Thursday, 30 September 2021

Request for car names: Can you provide labels for these cars? (including make and model)









Re: Best F1 driver ever?
Post by Jezza13 » 30 Sep 2021 13:41

Hi Catherine

I'm happy for others to correct me if i'm wrong but they all look to be the 2018 Mercedes F1 WO9.
Great Quotes of the 20th Century

"You think I know f**k all.... I know f**k nothing" - Anonymous Maltese construction worker's response to being told he doesn't know how to do his job.

Re: Best F1 driver ever?
Post by Exediron » 01 Oct 2021 00:24

Jezza13 wrote: ↑30 Sep 2021 13:41
I'm happy for others to correct me if i'm wrong but they all look to be the 2018 Mercedes F1 WO9.
It's difficult to tell a late W08 (after the nose update and removal of the true shark fin) from a W09. I would say all six pictures are certainly one of the two.

Three of the pictures at least are certainly from the 2018 season. The pink-walled Hypersoft was introduced for 2018, and did not feature in the 2017 season.

So unless someone can say otherwise, I'd be inclined to agree with Jezza...

Re: Best F1 driver ever?
Post by Jezza13 » 01 Oct 2021 06:20

Exediron wrote: ↑01 Oct 2021 00:24
Jezza13 wrote: ↑30 Sep 2021 13:41

The halo wasn't around in 2017 either & the 2019 ones were painted silver. 2018 cars had black halos'.
Great Quotes of the 20th Century

"You think I know f**k all.... I know f**k nothing" - Anonymous Maltese construction worker's response to being told he doesn't know how to do his job.

Re: Best F1 driver ever?
Post by Exediron » 01 Oct 2021 09:51

Jezza13 wrote: ↑01 Oct 2021 06:20
Exediron wrote: ↑01 Oct 2021 00:24


If anything has ever proved just how little I notice the halo anymore, that's it right there.

PICK 10 COMPETITION (9 wins, 23 podiums): 3rd in 2016
TOP THREE CHAMPIONSHIP (No Limit Excedrin Racing): Champions in 2015 & 2018 | 2nd in 2017 & 2019

Re: Best F1 driver ever?
Post by Johnson » 01 Oct 2021 15:54

All of those pictures are the 2018 w09 Mercedes, I can tell from the helmet alone. The yellow/gold helmet is 2018 Abu Dhabi special gold to celebrate the title win.

Re: Best F1 driver ever?
Post by POBRatings » 01 Oct 2021 17:15

OK thanks for confirming. I'll go with: "2018 Mercedes AMG F1 W09 / Lewis Hamilton".

I appreciate all the sleuth work in looking at these pictures!

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

'Best F1 driver ever?': Unacknowledged and unattributed use of POB's ideas?

Re: Best F1 driver ever?

Post by POBRatings » 

POB's daughter Catherine here, using his log-in:

I’ve had a read-through of what I will call ‘Smedley’s system’ (albeit it was co-authored) on Amazon Web Services (AWS):

The fastest driver in Formula 1
by Rob Smedley, Colby Wise, Delger Enkhbayar, George Price, Ryan Cheng, and Guang Yang | on 20 AUG 2020 | in Amazon SageMaker, Artificial Intelligence

Rob Smedley ... formula-1/

Here are a few things that jumped out at me while reading through it.

[1] They call their system “the first objective and data-driven model to determine who might be the fastest driver ever”. This strikes me as a deliberate lack of acknowledgement of POB’s work, and smacks of plagiarism, given the many points of conceptual similarity between the systems, and the fact that POB’s system has been in the public arena since 2011 (it was first publicised on Peter Windsor’s website): ... ricks.html.

The tagline of POB’s blog clearly established his work as “the first” and “the most objective”:

Patrick O’Brien’s Grand Prix Ratings
"He was a mine of accurate information and his book is a respected and valued part of my racing library." ~ Stirling Moss, OBE. *** “Patrick O’Brien’s system is the most objective I’ve seen to date.” ~ Peter Windsor. *** "He probably pushed F1 metrics forward further than anybody else has ever done and his contribution will not be forgotten." ~ PF1 forum. *** "His rating system [...] brought some kind of consistent view of F1 throughout the decades and offered me a lot of insight." ~ PF1 forum.

