22 Jul 2013

It was different then.

I came across this photo of John Surtees watching the Honda mechanics working on his Honda RA300 V12 F1 car in the paddock at the 1967 British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
What a contrast with today's F1 paddock scene.The car being worked on out in the open with a  trolley jack lifting the back end.A competing team -Lotus-right next to it.John Surtees in his race suit,without any sponsor's logos,casually watching.Big wide tyres with treads designed to last as long as possible not flail themselves apart after 5 laps for the sake of the "show".Aero was still only the name of a chocolate bar and not an industry abbreviation of aerodynamics -the black art of modern F1- although the Honda had very elementary wings. The Honda RA300 was a unique and very complex car with a Honda engine built to the designer's ideas not for conformity to a very detailed and restrictive rule book which ensures that today's cars are all are so similar.
And perhaps above all else the scene was accessible to a young guy with a camera-an enthusiast -not some corporate guest or PR spinner.No security screens and closed doors and massive motorhomes back then.
It started to change when sponsors came aboard but it still had the magic going into the 1990's but then it all changed and it has been downhill all the way since then.
Now it's all uptight,so very serious,secretive and technology driven and big money and even bigger egos and just another branch of show business.A noisy circus masquerading as a sport.

Photo by Hugh Palmer


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