Sunday's F1 race at Melbourne's Albert Park heralds the start of another Grand Prix Season. Today's cars are a far cry from those of the late 1960s when I was an avid young fan. Somewhere along the way (probably when I emigrated to a new land in the wrong time zone) I lost interest. Having to stay up till 2 in the morning with work next day didn't help much either. Nowadays I rarely sit down and watch it, there's just a bit too much commercialisation, not enough overtaking and, to be honest, MichaelSchumacher and the all-conquering Ferrari have made it about as predictable as the sun coming up in the morning.
Here's a bit of a blast from the past though, one of my newly revived Instamatic negatives - a photo I snapped on the 9th of June, 1968 at the BelgianGrandPrix at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the Ardennes. The distinctive red of the Italian Ferrari is unmistakeable, the number 22 indicating it was the mount of Kiwi ChrisAmon, arguably one of the best GP drivers never to win an F1 race. Amon started in pole position and recorded the fastest lap of the race before being forced to retire on Lap 8. The race was won by another Kiwi, BruceMcLaren, in one of his own cars, a distinctive orange McLaren-Ford. The photo shows Amon's Ferrari being towed back to the pits at the end of the race.
Perhaps of most interest is the fact that the car sports a diminutive red spoiler at the rear, this being the very first occasion on which such a device was mounted on an F1 car. Two weeks later at a rain-soaked Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort virtually every car had been fitted with a similar device. The arrival of such aerodynamic devices introduced a new era in GP racing, culminating in today's streamlined aerodynamic cars. There's a very good chance a red Ferrari with Schumacher at the wheel will win on Sunday but it'd be nice to see a McLaren take the chequered flag for a change.