50 Shades of Graham

Extraordinary tales from the Motor Sport digital archive

Graham Hill

Graham Hill: Often charming,, sometimes not so much – but always the professional

Grand Prix Photo

Browse pages
F1 Retro November 2015

Being told to “F*** off” isn’t the usual introduction to your future boss, but this was exactly what Graham Hill (born this month in 1929) said upon meeting Quentin Spurring who was seeking a quick interview as a young cub reporter.

This was in 1970 at Oulton Park, when Hill was trying to scrutinise the finer details of Rob Walker’s new Lotus 72. The anecdote forms the start to this month’s F1 Retro, in which Spurring recounts the tale of what it was really like to work for the grand prix legend when he started his own team.

The journo-turned-PR man eventually handled press for Hill’s eponymous F1 squad, the latter’s next challenge after his not inconsiderable driving achievements.

Spurring entered into Hill’s unique world, visiting his 25-room house for meetings and being present in the boss’s Ford Granada when he confided his retirement plans. Also present was none other than Eric Morecambe, who persuaded the former champion he should hold a full-scale media announcement rather than go quietly at Silverstone.

Despite Hill’s sometimes irascible nature, Spurring was clearly charmed by the racing hero, and describes the anguish of that fateful plane crash in ’75: “I knew no one in the team whose admiration for him was ever dimmed.”

Read the full story