Editorial, July 1999

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I see that Brands Hatch is to be butchered to realise Nicola Foulston’s ambition to hold the British Grand Prix. Graham Hill bend, that once glorious and not quite flat sweeping curve has already been hacked into a tedious turn, and now new plans show a worse fate for both Hawthorns and Dingle Dell which, shortly, will cease to exist in any form at all.

Of course, we must not be too swift to judge or write off the new track before it has even been built. For a start there are those who say not only will it never be built but, significantly, that it is not intended to be built and is simply a scare tactic by Miss Foulston to bounce the BRDC into selling her its track. We shall see. My guess is that Foulston is serious. Read what you will into her insistence that she is a commercial person through and through, believe if you like that she does not have a sentimental bone in her body and ask yourself whether, in her shoes, you would rather hold the race on enemy soil or on your late father’s beloved track. I only hope that, by the time the bulldozers leave, what remains is still worth racing on.

Not sure anyone has ever attempted to rank, in order, the top 100 Grand Prix drivers of all time and the reason why is obvious. I spoke to Murray Walker not long after he’d attempted his top ten on the television and asked if he’d had many calls disputing his choices; the roll of his eyes said more than words ever could.

Even so, turn to page 66 and you will discover the first of a five-part article which does exactly that: 100 drivers from 100 years of racing. In order. I expect, hope even, that the results will provoke you into letting us know by how far our man, the clearly fearless Mark Hughes, has missed the mark. And, in case you feel inclined to give him the benefit of your doubt this month, let me provide you with some the highlights to come. They include Prost missing the top ten, Graham Hill being outranked by Damon and a triple world champion coming in over 30 places below a contemporary who never won a points-scoring GP. Appalled? The address is on page 21.

Forgive this brief swerve off the usual agande but I am staggered by the Government’s reduction in road tax for cars possessing engines of under 1,100cc. Leaving aside the fact that capacity is a laughable guide to emissions, by drawing the line at just 1,100cc these boneheads have ensured the only people to benefit from this cut are those who have cars used in towns while leaving those outside still with no choice but drive everywhere. The effect of this truly ludicrous legislation will be to reduce emissions not at all and put still more traffic onto already overloaded urban roads. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

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