Sir Stirling Moss is a favorite of mine and as I just received a nice pictorial biography of him for Christmas, he’s been on my mind. No wonder then that I hover around his Twitter account and occasional blog. Having said that, I share with you his latest effort at ESPN regarding the Lotus name kerfuffle between Lotus Group and Tony Fernandes. Although Stirling does address the tragedy that is this issue, he also takes a moment to throw some cool water on an otherwise flaming memory of romanticism that many of us have regarding the mystic of Team Lotus.
One of my favorite cars of all time is the Lotus 49 but Moss was amongst the Team Lotus crew when it was just starting and for him, it means somethign completely different:
[box type=”shadow”]So what does Lotus mean to me? Well to be honest, it means wheels coming off and overly sensitive cars. It’s an important name from the past, but for me it really didn’t compare with the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes or Alfa Romeo. Certainly as a driver I would have been far more excited about being invited to drive for Alfa or Mercedes than I would for Lotus, a team that had only just started out in Formula One at that time.[/box]
It seems to me that the man was a bit of an enigma as well judging by the comments Moss makes regarding his working relationship with Chapman. Like many brilliant engineers, Chapman pushed the limits and that’s not unlike a certain brilliant engineer named Adrian Newey:
[box type=”shadow”]I think Colin Chapman pushed the limits too far with some of the cars and at times that didn’t seem necessary. One had to use one’s concentration to keep away from the thought of what might happen, and that was the biggest cross one had to carry when driving a Lotus. Colin was a brilliant engineer but just ran it too close too often in the early days, although the later cars were much safer.[/box]
While the battle rages on for the name Team Lotus, Moss says he grieves the fact that F1 has become all business and while he understands that notion, he also think Chapman was a businessman at heart. In fact, he thinks Colin would have just sold the name to the highest bidder and ignored the pomp and circumstance of the history of the name Team Lotus. That may well be true but the Chapman family doesn’t feel that way do they?