Launch of our new book on F1 designer, Gordon Murray CBE, at the RAC
Tuesday 14 May saw us at the RAC in Pall Mall to launch our latest book – actually a two-volume set: One Formula – 50 Years of Car Design – Gordon Murray.
There were two elements to this long, but very successful day. In the morning we had the media launch with a distinguished gathering of journalists and photographers from leading publications, the BBC and the Sky F1 team. I have known the name Maurice Hamilton (of The Times) for many years, so it was a great pleasure to finally meet him. Similarly, I have often watched Sam Hancock racing at Goodwood, and it was excellent to have a long chat with him and his colleague, Joseph Berry from Petrolicious. Old friend Gordon Cruickshank was there from Motor Sport and good friends Peter Baker from RetroSpeed and freelance motoring writer Kieron Fennelly joined us. It was splendid to have Alan Baldwin of Reuters, Craig Scarborough of RapidTech, Andrew Benson from the BBC, Neil Wooding from Sky, Simon Burrell (Our Man Behind the Wheel magazine), Kate Walker (Crash.net/ESPN), Alan Stoddart (Race Tech), Matt Kew (Autosport) and Jack Philip (Classic & Sports Car) attend.
After I had interviewed Gordon for about three-quarters of an hour, a number of journalists conducted pre-arranged one-to-one discussions with him about his remarkable career. There was a great atmosphere and the books caused quite a buzz. Gordon is a very charismatic and popular gentleman. He was particularly interesting, and absolutely on the money, when he answered a question about what should be done to improve Formula One. From memory, his comments included reducing front and rear wings very considerably to concentrate downforce in the centre of the car, make it easier for cars to follow closely and have smaller tyres, which would mean harder compounds, thus increasing braking distances...
We were back at the RAC in the evening for a dinner for 150 members. I had the great pleasure of sitting between Duncan Wiltshire and Gordon Coppuck, who has worked with Gordon for 25 years. Also on our table were Gordon, his Creative Design Director, Kevin Richards, and that wonderful character Alain de Cadenet. And after dinner, Duncan introduced Gordon and Alain, who took to a couple of armchairs on stage and had a fascinating, amusing and wide-ranging chat. They held the audience spell-bound till late in the evening.
As they were departing, a number of RAC members purchased or ordered copies, including the special editions, which was very gratifying, especially as Julie and I had to take any remaining copies in a taxi back to our flat! Luckily, we had a very accommodating taxi driver who told us, when we explained what was in the very large and heavy boxes, that he'd often had 'that Bernie Ecclestone' in his cab. It was a fitting end to a fantastic evening.
Sky F1 Team, Neil Wooding
BBC, Andrew Benson
Motorsport TV channel RapidTech show – Craig Scarborough
Reuters, Alan Baldwin
Autosport, Matt Kew
Motorsport, Gordon Cruickshank
Our Man Behind the Wheel motoring magazine, Simon Burrell
Petrolicious, Joseph Berry
RetroSpeed – Peter Baker
Crash.net/ESPN – Kate Walker
Historic Racing News, Paul Tarsey
The Times, Maurice Hamilton
Race Tech and Historic Racing Technology titles, Alan Stoddart
Classic & Sports Car, Jack Phillips
Gary Harman – photographer