Making plans for Nigel
I have enjoyed the recent series of technical retrospectives. The underlying reasons for a car’s speed are always interesting.
Nigel Rees’s sidebar article on the 1930s Auto Unions (Motor Sport, November), and how they set back perceptions of mid-engined advantages, caught my interest. History tends to forget that Auto Union learned quickly and, having disposed of a certain Dr Porsche, put a De Dion rear axle and pannier fuel tanks in the cars for the 1938 and 1939 seasons.
One would expect this to have sorted them out, and perhaps it did, but results suggest otherwise. From 1934 to 1937 Mercedes outscored the swing-axle Auto Unions by 12 Grandes Épreuves to six. In 1938 and 1939 they outscored them by six to two, so what was wrong with the later Auto Unions?
Perhaps Nigel can explore this for us?
Incidentally, the pleasure of opening a fresh Motor Sport remains undiminished after 45 years.
Patrick Irwin, Port Melbourne, Australia
Ecclestone like Trump?
Bernie Ecclestone is gone from Formula 1, and that’s good.
I wake up every morning to a steady barrage of claims, denials, boasts and lies from his political clone in the US.
With either of them, the only thing I can believe is that their comments are totally self-serving and will be contradicted in an instant if the climate changes.
Bernie did a lot of good and at least as much bad, all of it for the same reason: to enrich himself
Please stop wasting good paper or bandwidth by continuing to feed the ego of a greedy, narcissistic old man.
John Tuleibitz, Simpsonville, South Carolina
Plane, strains & automobiles
Formula 1 front wings are presently vulnerable and potentially troublesome. They should be reduced in width to a measurement equal to that between the inside faces of the front wheels and they should be of a single plane. There should be no bodywork ahead of the front wheels. This would do away with unnecessary punctures and damage, necessitating a pit visit. It would also address the cost problems to teams who seem to produce several (expensive) new wings every race weekend.
The loss of downforce at the front would have to be addressed at the rear and the overall effect should make cars less stable and increase the relevance of driver input. Rules changed to make the cars go slightly quicker over a lap make no difference to the spectator at the side of the track or watching on TV. Spectators want to see drivers in cars that are not stuck to the road, showcasing their skills rather than just guiding a missile.
William H Cole, Cheltenham, Glos
The generation game
I liked Nick Trott’s idea of a one-make endurance series for three racing generations – those of us relatively new to the game can learn so much from the old masters.
My family has been racing vintage Bentleys for four generations and a few years ago my father, brother and I competed in the same event at the wheel of 1920s Bentleys. I cannot remember how we got on, but surely that has to be a first?
My grandfather? He retired from racing only last year after almost 65 seasons…
Keep up the great work. I love the magazine.
Stuart Morley, via email
Could someone please tell me where I can obtain a pair of Ferrari-tinted spectacles as issued to all Formula 1 stewards? My grandson is called Sebastian and will be absolutely thrilled to discover that, while I’m wearing them, he can do no wrong.
Can someone from Mercedes also explain why, after spending millions on shaving as much weight as possible from their F1 cars, they allow Lewis to climb in wearing half a ton of unnecessary bling? The way things are going, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Roscoe pop his head out of the cockpit on the slowing-down lap at Monaco in 2018.
That said, I think he has had a very good season – as did Red Bull and Max Verstappen, who did an exceptional job of developing and winning with an underpowered car.
Paul Beever, Leeds, West Yorks
Food for thought
I couldn’t resist taking a peek at my latest digital edition of Motor Sport as soon as it became available, though I showed considerable restraint and limited myself to Lunch with Ari Vatanen – what a fabulous story and Joe Dunn wrote it so well, too.
It got me thinking about a potential feature series for the future: Life after racing. It would focus on those, like Ari, who went on to do interesting things outside the sport. Niki Lauda and Jody Scheckter spring to mind.
Here in Canada we’ve just about wrapped up another season, rallying and ice racing apart, but I’m semi-retired and look forward to soaking up the fumes and sound once again at Daytona in January.
Bill Shepherd, Ontario, Canada
Here comes the sun
I consider myself very lucky, living in Western Australia close to glorious beaches and with access to nice cars for both road and track. And yet, when the latest Motor Sport arrives, it inevitably brightens my day.
As a long-time competitor in local racing, I love the new Garagista and Speedshop sections, plus all the regular features. Dickie Meaden’s articles are always worth reading at least twice as are Simon Arron’s insights into UK club racing.
I buy many similar publications every year, but if I could only afford one it would be the mighty Motor Sport.
Thanks for a brilliant publication.
John Hurney, Perth, Australia
Hughes on the mark
I write in support of the refreshed version of Motor Sport, especially the matt laminate cover and the regrouping of your specialist contributors towards the front of the magazine.
As for Mark Hughes, no one else is more informed, incisive and balanced when writing about Formula 1.
I have been a cover-to-cover reader since 1974 and extend my best wishes to all of you.
Paul M Latham, via email
Lost tango in Paris
I would like to extend my appreciation to Richard Williams for his excellent interview with Bernie Ecclestone (December issue).
Just one point; I thought he might have quizzed Mr E a little more deeply about the relationship Formula 1 has with the FIA. Over many years, Europe has played an indisputable role in helping F1 build its worldwide success. Would it not be better for the sport if the FIA did not find itself, apparently, quite so powerless?
It seems wrong that any sporting authority can be told where its own world championship will, or will not, be run.
Mike Knight, Ascot, Berks
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