Editorial – Three Topics
Races usually take place in complete safety, thank heavens, and drivers
almost always get out of their cars as fit as they were when they
got into them. For that we should all be grateful, which is a prime
chance to recognise the roles of all those present at race meetings
whose main task is ensuring the safety of all concerned. Well done
all corner workers / marshals, just for being there, and being prepared
to make the effort.
take much imagination to appreciate that the greatest dangers
occur when a fast moving car hits something stationary. We
already have several examples of such incidents this year:
- Kevin McGarrity hitting the wall at Sebring and breaking bones in his
- Kelvin Burt hitting the Konrad Saleen and the rescue truck at Barcelona
on Saturday afternoon
- Jamie Campbell-Walter hitting a Viper splitter on the straight at Barcelona
(all right, it wasn’t stationary – it was flying at him)
- The F1 mess at Interlagos on Sunday, with Fernando Alonso hitting a
wheel lying on the track.
a little further, what about poor Ignazio Giunti hitting Beltoise’s
Matra (being pushed across the track) in Buenos Aires over
30 years ago? Or Fabrizio Barbazza’s life being threatened
as he was ploughed into by Jeremy Dale’s car at Road
Atlanta in 1995?
bits of anything are extremely dangerous, and absolute caution
should be applied in such circumstances – and every effort
should be made to warn drivers of the danger (was every effort
made at Interlagos? – why wasn’t the race stopped
immediately after Webber’s accident?). It’s a little
worrying then to read of a driver who admits he was “pushing
too hard” with yellow flags waving lap after lap, who
described the marshals as “dicking about” while
trying to move the Konrad Saleen, and the same driver stating
that they “pissed me off” by fining him and sending
him to the back of the grid. Did the driver concerned wish
to be associated with such words, in public, on a well-used
website, we wonder?
at the time of the incident, no one was even attempting to
set a grid time: they’d almost all been set in the morning
The subject was raised in Autosport today (April 10) regarding the future
of prototype racing in Europe. Just when it seemed that Stephane Ratel
had made the decision to go for fewer, longer races in Europe next year,
the ACO announced their plan for something similar. The ACO version involves
four or five four-hour races in Europe in 2004, with prototypes mixed
up with GTs and GTSs, of course (the full Le Mans variety). The Ratel
version was for prototypes only (SR1 and SR2).
Ratel states in Autosport today “There is no reason why
we can’t do an FIA-Le Mans Championship. We have to do
something together or prototypes will disappear.”
the view in the French press some weeks ago that talks with
the ACO need to take place, but admits today that he has not
spoken to the ACO yet.
is so blindingly simple: leave the FIA GT Championship alone,
but let everyone get behind the ACO idea, so that there are
four major events – in which European prototypes do compete
against (with) GT and GTS entrants who don’t want to
enter a full nine or ten race FIA GT Championship. The Le Mans
entry proves that such entries exist.
GT racing actually provides too many series, only some of which
are well supported. ‘Four races isn’t enough to
keep a team going,’ state some. Then go and enter Sebring,
Le Mans (if you can), Petit Le Mans and Spa. That’s a
season, isn’t it? ‘Sebring is too expensive.’ It’s
not if you’ve got a competitive car that drivers actually
want to drive.
has already been set for 2004 in Europe anyway. The Spa 1000
KM in August will be run with a combined grid of FIA SCC prototypes
and British GT…..GTs. Simple, isn’t it?
We’ve almost reached the final stage of piecing together the remnants
of the password system that allowed subscribers (only) to access the
site. We’ll announce the plan for re-introducing the system, which
should take place by the end of next week. Once we’re absolutely
sure of the timetable, we’ll let you know – so that existing
subscribers will be linked in with as few problems as possible, and so
that readers who haven’t subscribed before can take advantage of
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anticipating that a good number of you who have been using
the service for the last eight weeks will be keen to sign up
for more of the same, for a modest fee per year. To our existing
subscribers, thanks again for your support.