Eoin Young's Collector's Column no. 15
brown stuff hit the spinning blades when Jenson Button announced
that he was going home to Williams from whence he first came back
in the early days of this century. Jenson seemed anxious to speak
to anyone but Dave Richards. Can we call him Dave again when it
all gets down and dirty? Save the ‘David’ for
when he’s buying me dinner.
What happened to rock the BAR boat? Please don’t tell me that it will cost Jenson money to move to Williams. "I am not moving for money." Yeah, right… What did happen? D. Richards was threatening thunder and lightning and legal proceedings but suddenly it’s all OK and Button will be racing a BAR for the rest of the season instead of gardening. But I wonder what the temperature will be like in the BAR pit garage at the Hungaroring this weekend? Mechanics tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves and if they’re not happy bunnies, it shows. Why do I think that Jenson may have gone from hero to zero in a week? And how anxious will the team be to share developments with a driver they know full well has his sights set further up the pitlane?
David Coulthard has a different sort of problem. His dilemma always seems to come up when John Turnbull and I are putting the formula 1 world to rights over a lunchtime tincture at the Hornby Hilton (aka Temps Bar). What does DC do? He is in the Graham Hill/BRM situation when he left for Lotus in 1967, saying if he didn’t leave he feared they’d paint him dark green and park him in a corner. Coulthard would look quite good in silver. Smooth sort of Scottish dude. He used to say that he drove the cars for nothing, that they paid him to do the PR jobs… I hear all the suggestions that he is looking at Toyota and Jaguar but I’d hate for him to move to either team. Jaguar would suit his style and he’d be a useful Brit for their promotions but in my book it would be a step back into a team that continually proves it can’t hack it. A man with Coulthard’s pride shouldn’t put himself in that sort of position. If you fancy a Jag road car for the summer, DC, why don’t you go and buy one? Toyota? That would suit your financial appetite but I can’t see you in a Japanese team, renowned for chopping their drivers off at the knees if they perceive any shortcomings. Must be the driver, can’t be the car, sort of mentality. They’ve done it a few times in the recent past. I would love to see Coulthard staying at McLaren-Mercedes as chief test driver and ambassador for the team and the car company. He would probably still be paid pretty close to Jaguar money but he wouldn’t have to stick his neck out every second weekend at Jaguar to try and make up for a car and team that presumably wants to do it but never seems able to. Coulthard would be an ideal corporate man for the three-pointed star programme. He’s got image in spades and a career to build upon after he stops doing it. He knows what it’s like to be close to going upstairs. Remember that air crash when he stepped out unscathed? Park the Mac, David, be a top tester, top PR person, and relax in your pub on the South of France. You’ve more than earned it. Don’t do a Graham Hill (that comparison again) and stay on too long.
On the good news front, Martin Brundle and Maurice Hamilton are joining forces on a tome that runs to 95,000 words (and being an author of late I know that’s a helluva lot of words!) with Martin giving us his entertaining glance on race tracks of the world. Le Mans to Monaco, Rio to Ricard. There are 18 tracks in all and there are Brundle stories to spice his circuit memories. Wonder if he’ll tell the story about stuffing his Tyrrell big-time at Tabac during practice at Monaco, clambering out and running back to the pit where Ken has the spare car being warmed-up. Martin says he’s OK, slips into the cockpit and the mechanics cinch his straps. Then he asked Ken which way the track goes at the end of the pitlane and Uncle Ken leans in and switches it off… It’s due in the shops in October. Maurice says "Martin’s description of driving the leading car at Le Mans at 6am doing 220mph with no one in sight on Mulsanne is simply poetic…" I reckon Martin Brundle is quite simply the most erudite TV commentator on the planet. He makes it better than being there.
Perhaps I should
clarify my comment on Toyota earlier in this piece. I am merely making
the point that I think Toyota and Coulthard wouldn’t
be a good mix. Richard Rae wrote an insightful Toyota F1 piece in
The Sunday Times recently, capturing the spirit of Mike Gascoyne,
Toyota technical director after stints at Tyrrell, Ferrari, Jordan
and Renault. He was a disciple of Dr Harvey Postlethwaite and they
used to lunch at the Barley Mow in West Horsley so I got to meet
them socially fairly often. Mike’s nick-name was ‘The
Rottweiler’ on account of his
tenaciousness, his determination to worry a problem until he solved it. Ever
wondered about the scar on his forehead? He cut himself fairly seriously
falling into a water trough on the home farm one Christmas day when he was
pissed. Good bloke. And in the right place. They’re
probably paying him as much as their drivers, and that’s fine with
me. He’s got a driver’s attitude to the task. He wants to win.
Never mind the people who say that Toyota is Jaguar in a kimono with about
as much chance of success. That simply ain’t the case. Toyota will
win. They have to win. Their Japanese corporate mind-set doesn’t encompass
second place as success. Gascoyne told the man from the Sunday Times that
it’ll be podiums next summer
and wins in 2006 and I believe him. He says if they don’t succeed "I’ll
consider it my fault. And I’m sure a lot of other people will as well…" He’s
been there and done that. "When I got here (Toyota) the team was flat-lining.
Coming from a competitive team I could walk in and say ‘The aero numbers
should look like this. Yours are there ? that’s 1-1/2 seconds.’ I
could walk around the wind-tunnel and point and say ‘That’s OK
but that’s wrong, and so is
that and that.’ It was the same when I went from Jordan
to Benetton (Renault) ? and I fixed it." It was pure Rottweiler when
he spoke of Schumacher Junior fronting up next year: "It ain’t
easy being Michael’s brother, and Montoya
ain’t the easiest team-mate but you have to say that considering Montoya’s
supposed to be the dog’s bollocks, there have been several weekends
when Ralf has absolutely blitzed him. "The
key for us is to make this the right environment for him to be consistently
fast. The example I’d give is that it’s a similar situation to
when Heinz-Harald Frentzen left Williams, with pretty much the same reputation:
moody, arrogant, inconsistent, all that bull. He came to Jordan and nearly
won the world championship, which shows what sort of difference being in the
right environment can make…"
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Eoin Young is a
who left a bank job to join Bruce McLaren and help set up his racing
More or less. He arrived in the UK in 1961 as a freelance journalist,
the Formula Junior season with Denny Hulme, joined McLaren in 1962.
director of team. Established Motormedia 1966. Started weekly "Autocar" diary
page in 1967 -- it ran until 1998. Covered CanAm, Indy and GP series.
In 1979 established as a dealer in rare motoring and motor racing books
and ephemera. Still trading with regular lists. Autobiography "It
Beats Working" published in 1996. with its sequel "It Still beats
in 2003. After more than three decades based in the UK he has now returned
to his native New Zealand.
The stock of
books and ephemera is constantly changing.
here to view the current catalogue.