Zolder Zooms

As the last car received the chequered flag and before Alboreto mounted the winner’s podium to hear his National Anthem, a Diners Club International helicopter landed on the starting grid and whisked Mr Ecclestone and his briefcase away into the sky. The Belgian commentator suggested over the PA that “little Bernie was scuttling off with all the money”.

Martin Brundle’s race ended when the left front wheel parted company from his Tyrrell. He had shown the same “tigerish” qualities as Stefan Bellof before this happened. Ayrton Senna finished in seventh place with the Toleman, but with little enthusiasm as he wants to race the new Toleman that he has had out on test.

It must have been Patrick Tambay’s worst weekend ever and as he said, “with so many things not right my spirit went, and then I even drove badly.” However, not so badly that when he had a huge spin on the loose stuff which took him right off the track, he could not keep control, for he kept the engine running and drove back onto the track. Some pretty high powered wheeling and dealing went on over advertising hoardings that would be seen by the television viewers. Because ELF and Texaco refused to be “pressured”, their respective footbridges over the track had all the advertising material blacked out by “Bernie’s Boys”.

The Belgians erected a rather tasteless monument to the late Gilles Villeneuve who was killed at Zolder the last time a Formula Once race was held there. It stands in the pit lane right next to the Ferrari pits, which does seem a bit unnecessary.

As at Silverstone and Brands Hatch, the paying public were allowed a “pits walk—about” but were totally barred from the paddock, though as always the real enthusiasts found a way in.

With the European season beginning there were lots of new transporters to be seen. Most impressive was the Williams team Leyland powered by a Rolls Royce “eagle” six-cylinder turbo-charged diesel engine. The Toleman team Magirus is another transporter that commands respect.