peterwindsor.com

…chance doesn't exist; there's always a cause and a reason for everything – Elahi

Remembering JPB

8-24-2010 17-21-4_127I was actually thinking about Jean-Pierre Beltoise the day before he passed away. There I was, sitting in the car in King’s Road, stuck in traffic, when suddenly I was smiling inwardly at the thought of Jean-Pierre and all that he had triggered. I don’t think it was co-incidence: I happened to be stationary right by the spot where I once threw a Gauloises non-filter into the garbage bin, thus marking the end of my very brief smoking career. I’d been so intoxicated by the French Revolution – by the whole Gauloises/Gitanes thing, married as it was to Jean-Pierre, Matra, Elf, BP France, Ford France, Antar, Motul, Stand 21, Francois Cevert, Patrick Depailler, Jean-Pierre Jabouille, Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Johnny Servoz-Gavin, Pierre-Francois Rousselot, Patrick Tambay, Bernard Beguin, Didier Pironi, Jean-Luc Salamon, Jacques-Henri Lafitte, Jean-Pierre Jarier, Henri Pescarolo, Johnny Rives, Manu Zurini, Bernard Asset, Eric Bhat, Jose Rosinski, Jabby Crombac, Ligier, Gerard Flocon, Un homme et une femme, Francois Hardy and Francois Guiter –  so romanticised was I by it all – that I felt I owed it to them at least to try a Gauloises. The experiment lasted three puffs…but I never forgot the time nor the place.

JPB passed away on January 5, 2014. As quick on two wheels as he was on four, he survived several major accidents before he and Matra’s Jean-Luc Lagardere set about changing the world. If Jackie Stewart’s 1968-69 Tyrrell Matras were works of art – and I think they were – much of the credit must go to the French creative geniuses of the time. The elegant white signwriting on the French-blue riveted chassis. That head-turning Elf logo. The colour-coding with the drivers’ helmets – something that mesmerised me when I first saw JPB at Monaco in 1967. (I took the picture above from the chicane on the Saturday as he drove the F2 car round to the pits.)

Then there were the loves of JPB.  He lost his first wife while he was recuperating from his big shunt at Rheims: she died in a Matra road car, driving south out of Paris. Then he married Francois Cevert’s sister, Jacqueline. He helped her through the dark days of Francois’ death. They remained forever close.

I’m not a great believer in obituaries. If there’s something worth saying about someone, I think we should say it when they’re with us, not the day after they’ve left us. And so I decided to chat about Jean-Pierre with one of my friends (and mentors), Mike Doodson. MGD, as he was known in the great days of Motoring News, saw JPB race in his prime; and, speaking passable French (!) he also got to know him pretty well. Thus we remembered him:

2014 ReWind – P8 to P1…with a little bit more besides

As we continue our look back at the 2014 F1 season, here’s the remainder of our driver ratings, starting from P8 at the top of the page through to P1 and some closing thoughts.  Controversial – yes;  but then, as I said before, the points system is what really counts.  These are just some of my feelings about a turbulent year just past.

May I also take this opportunity of wishing all of you a safe and prosperous 2015.

2014 F1 ReWind – P10, P9

The drum roll continues as we nominate P10 and P9 in our 2014 Top Ten F1 rankings. I’m sure you won’t agree with the list through to P1 but – hey – isn’t that what we still love about motor racing? There’s always something about which we can disagree…

Break-in at Red Bull Racing

The following statement has been released today, December 6, 2014, by Thames Valley Police:

“Burglary at commercial premises – Milton Keynes.

Thames Valley Police is appealing for witnesses after a burglary at a commercial premises in Bradbourne Drive, Tilbrook, Milton Keynes.

Police were called at 1.30am today (6/12) to the Red Bull Racing factory where a group of around six men, used a vehicle to drive through the front entrance to gain access to the premises.

Once inside, they stole over 60 trophies belonging to the Red Bull Racing team.
Night staff who were on the premises at the time were not physically harmed.

Two cars were involved in the burglary. A silver 4×4 which was used to drive through the entrance and a further dark coloured, black or dark blue Mercedes estate car. Both are believed to have foreign number plates.

There is no description of the offenders available at this time, although they are all believed to be men, wearing dark clothing.
If you have any information that may assist the investigation, please contact Milton Keynes Force CID on the Thames Valley Police non-emergency enquiry centre number 101. If calling from overseas, please dial 0044 1865 841148 to contact Thames Valley Police from outside of the United Kingdom.

If you don’t want to speak directly to the police you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court. Join us on http://www.thamesvalleyalert.co.uk/ to receive local crime and safety messages.”

And the team has added the following comments:

Christian Horner: “We are obviously devastated by this serious factory break in, which saw offenders drive a vehicle through our front entrance and steal more than 60 trophies which took years and hard work to accumulate.

“The break-in caused significant damage and was very upsetting for our night officers who were on duty at the time. The offenders took items that not only did not belong to them, but which represented the efforts of a group of dedicated, hard-working individuals.

“Beyond the aggressive nature of this break-in, we are perplexed why anyone would take these trophies. The value to the team is of course extraordinarily high due to the sheer hard work and effort that went into winning each and every one. But their intrinsic value is low; they would be of little benefit to those outside of the team and, in addition to that, many of the trophies on display were replicas.

“The actions of these men mean it’s likely that we will have to make our site less accessible in the future, which will be unfair on the hundreds of fans that travel to visit our factory each year to see our trophies and our Formula One car.

“We would like to appeal to anyone who knows any information on the whereabouts of these trophies or the offenders involved to contact Thames Valley Police.”

2014 F1 ReWind

Time to look back at 2014 with the benefit, naturally, of hindsight. The aim is to produce a Top Ten that may or may not be at variance with the final points totals. Before we get on to that, however, let’s have a look at the best Friday drivers and award a few Honourable Mentions. There should be some personalities out there, too…

Jules flies home

Drivers take silence for Jules BianchiJules Bianchi, critically injured in the Japanese GP, has been flown back to the University Hospital in Nice.  His family has released the following statement:

“Almost seven weeks after Jules’ accident at Suzuka Circuit, and following a challenging period of neurological intensive care, we are able to announce that Jules has made an important step.

“Jules is no longer in the artificial coma in which he was placed shortly after the accident; however, he is still unconscious. He is breathing unaided and his vital signs are stable, but his condition is still classified as ‘critical’. His treatment now enters a new phase concerned with the improvement of his brain function.

“Jules’ neurological condition remains stable. Although the situation continues to be serious, and may remain so, it was decided that Jules was sufficiently stable to be repatriated to his native France. We are relieved, therefore, to confirm that Jules was transferred aeromedically last night from the Mie Prefectural General Medical Center in Yokkaichi, Japan, to Le Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nice (CHU), where he arrived just a short time ago. Jules is now in the intensive care unit of Professors Raucoules and Ichai, where his care will also be monitored by Professor Paquis, Head of Neurosurgery Service.

“We are thankful that the next phase of Jules’ treatment can continue close to home, where he can be surrounded and supported by his wider family and friends. We have nothing but praise for the outstanding care provided by the Mie Prefectural General Medical Center since the accident. We owe the medical staff there an enormous debt of gratitude for everything they have done for Jules, and also for our family, during what is a very difficult time for us. In particular, we would like to extend our thanks to Doctors Kamei and Yamamichi, and also to Mr Ogura, all part of the team of personnel caring for Jules in Japan.”

Jules and his family remain in our thoughts and prayers. Forza!

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