Then as now… – por Peter Windsor

Browsing through Autosports from 50 years ago, as you do when the talk in the UK turns to the elections, I came across these three gems.  The first is a letter written by my friend, Sheridan Thynne, (future director of Williams Grand Prix Engineering, below, centre, chatting to Nigel and Rosanne Mansell) about the standards of driving in Mini racing at the time:

“Three or four years ago a racing Mini cost little more than half what it does today.  Racing was close and very exciting, but accidents were rare.  Drivers like Sir John Whitmore, Christabel Carlisle, John Aley and Mick Clare could, to put it bluntly, drive.  Lesser lights” (and I think here that Sheridan is bashfully thinking of his own efforts) “considered themselves lucky to be in the same race as they, trying to learn something as they flashed past atFormula One World Championship, French  Grand Prix, Magny Cours, France, 5 July 1992. impossible angles but in total control.  

“Nowadays it seems that, until one has caused the odd pile-up, been pictured regularly out of control and set a deplorable example of lack of skill to the spectators, one cannot be considered a Mini driver.”

The second was the perfunctory way Autosport previewed the upcoming F2 meeting at Snetterton.  By today’s standards, it amounts to a motor race of staggering depth and power.  Back then, it was just the Autocar Trophy meeting, meriting but half a column in the Pit and Paddock section of the magazine…

“Britain’s second F2 international, the Autocar Trophy meeting, is to be held at Snetterton tomorrow (Saturday).  A first-class line-up is assured, with entries from Brabham, Lotus, Cooper, Merlyn and Lola and Honda, Cosworth and BRM engines.  The entry includes:

Jack Brabham (Brabham-Honda)

Denis Hulme (Brabham-Honda)

Graham Hill (Brabham-BRM)

Trevor Taylor (Brabham-Cosworth)

Alan Rees (Brabham-Cosworth)

Jochen Rindt (Brabham-Cosworth)

Jo Schlesser (Brabham-Cosworth)

David Prophet (Brabham-Cosworth)

Bill Bradley (Brabham-Cosworth)

Mike Beckwith (Brabham-Cosworth)

Tony Hegbourne (Lola-Cosworth)

Jim Clark (Lotus-Cosworth)

Brian Hart (Lotus-Cosworth)

Peter Revson (Lotus-BRM)

Jackie Stewart (Cooper-BRM)

John Taylor (Cooper-Ford)

Chris Irwin (Merlyn-Cosworth)

Richard Attwood (Lola-Cosworth)

Mike Spence (Lotus-BRM)

Tony Maggs (Lola-BRM)

Would any sane-minded person have missed this race back in 1965?  Imagine it:  early departure from wherever, Cortina boot packed with the picnic basket, and then that long, tension-filled traffic jam on the A11 as Snetterton draws near. White-coated officials. Race programmes fresh off the printing press. Fluttering flags. Crisp PA announcements. And the thought that anyone who mattered in the motor racing world was there, in Norfolk, racing gorgeous little F2 cars…

Finally, I think Gregor Grant might well have been seeing the future when he wrote about Jack’s new Brabham-Honda:

“Jack Brabham had little joy with the Brabham-Honda, the engine of which the Japanese mechanics couldn’t get going properly at all.  It sounded fine but seemed to lack poke and was the slowest of the 20 cars which turned up.  However, knowing the Brabham set-up, it will not be long before it is sorted.”

 

Perfil de Peter Windsor:

Peter WindsorBorn in the UK (1952) but raised in Sydney, Australia, Peter became Press Officer of the Australian Automobile Racing Club (AARC) at the age of 17 and played an active role in the organization of the famous Warwick Farm circuit near Liverpool, Sydney.

Peter joined Williams full-time in 1985 as Manager of Sponsorship and Public Affairs but switched to Ferrari in 1989 to manage their UK F1 facility. He then returned to Williams as Team Manager in 1991, winning both the Constructors’ and Drivers’ World Championships.After moving to the UK in 1972, Peter wrote for Competition Car magazine and was appointed Sports Editor of Autocar magazine in 1975. He went on to win five international awards for his writing, including Sports Reporter of the Year and Feature Writer of the Year. In 2013 he has also been awarded the Gold Medal of Imola by the Lorenzo Bandini Trophy Committee for his services to motor sport. Peter quickly diversified into F1 driver and team management, working with Frank Williams from 1978 onwards (developing Williams’ new Saudi sponsorship) and with drivers Carlos Reutemann and Nigel Mansell. Reutemann went on to finish runner-up in the 1981 World Championship and Mansell to win the title in 1992. Today he works closely with the world’s pre-eminent driver coach, Rob Wilson.

Peter was Grand Prix Editor of F1 Racing magazine from 1997-2009 and today is that magazine’s Senior Feature Writer and Columnist. He also writes for the BRDC Bulletin, AutoSport (Japan), the Goodwood magazine and presents his own, weekly, on-line chat show, The Racer’s Edge in association with F1 Racing magazine.

Peter Windsor en:


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