Tuesday, June 4, 2019

RETRO: Formula 1 on Phoenix's Streets Thirty Years ago

Print of Ivan Capelli's Leyton House March F1 Chassis, presumably the March 881-Judd V-8 model acquired at Phoenix, Arizona's 1989 Iceberg Grand Prix. (The Tomaso Collection)
But how many remember that? Were there or Care?

As I began trying to Madly type away some new verbiage regarding the long lost Iceberg Grand Prix, whilst having Zero Clue where I'll be this June 4th. North or South? Warshington' or Oregon? Butter, Parkay?

along with thinking of how I always construe it with some Bloody Bird that enjoys sticking it's head in the sand when remembering this Grands Prix...


Not sure why, but I suddenly thought of that 'Ol Classic Rock Song by Robin Trower, perhaps you've heard it before, Eh? Ostriches, Eagles, Get It? Oh Never Mind!

Since it's nice to know I'm not completely Bonkers over remembering how an Ostrich Festival in Chandler, AZ massively out-drew a Freakin' Formula 1 race in Thee Valley of The Sun many, many Moons ago. Which F1 Grizzled Journo' Joe Saward's just related earlier this year in his fine Fascinating F1 Facts series.

While I've already scribbled labourisly 'bout these long forgotten U.S. Grands Prix run over three years between 1989-91 on the Downtown Streets of Phoenix, AZ previously.

It's somewhat nice to know that I managed to remember bits of it still. Although more Funny Ha-Ha I suppose? That I've gravitated towards the same tact, presumably since the F1 Class of 1989 was so Stellar...

Did someone say Stella? As in a Stella Artois Mates? Hya!

Close-up view of Ayrton Senna's Marlboro McLaren MP4/5 Honda V-10 racecar at the Iceberg Grand Prix. (The Tomaso Collection)
Alas, of those 39 Drivers participating over that very Hot weekend, four would ultimately become Formula 1 World Champions, led by four times titlist Alain Prost, en route to his third and final F1 title with McLaren that year.

"The Professor's" (Prost) Bitter Nemesis, and Arch Rival McLaren team-mate Ayrton Senna was the reigning F1 Champion, and would ultimately win three titles, all with McLaren.

Nelson Piquet had already reached his zenith, and was still basking in the Afterglow of being a triple World Champion, whilst good 'Ol Bloody Nige', "Red 5" or "Il Lione," aka Nigel Mansell would need to wait a further three years before becoming F1 World Champion for Team Willy', aka Williams Grand Prix Engineering in '92.

There were also ultimately eleven Grands Prix race winners on the grid, led by the four F1 World Champions above. Who were joined by the likes of Michele Alboreto, Rene Arnoux, Gerhard Berger, Thierry Boutsen, Johnny Herbert, Alessandro Nanini and Riccardo Patrese.

Whilst other such future "luminaries" from that overly Hot Day in 1989, which I still recall being 104-degrees Fahrenheit! As a much younger Tomaso recollects quenching his thirst with a Fosters "Oil Can," Mates!

Were three future motor racing Pundits, or is that Presenters?  As ironically two Bloody Brits, Martin Billybob' Brundle, who was racing for Brabham is now Sky Sports lead Colour Commentator; Err, Uhm I meant Presenter. While Johnny Herbert, then a Benetton F1 Pilote' is also a sky sports F1 Pundit.

And thanks largely to the Heat causing much attrition, American Eddie "Thee Mouth!" Cheever, known for many years simply as Underachiever', who'd go onto become an ABC Colour Commentator for IndyCar races, scored his final F1 Podium, a third place that day on the Streets of Phoenix three decades ago, Karmically the very same city Eddie was born in.

As Cheever currently holds the record for most starts by an American F1 Driver with 132 starts between 1978-1989, en route to scoring nine podium finishes.

Whilst I'll try not repeating Thyself to much further over the Dizzying Cadre of Stats' from that Class of 1989, which also included five 24 Heurs du Mans winners, a CART (IndyCar) Champion and Indianapolis 500 victor, since I've chronicled it All before now in another Award Winning No Fenders tome five years ago.

And although part of what drew me to Formula 1 initially was its Machiavellian Polemics', the 1989 Iceberg Grand Prix will forever be indelibly intertwined with one of Humanity's Worst Days ever, albeit as a young lad watching motor racing's Freakin' Coolest Cars on the Planet! I had Zero Clue that China was Massacring innocent Civilians that very same day in what's simply known as Tiananmen Square!

Which I find  even more Disgusting that china's still making Civilian Dissenters "Disappear" three Bloody Decades later, all in vain of its population not being reminded of this Atrocity.

 Although the Chinese Government's doing a pretty Damn Good Job of covering up Tiananmen Square, since I still have to look it up to Speel' correctly three decades later...