More thoughts on Goodwood, 2012
I loved it. This was more than just an historic motor sport festival. This event transcends the sport and sets standards that few of the other Great Occasions have matched. For one thing, there didn’t seem to be a central “drinking area” (as there is at so many of today’s events). Yes, you could sink a cold beer or sip a Pimm’s or a glass of champers – but no-one seemed to be making that a pre-occupation. People were being nice to one another without being intoxicated. Was it because everyone was obliged to take more trouble than normal with his or her appearance? Does this flow into the issue of good manners and courtesy (both of which were at Goodwood in abundance)?
I drove away from the airfield circuit feeling genuinely sad that the day had come to an end. There was not a single moment that I had not enjoyed – and, even then, I felt that I had scratched perhaps 15 per cent of the available surface. Too many great people; too much creativity from Lord March; too many wonderful cars.
One final thought: why is it that Goodwood has to do the appropriate, tear-jerking, brilliant celebration of Dan Gurney? Or of Sir Stirling – or of many of the other drivers they have honoured over the years? Why doesn’t the F1 industry pay homage to its past heroes in the way Lord March does? Why aren’t selected F1 races also themed towards one outstanding driver of the past? For without the past there is no present, let alone a future, and we neglect our heritage at our peril. A sprinkling of today’s F1 people were at Goodwood of their own volition (ie, not driving a car or supporting a sponsor) but it was only a sprinkling. Why? Why wouldn’t anyone with racing blood in their veins want to see Tony Brooks in period helmet, or Sir Stirling in Birdcage Maser, or Sir Jackie in Dan’s ’62 Porsche? Or Dan Gurney himself, eyes watery, standing upright while they played The Star Spangled Banner?
Here are a few more images that I shall take with me into the next 12 months – until, again, we can touch the sport at its heart.
Yeah, gotta say heritage is not really featured at F1 races: some attempts, but not a full-time theme. In Bahrain, in 2010 (if I’m not mistaken), they had classic F1 cars exhibition from Bernie’s collection; Alonso drove a 1950s Ferrari at Silverstone. Nice intiative with podium interviews hosted by F1 greats; however, there’s always potential to expand and present more of F1’s past to modern fans.
F1 folk are too busy tweeting and connecting these days I guess.
I agree with every word you have written. This year in particular there seemed to be more to see and enjoy then ever before. Three days was not enough, but it is better to be left wanting more. There is always next year. But F1 should leave this type of thing to Goodwood and Lord March, where it can be done in style and at the right pace.
I think you have asked all the questions in the above article but the answer to them as you and the rest of us have come to learn over the last few years is that F1 no longer values its fans…….genuine motor sport fans (sports car and F1) and their interests features ‘last on the list’ of people who run F1…….its often the case of the fans being ripped off at a GP weekend and forced to satisfy themselves with just visions and sounds of the cars and glimpses of drivers……no one really cares about making it a memorable experience for them…… grandstand tickets cost an arm and a leg, the merchandise rates are a joke, even camping is no longer cheap and if its in asia, then you are subject to concrete monoliths rather than experiences that are Monza and Silverstone…….No surprises, F1 chose Bahrain to celebrate its 60th anniversary, a race with least number of grandstands and even lesser audience……But the fact that saddens me most is not that its happening, but the inaction towards it…….Its not that we’ll loose the sport of F1 but some years from now it’ll be more soulless that it is now and a lot worse than it was in the past…..for that we are as much to blame as the organisers……
A quote from Gilles Villeneuve in the wake of 82′ drivers strike comes to mind…….” I make a lot of money from racing, but one thing I can tell you for sure: if the money disappeared overnight, I would still be in racing, because I love it. The entrepreneurs would be gone.” ……I wonder what he would have had to say about F1 today……
Thank you so much Peter, making a tribute to a tribute of such an event. And thanks to the posters above, my thoughts exactly.
Looking back, I went to what for me were pretty extraordinary lengths to attend Sebring, Watkins Glen, Laguna, Riverside etc. decades ago. So lucky, never occurred to me then how unique a time it was to be. Now, am a day-plus drive from Austin, will pass, just could not stomach the silly costs and the general distant remoteness of it all. A vintage ‘race’ holds more interest. Then today on your FlyingLap I heard you read all the “Don’t you dare bring…” list of the Austin circuit. Bless you and the Lord March’s of the world.
Thanks David. I know exactly what you mean about Sebring, the Glen, Laguna, Riverside, etc. Oh to have a time machine!
Yes, Goodwood is a litmus test for how far removed F1 has become from genuine fans and enthusiasts. Avinash is right on the money with his comments.
Regarding a time machine….perhaps Adrian Newey could knock up something over the winter break. I’m sure it’s well within his area of expertise !