Cool heads must prevail over serious issue of hot laps

French V8 Supercars driver Alex Premat’s worrying physical condition as he was dragged from his race car during last weekend’s championship series finale at Homebush triggered angry comments in Australia and in Europe. After the distressed and dehydrated Premat was pulled from his Commodore on Saturday when the cabin temperature was an estimated 58-60 degrees, David Brabham, Australia’s versatile English-based racer, let fly on Twitter, calling for V8 Supercars to adopt measures to keep the drivers’ working environment at safe and acceptable levels.

Holden Racing Team’s Garth Tander agreed, questioning why the V8 Supercars’ new Car of the Future regulations didn’t mandate proper cooling systems. Le Mans regulations stipulate the cockpit temperature must not exceed 32 degrees when driving if the maximum ambient temperature is 25 degrees. If it is warmer the cockpit temperature may climb by a maximum of seven degrees. Motor sport isn’t supposed to be easy, and today’s professional drivers have fitness levels the equal of other endurance athletes. But when wellbeing is compromised action is needed. It’s a clear workplace health issue. Premat, 30, didn’t recover in time to race the following day, when ironically, conditions were much friendlier. He blamed a faulty cool suit as the cause of his dramas.


Is it just me, or should betting on V8 Supercars be outlawed before the sport attracts the odorous controversies that routinely invade horse racing, and have hurt Italian soccer and rugby league? The now regular advertorials during Seven’s V8 Supercar telecasts only encourage the view that it’s just another urge to separate gullible punters from their hard-earned. Motor sport doesn’t need any suggestion that races are fixed, or that the car jockeys are betting on race outcomes. Last weekend, there was enough of a furore when Jamie Whincup allowed his Triple Eight teammate Craig Lowndes to queue-jump in the pits to boost Lowndes’s chances of finishing second in the series. Which ultimately happened. Team orders or race fixing? Discuss.


Dick Johnson once memorably described it as like racing around the Hills hoist in your backyard. And it mightn’t match Mount Panorama for history or reverence but bucolic Winton Raceway, near Benalla, Victoria, has been an enduring host of motor racing for decades. Today it celebrates the 50th anniversary of its first title race, a Victorian junior championship. In 1978, the host club staged the Rose City 10,000, when the late James Hunt, a formula one world champion, dominated.


Sore loser, a genuine beef, or merely ageist? After Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo slammed formula one supremo Bernie Ecclestone after the world championship-deciding Brazilian Grand Prix controversy. Last week, Ecclestone, 82, dismissed as ” a joke” Ferrari’s request for clarification on whether world champion Sebastian Vettel had overtaken illegally. Di Montezemolo, 65, hit back: ”We must respect the elderly, especially when they can no longer control their words. Seniority is often incompatible with certain roles and responsibilities.”


Norway’s rally world champion Petter Solberg, who has announced he will not compete in the FIA World Rally Championship in 2013, will be missed. He is a flamboyant character, who constantly challenged the colourless Scandinavian stereotype. Solberg drove for Ford World Rally Team this year, finishing fifth in the standings. Solberg probably lost a little of his title-winning speed but still managed 44 stage wins this year.

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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


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