The following strike me as evidence that they got a significant leg-up from POB’s rating system, which goes completely unacknowledged, as far as I can see:

[1a] The concept of inter-linkages between drivers who raced together on the same team providing a constant as a basis for comparison.

POB ('Explanatory Factors', 2016, p. 125): "Today with just two-driver teams, there are usually only about four or five interlinks. Even though there are fewer interlinks today than before 1961, there are more data points today because it is now compulsory for teams to compete in every race and all pre-race times are fully recorded."

POB ('Explanatory Factors', 2016, p. 118): "STEP 5: I now link this third driver’s (Coulthard’s) performances through Webber’s to Vettel’s. This I do on my working spreadsheets, developed from race-by-race tracking to arrive at season-by-season average time-based driver-ratings. All are measured proportionally against the fastest driver(s) within each season."

Whereas POB writes about his massive spreadsheet of driver-ratings going back to 1894, Smedley writes of “a network of teammate comparisons over the years”, going back to 1983. “For example, Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen have never been on the same team, so we compare them through their respective connections with Daniel Ricciardo at Red Bull.”

This ground-breaking concept of ‘the gap’ between team-mates was a method that POB cracked in 2002, aged 58, after a lifetime’s immersion in GP & F1 literature and race-viewing, and after publishing an analytical book on GP racing in 1994.

Smedley: “we compare qualifying data for drivers on the same race team (such as Aston Martin Red Bull Racing), where teammates have competed against each other in a minimum of five qualifying sessions. By holding the team constant, we get a direct performance comparison under the same race conditions while controlling for car effects.”

Instead of "team", POB referred to using the "car" as a constant. Both capture the same variables.

[1b] POB’s system is mindful to exclude outlier sessions – a nuance Smedley et al. incorporated in their system: “We identify and remove anomalous lap time outliers” ... e.g., "Vettel being penalized to comply with the 107% rule (which forced him to start from the pit lane)."

POB (Explanatory Chapter, 2016, p. 103): "But even in these ‘pure’ cases, a driver would very occasionally have trouble with his car or encounter traffic (even during one lap!) and set a time much slower than his norm. These I treated as outliers and excluded the time. Conversely, if race-time data were contaminated by car or driver trouble, causing a package’s time to deviate very obviously from its norm, I omitted the time and reverted to the pre-race times, as being more representative of how the package compared."

[1c] In ‘separating driver performance from car performance,” one of the aims of POB’s system was to identify fast drivers in slow cars and slow drivers in fast cars.

Similarly, Smedley’s model prides itself on recognising ‘unsung heroes’: “the model has ranked him [Kovalainen] so highly because of his consistent qualifying performances throughout his career. I, for one, am extremely happy to see Kovalainen get the data-driven recognition that he deserves for that raw talent that was always on display during qualifying”

= but would this translate into race performance? Or would some drivers excel in qualifying while others excel instead in the actual races? Surely the races require more stamina so that would be a more accurate measure (less dependent on car machinery) overall? Surely a point debate.

Smedley: “…Kovalainen doesn’t have the same number of World Championships as Hamilton, but his qualifying statistics speak for themselves—the model has ranked him high because of his consistent qualifying performance throughout his career.”

To address the question of whether some drivers differ in skill between qualifying and actual races, is there some statistical analysis of differentials between qualifying vs race performance?

POB appears to have done this analysis (from his 'Explanatory Chapters', 2016, p. 99): "Although packages are invariably slower in the races than in pre-race times, the gaps between team-mate packages and between different team packages are fairly constant whether pre-race or race-time. This is shown by an example of just two drivers below, although this pattern holds for the whole field throughout history.”

Do Smedley et al. make any effort to compare qualifying and race performance?

