No. 947
May 23, 2018

About The UjianNasional

Author, commentator, influencer. The Consigliere. Minister of the High-Octane Truth. Editor-in-Chief of .

Peter DeLorenzo has been in and around the sport of racing since the age of ten. After a 22-year career in automotive marketing and advertising, where he worked on national campaigns as well as creating many motorsports campaigns for various clients, DeLorenzo established on June 1, 1999. Over the years DeLorenzo's commentaries on racing and the business of motorsports have resonated throughout the industry. Because of the burgeoning influence of those commentaries, DeLorenzo has directly consulted automotive clients on the fundamental direction and content of their motorsports programs. DeLorenzo is considered to be one of the most influential voices commenting on the sport today.

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FUMES #470

November 5, 2008

A breakthrough champion, but a series headed for oblivion nonetheless.

By Peter M. De Lorenzo

Lewis Hamilton, the new Formula 1 World Champion, is the youngest person ever to achieve that distinction - at 23 years old - and the first person of color ever to do so. A magnificent achievement by any measure. Unfortunately, Hamilton's accomplishment can't save a once-great racing series from certain, self-induced oblivion.

It was interesting to hear the announcers getting overheated at the finish of the Grand Prix of Brazil, as if that one race would somehow make up for the fact that the F1 season was, for the most part, a lackluster display from start to finish. Sure, there were fleeting moments when F1 was mildly interesting this year, but let's face it, those instances were few and far between.

And now that the Bernie and Max show is threatening to take F1 down three or four notches in technology to become yet another glorified spec racing series, the likelihood of a long, downward spiral looks to be inescapable, and the overall interest in what was once a grand racing endeavor will surely wane. Up next? A calculated shift away from North America and even England - the spiritual home of the sport - for new markets in Asia and the Middle East. Why? It's simple, these are the markets that haven't had time to grow tired of the Bernie and Max show, yet. And these are the countries that think a $40 million fee to stage an F1 race is reasonable.

With Bernie and Max spouting platitudes and generalities about "cutting costs" while extracting wildly exorbitant sums from countries that think they need to host an F1 race to be considered vital, it's not that hard to imagine that Formula 1 will become a regional - Asia and the Middle East - racing series by 2012. Will Bernie and Max care? Of course not. They'll just say that the world has changed and that the roots and origins of the series don't really matter anymore. Right up until the point where F1 disappears for good.

But congratulations to Lewis and the McLaren team for a great season. And if you're an F1 fan savor this season, because the future is fraught with uncertainty, to say the least.


Publisher's Note: As part of our continuing series celebrating the "Glory Days" of racing, we're proud to present another noteworthy image from the Ford Racing Archives. - PMD

(Ford Racing Archives)
Indianapolis, Indiana, 1935. A front-wheel-drive Miller Ford V8 Indy racer photographed during practice. The innovative, factory-backed entry was one of four specially-built, front-wheel-drive Miller-Ford V8s that qualified for the 1935 Indianapolis 500. The effort ended in failure when heat from the exhaust pipes caused the steering gears to seize. From the Miller/Offenhauser Racing History Page: Upon arrival in New York, his old crony, Preston Tucker, sought Harry Miller out. Tucker felt that a stock-block engine in a modern, independently sprung chassis might have a chance to win. He knew that Miller certainly could design such running gear, and that he, Tucker, master salesman, had the chutzpah and s throughout Detroit to sell the package to a major automobile manufacturer. It was to Edsel Ford that Tucker grandly and eloquently pitched the idea. At the end of February 1935 a deal was struck for the construction of ten cars for the upcoming Indy 500, at a cost of $75,000. The machines and equipment to build the cars didn't arrive until March, leaving less than sixty days to outfit the shop, complete the design and drawings, build the avant-garde race cars, and test and develop them. The inevitable happened. The cars were rushed together in an environment of unrelieved panic, twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week. Only four cars qualified for the race and all retired early for the same reason: a seized steering gearbox overheated by its proximity to the exhaust. It could have been rendered perfectly operational if but a few minutes of practice time had been available. After the race and the fiasco, Henry Ford himself ordered the ten cars hauled away, to be gotten out of sight for a couple of years or so. The Miller-Ford dealt a devastating but passing blow to the Ford image. Harry Miller was the fall guy for the unrealizable fantasies of others, in which he had allowed himself to become enmeshed. What remained were the most beautiful American racing cars of the decade. The harbinger of a new age, they were low, rakish, streamlined beyond belief in every detail except the elegant radiator grill. After the Miller-Ford debacle, Miller formed a business venture with the internationally renowned automotive stylist, Tom Hibbard. Hibbard's vision was a trim speedster based on a shortened Ford V-8 chassis; Miller's vision was a 91-ci straight-eight, mid-engined, fully independently sprung sports car. Nothing came of either of their dreams.


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