Monday, 23 September 2013

Vettel booed on podium

What is F1 coming to when Vettel is booed by part of the audience as he takes the win in Singapore?

Yes, he dominated the race. Yes, he is likely to take the championship with 3 or 4 races to go, but this is hardly the first time a team and driver have dominated the championship.

It may not be Bernie's ideal scenario but McLaren won 15 out of 16 in the 80's and Jim Clark won 7 out of 8 for his first championship in 63…

There are other examples where a genius driver, genius team boss and genius designer have dominated F1.

None of this justifies undeserved booing… It is for the others to catch up, or do Mercedes, Fiat et al lack the resources to do so?

Graham Benge

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Karl-Heinz Kalbfell 1949-2013

Karl-Heinz Kalbfell died following an accident during practise for a classic motorcycle race at Brands Hatch on 17th August.

Graham Benge talks to Karl-Heinz Kalbfell at the 2008 Goodwood Revival

Karl-Heinz, whom I interviewed several times in recent years, died racing bikes as was his lifelong passion, despite being in his 60s, but I knew him as one of the most far sighted men in the global motor industry.

A senior member of BMW’s main board his extraordinary vision brought them to global prominence.

Among other remarkable achievements, he was first to build a production facility in China, years before others recognised the buying power of their developing economy.

But probably his two greatest triumphs were persuading BMW to firstly buy Mini, then a loss making part of the British car industry, and soon after to buy and revive the greatest car in the world, Rolls Royce. Both companies have thrived under BMW ownership.

He led both projects not just with his business head but as a passionate fan of both marques.

He will be remembered as an extraordinarily farsighted member of an industry not noted for the number of its visionaries, and being the man who probably saved two Great British marques from oblivion.

Graham Benge

GB’s F1 gossip…

I have said in the past that a surprising amount of F1 business is conducted between team major players when they convene at Goodwood’s motor sport events…

For example a few years ago at the Festival of Speed, Mark Webber canvassed team bosses to get Daniel Ricciardo a test, and years before that, the deal for Adrian Newey  to leave McLaren and join Red Bull was done at the Festival of Speed and finalised at the Revival.

So what next?

Just a week after this year’s Revival and I hear we should expect a new F1 team to appear on the grid next season… Rumour perhaps at this time, but I believe David Richards of Aston Martin is about to embark on a buying spree.

With successes in many areas of motor sport, and a lot of middle eastern money to hand, I believe former F1 boss Richards is seeking to buy 2 of the grid’s 26 places and may well have Bernie’s support in doing so.

My money is on Sauber. Mid-grid with potential to be regular top ten performers, and rumoured to have financial problems, they would be an attractive buy.

Watch this space!!

Graham Benge