[1d] Smedley’s laying out of the problem (problematisation) bears an uncanny similarity to POB’s:

POB’s ‘introduction’ to his system, in the Guidelines section of all his Rating System books:

"The 2013 Formula One season was dominated by the Vettel/ Red Bull-Renault package, which won 13 of the 19 races. Many reckon that Vettel is undoubtedly one of the great drivers. Some however question this, arguing that Vettel was fortunate in having the fastest car, the Red Bull-Renault. Just how good was Vettel compared with his peers? Can his performance be separated from the performance of his car?
"The 2012 Formula One season was a close-fought, year-long battle between three packages: the Hamilton/ McLaren-Mercedes, the Vettel/ Red Bull Renault, and the Alonso/ Ferrari. It ended at the Brazilian Grand Prix finale on an exciting note: Red Bull-Renault driver Sebastian Vettel won the Drivers Championship title narrowly, by just three points from Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. Vettel won 5 races from 7 poles, Hamilton won 4 races from 8 poles, while Alonso scored 3 wins from just 2 poles.
"However, if we consider that the front-running Hamilton/ McLaren-Mercedes package suffered several tardy pit-stops that curbed potential wins, and that the Alonso/ Ferrari package was clearly slower in both qualifying and the races throughout the season, one has to ask: ‘Who really was the fastest driver?’”

Smedley: “Formula 1 (F1) racing is the most complex sport in the world. It is the blended perfection of human and machine that create the winning formula. It is this blend that makes F1 racing, or more pertinently, the driver talent, so difficult to understand. How many races or Championships would Michael Schumacher really have won without the power of Benetton and later, Ferrari, and the collective technical genius that were behind those teams? Could we really have seen Lewis Hamilton win six World Championships if his career had taken a different turn and he was confined to back-of-the-grid machinery? Maybe these aren’t the best examples because they are two of the best drivers the world has ever seen. There are many examples, however, of drivers whose real talent has remained fairly well hidden throughout their career. Those that never got that “right place, right time” break into a winning car and, therefore, those that will be forever remembered as a midfield driver.”

[1e] Similarly, the ‘humble disclaimer’ about the accuracy/ objectivity/ validity/veracity of the figures sounds like POB’s:

POB: (from his 'Explanatory Chapters', 2016, p. 38):

‘Although journalist and analyst Peter Windsor wrote in 2010 that my Rating System was “the most objective I’ve seen to date” (either from his 2010 blog and/or from one of his 2010 F1 Racing Japan magazine race reports), my System is not entirely objective nor perfect due to a number of factors which I will discuss below.’


“Peter Windsor, writing about my Rating System in December 2010, stated:

'… this system, like any other, is by definition imperfect. It is, though, about as near as you can get to the truth. Patrick did his own arithmetic – and guess what: the difference between Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher (0.3) is exactly the difference between the two drivers that the Mercedes F1 team themselves established by mid-season with their own methodology. Someone must be doing something right!'

Source: ‘Unique F1 Driver Ratings, 2010’ by Peter Windsor 阿拉蕾, 2010-12-10, Retrieved from

POB ('Explanatory Factors', 2016, p. 177): "My own view is that Grand Prix racing is not an exact science and therefore does not lend itself entirely to black-and-white analysis. I suspect however that we will continue to argue for the superiority of one method over another, rather than appreciating that both contribute to the scientific analysis of Grand Prix racing performance and, most importantly, generate discernment and debate."

Smedley: “These rankings aren’t proposed as definitive, and there will no doubt be disagreement among fans. In fact, we encourage a healthy debate! Fastest Driver presents a scientific approach to driver ranking aimed at objectively assessing a driver’s performance controlling for car difference.”

[2] Where the systems differ:

[2a] In using “qualifying sessions lap times”, Smedley points out that their system does not take into account “racecraft or the ability to win races or drive at 200 mph while still having the bandwidth to understand everything going on around you…”.

In contrast, by using actual-race times as a primary measure and pre-race-times as a secondary measure when required, POB claims to take all this into account:

“During this work, my Rating System was criticised by a prominent Formula One journalist to the effect that it does not take into account a driver’s ‘management abilities’, that is, out-of-car skills and talents, such as Michael Schumacher had in ‘organising’ a team around himself to enhance success. This is not so. My System takes everything into account. Driver and car performance are measured on-track, and therefore include testing, preparation, qualifying, racing, life-path experience, and every capability a driver or anyone else may have brought to bear on performance during design.” ('Explanatory Chapters', 2016, p. 31)

[2b] Continuous updating of the figures:

Smedley: “the qualifying data consumed by the model is updated with fresh lap times after every race weekend”

In contrast, POB used to do the updating by hand – an incredible mass of figures to manipulate in one’s head.


