Matters of moment, December 1992

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Safeguarding the future

In an age when all-too-many motor racing headlines are created by unsavoury events both on and off the track, our spirits have been lifted by one or two recent occurrences.

Firstly, it was pleasing to see Martin Donnelly making a dignified return to the cockpit of a top-line single-seater at Snetterton recently, when he drove one of Madgwick’s British F2 cars. Although he has driven one of his own fledgling racing team’s Formula Vauxhall-Lotus chassis during the year, and he created a favourable impression when he made his rallycross debut as Vauxhall’s guest, it was the first time the Ulsterman had coped with serious power since his horrific accident during qualifying for the 1990 Spanish GP. His successful reacclimatisation – even though he has still to regain full use of his left leg – was a heart-warming triumph for persistence and determination.

He accepts that FISA’s five-second cockpit evacuation rule excludes him from an immediate return to top-line single-seater racing, and we wish him well as he bids to find a regular touring car drive in 1993.

Secondly, we are gladdened by the spirit of co-operation shown by F3000 manufacturers Reynard and Lola, not to mention several of their key component suppliers. Although the FIA’s main championship (reviewed in this month’s issue, see page 1147) looks healthy on the surface, the two rival manufacturers recently announced that they intend to stem rising costs before they get out of hand in the current economic slump. Following productive discussions with FISA president Max Mosley, they will do so by working together to produce a formula that retains its current competitive edge (of the present F1 drivers who have graduated since F3000’s inception in 1985, only Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen have done so without racing in the European Championship) and allows scope for modest technical innovation, yet at the same time seeks to reduce the cost both of producing and maintaining chassis.

It’s all too rare nowadays that adversaries in such a fierce market-place as motor racing put their heads together for the formula’s good, and we applaud Reynard, Lola and their contemporaries for having the foresight to act as they have. By putting common interests before self-interest, they are taking a positive step towards safeguarding the future.