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On the other hand, almost the first act of the New Labour government was to erase from its programme one of the few outright commitments in it – to ban tobacco advertising. Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One motor racing billionaire, objected to the ban for the very good reason that by far the biggest beneficiary of tobacco advertising was Formula One motor racing. Ecclestone was a Tory. Why should such a brash tycoon have any influence on a Labour government? Answer – he had given £1 million to the Labour Party. A meeting was held in Downing Street and the outcome was obvious. It was plainly grotesque to continue with a policy that would damage so bountiful a benefactor. The policy was ‘revised’. Tobacco advertising on Formula One cars was permitted. Then someone accused the prime minister of corruption, so the Labour Party gave the money back to the millionaire. Its policy had changed for nothing. Paul Foot, Corruption: Dirty Business
Enter one of Britain’s wealthiest tycoons: Bernie Ecclestone, the pint-sized ringmaster of Formula One. With Blair’s approval, Ecclestone had secretly given new Labour a £1 million donation. Just before the election. So he needed no introduction one day in October 1997 when he went to ask the prime minister for a favour. Bernie Ecclestone had a big request: new Labour were about to ban tobacco advertising from all major sporting events. Ecclestone wanted Formula One exempted, and for a small guy he must have been pretty persuasive, because after just one meeting with the prime minister, Tony Blair asked his health minister to do a U-turn and exempt Formula One ... They tried to cover up the details of what had happened. Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain, BBC 2007
It’s going to be a season with lots of accidents, and I’ll risk saying that we’ll be lucky if something really serious doesn’t happen. Ayrton Senna
And suddenly I realised that I was no longer driving the car consciously. I was driving it by a kind of instinct, only I was in a different dimension. Ayrton Senna
You will never know the feeling of a driver when winning a race. The helmet hides feelings that cannot be understood. Ayrton Senna
Formula 1 is political – it is money. Ayrton Senna
Somehow I got closer to God. Ayrton Senna
I was fucked many times by the system. Ayrton Senna
Aaaargh! Fucking hell! I’ve won! Ayrton Senna, Brazil 1991
The cars are immediately less stable without the electronic suspension. Ayrton Senna, 1994
Racing, competing, it’s in my blood. It’s part of me, it’s part of my life; I have been doing it all my life and it stands out above everything else. Ayrton Senna
In the mid-1980s rallying became more popular than Formula 1. Rules were changed allowing manufacturers to create ever more crazy and powerful cars. Madness on Wheels: Rallying’s Craziest Years, BBC 2012
Rallying quickly became lethal. ibid.
Rallying started as a hobby for motoring enthusiasts using their everyday cars. ibid.
Women competed equally alongside men. ibid.
The Audi Quattro became such a car. ibid.
In 1984 over one million people would go to the RAC rally. ibid.
The World Rally Championship continues to this day. The rallies are shorter and spectators strictly controlled. The power of the cars is restricted. ibid. caption
Brooklands: the first motor-racing track in the world. Paul McGann, The Petrol Age I: Full Throttle, Sky Atlantic 2013
Motor racing continued to borrow from the equestrian era. Drivers raced in coloured silks like jockeys. Paul McGann, The Petrol Age II: Streetcars of Desire
The golden age in which Moss raced was also a dangerous one. Paul McGann, The Petrol Age: Trailblazers IV
By the 1960s motor racing was becoming a big business. ibid.
Today there simply couldn’t be a Colin Chapman. ibid.
Since the late ’70s Formula One motor-racing has been in another of its golden eras. Grids packed with closely matched cars skilfully driven, spectacular to watch. The British teams – all of them small independent companies – have shared success with their traditional Italian companies. The design of these cars has progressed steadily. Horizon: Gentlemen Lift Your Shirts, BBC 1981
But this year skirts must be lifted. The French rule-makers have banned this new technology from all future races. ibid.
Ever since the ’30s a Formula – or set of regulations – has governed Grand Prix racing. ibid.
Williams will be there: skirts lifted. ibid.
It’s September 10th 1961 and the Grand Prix circus descends on the Italian city of Monza. German hero Wolfgang von Trips lines his Ferrari up on the grid against British golden boy Jim Clark. At stake is the Grand Prix crown. Moments later, fifteen spectators and Von Trips would lie scattered and dead. Grand Prix: The Killer Years, BBC 2011
The race always continuing as the dead bodies were tidied away. This is the story of that terrifying era and that long painful road to a safer future. ibid.
Cooper [rear engine design] did all this from a small Surbiton lock-up. Proving that success was about fresh thinking and not industrial might. ibid.
Enzo Ferrari was a traditionalist who believed that powerful engines was all you needed for success. ibid.
Lotus and its chief engineer Colin Chapman were fast gaining a reputation for making lethal machines. One race in 1960 [Berlin] would take a long time to forget. ibid.
The drivers wore lucky charms rather than seat-belts. ibid.
Jim Clarke and his Lotus Climax cleaned up in 1963 and 1965. ibid.
Competition from the garagistas was taking Grand Prix racing to a new level. ibid.
Jim Clark’s funeral was attended by over fifty-thousand people. ibid.
Schleicher was burnt alive. ibid.
Stewart began pushing for the most fundamental of safety considerations. ibid.
The next thing to arrive on the grid was the aerofoil. ibid.
In came major sponsors, and with them a kaleidoscope of colour. ibid.
Chapman was still the kingmaker, but is was with a heavy heart. ibid.
It seemed as though the spectre of death had established itself in the very DNA of the sport. And its grip couldn’t be shaken loose. ibid.
Roger Williams: this was to be his last Grand Prix [Dutch] ... Still the race would not be stopped. The marshals would be ill equipped. ibid.
In 1976 a Grand Prix season finally passed without a death on the track. ibid.
1984: Toleman … 1985: Lotus … 1988: McLaren … Senna 2010 starring Ayrton Senna & Alain Prost & Frank Williams & Ron Dennis et al, director Asif Kapadi
1990: Amazing. For the third time in a row the championship hinged on the race in Japan. ibid.
1992: For the next season the level of competition was distorted by what was going on technically with the Williams car. The car balanced itself. Each corner was controlled by a computer. ibid.
1993: He did accomplish some of his greatest drives even though he spent most of his time staring at the back of a Williams car which was much faster than his. ibid.
1994: San Marino Grand Prix Friday 29th April 1994: The car is worse. ibid. Senna
Saturday 30th April 1994: Roland Ratzenberger succumbed to the injuries sustained in the accident which took place at Imola circuit. ibid. announcer
Senna crashes hard! At Tamburello Corner. A very serious accident. ibid. commentary