It is clear that there are more than a few similarities between the two system, POB's devised from 2002 and publicised online since 2011; Smedley's account online dated 20 August 2020: ... formula-1/

It’s a shame that Smedley et al. were unable to acknowledge any indebtedness to POB. The echoes of so many of POB’s analytical sentiments, nuances and conclusions are evident in Smedley’s blog alone. Why not simply acknowledge and critique POB’s contribution and then state how their system differs and how it develops it further e.g., using “Amazon SageMaker, a fully managed service to build, train, and deploy ML models”?

Even Isaac Newton showed more humility: “If I have seen further than others,” Newton wrote in a 1675 letter to fellow scientist Robert Hooke, “it is only because I have stood on the shoulders of giants who have come before me.”

In contrast, POB freely acknowledged the leg-up he got from Laurence Pomeroy’s (1949, 1954) system, and he critiqued it:

“[Pomeroy] devised a clever system of time-comparisons on ‘circuits that were used over more than one season’, in order to quantify and compare car-speeds, and identify progress (or a lack of progress) in car performance. Covering the seasons from 1906 to 1953, Pomeroy reduced the times to a simple numerical formula, the Pomeroy Index or ‘Py’ Index. Car performances were scored, measured and compared directly against his benchmark car, the 13.0-litre/ 793-cubic inch 1906 Renault AK, which won the 1906 French Grand Prix. He chose this car because it won this first French Grand Prix. He allocated it his benchmark figure of 100.0.
“Pomeroy’s was a ground-breaking and accurate system, based on fastest lap-times from every Grand Prix race for each season. Using interval data (fastest lap times), Pomeroy’s system gave cars a rating figure.”
“Pomeroy’s method inspired my Rating System, prompting me to use 100.0 as my base as well. However, as mentioned above, Pomeroy assumed that he was rating cars whereas he was in fact measuring packages (car-and-driver combined).”
 ('Explanatory Chapters', 2016, p. 45)

Standing on the shoulders of giants is a necessary part of creativity, innovation, and development; it doesn't make what you do less valuable!

An academic gave me the following advice:

If they have made no reference at all to the years of work done by POB then their public writing on it should be rejected until the omission has been made good.

I hope this prompts a reaction from the authors by way of an apology to POB plus a statement affirming his priority in this field.

Plagiarism is always a strong charge to level at anyone. But the definition of plagiarism is broad. The OED says it involves taking the work or the idea of someone else and passing it off as one's own. It makes no mention of it having to be verbatim.

From the evidence you present, it certainly looks like plagiarism to me. The fact, too, that it has been done so blatantly suggests that those involved seem to believe that anything published can simply be “lifted” and re-used under their own names, without any acknowledgement or attribution. And what is that if not plagiarism?
Last edited by POBRatings on 01 Sep 2021 06:45, edited 2 times in total.

Comment on AWS blog 31Aug21:

I'm familiar with Patrick O’Brien’s Grand Prix Rating System ( This AWS blog echoes a number of POB’s concepts, nuances and analytical sentiments. For example, the concept of inter-linkages between drivers who raced together on the same team providing a constant as a basis for comparison. This makes me wonder about the extent to which Smedley et al. were aware of POB's work which has been available in the public arena since 2011. I have documented on the Planet F1 forum my reasons for suspecting unacknowledged and unattributed use of the late POB's ideas.
I hope this prompts a reaction from the authors by way of referencing all the years of work done by POB on this question, and an acknowledgement of his priority in this field.

Crystals  Pob Ratings • 2 days ago [4Sep21]

I was a member of the PF1 forum for many years under the name SnakeSVT2003. Mr. O’Brien was a valued contributor and his insight was profound.

I, too, hope he is given the recognition he deserves.

Pob Ratings  Crystals • 30 minutes ago [6Sep21]

Thank you for your support SnakeSVT2003. The fact that you took the trouble to leave a supportive comment means a lot.

