The Good Old Days


Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Yesterday I ventured in to one of my favorite Used-book stores and found a real gem- the Dec 1966 issue of Road and Track magazine, which contained the reports of both the Italian and United States GPs.

What I found particularly enlightening was that the weights of the various cars were listed,and the scope was ENORMOUS. The championship-winning Brabhams weighed in @ 1219lbs, with the Eagle being next-lightest @ 1309. It only got worse from there. The Cooper-Maserati weighed in at 1353, the Ferrari was 1364 and the usually svelte Lotus (being saddled with the brick-like BRM H16) came in at an eye-opening 1540! The BRM with the same engine weighed a "mere" 1529, while the Honda, possibly the most powerful of the cars, weighed a truck-like 1635! Amazing-giving away 400 lbs to the Brabham cars. No wonder Brabham won the championship.

The other thing that sprang to mind was the amount of talent in the average F1 field of the time. The grid included: Jim Clark, Dan Gurney, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, Jack Brabham, Denis Hulme, Bruce McLaren, John Surtees, Jochen Rindt, Lorenzo Bandini, Jo Siffert, Pedro Rodriguez and Innes Ireland.

Makes today's fields look pretty feeble.
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Well, we have Alonso, Vettel, Raikkonen, Hamilton as top quality drivers; Magnussen, Hulkenberg and Bottas as exciting new talent and the likes of Rosberg, Massa and Button who can be trusted to do a job. Although I agree that the driving talent in the late '60's was seemingly brilliant (I wasn't around at the time!!)
The question is mjo which of those 'top class' drivers you listed will be considered in such ways in 10 years time?

I'm pretty sure Vettel's 4 titles secure him a long lasting rep but the other 3 might very much fall in the catogry of fondly remembere fan favourites.

I know that sounds silly right now but there are plenty of examples of it. Take James Hunt for example. How is he remembered? As an exciting talent who won a title and tgen pittered away. Whats the actual reality? Hunt continued to be on good form after his title and but for a Mclaren that kept breaking down(9 retirements)would have been a title contender in 1977 ). As it is he finished 3rd in the championship. In 78 the Mclaren continued to break down but Hunt was rated so highly he was Ferrari's number one choice to drive for then in 79. Hunt chose to get involved in a new team Wolff and it really didn't work out and he retired. Not what was said at the end of Rush was it?

Who is to say in 20 years time their won't be a film about how Lewis Hamilton burst on to the scene, nearly won the title in his first year and then finally did it in his second season. Who is to say that the film won't end by saying Hamilton never reached thevsame heights again and that becomes the general consensus?

A similar fate could befall Alonso and Kimi (especially Kimi!). It all depends on how their careers pan our from now I guess.

The field siffert_fan listed all seem to have a lasting legacy.
Everyone says the past was better, but was it really? I don't think so you look back at the past through rose tinted spectacles and say yeah those were the days but in reality they weren't, when I look back at the past it is usually with a sense of regret and self loathing..

Things that happened back then in racing terms had just as much controversy towards the FIA and the way the sport was run as they do today, who can remember the bloody stupid decision made by some idiot to put tyres on the apex's of the chicanes of Monza in 1996? How much discussion would that have caused on a forum it they existed back then? What about Ferrari having the FIA in it's pocket for decades? And then of course there was the end of the privateers which decimated the field, and what about all the drivers deaths? Also I seem to remember when there were only about 3 teams that made up the whole grid and the year that McLaren won every single race, what was so good about that?

Maybe for F1 these are the good old days and in years to come people will look back once again through their rose tinted glasses and say yep them were the days of formula one...

Sorry I'm being a bit of a misery guts today..
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3 teams made up the grid? There are less teams now than for the majority of F1's history. So unless you're counting 2008 as the old days thats a bit odd to say.

I remember the bloomin tyre chicane in 94 by the way but it was still a great season.
No I am certain I can remember a time when there was a massive dispute between the teams and the FIA (It may not have been called the FIA back then but it was one of it's guises.) and several teams refused to race it probably wasn't for a whole season but I have convinced myself it happened, but it maybe just old age, maybe somebody else can put some light on the subject, I'm sure I can remember Murray Walker commenting on it, it may have had something to do with the drivers wanting more safety in the sport but I can't be sure...
Apparently, I am the only one surprised that the weights of the cars could vary so much that the Honda was running with the equivalent of two large passengers aboard compared to the Brabhams!
siffert_fan ... the weight differences are rather pronounced ... alack ... the days of designing to a loose set of rules to promote innovation are far far behind us ...

I have been on a little mission the past several months to collect the weighty tomes of Autocourse ... I am pretty sure they have the car weights listed in them technical section ... I will see what I can ferret out as to how these have evolved over the years ... a little F1 task to get me back into the swing of things ...
Can you imagine the nature of the cars today, if the regulations were the same now as they were then? or the potential costs involved?
What really gave me pause about the weights was that the Brabham's were tubular space frames and all the others were monocoques, supposedly a lighter type of construction.
I remember the bloomin tyre chicane in 94 by the way but it was still a great season.

But then I would disagree with you completely about '94... To me this was just about the worst season in living memory... Not only because of the 2 tragic deaths at San Marino, but also the dominance level of Michael Schumacher- he was only beaten once all season when he didn't have a car failure (or disqualifications)

Considering he was banned for 2 races, was dsqd from Silverstone and Spa, and won 9 of the 12 races he competed. Of the other three, he had a gearbox failure in Spain, was beaten in Suzuka, and then had his collision in Adelaide... The only reason it seemed like a close championship was that the FIA had decided to manipulate the results! (Possibly because there was the suggestion of Benetton cheating of course).

To me, the 1993 season had been far more exciting.... However, each to their own!
Other than the tragedy I loved 94 and 95 season because the rivalry between Hill and Schumacher was so intense and personal.

Say what you like about multi title contenders like we've had in the last few seasons but nothing beats a pure one on one rivalry in F1.
Other than the tragedy I loved 94 and 95 season because the rivalry between Hill and Schumacher was so intense and personal.

Say what you like about multi title contenders like we've had in the last few seasons but nothing beats a pure one on one rivalry in F1.

And herein lies the great thing about f1. 2 completely different views of the same season. At the time, I know I found 1994 exciting (albeit less exciting than precious years), but in retrospect, watching all the manipulation of schumacher's dominance was somewhat uncomfortable!
Maybe I found 94 so exciting because 92 and 93 had been such dire seasons! Watching Mansell and Prost just cruise round to ridiculous victory just didn't do it for me.

93 had its moments when Senna dragged his shopping trolley round to compete but if you counter that with the amazing obvious team orders at Williams where Hill would speed off into the distance to show how much quicker he was and then gradually slow down and let Prost through at about half way and then follow him home then it was just dull.

Which was a let down after the 90 and 91 seasons.
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