Letters: November 2018

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Nothing changes

No doubt other readers have had the same thought, but one sentence from a recent letter – “This era of subservient team-mates is not racing, it’s manipulation of the outcome to favour one driver” – brought a smile to my face. I remember how during the 1956 Italian Grand Prix, Peter Collins handed his own Ferrari (and, potentially, the world title) to team-mate Juan Manuel Fangio 15 laps from the end.

There’s nothing new in motor racing!

Rob Gent, Spalding, Lincs.

Light and dark

Reading Mat Oxley’s recent article about MV Agusta reminded me of my visit to the factory in 1980. After showing me the collection of MV bikes, the press officer took me to the historic office of Count Agusta. What a privilege. He allowed me inside this rather small room, from an old era, with a wooden desk full of papers, pens, lots of trophies and photos of riders all over the walls.

I remember the distinct atmosphere, very dark, with only a tiny lamp offering some light. I was told that since Count Agusta
had died at this desk, in the middle of the night, the light had remained illuminated in his memory.

Dominique Pascal, Paris, France

Fast & the furious

It takes a lot to get me angry as I’m a gentle chap – and even more to get me to write a letter to a magazine – but what on earth has Lewis Hamilton done wrong in the eyes of David Buckden (Letters, September 2018)?

I know he is not everyone’s cup of tea and his lifestyle is a million miles from my 54-year-old planet, but what I appear to observe is a modest, mostly polite individual who has lots of time for his fans and supporters. Granted he appears to have a few minor character flaws, but then haven’t we all?

I wonder whether DB was at Becketts this year during British GP qualifying, as Hamilton went past on his pole lap. I was and stood in almost exactly the same place as I did in 1991, when Ayrton Senna went by during qualifying. Both occasions almost took my breath away.

Give Lewis a break. In most counties he would be hailed as a sporting hero.

Stewart Nourish, Market Harborough, Leics.

Statute of Liberty

Mark Hughes recently described Liberty as F1’s owner – an oft-used description. But Liberty does not own F1 – and neither did FOM beforehand. It simply owns the commercial rights, a distinction that needs to be properly and generally understood if one is ever to begin to rectify the general disarray and imbalance (both commercial and sporting) that keep occurring. Lewis Hamilton was right to question the sport’s structure when asked whether drivers with evident talent might be replaced by those with less of a track record but with greater commercial support.

Mike Knight, Ascot, Berks.

Quite correct, Mike. I was simply using “owners” in the commercial sense – MH.

We were both there

In 1959 I attended the International Trophy meeting at Silverstone and photographed Maria Teresa de Filippis in her Maserati 250F. At almost the same moment, my wife took a similar picture. The strange thing is, we didn’t meet until about three years later – and that was in Lagos, Nigeria.

We married in 1965 and it was some years before we compared the pictures and realised that we must have been standing next to each other, all those years before.

Alec & Jocelyn Rait, via email

Focus group

I have just read the Motor Sport website article by Rob Ladbrook, regarding the attendance (or lack thereof) at August’s British GT round at Brands Hatch. And while I am saddened, I am not at all surprised.

I have been going to Brands for 20 or so years and regard it as the most picturesque and exciting circuit in the UK. It has also long been one of my favourites for photography.

In May I attended the circuit’s Blancpain GT meeting, the first of what I thought would be many visits in 2018. But what I saw has completely ruined the place for me. Tall steel fences have been erected around much of the back section of the GP circuit – and certain parts are no longer accessible at all. I was shocked. How could they do this to such a fantastic place that was so well loved?

As I am not one of the fortunate few who photograph motor sport for a living, I have to find somewhere with low or no fencing that will allow me to take pictures that are not ruined by criss-cross patterns. One of the main reasons I attend has now gone – everyone is corralled into just a few places, taking the same pictures. Boring – and nothing like the enjoyable experience I knew in the past.

I completely understand modern health and safety culture, but if you go to a track then you must accept that there is a small chance of physical injury. If you don’t want to take that chance, don’t go. Simple.

Anthony Thomas, Leatherhead, Surrey

Artists anonymous

In your triple track test of sports car icons (October), I was pleased to see that you used archive cutaways to good effect. However, I was disappointed to note the absence of the illustrators’ names on the Porsche and Ferrari drawings. I am sure that the 917 cutaway is the work of Mike Badrocke, as I sat next to him while he was producing it! I am almost certain that the 512S is the work of Vic Berris. How wonderful these cars look, compared with the ugly beasts that prowl circuits today.

Finally, hats off to Chris Mason for defending Lewis Hamilton in last month’s correspondence. He is the latest in a long line of great British drivers and should be celebrated as such. As Chris says, his lifestyle is irrelevant. Keep up the good work.

John Hostler, Norwich, Norfolk

Goodwood observations

Growing up in Australia, I had no access to TV broadcasts of mainstream racing in the 1960s. I can recall only one works-supported AC Cobra appearing here in those days, John Miles’s car, and that had an open cockpit.

I was surprised to watch streamed coverage of this year’s Goodwood Revival and see so many Cobras competing with ‘fastback’ hard-tops, of which I have no recollection. Were many raced in that form originally?

Also, didn’t Colin Chapman’s deal with Ford mean his highly effective saloon racer was called the Cortina Lotus, rather than Lotus Cortina – the term commonly used nowadays?

Chris Berger, New South Wales

Scale of the task

As a long-time reader, I wanted to thank you for including a page about models. I have always admired people who can build F1 kits to the point where they look as if they were produced by a manufacturer.

I have recently taken the plunge myself, buying an airbrush and other sundries along with a 1:12 Lotus 72. The results were middling for a first attempt, so I won’t be tackling my Jackie Stewart Matra MS80 until my skills are up to scratch… Thanks again for producing such a great magazine.

Mike Radocy, Kirkland, Washington, USA


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