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject:Rob Smedley's work on "the fastest F1 driver"
Date:Tue, 31 Aug 2021 14:28:38 +0100
From:Pob Ratings


I'm emailing about Rob Smeldley's work on your website:

He and his team also write on the AWS Machine Learning Blog:

I'm familiar with Patrick O’Brien’s Grand Prix Rating System:

Smedley's work echoes a number of Patrick O’Brien’s (POB’s) concepts, nuances and analytical sentiments. For example, the concept of inter-linkages between drivers who raced together on the same team providing a constant as a basis for comparison. This makes me wonder about the extent to which Smedley et al. were aware of POB's work, which has been available in the public arena since 2011. His driver-rating system was first publicised on Peter Windsor’s website, and was widely discussed by the late POB on various forums, including Planet F1, since 2011.

I have documented on the Planet F1 forum my reasons for suspecting unacknowledged and unattributed use of POB's ideas.

I hope this prompts a reaction from the authors by way of referencing all the years of work done by Patrick O'Brien on this question, and an acknowledgement of his priority in this field.

Kind regards

Follow Patrick O'Brien ('POB') on Instagram:

Re: Best F1 driver ever?

Post by POBRatings » 

POB's daughter Catherine here, using his log-in:

I've just had a look at's 'supertimes': ... 3/5283233/’s Supertimes bear a noteworthy resemblance to the POB system in terms of the following:
• It uses teammates as a benchmark to measure the ‘gap’ between drivers.
• It uses the ‘100.00’ arithmetic figure as representative of the fastest time.

An early draft of POB's book on this subject was in fact titled:

Patrick O’Brien
December 2007

"Racing performance has been analysed, measured and quantified by direct comparison as the time-speed differential between competitors. Continued analyses subsequent to my 1994 study found that all that matters in assessing competitiveness in F1 racing is 'the gap'; that is the time intervals between competitors. Hence this book’s title. This is the essence of racing."

And this concept was of course written about in his later work, published on

"My Rating System uses actual on-track times to quantify and compare the time differences between competitors. In 2002, having realised that all that matters in Grand Prix racing is ‘the gap’, I devised my Rating System. ‘The gap’ refers to the time differentials between competitors. Racing is all about speed and ‘by how much’ competitor A beat competitor B." (Explanatory Chapters, 2016, p. 3).

Cf. writes about: "My trigger is more the gaps between the top teams, the percentage" - Scott Mitchell, Jan 28, 2019. They present a table of percentages resembling POB's notation.

As in the Smedley/AWS/ system, it appears that POB's innovation and contribution to this field have been blatantly lifted, unacknowledged and unattributed.

This is something of a dagger through the heart for me, seeing how many years POB worked on this and how hard he tried to introduce his ground-breaking research to the motorsport press, while being told that his ratings-figures would likely only cause controversy. Now others appear to be riding on his back, standing on his shoulders, blithely discussing his figures as 'supertimes' in the mainstream motor-sport media.

Can I just check - does anyone know:
1. When did introduce these 'supertimes'?
2. Had such percentage figures, in the 100.00 notation that POB devised, been used before? ie prior to say 2017?
3. Who is the author of these supertimes? Is it Scott Mitchell?
4. Did they review the literature? POB reviewed the literature on this question in his 'Explanatory Chapters' (2016) so he could say with authority what is new, what was wrongheaded. He did not seek to pass others' ideas off as his own, but incorporated what worked from the past and acknowledged this, and then made it clear what his own innovation was; what he was contributing to the field.
5. Are these ratings discussed on the forum?
Is anyone here also on the forum?
6. Are these supertimes widely used and respected?

As with the Smedley/AWS/ online publications, I would like to ask that reference all the years of work done by Patrick O'Brien on this question, and acknowledge his priority in this field. If anyone can help with this, it would be much appreciated.

