The FIA has just issued (another) statement on tobacco
advertising, stating in legal-speak (Max Mosley is after all a barrister), “On
legal advice the FIA has withdrawn the ban on tobacco sponsorship in motor sport
voted in October, 2000 (for implementation in 2006) and substituted the
following as a recommendation - that motor sport promoters and competitors
(including circuit owners, event organisers, teams, and drivers) should cease
all forms of tobacco sponsorship from October 1, 2006.”
Just in case you’ve missed it, the European Union now wants
tobacco advertising in F1 banned from late 2005, but this was after the EU and
the FIA had originally agreed on the 2006 deadline. This decision by the EU was
not done in consultation with the FIA but came as a directive.
In retaliation (and that’s really what it is all about),
FIA President Max Mosley has warned that a ban in 2005 could result in Europe
losing many of its current races with Belgium missing from the calendar this
season and Austria (along with at least one other, thought to be San Marino)
sure to be missing in 2004.
These rounds are to be replaced anyway as both China and
Bahrain are due to host rounds of the F1 World Championship in 2004, with
Turkey, Russia, India and many others queuing up behind. And just incidentally,
none of these countries come under the EU and in all of those countries, tobacco
advertising is still allowed.
Another point which seems to escape the rule-makers is that
the F1 race cars, complete with fag company advertising prominently displayed,
will be televised and can be seen freely in the no-tobacco advertising EU
countries. The current situation all looks very futile to me. I do not believe
that all the huffing and puffing (sorry about that) by the FIA is for
“noble” reasons, but purely ways to soften the blow for the enthusiasts,
when the axe falls on favourite European circuits.
I should also point out that I am biased, and totally against
tobacco advertising, and in fact ran under the “QUIT” banner for ten years
in Australia. My medical training tells me that cigarette smoking is unhealthy,
and moves to reduce the world’s dependence upon the weed get my backing, so
don’t send me hate mail. OK?
Jaguar S-Type R. Effortless,
exhilarating driving experience
One of my oldest friends is our Down-Under correspondent John
Weinthal, with our association going back more than 40 years (and it only seems
like yesterday he was throwing up in the back garden after a heavy night on the
turps - how time flies). However, there are some days I could quite easily
detest the man, and when I find he has been swanning around in a Jaguar S-Type R
for the past week, while I am pedalling the family Daihatsu Mira, this is one of
those days. I remain green with envy - but here are the Words from Weinthal.
“The Mercedes E Class, BMW 5 Series and Jaguar S-type
ranges embody probably the world’s most desirable family sedan choices for
enthusiast drivers. These represent the second tier size-wise for their makers -
below the S Class, 7 Series and XJ range respectively.
“To drive almost any of these cars is to experience
something quite special - even the smallest engine, entry models look and feel
right at all times. The top models from each are in another league entirely - in
performance, purpose and price! At the top of these ranges we find probably the
world’s greatest four-door, five-seaters - the BMW M5, Mercedes E Class AMG
and Jaguar S-Type R. These are three discretely styled and quite brilliant
V8’s for the well-heeled who don’t need to shout about it.
“Jaguar’s S-Type R is the least expensive at a mere AUD
162,500. This is some AUD 33,000 less than the M5 BMW which weighs 5kg less than
the Jag’s 1800kg and is a fraction less powerful.
“The E55 AMG Merc weighs about 95 kg less than the other
two, but its 5.4 litre V8 develops a crushing 350kW - but it is supercharged to
get those numbers. However, at AUD 222,000 it is in another price league
altogether - some AUD 60,000 over the Jag.
“The 4.2 litre supercharged Jaguar V8 driven over the past
week develops 298kW. It is simply the fastest production Jaguar sedan ever. The
BMW’s 4.9 litre V8 pumps out 294kW, so these two are line ball all the way
from zero to their electronically limited max speeds of 250 kph.
“Almost everything about the Jag is a stand out example of
how the best is delivered. It looks stunning, inside and out. The power memory
front seats are supremely comfortable over any distance. All the controls are
clear and logical - some, like the simply adjusted and very accurate cruise
control set a new standard for ease of use. For some, the Jag will prove a bit
squeezy in the rear seats, and the boot is not as large as the M5 or Merc.
“In spite of the S-Type R’s lavish equipment list there
are some optional extras. How about AUD 250 for rear cupholders; AUD 1000 for
electrically adjustable foot pedals or AUD 1290 for reverse parking control? For
AUD 100 you can have a first aid kit or AUD 6000 buys you a navigation system.
(For $100 I’d want a nurse thrown in as well - Dr. Iain) The test car seemed
way beyond adequate while wearing none of this gear. And if you think Jag might
be having a bit of a lend of you when listing such prices stay seated if you
dare look at what Merc and BMW ask for their options!
“This Jag is ultra-refined and hushed at normal cruise and
around town, but the sound on full song is sheer delight. The car’s ride over
any surfaces is extremely good by any standard; for a car riding on 18 inch
wheels with 35 profile tyres it is the ultimate in Jaguar magic.
“This 1800kg six-speed automatic transmission car will
outrun a Subaru WRX. It also handily disposed of Nissan’s fabulous new 350Z in
a mad moment’s joy for my son and me earlier in the week - only up to 100kph
of course, officer...
“But you do not have to indulge the Jag’s tremendous
accelerative thrills all the time. Like every Jag, here we have a luxury sedan
which will move you in sybarite manner regardless of your timetable or road
condition. It handles dirt and poor surfaces as well as, if not better than, any
large sedan I have experienced.
“There are only two significant factors which may deter you
from truly enjoying the Jag’s potential. First, you might wish to retain your
driving licence, and secondly there’s the little matter of an enormous thirst
for premium unleaded. Gun it too often and you too will have trouble extracting
300km from the 70 litre tank. Even if you can afford it - as buyers of AUD
162,000 cars no doubt can - one doesn’t want to be visiting a petrol station
“This is a car which delivers an effortless and
exhilarating driving experience. My son, no longer young and far from stupid,
had the decency to grin as he suggested we fail to return this S-Type R to
Jaguar. I was almost tempted ...”
French GP this weekend!
Yes, I know it’s only a week since the previous round in
Europe, but with the crowded calendar it is the only way the GP circus can get a
three week respite in August. With distances being very small, it is easy for
the teams to shift camp from Nurburgring in Germany to Magny Cours in France for
the Frog-leg GP too.
The track is interesting, having started life as a go-kart
track, being enlarged and finally made into a GP track after an initiative by
President Mitterand. It 3.85 km long and has a couple of long straights with
hairpin bends which should encourage passing manoeuvres (if the current crop of
GP drivers haven’t forgotten how to do it). It has been the venue for the
French GP since 1991.