Chris Amon dies aged 73

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Former Ferrari driver Chris Amon has died at the age of 73.

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Amon had been suffering from cancer in recent years and died in hospital in his native New Zealand on Wednesday, his family confirmed.

He competed in Formula One from 1963 to 1976 and although he was considered one of the best drivers of the era, he never won a Grand Prix.

Amon did, however, win the Le Mans 24 hour race in 1966 alongside fellow New Zealander Bruce McLaren.

He worked as a consultant for Toyota after his retirement and was awarded an MBE for services to motorsport in 1993.

A family statement read: “Chris battled cancer in recent years but retained not only a close interest in Formula One – and his very wide range of favourite topics – but also his wonderful sense of humour, complete with infectious chuckle.”

Herbie Blash to step down as deputy race director

Herbie Blash is to step down from his role as the deputy race director in Formula 1, a role he has held since 1996.

He will be replaced by Laurent Mekies, who joined the FIA as safety director in 2014 and had previously worked as an engineer for Arrows, Minardi and Toro Rosso.

A 50-year veteran of F1, Michael ‘Herbie’ Blash began his Grand Prix career in 1965 working with privateer Lotus entrant Rob Walker. In 1968 he was employed by Lotus where he became race engineer to Jochen Rindt. In 1972 he moved to Brabham where he became team manager, a post he would hold until 1988.

Following a period as sporting director with Brabham in the early ‘90s he then moved to Yamaha in the same role, before he began work as deputy race director at the FIA in 1996.

Now JV says drivers needs to shut up! JV of all people

Just when I reference Jacques Villeneuve, 24 hours later he completely destroys my recollection of his outspoken stance on Formula 1 when he was a driver. It’s like having a front wing torn off at turn one this season only to recall that Pastor Maldonado isn’t on the grid or like suggesting that Lena Dunham should win an Oscar only to recall that she’s got the acting range of a Daisy Air Rifle or like suggesting that I am a crap driver only to watch me set a lap record at Sonoma under the keen tutelage of Paul Charsley (that didn’t happen and it wasn’t Paul’s fault, trust me).

Nope, I just said in this piece that Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are starting to call out F1 on its decision-making process and what’s plaguing the series. I suggested that this reminded me of JV when he was never short of an opinion about the sport.

Not 24 hours later and I see AUTOSPORT run a story in which JV says, like Bernie Ecclestone, that the drivers need to shut up a little bit:

“The way the drivers have been complaining is terrible for F1,” he said. “It’s not their problem.

“They should just shut up. It’s not their problem how good or bad the show is on TV.

“They should just get on with their job.

“In a classroom, how many of your classmates would be able to make educated decisions? Not many.

“Take a group of 20 drivers. Take maybe two of them and the rest should just shut up.

“So why would you want to give them power?”

Seriously? This is a guy, who in baggie Nomex, had an opinion on just about everything in F1 and beyond. He never shied away from telling it like it was and it’s one thing I appreciated about him. He was critical (right or wrong) when he felt the system was out of bounds.

This is a bit of a pot/kettle thing if you ask me. JV has remained vocal about F1’s ills even when he had no ride or was toying with the idea of driving stock cars in Brazil or winning the soapbox derby championship in Salt Lick Iowa for crying out loud. He’s been a staple of the press and media outlets that need a good and oft times controversial quote.

They got one from him now but I’ll be honest, It wouldn’t have thought it would be slating drivers for speaking their minds because that was a hallmark of his era in F1.

Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT

Thanks to formula1blog.com

Hamilton not the only one talking, Vettel critical of engines

Lewis Hamilton has been in the press lately speaking his mind about the challenges Formula 1 is currently facing and I, for one, enjoy his opinions on the matter. I liked the days when drivers shared their opinions be they pro or con on a subject. I recall JV doing a lot of that in his day but that was back in the 90’s.

While Lewis is being praised for his outspokenness, we forget that Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel is equally outspoken on the sport and always has been.

This week he told Sky Sports F1:

“I personally think the current power unit regulations are too expensive and it would be beneficial for all the teams and the whole sport to go back to something normally aspirated,” Vettel said.

Pointed out to him that a proposal to cap engine costs was vetoed by Ferrari last year, Vettel stood by his comments – after a moment of awkwardness.

“What I said and I stick to what I said is that these power units are too expensive,” he added. “They have cost a lot of money already and they will keep costing a lot of money.

“Everything else that we have been trying to with changes to rules doesn’t change the key problem and I think a lot of problems that we face now goes back to the fact it was the wrong way to go. It is easy now to raise your hand and admit that, but we are still stuck with what we have.

“I can’t change the rules, I think it is a good thing that you don’t let one driver or one person change the rules, but the way it is currently set up is probably not the best either.”

We can all argue the facts and efficiency ratings and road relevancy but in the end, I believe he’s right. F1’s serious issues started when they moved to these new engines. That’s the reality.

As F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said (also in this Sky story):

“This [V6] engine is good, I’m told, for the car manufacturers – although nobody can ever use that engine,” the F1 supremo told Sky Sports F1.

“But if it is and they want to use it to experiment they should use it in the World Touring Car Championship.

“It’s very difficult for Mercedes, and Ferrari for that matter I suppose, to agree to change a power unit that they’ve spent a fortune developing.”

I agree with him, it’s an awesome piece of kit and engineering, there is no doubt. How relevant it is? I’m not quite sure and would it not be best placed in WEC? The entire ideology is conserve, store and trickle at a level unheard of and that’s terrific but F1 is about release/use, create and deploy and do so in a limited amount of time. A sprint race meant to be ran…well, like a sprint race.

Mark Webber recently said that WEC is flat out, pushing the entire way and in some ways, F1 is not about that. Much of that is down to the way the new engine works but we’ve covered this ground before. Fact is, Vettel is saying what many in F1 aren’t willing to say…just like Lewis is and I appreciate their candor.

Hat Tip: Sky Sports F1

Source: formula1blog.com

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