Re: POBRatings Memorial Thread

Post by POBRatings » 

Thanks for doing this for POB! He'd be bowled over - touched and honoured by this wonderful testament that he was able to connect with so many on this forum. :proud:

In terms of AWS/ and appearing to use, unacknowledged and unattributed, POB’s innovation and contribution to the question of ‘Who is the fastest driver?’, I've noted on POB's blog my attempts to generate a sympathetic reaction. ... d-and.html

I would like them to assign priority to someone who, through a lifetime's research, dedication and passion, thought of a viable way of rating drivers before anyone else did. However, I'm guessing that the 'big money' of the F1 industry enables its researchers, statisticians, writers, journalists and editors to dispense with the standards that academics are required to work by, namely, attributing something to a previous writer, so that one's own original contribution is clear and stands out. Thankfully POB was the sort of person who behaved in an ethical, professional and honorable manner when it came to acknowledging others' work, achievements and contributions. If I receive any response, I'll post it on his blog. Any corrections or notifications of error or oversight on my part welcome.


Peter Windsor ("Formula One journalist, and former Formula One team and sponsorship manager") started his own website and invited POB (March 2010) to do his Ratings as a blog on this website, named

On this website in December 2010:

Unique Driver Ratings Series: Senna vs Vettel

The Race Driver’s Unique Driver Rating system brings you its first one-on-one driver comparison – Ayrton Senna versus Sebastian Vettel.  How does the 2010 World Champion line up against three-times World Champion, Ayrton Senna, at the same stage of their careers?  How similar were their debut years?  And what will Sebastian have to achieve in order to match Senna’s sustained brilliance? 

Here are the results of Patrick O’Brien’s unique and painstaking analysis – all based on the two drivers’ speeds in every practice session, qualifying session and race, relative to their team-mates and their opposition, independent of their cars they drove: ( The 100.0 figure represents the ultimate or fastest packages, drivers or cars).

POB was not paid for this work.

Email from Peter Windsor to POB: 29 January 2011 22:31:

You've been getting lots of mentions on the site and Twitter.  Great stuff and thanks again. 

There was immediate interest, but POB was not able to answer readers' comments and queries due to PW running the website, and PW was not able to answer the questions due to not knowing the ins and outs of the ratings computations as well as POB. By February 2011, the enterprise had broken down.

Some 10 years later, others are using POB's system (e.g., his revolutionary concept of 'the gap', his 100.0 percentage figure), publishing their figures online and in magazines, and getting paid for it.

In the wake of POB's death in March 2017, forum member Balbeer and I tried to contact F1 Racing magazine to have POB's analytical contribution to Grand Prix racing acknowledged. Repeated attempts were met with a stonewall. Wikipedia notes Peter Windsor's connection with this magazine:

"Many well respected journalists and photographers contribute to the magazine. Such regulars have included journalists Peter Windsor and Alan Henry, and renowned photographers Darren Heath, Steven Tee, Rip (Ripley & Ripley), and Lorenzo Bellanca. Damon Hill was 'Guest Editor' in January 2000, which featured an interview between him and Michael Schumacher. From the March 2006 issue to the February 2007 of F1 Racing, Max Mosley, then president of the FIA, had a monthly column in the magazine."

26Sep21: A chapter on plagiarism and intellectual arrogance in ‘More Examples, Less Theory Historical Studies of Writing Psychology’ by Michael Billig (2019):

“Lacan’s mythology as a lone, creative polymath is compromised if he is seen to have borrowed key ideas, such as the mirror stage, from others. If he hides his intellectual debts, then the borrowing becomes theft.

“One of the advantages of the shared culture of scholarship is that fellow academics can point out mistakes, which an author can then recognise and seek to rectify. That is not possible when thinkers put themselves above the mundane disciplines of bibliographic referencing and make general statements about how things occur without citing evidence.

“The practice of selective citation might be trivial in itself; if it were to be eradicated, no wars would be avoided or diseases cured. Yet, the fact that large numbers of academics can regularly excuse, overlook or dismiss such faults should not be trivial. An objection might be expected from Lacan’s followers. They are likely to argue that too much attention is being given here to standard scholarly practices of citation. These, so it might be objected, are matters of form, not content. If Lacan did not cite others in the normal ways, then this was because he was deliberately subverting the standard practices of scholarship, so as to set free a way of thinking that was far riskier and far more intellectually creative than ordinary academic thinking. It would be a mistake, therefore, to try to rein back Lacan, because he was so unlike the rest of us academic time servers, who have difficulty seeing beyond a world of careful citation.” 


