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All On Wheels, Our view on...
When Spirit and Business ended in a Draw
By Estefanía & Edgardo

    As the late Second War's thunders were only an awful remembrance of man's slaughter, the spirit of sport was being reborn. The so recently created F.1 was looking for places where its engined hounds could chase laurels and victories.

    This is how Silverstone's air field mutated into a race track; how England's staunchest ally during the war, France lent its Reims; how Italy's Monza returned to sports to stay or how the long beautiful layout that draws its pavement through the Ardennes Forest reappeared stronger than ever. This last track which joins two Belgian cities is known as Spa-Francorchamps. And it is just there where the F1 World will move to face  the round Nº 13 of the 2008 Championship.
    For the first F1 Championship edition, the layout was much longer.
    The Fangios, Farinas o Fagiolis, gladiators behind a wheel,  had to  drive their cars along 14.08 Km to cover a single lap. And believe me, nobody was afraid of a so long distance.-
    This first raced was held on June 18, 1950 and it was Fangio who crossed start/finish line first. Something interesting to mention is that the starting grid used to be placed in the straight that leads towards Eau Rouge, the greatest of all curves.
    The 14.08 Km layout kept until 1970  witnesses epic fast battles among drivers such as Ascari, Collins, the Great Jim Clark (four times winner of the race), Jackie Stewart or Graham Hill.- It was this original track that saluted Gurney when the American drove his American Eagle-Weslake to a great victory on European soil or cheered up when an experienced young New Zealander called Bruce sowed the seeds of the modern Mc Laren by getting its first victory ever.
    But then, TV rights, a quite long lap and other interests faded the Glory of Spa. Nivelles and Zolder replaced it. It was as if Spa would become a bright Museum piece. Nevertheless, a tragedy and justice combination, plus a makeover made it feel like a new track. The first one was the horrendous accident that killed Villeneuve in Zolder,1982; the second, Spa was the best alternative to replace this now condemned track. The makeover happened when the lap was shortened to almost 7 Km. This new track keeps Eau Rouge, Kemmel, Stavelot or the fast Blachimont, and the greatest part of its ancient magic.
    This new version drawed maneuvers like Hakkinen's to pass Schumacher in the 2000 edition; havocs like the one that happened in 1998, at the start, when on a wet track, 13 drivers crashed one against the other which obliged to restart the race.
    The new Spa has a new King and Prince. The first one, Michael Schumacher, who got 6 victories; the Prince, Ayrton Senna who crossed the finish line ahead of his rivals five times.
    Spa also prized Eddie Jordan's team not only with its maiden victory, but with its first 1 - 2 (Damon Hill - Ralf Schumacher).
    Even though the Old Spa has left us forever, the new one keeps most of its charm and magic. The spirit of sports and the voracious TV business seem to have ended in a draw.

Thanks to Allianz Formula 1 Team for their invaluable material.

Edgardo Samuel Berg
Journalist & English Professor (UNMdP)
edgardoberg NEWS BUREAU Director


Estefanía L. G. Ferreira de Berg
Student Of History (UNMdP)
edgardoberg NEWS BUREAU Journalist
Vínculos externos  
  Fundación Destellos

Grupo de Investigaciones Estéticas
(Univ. Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina)

La Radio

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Páginas de Edgardo y Steffi Berg sobre Fórmula 1 y sobre su proyecto educativo en inglés
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