Ladies’ Day – no, not at Glorious but at a grand prix… As in an F1 race for the fairer sex on Sunday mornings before the main event.
Now whose idea could that be? The May issue of F1 Racing says it is just one of a number of ‘gimmicks’ that Bernie Ecclestone has proposed in order to spice up F1 after TV audiences fell in some countries last year.
The magazine quotes ‘one senior figure’ as saying: ‘With a wet T-shirt competition and champagne show in fireproof undies I am sure it would attract a lot of viewers.’
Other ideas are being taken more seriously. Such as the plan for teams to be able to enter a third car for their junior drivers, for a maximum of one season, so they can fight over their own junior F1 championship.
What F1 Racing also points out is that it would be a way of preventing grids dropping below an embarrassing 20 cars…
More double points, points for qualifying and a reversed order grid are other ideas on the table to enliven the action, reports F1 Racing. One thing that does seem set to change: next year’s cars should look more dramatic – ‘something like the cars from 1992’ – and boast 1000bhp by 2017, if not before.
It’s exactly this sort of stuff that you can rely on F1 Racing for, and the May issue doesn’t disappoint. Nor does it disappoint with its other speciality: the F1 interview.
This time there are Q&As with Alex Wurz, who’s taken on another job as chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association – ‘I have a wife; she wants handbags!’ – and with Sebastian Vettel; ‘I have secretly been a fan and now officially I can be a fan of Ferrari. There is something magic about the place.’
More revealing, however, is where readers write in with their questions for Toto Wolff who, says F1 Racing, has risen from the periphery of F1 to the top of the all-conquering Mercedes team.
Revelations? His birth name was Torger (that’s Torger, not Todger – ed) but ‘it is so awful that from my very early days everyone has called me Toto’. He speaks Polish. Gets on very well with Niki Lauda who helped sort out the Lewis and Nico spat last year. He doesn’t want Bernie’s job. He will ‘definitely’ allow his drivers to race each other this year, the best time of his life was racing in New Zealand when he was 18, his home is an F1 memorabilia-free zone.
But it’s reader Paul Smith who asks the big question: who’s faster, you or your wife (Williams test driver) Susie? (It’s a question that apparently gets the PR man present to ask Toto: ‘How big are your balls for this answer?’). He’s not fazed though: ‘Of course it’s her. She’s a professional driver.’ Full marks Toto!
And the cover this month? That’s dominated by ‘A world champion in the making’. The driver in the frame is Valtteri Bottas, a driver with ‘talent, intelligence and tremendous mental strength’ according to his compatriot Mika Hakkinen.
As well as all that the No2 Williams driver (fifth in Malaysia, sixth in China) has a secret up his sleeve: he often takes the shortest line through corners. Some things are just that simple…
Last word to Murray Walker who in his column (obviously called, ‘Unless I am very much mistaken’) asks the pertinent question: ‘I wonder how Fernando Alonso feels about leaving Maranello just as his old chums hit the jackpot? Is he today’s Chris Amon, always squandering his immense talent in the wrong car?’
Nothing like a bit of historical perspective is there?
GRR Read Test verdict
Watching a grand prix after digesting an issue of F1 Racing is always so much more enjoyable…