22 Nov 2012

Mario and the US F1 Grand Prix

I saw the last 4 laps of the US F1 Grand Prix on Sunday-well Monday morning down here.I even saw a replay of a car overtaking another car.I hope that the very large crowd went home happy .At least they had a large crowd.I reckon it was about the size of the combined crowds from the Korean,Indian,Abu Dhabi and Bahrain Grand Prix .And it was a full field of cars unlike the fiasco of the previous F1 Grand Prix at Indianapolis 5 years ago.
The Austin track seemed to have some small undulations but otherwise was the usual slot car track layout designed by Hermann Tilke a man who seems singularly devoid of imagination.
It was good to see Mario Andretti doing the interviews on the podium after the race and looking very fit.
Below is a photo from Roger Putnam's archives taken in 1978 at a Lotus celebration in Norwich after Mario won the World Driver's Championship.Beside him is Colin Chapmanin wearing his John Player Special smoking jacket and behind him is Hazel Chapman looking as if she has just had words with Colin.Indeed both the ladies seem unimpressed by the proceedings and Mario looks as if boredom is starting to set in.Maybe the mayor was making a very long speech.Or perhaps Mario is upset that he misread the dress code on the invitation.

I can't see that Colin Chapman would have enjoyed today's F1 environment.He would have found the the rules too restrictive and artificial .On the other hand he may well have got on very well "wheeling and dealing" with Bernie Ecclestone-birds of a feather and all that.

Roger took this great period photo on his then newly acquired Canon A1 which he bought back from a trip to Japan where it had just been released.At the time it was the bees knees of cameras-the first SLR with electronics in the form of a microprocessor.The start of a revolution.

Note that since posting the above a good friend has contacted me to say that he watched the race and that it was quite exciting and that the track is one of Herr Tilke's better efforts .That may well be but I like my tracks to be fast and flowing - like the old Silverstone and Monza and Spa not these wiggly slot car tracks .

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