The members of the Formula One Constructors Association, the Grand Prix Drivers Assocation and the Commission Sportive Internationale spend too much time sitting around in plush hotels or travelling in jet planes, and they seem to utilise this time in trying to use their brains for the betterment of Grand Prix racing. In the average Grand Prix meeting they are away from home for something like four days, during which time the sounds of 500 horsepower racing engines are only heard for about 6 hr. 40 min. The rest of the time they imagine they can hear their brains working and they come up with some splendid ideas “for the benefit of racing”.
The latest suggestion is that the Nurburgring is too long. It has been the same length since it was built in 1925/26 so it is difficult to see why it has suddenly become too long. “Too long for what?” one might ask Benny Finklestein and his cohorts. It is being “recommended” (a sort of Max Mosley word, that means “you will do it, or else. . . .”) that the Nurburgring be shortened to half its length. I would suggest to Messrs Finklestein and Muslem that at the next Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, they stop prancing round the paddock on race morning, ensuring that their union rules are being obeyed, and get on their fairy cycles and go round the circuit and take a look at the number of spectators in the following areas—Welirseifen/Adenau; Karrusel ; Wippermann/Esbach; Brunchen; Pflanzgarten ; Scwhalbenswanz; and decide where they are going to put them all on their new “short circuit”; or are they going to limit the sale of tickets to 150,000?
Their next master stroke will be to run the British Grand Prix on the Silverstone Club circuit, because Stowe and Club corners have been proved to be dangerous for Grand Prix drivers. A good idea, but where would you put the spectators from that part of the circuit. The reason given for cutting the Nurburgring in half is that spectators don’t see the cars often enough during the German GP. The answer to that one is so obvious that you could think of it with the sound of a Ferrari in one car and a Matra in the other. Double the length of the race.
These Formula One “do gooders” should go out into the spectator enclosures occasionally and see if the paying public are complaining about the length of the Nurburgring. What they will find is the public complaining about paying to see a 15-lap race and having it cut to 10 laps because it is raining, with no offer of a rebate. They will also find the public complaining about some of the over-paid, understressed, drivers. You won’t find them complaining about the Ferrari team or Lauda and Regazzoni for example.
If the racing cars were in action for a bit more than 1 hr. 40 min on race days there would be less time for the “do-gooders” to have silly thoughts and some of the drivers might get worn out and afterwards just lie down and shut up, instead of bleating on the way they do. There is no doubt that once you start up a Ferrari engine or a Cosworth V8 engine the silly chatter stops. Keep the engines running longer, I say, it’ll do us all good in the long run.—D.S.J.