Jean Marie Balestre: 1921-2008

Jean Marie Balestre
It often goes without saying that when you think of the FIA; you think of Jean Marie Balestre.

It also goes without saying that when you think of Jean Marie Balestre, you think of the years of service and some of the conflicts this ambassador of motor racing has endured, started or arbitrated. But to Autosport; it was the Senna debacle that takes the main stage in an obituary akin to the half informative Cialis ad on the 18th page of your local county gazette.

Don’t get me wrong, I am sure, like Grace and I, they are saddened to see the passing of a definitive man but you couldn’t really tell that by the apathetic prose that lures you in with a masthead of death and lets you wallow around in an isolated incident concerning Senna (albeit leveraged by Autosport in 1989 and magnified here for dullards) and then reveals the take over of his position by Max Mosley (who, by the way, gave a proper eulogy) and then closes the whole tidy non-emotional fact-file with a quote courtesy of L’Equipe from the first French driver they could get hold of by telephone (presumably mobile), Jacques Laffite. Jacques perhaps says it best:

“We drivers loved him so much. He did a lot for us. We owe him enormously.”

I am torn as to what is sadder, the passing of a man who made safety in F1 a goal to be achieved or the unfortunate and impersonal nature of Autosports coverage of a man who meant so many things to a sport that means so little compared to death.

May you rest in peace Jean Marie Balestre. our condolences and prayers from F1B to your family at this most difficult time. If words could speak, they would mean even less.

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