Let's Hope Not

The confirmation that compulsory tyre changes are to become part of races next year, at Bernie Ecclestone's decree, saddens me. But may I be in a minority?

In the past there have been all manner of restrictions in the top echelon of racing, for the purpose of levelling-up the competition, making for greater safety or with the intention of promoting technical progress. But unnecessary pit pauses simply to liven things up for the spectators and the TV cameras seems to me to be belittling Grand Prix racing. It smacks of those club high-speed trials in which 'imitation' visits to the pits to change an innocent wheel or a faultless plug can be good training for amateur crews and drivers. Even so, I cannot help recalling that, before the war, in those well-supported JCC and MCC high-speed trials (the former with artificial corners, the latter a flat-out blind within the speeds required to qualify), if you had to stop it was because your motor had faltered, not because of some fatuous rule.

As for the idea, given prominence in Eoin Young's widely-read weekly column in Autocar & Motor, that Ecclestone had arranged for Williams to "pull Mansell, so that Senna would win the Monaco GP"... for once, words fail me! I believe a race was once faked by the drivers at Brooklands, and that appalls me but it was in a two-car match-contest, of no great importance. Not in F1, surely? W B