Posts: 4503
Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2003 9:39 pm
Re: Best F1 driver ever?
Post by Alienturnedhuman » Sun Oct 17, 2021 5:23 pm

Glancing at the f1metrics website and seeing them rate Senna at 21st of all time and Carlos Sainz Jnr as 13th best of all time smacks of someone who has too much faith in their system rather than checking if they know how to use it properly. From my memory of Patrick's posts on here, while he wouldn't shy away from determining a controversial conclusion, he would also scrutinise his system if it were to throw up a result so bizarre.


Another POB supporter writes:

"The fact that plagiarism seem so rife within the F1 world inhabited by its various scribes is both sad and worrying and it makes me wonder how common it is within the caves occupied by journalists who write about anything and everything that have the tag 'sport' attached to them. In my world of "techno-historical" matters I've not come across it often - maybe it's because we're all seemingly well into our dotage and have lost the competitive edge. But some years ago I encountered an academic (not someone I knew) who literally reproduced, line by line, the mathematics I'd generated to explain the very first radar echo detected in this country before the war. That work was done by two men (Watson Watt and Wilkins) at the Radio Research Laboratory in Slough and the experiment, involving an old RAF bomber flying a pre-determined route which they'd given the pilot, led to that momentous discovery.  This perticular bloke copied what I'd written and published it somewhere - I've long-since forgotten where - presumably thinking I'd never come across it.  But I did, somehow, and duly contacted him. Initially he ignored me but I persisted and made some threatening noises - involving the p-word - and he then came back to me in pseudo- contrite mode.  In reply I said he clearly took me for a fool if I thought he'd just forgotten to include an acknowledgement.  Heck, an acknowledgement doesn't absolve one from breaking and entering and then displaying the loot as if it is one's own.  But I left it there.

"So it happens and we just have to be on our guard."

Monday, 30 August 2021

Why POB loved motor-racing

In someone else’s words, and in an autobiography POB never read, as far as I know:

"Through Berenice Krickler I got to know Stirling Moss in 1962, soon after the terrible accident at Goodwood which put him out of Grand Prix racing. Berenice was working at the hospital he had been sent to and she gave him psychological tests to check for brain damage. (There was none. The doctors also expected him to be crippled for life but he was walking normally after six weeks.) She introduced us because I had a passion for fast cars and she knew that he was a hero of mine; Stirling and I have been friends ever since. Occasionally he took me with him when he tested cars. I had done some rallying when I was at Oxford – in someone  else’s car – and fancied myself as a driver,  but being driven by Stirling, like climbing with Mo or Joe Brown or playing poker with Eric Drache, made me realise that there are ranges of skill I never knew about – ranges beyond ranges, and I was still in the foothills.

"When the motoring journalist Denis Jenkinson went as his map-reader in the Mille Miglia race around Italy, he wrote that Moss drove for 10 hours on that fine edge on which the rest of us drive for 90 seconds before we crash. That was how it was, on a smaller scale, when he tested a car. He’d go through the routine checks, muttering into a tape-recorder, then he’d say, ‘Let’s see what she can do.’ And we were off, always on the limit, always in control. On corners where I, driving flat out, would have left a margin of six inches, he left less than one – but smoothly, without hasty corrections, without panic, a single effortless progression. He seemed to sense the balance of the machine in the same way as he sensed the balanced of his own body. When we stopped after a long, fast run, the interior of even the most expensive cars smelled pleasantly of hot oil and sometimes the brake-discs glowed red. Stirling would nod and say, ‘Nice piece of machinery.’ It was a professional judgement and also a professional courtesy, the matador saluting a brave bull.


"Driving of this order is a high art, as thrilling and controlled as any poem or painting – thrilling because it is so controlled. Stirling is brisk and practical, he likes gadgets and fixing things and is not at all interested in the arts. But behind the wheel of a car he is as sensitive as any artist I have ever met." 

Source:  Where Did It All Go Right? by Alvarez, A. Published by Richard Cohen Books, London, 1999,, 1999

ISBN 10: 1860661734ISBN 13: 9781860661730.


POB's Grand Prix scrapbooks

 Roughly one volume for each Grand Prix season, from 1894 - 2016 (sometimes more thane one volume per season in the later years):

The following collection contains one book per each marque of sportscar: