Friends and fellow F1 fans, meet Stirling Moss, or Sir Stirling as we know him these days. Stirling is one of the unblemished heroes of our sport, and the greatest champion that never was. A true gentleman, even to the point of defending his greatest rival Mike Hawthorn against an unfair penalty, effectively handing him the title.
But that is not the point I want to make today. For Sir Stirling was renowned for another quality: true grit. No pampered life for Stirling, no private jets and multimillion dollar motorhomes. Stirling drove himself to the races. And in between winning one Grand Prix after another he had no qualms with doing the odd endurance race, winning 10 hour Mille Miglias or 7 hour 1000km Nuerburgrings singlehandedly, the latter three years in a row.
And he was not the only one. Juan Manuel Fangio, another true gentleman, and the aforementioned Mike Hawthorn, to name but a few, were of the same ilk. These were real men. Some say that the outlines of their left nipples were the shape of Nuerburgring, that when they slowed down, brake lights came on in their buttocks, and went they went for a wee they pissed pure motor oil, to paraphrase a popular TV programme. Wimps they were not.
Which is not what you can say for the whiners that seem to populate today’s circuits. Meet Fernando Alonso, whose season-long sulk at McLaren because rookie teammate Hamilton did better than expected is well-documented. His elevation to Ferrari lifted him to high Heaven but a delayed penalty in Valencia for said Hamilton pushed him straight to sulking mode again. You know what a real man would do in such a situation? Pistols at dawn, at a minimum. Get a grip, man!
But no, not Alonso. He tells the News of the World he’d feel uncomfortable with Hamilton as a teammate. Utter wimp.
And don’t get me started on Lewis ‘Touch-Me-Not’ Hamilton. Calls me up in tears in the middle of the night because Big Bad Nigel Mansell has said nasty things about him. Nigel’s crime? Bloke accused Ham of a pampered upbringing, having been Ron Dennis’s protégé since he was seven years old.
Memo to self: next time I see Jean Todt propose that FIA put aspiring drivers through a boot camp before handing them an F1 Superlicence. Mandatory viewing of old Mille Miglia footage and guest lectures from the likes of Stirling Moss himself. Maybe a session or two in Max Mosley’s dungeon to boot. That should put them right.