peterwindsor.com

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

Some classic John Surtees…at Suzuka!

Sifting through the AP Archive the other day I came across this collection of gems – Honda-made footage from 1967-68 featuring John Surtees at Monza, Suzuka and Rouen. It was all mute, so I hope you don’t mind that I’ve added a few thoughts and a bit of music; and it was originally edited all over the shop – ie, ’67 had been mixed with ’68, Suzuka with Monza, etc, etc. So here is the finished edit. I hope it does some justice to John’s staggering achievement at Monza in ’67…because it’s not every day that a driver convinces a manufacturer that he can produce a new car in 30 days…and then wins, first time out with it. Equally, we should never forget the race John drove at Rouen the following June: against John’s advice, Jo Schlesser started the French GP in the difficult Honda A302 – and was then fatally injured in a fiery accident.Through the rain, and the fire and the smoke and debris, John nonetheless battled on to finish second (despite having to stop in the pits for a new pair of goggles). The footage from Suzuka is in my view equally amazing. I’d never seen any colour action images from Suzuka prior to the 1980s – and it’s amazing to see that the track has changed very little over time. Anyway, enough of the words: here’s the vid:

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Sainz to Ferrari, Daniel to McLaren. Wow!

Good news all round, I think, to have Carlos Sainz in a Ferrari and Daniel Ricciardo a McLaren-Renault/Mercedes (post-2020).  Carlos will bring a dash of Latin flair to the most glamorous team in racing; and Daniel will glide right in at McLaren alongside Lando Norris. Anyway, rather than reading about my opinions, here are my thoughts to watch and/or listen to:

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Vettel splits with Ferrari

Here are a few thoughts on Sebastian Vettel’s end-of-season departure from Ferrari. I think this is a good thing for Ferrari in one sense – it’ll allow them to focus 100 per cent on Charles Leclerc, who is quite capable of winning a championship if the car is good enough – but in another it’s kind of sad that Sebastian never really progressed as a driver beyond his golden days at Red Bull. The ultimate, super-precise “vee” driver who likes to extend the straights for as long as possible, Seb’s mid-corner rotation has always required a back end that would do exactly what it was told. He had that in the blown diffuser days at RBR but when that went away due to regulation changes he was always looking for the right set-up balance/Pirelli grip combination – and that, of course, whenever he found it, was always going to lead to dramatic compromise. Manipulation of the back end of the car has always been his bug-bear and I suspect he tried to solve this issue with data analysis and sim work back at the factory. What he really needed, of course, were days and days of testing at circuits like Mugello and Imola – as in the good old Ferrari days. But that, sadly, was never going to happen in today’s F1 world. In a Ferrari that lacked Mercedes power, he was always going to be exposed…particularly when they ranged him alongside the emerging Jackie Stewart who is called Charles Leclerc.

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Classic Gilles – 1979 South African GP

I couldn’t contain my delight when I discovered all this AP Archive footage from the 1979 South African GP.  Gilles Villeneuve didn’t win anything like the number of GPs his talent deserved – but here, at least, is one of those victories. I’ve voiced-over this video as best I can (all the footage was either ambient or mute) but could I also suggest that you watch it in conjunction with our latest podcast?  At the link below I narrate my race notes from that 1979 SA GP weekend; and, by combining the two platforms, I hope I can provide some idea of what this amazing shining light from Canada was all about.

(Joining me as I watch the footage is Enaam Ahmed, who was our live guest for this show.)

Podcast download link: https://peter33b.podbean.com/mf/play/ltcw8w/1979SAGPpodcastfinalmono9fmtk.mp3

Live Show – Ep 7: Gilles Villeneuve remembered; Enaam Ahmed on-line

This was a different sort of show for two reasons: 1) I decided to focus our AP Archive segment on just one race – the 1979 South African GP.  This was partly because we uncovered some amazing and quite extensive colour footage from that race and partly because it was won by Gilles Villeneuve.  And any race won by Gilles is always worth re-living in as much detail as possible. 2) Keen as we were to try a live link to a guest, I invited the very eloquent and intelligent Enaam Ahmed onto the show.  Enaam, 20, is not only amazingly talented but also a very refreshing guy with whom to spend time: he doesn’t conform to the Young Gun Stereotype; far from it.  He isn’t afraid to talk about his faults – and nor is he afraid to be open about his beliefs (he is a practising Muslim). On top of that, Enaam also recently contracted Covid19 – something that’s not supposed to happen to very fit, 20-year-old athletes. He spent three wretched weeks before recovering – and then began fasting for Ramadan. He talks about all that and more in this show – and he stays around for the 1979 South African GP segment, too; he’s that sort of racer. Enjoy.

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Jack Brabham’s last-corner heartbreak

At Monaco, Jack Brabham seemed to have his second win of the 1970 season fully gift-wrapped. With Jochen Rindt closing fast, however, the slower car in front of Jack before the last corner of the last lap suddenly posed a problem. Jack couldn’t afford NOT to pass Piers Courage’s DeTomaso, so close was Rindt – but on which side, going into the last hairpin, should he do so? Piers, uncharacteristically, was giving no indication, which left Jack facing two invidious choices: either he should do so down the inside – risking a brake drama on the marbles; or maybe he should take the outside – where Piers Courage, in the slower car, might run him wide and Rindt might slip down the inside. Jack chose the inside…and instantly locked an inside front. Suddenly he was on ice, sliding into the straw bales. And into the lead, on that last corner, thus sliced an awesome Jochen Rindt, whose previous lap had been nearly a second faster than Jackie Stewart’s pole time. In association with AP Archive’s little-seen footage, re-live the awesome 1970 Monaco GP with Peter Windsor.

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