Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2002 4:12 pm
Location: Nebraska, USA
Exactly. They didn't need to be sportsmen at all. The competition was so weak that they could skip training and eat, drink, smoke, etc. all they wanted and still win championships.Do you know as to what a "sportsman" is? As for the competitiion at the time being so weak... once again, you appear to know nothing of the era. I have posted it elsewhere in the past couple of days, but a racing series with the likes of Fangio, Ascari, Moss, Brooks, Gonzalez, Musso, Farina, and more high level drivers is not "weak" except in the minds of those who don't know better. You have stereotyped the drivers of the era as drinkers and smokers without a modern training regiment... and for some of them you are right. However, that doesn't mean that they could not be great talents. BTW, I think we know of a few modern F1 drivers to whom drinking and smoking are not unknown events.
Let's see it with (very rough) numbers: Cars with less weight are faster. In today's cars a 10 kg. difference is worth about 3 tenths per lap (source
). I don't know the figures from the 50s, but they must have been higher (the cars were lighter and far less poweful). Let's call it half a second (in today's laps).
Yeah, the cars were not as powerful (@270hp for a Maserati 250F... and yes, they were slower, though the weights were surprisingly close (Maserati 250F lightweight was (1477lbs to 1548 for a 2017 F1 car). That doesn't mean that the racing was somehow less. It took courage and it took special skills to race those cars. The 50s F1 cars were big cars on very thin tires by today's standards. None of the "lets make it easy for the driver" aids of recent years. They had to DRIVE the cars, often on tracks that were as dangerous as the cars. Yet you claim that they aren't sportsmen? When did you start watching racing that you think that only "fast" modern cars are racing?
Ascari was at least 10 kg. overweight, probably more. Exercising would have allowed him to lose 10 kilos and increase his muscular mass. The sheer lose of weight would have made his laps half a second faster. Apart from that, his slimmer, healthier and stronger body would have had a lot of other benefits: he would be quicker, have better concentration, better ability to cope with the car physical demands (which were less, but existed), higher capacity to recover from injuries, etc. All of that is worth at least another half second per lap, probably much more.You don't know what kind of shape most of those drivers were... sure, some, such as Frolian Gonzalez were overweight, care to show me a picture of Stirling Moss overweight? That said, Gonzalez could drive, as could Ascari... and they were both damned good. so, Doc.... we can only define a sportsman, or a great driver by their weight, their "stronger body"? That it would give them better concentration? Have you an ounce of proof of that? You know that Ascari lacked concentration moreso than the great drivers of today? The answer is... NO, you don't know that for a fact, only that it fits your ideas of what he should have been. Care to talk about physical demands? You say that they physical demands were less back then than today? again, based on what? A.J.Foyt was never a skinny guy, but he could wrestle a big heavy Indy roadster around for 500 miles of often intense racing.... and do it better than virtually any other driver of his time. And... he would drive in other events as well, not stay in the relative safely of a single racing series as many of today's drivers do.
So show me ONE legitimate definition that defines "sportsman" by their fitness regime, I certainly did not find one. Most definitions used outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing as part if not all of their definition. Some added sports participants, including racing definition. Those drivers certainly were racers, despite not fitting your misguided idea of a sportsman. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that fitness isn't a good thing for an athlete, only that it is not the only thing that counts, nor does is it more important than other skills.
Times were different, no question, and the demands were different. That doesn't mean that they were trivial or easy. Those drivers not only had to wrestle big, sometimes heavy, ill-handling cars (by today's standard) around rough tracks, tracks with building and trees lining the course, sometimes even touching the course, often without the benefit of safety barriers. They drove those cars sitting high in the car with chest, shoulders and heads above the body of the car without the benefit of roll-bars in most cases. As they sat high and exposed they could look over those skinny tires on wire wheels expected to take that next rough corner. Those drivers knew that there was a very good chance that not only they may not finish the race, they could likely die. Still they drove, still they raced and then some upstart comes along 60 years later and puts them down in a myriad of ways... making light of a era that he obviously knows little about.
These days the level of the competition is so insanely high that one second per lap is the difference between being the champion and being an "also-ran". In the 50s, however, the competition was so weak that Ascari could happily dismiss a solid one second advantage (or more) because getting it would have been too much of a bother (exercising and stuff). As you rightly say, that was not a problem for him because the rest of the field was even less competitive than he was. But if we sent one of today's drivers, say Pérez, back to the 50s, and he participated in one of those races, he would be lapping the field, Ascari and Fangio included, by lap 5.Lapping the field by lap five... Ascari and Fangio included? Sorry, guy, but it would be good if Alonso, Lewis and Seb would even be near the lead by lap 5. There is a very good chance that any or all of them would take a look at the track, the cars and the conditions and "pass" on the opportunity... with even all their fitness advantages. Now, once again, I will say that if those drivers were raised in that era and given the rides, they would have been competitive, but if we are going to allow that, then we have to do it in reverse and I see I am once again being ridiculed for the "time machine' reference, so we will leave it at that.
You have pulled a lot of numbers out of mid-air without a hope of backing them up and you have shown little comprehension of what racing in the 50s and 60s was like, so it is likely that this discussion is going nowhere, but I tried.
WCCs = 16
WDCs = 15