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GP Week : Issue 94
made up of all four racing manufacturers, and all its decisions must be unanimous. Yet somehow they all seem so far to have gone Honda's way, ever since and of course including the dismissal to purgatory of the two-strokes that the old man Pops Honda hated so much. In this way, the first-generation 990s were utterly dominated by Honda's ingenious if not entirely original V5 (Triumph had drawn up but never built a similar engine before WW2). At least until Yamaha combined a bout of lateral thinking for their cross-plane crank with the acquisition of Valentino Rossi. The 800 sanction was also considered a Honda Charter, but somehow the mighty at HRC were wrong-footed. Their V4 was only ever average in performance, while their insistence on developing in-house electronics rather than the cutting-edge Magneti Marelli wonder-boxes used by Ducati and Yamaha also meant they were not this time performance leaders. It was so surprising that it left Honda's boffins wobbling on the back foot ever since. This year, they seem to have caught up all in a rush in performance terms and electronics. And drawn ahead on longevity. These all being closely related, in engineering terms. In fact, when I spoke to all the factory engineers about design changes for the new rules, only Honda replied that there had been no major changes. Their engines were already running in long-life form in advance of the regulations. This made them once more the readiest for the changes of all their fellow-members of the MSMA. A Honda charter again? Only because HRC are able to make it so. GPWEEK OPINION >> -ing quite slowly Charter? The Nurburgring is a scary place, not least because these 'tourist' days see fast cars, slow cars, and drivers with absolutely no idea what they're doing. Every day, dozens of cars --often worth 100s of grand -- are binned. And once you enter onto the track, your insurance is no longer valid. It's staggering how easy it is to take your car on there. You don't have to sign a waiver or anything. Within two minutes of paying my 22 Euros, I was out on the circuit staring into my rearview mirror in horror as M3s and AMGs hunted me down like a goldfish in a shark pool. I honestly cannot believe this is legal! By the end of the lap, having been passed by a dozen cars and bikes at blistering speed, my hands were shaking like a leaf. Not only did the little Renault complete the course without any jitters (more than can be said of the driver), it did so in 13 minutes. Perhaps a record for the slowest car ever around the old circuit. Still, it was a miracle it started at all after what I put it through. Ladies and gentlemen, the GP Week car of the year: The Renault Twingo. Windsor Is Back I'm delighted to welcome Peter Windsor to the GP Week fold as a regular contributor, starting this week. It'sabitofacoupforusasthereare few writers out there as experienced or as erudite. I always relished reading Peter's F1 Racing column, and had everything crossed when he set out to fulfill his dream to build an F1 team in the US. When it didn't happen I was gutted for him. But USF1's loss is GP Week's gain, and I'm sure you'll be thrilled that he's back at his keyboard. Each week, once the dust has settled, Peter will analyze the decisions and the drama from the previous race -- starting in this issue with the incident-rich Hungarian Grand Prix. -- Adam Hay-Nicholls The Nurburgring, 1976, and Clay Reggazoni leads James Hunt and the rest of the the F1 field . The race was stopped (and restarted) after Niki Lauda's fiery crash and F1 never returned. The crash also prompted the retirement of Kiwi great Chris Amon. 21