 examples or so having been sold to the public before the race! But, Stirling, how do you check this?

What really worries Moss is the windscreen regulation which he says makes racing dangerous because oil and dust will obscure the drivers vision and the required height of screen prevents the driver from looking over it. Stirling says he does not know "of a single wiper that can cope with an oil-dust-rain mixture even at 40mph, let alone 170." Who are we to argue, especially as this problem reared its ugly head on the recent Argentine 1000km race. But why, in this case, did Moss elect to drive a Maserati coupe at Le Mans in 1957, and isn't it remarkable that wipers exist which function perfectly well on 600mph aircraft? Surely racing is intended to improve the breed of everyday motor cars and if screen-wipe manufacturers are obliged, by the new rules, to hasten the introduction of foolproof wipers on the fastest cars, so much the better. However we merely set down such comments as occur to us.

In expressing his dislike of the rule that permits a driver only one race per 24 hours yet allows him to drive for six hours round the Nürburgring and for 24 hours on and off at Le Mans, Moss obviously has his own interests at heart. But, in general, he is absolutely right the old men of the FIA and CSI are hopelessly out of touch with the set-up of present-day motor racing and Stirling has done well to publicly air his grievances.

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Extended Brands Circuit

Brands Hatch Circuit Ltd have issued an outline map and further detail of their new Grand Prix-type circuit scheduled for completion in June.

The circuit, which is already being constructed, measures about 2.7 miles and takes the form of an extension of the current 1.24-mile track which has been in use since 1954. The smaller present track remains almost intact and will continue to be used for club and minor meetings.

The extension leaves the present track through a new 170 degree turn at the end of Bottom Straight It continues in the form of a long fast straight incorporating a descent and a rise at its furthermost end. Then follows a fast 100 degree right-hander, a short straight, and a further but slower right-hander. Finally another long straight, interrupted by a fast "S" bend brings the new track into the slowest part of "Clearways". The angle of approach however converts "Clearways" into what is expected to be a 100mph plus gentle right-hander. Resulting speeds past the main grandstand are expected to be around 140mph.

Permanent pits are be constructed on the infield beyond the entrance to the main Grandstand Straight; cars will pull off the track to enter the pitlane area.

The bump in the present circuit at the end of the main straight is currently being eliminated by raising the surface level all the way from the start line. Paddock Hill bend is also being improved, and Druids Hill bend resurfaced.

The first race at the longer track is expected to be an international motor cycling event on July 9th. Car racing will run the 23 miles on August Monday, followed at the end of the month by the International Kentish 100 F2 event. Possibly the 750 MC Six Hour Relay Race could be held there.