Introduction

There have to be better reasons for starting a blog than that I am playing in the prediction competition at Too Much Racing, with Pat away this week I said I would post the game scores and since tables do not work in comments, I figured WordPress was the easiest way to post the results.

I have long thought about a blog as I am very opinionated and have a tendency to leave over-long comments on other people’s blogs. However, I greatly fear I will fall into the usual pattern of doing a few entries and then not posting for ages because I do not get around to it.

Since this is my introduction entry, I will allow myself the parliamentary indulgence of the maiden speech that allows a certain amount of self-indulgent waffle.

I am shocked by how early my first Formula One memory is, it being watching the highlights of the 1973 British Grand Prix. I do not remember much but the second lap crash triggered by Jody Scheckter’s McLaren (YouTube link). My next vague recollection is my Mum explaining to me what was going on in the highlights of the 1976 Japan GP. Something to do with James Hunt – I doubt she has watched a race since.

I began to watch occasionally for myself in 1978 with the black-and-gold Lotus cars in Andretti-Peterson formation making the races I saw very one-sided and somewhat uninspiring. It was 1980 when I switched from The Beano to Autocar that I began to read the race reports and started seeking out the races on TV.

My love of the sport grew. I learnt to love Williams and hate those yellow Renaults and especially Alain Prost. My teenage hero was John Watson who unexpectedly won the 1981 British GP in the first win of Ron Dennis’s reign at McLaren. In ’82 and ’83, he was partnered with Nicki Lauda out-scoring him both years and making a habit of qualifying badly at street races and charging through the field to win. (I will undoubtedly post on 1982, a year I harbour an ambition to write a book about.) And then Ron Dennis (I still have not forgiven him) signed Prost to replace Wattie for 1983, no one telling John until it was too late for him to get a drive worth having which ended his career. It was bad enough Nicki Lauda won the ’83 title for McLaren but the salt in the wound was Prost winning the next two.

I stopped watching F1, although this also had a lot to do with doing a lot of hitching to see bands and not having a TV. I missed the 1987 Piquet-Williams year and most the Prost-Senna years. I was not a huge Nigel Mansell fan, notwithstanding that he came from Birmingham, but it was good to see Williams on top again albeit a shame about the Renault engines. Then in 1993 I was torn in both directions, the hated Alain Prost dominating for Williams-Renault!

I was a big Damon Hill fan and his three wins in ’93 helped a lot but I learnt to hate Schumacher well before he collided with Hill for the ’94 title. After a painful ’95, it was good to see Hill and Williams triumph in ’96 before Williams sacked him. 1997, another good year for Williams (and twelve lousy years since). 1998/9 saw McLaren driver-title wins but at least it was not Schumacher. And then the dark years…

Year after bloody year of pre-season hope that it would not be M. Schumacher dominating again. In the end I survived by putting bets on him to win the races which proved to be quite profitable.

Ever since, all title-winners have had the blessing of not being Schumacher. Good for Alonso and Renault (at least back then). I like Räkkönen’s diffident attitude. Possibly dangerous to admit it but I am a huge Hamilton fan, and blow me, Jenson Button making it two British champions in a row. I will skate over the return of the dark one.

I find it worrying that I spend about five times longer a day reading F1 news and blogs than I do checking the BBC for my general news. I am very interested in the history of the sport and can reel off every World Champion from memory. My all-time hero is Jim Clark. I read Motorsport every month and will probably crib some of my posts from that publication. The podcasts I listen to are Sidepodcast,Chequered Flag, F1 Rejects and Motorsport. I regularly check the GMN stories because although I agree wholeheartedly with the criticism, I like reading them as rumours (I know just how unreliable the sources can be as I once read a rumour in a story about Richard Branson that I started myself in a comment on Sidepodcast three days earlier). I have never been to a race but I have seen Juan Manuel Fangio driving a Mercedes Benz 300 SLR in Birmingham in 1980 for The Lucas ‘On The Streets’ Motor Sport Spectacular used to pave the way for the Birmingham Superprix.

My other sports-watching includes cycling, especially the Tour de France, and snooker (I think people miss the subtleties of the match-play and psychological swings). I would watch GP2 if I did not have to pay for it and I miss the pre-split Indycar. I collect radio-comedy.

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