Letters, December 2006

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Matters of moment

Please take a seat

Sir,

I arrived at Monza for this year’s Italian Grand Prix only to find part of the large stand cordoned off by security for corporate entertainment, and my internet-bought seat allocation ticket worthless. Those with allocated seats were displaced and told to “sit anywhere else you like”. Spectators duly arrived to find their seats occupied — with some unable to find alternative seating — and the ‘control’ staff refusing to do anything about it.

Consequently, disturbances broke out as people forcibly ejected those from seats they rightly regarded as their own, creating serious health and safety concerns. Ticket-holders were crammed in and their frustrations merely ‘shrugged off’ by staff.

This disgraceful situation resulted from greed when a corporate hospitality possibility arose! Any readers contemplating attending the 2007 Monza event have been warned.

Bryan Keeping, Poole, Dorset

Shadow of success

Sir,

Much of the recent commentary in the media regarding Michael Schumacher’s impending retirement has focused on his genius being overshadowed by his tendency for unsporting manoeuvres. The general assertion is that his ‘dark side’ will always be a factor when his record is considered in future.

Emerson Fittipaldi was quoted in October’s Motor Sport saying that Schumacher’s genius stands comparison with that of Senna.

For me, he is at least the greatest of his generation, and his efforts in reviving the Ferrari team have to be considered as one of his greatest achievements alongside his ability to win even when not in the best car. His ‘dark side’ is a by-product of his determination and has no doubt helped him win.

People sometimes forget that Senna also had a ruthless streak. Jacques Villeneuve was recently quoted as saying that the difference between Schumacher and Senna was that he told people when he was going to do something.

Villeneuve also said that MS would not be as fondly remembered because of this, but I don’t see how this differs from us all knowing that MS is capable of similar actions when driven to succeed. I sometimes wonder what people’s view of MS would be had he also died on the track.

Although I think it is the right decision for him, I am sad that MS is to retire at the end of a season where he seems as committed as ever (his performance in China being one of his best in recent seasons). With MS retiring and Alonso moving to McLaren, I think we will greatly miss the Alonso/Schumacher battles. MS will now pass into motor racing history and, as consolation for not seeing him on the track, I hope that his greatest drives will be found amongst the pages of Motor Sport in years to come.

James Esdaile, London

Skills shortage

As owner of a vintage and classic car restoration firm I am anxious for the future of our skills and services. Our specialised, labour-intensive work is inevitably costly, and we are unable to offer the usual commercial rates available at modern garages. It is also impossible to find trainees. In fact, with no more indentured apprenticeships, businesses can find themselves undermined when trainees leave and set up on their own. As many of the established restorers retire, where will vintage car owners find the engineers to keep their vehicles running? Government training schemes are inadequate and do not cover the costs. I would welcome any readers’ suggestions for ensuring our car-restoration skills are maintained and passed on.

David A C Royle, Staindrop, Darlington