Ideas from the past to help F1 survive the future
At the start of the 2009 season I had been concerned that financing would be a problem for the F1 teams. When the Global Financial Crisis struck it was obvious the teams would be forced to tighten their belts. So below are some ideas from the past to help the F1 teams compete on tighter budgets in the future.
1. Send a mere five mechanics along to a race. Rob Walker did it in Argentina in 1958. Stirling Moss presented him with a victory which was by a private entrant, was rear- engined, and was ten percent down on engine capacity over the competitors. Pretty revolutionary, huh?
2. Send six mechanics along to a race. Jackie Stewart rewarded Ken Tyrrell with a third place in the South African GP of 1968. Not too bad as the winner and car were Jim Clark and the Lotus 49.
3. Turn up with just one engine. It was sometimes the case with Ensign whose founder Mo Nunn reckons he is the only man to have made a loss in F1.
4. Turn up with one engine already used – Connew’s DFV had been obtained through McLaren’s used-engine inventory.
5. Keep the launches simple. Nigel Roebuck went to the launch of the 1976 Ensign and encountered Mo Nunn, Chris Amon – and himself. And that was it. Apart from Mr Nunn wearing a Duckhams jacket when his oil sponsor was Valvoline. And Mrs Nunn interrupting the conference by asking her husband to pick up a pack of frozen peas on the way home.
6. Share hotel rooms 1: At the 1961 French GP Giancarlo Baghetti shared a room with Eoin Young. Giancarlo Baghetti won the race – his debut. Years later there was a question on Mastermind asking who won on his debut in France in 1961. Eoin Young had forgotten Giancarlo’s name despite having shared a room with him..
7. Share hotel rooms 2: Colin Chapman thought this would be a good idea. The next morning he came down to breakfast. Someone asked him why he was looking so tired. He replied that he had been sharing a room with Jim Clark who had picked up a local piece of talent and who had advised the young lady that Mr Chapman was fast asleep and couldn’t hear a thing. Which in fact he could.
8. Skip hotel rooms altogether. It was rumoured that Larry Perkins used to sleep in hotel corridors.
9. Down-size and I mean literally. At a Model Engineer exhibition in London in 1972 I overheard an exhibitor say that he had been a professional slot-car racer(!) I was not mishearing things. In his “Lunch With…” interview in Motor Sport Magazine Ross Brawn stated that he had indeed been a professional slot-car racer.
10. Above all, not hold the GP in the first place. I moved to Canada in autumn 2007 only to read about the cancellation of the 2008 Toronto GP and the 2009 Canadian GP.
Aren’t you glad that F1 survived – and that Brawn had such a fantastic season?