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GP Week : 06-May-2008
Letters email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Stepping stones I thought strange the comments by Tony Teixeira regarding where India's youth may be directing their racing future. According to Tony Teixeira, in his comments describing Vijay Mallya's Force India, it is best to represent their country than race at the very pinnicle of the sport. I may be wrong but any aspiring racing driver would prefer to be on the Formula One grid whether it is on pole or, as in the case this season, in position 22. Nobody but nobody is going to go from a new Delhi street to F1. It is the experience that they acheve on their way to F1. Scott Pryce email@example.com All about attitude I am a huge MotoGP and F1 fan, so the advent of GPWeek adds a Monday something to my week (and yes, WRC is getting my interest). I do like F1, but the past two weekends have brought out examples of why my interest now leans towards two wheels. Heikki Kovalainen crashes at high speed, and the inherent safety standards in F1 – both the cars and the circuit – allow him to escape without any external injury. The GP Drivers Association immediately calls for the barrier to be moved even further back at that point of the track. Fast forward to China, where MotoGP championship leader Jorge Lorenzo has a huge crash in practice, fractures an ankle, and is badly bruised. He can hardly walk, yet throws a leg over the Honda and finishes fourth! Do I need to spell it out? There's an attitude difference between MotoGP and F1 that stands out a mile, isn't there ... David Swann Lancaster, UK What was he thinking? Sebastien Loeb crashed headlong into a team- mate because he was not concentrating on a transit stage? No kidding! I love the guy's attitude normally, but surely Citroen would prefer he had his mind on the job when he's working! Matthew J Riley Hong Kong (email supplied) MOTORSPORT can often concern itself so heavily with the present that it loses all sight of the past. This week, however, brought the past into stark reflection. Switzerland is a nation which had, between 1955 and 2007, a blanket ban on all types of closed course motorsport. And yet, within that time, there were pioneers who built a tradition of racing excellence and motorsport passion amongst the Swiss nation. The likes of Jo Siffert and Clay Regazzoni wowed the crowds, while the hard work and genius of Peter Sauber brought the nation a team in which it could believe. This weekend, Switzerland, under the steady hand of Neel Jani, won the A1GP title, and with it the accolade of being the ‘world champions’ of motorsport. Team chief Max Welti was quick to refer back to one particular hero, who had forever shaped the motorsport landscape of his country. “I dedicate our victory in the nations’ cup to the unforgotten Jo Siffert, who won his first Formula 1 race here at Brands Hatch 40 years ago and lost his life at the same venue in 1971,” he said, clearly and unashamedly emotional to have won the crown at a circuit which held so many memories for the Swiss sporting nation. Of course, last week marked the 14th anniversary of two tragic losses in Formula 1 – Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna – whose lights were extinguished in the most unimaginable weekend at Imola in 1994. It’s a weekend which still haunts many. Looking back at the photos of those 1994 spec cars, I was amazed to see that I could make out the sponsor logos on Senna’s lapels … whilst he sat inside his Williams FW16. Back then, it just seemed normal. The cars seemed to be incredibly hi-tech. It’s incredible to think how far safety has come over the last decade and a half. And I bet that, as the anniversary passed last week, it was something not terribly far from Heikki Kovalainen’s mind, either. Max Mosley may be many things, and his position as President of the FIA may now be untenable, but as we remember those who have given their lives in search of that ultimate fraction of a second, it is worth remembering that for all of the negativity now associated with Mosley and his presidency, this sport is a far safer place due to his reign. 14 years ago, Kovalainen would have o p in io n WiLL Buxton GPWeek Editor Looking back 20