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Your classic German Grand Prix

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Andrew Benson | 07:45 UK time, Wednesday, 8 July 2009

The winning choices for the German edition of our classic grand prix series have just about everything you could hope for in a Formula 1 race.

The five selected races - 1961, 1982, 1991, 2000 and 2008 - might have been controversial among some of the readers of this blog, but there is no doubt that between them they provided a colourful picture of the richness of the thrills on offer in this sport. Which is kind of the idea.

The most popular choice among respondents to this blog was Rubens Barrichello's maiden F1 victory in 2000 - a verdict with which I wholeheartedly agree.

But the 1982 race, which has become famous for the physical assault launched by world champion Nelson Piquet on backmarker Eliseo Salazar, was also very popular. So we have decided to make the full "Grand Prix" highlights programme from that race available as well.

There is no doubt, in my opinion, that the 2000 German Grand Prix was the most exciting race of the choices we offered. You can watch the highlights here:

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I was at Hockenheim that day, and it is a race I will never forget. Not least because I struggle to think of a grand prix victory that was more universally popular throughout those involved in the sport.

Barrichello is one of the most liked people in F1 but by that race it had been more than eight years since he made his debut, and there were those who wondered whether he would ever break his duck.

Rubens himself was not one of them. When he joined Ferrari at the start of 2000, he believed it was only a matter of time - even though he was well aware that the chance would only come when team leader Michael Schumacher was taken out of the picture.

When that day at Hockenheim dawned, it did not look as if it would be the Brazilian's day - he lined up 18th on the grid after problems in qualifying. But a brilliant first part of the race, in which he overtook car after car, moved him up into a position to benefit from a safety car period, which was prompted when a "lunatic", as Murray Walker put it, wandered on to the track.

Barrichello was third when the race resumed, behind Mika Hakkinen's McLaren and the Jordan of Jarno Trulli and he stayed there until a rain shower hit the track in the final third of the race.

It started light, but soon began to get quite heavy, although not all parts of the 4.2-mile track were affected. Hakkinen and Trulli decided to fit wet-weather tyres, but Barrichello felt it was worth gambling staying on dries and it paid off magnificently.

It was a brilliant drive - and a better way to win one's first grand prix is hard to imagine. For Barrichello, always an emotional man, it was too much. As he stood on the podium listening to the Brazilian national anthem, he was overcome and started sobbing with the sheer relief and joy of it all.

Alongside him, Hakkinen and his McLaren team-mate David Coulthard knew what it meant, and they hoisted the little man onto their shoulders in celebration. In the media centre, Barrichello got a standing ovation and, once the interviews were over, he was cheered back to the Ferrari motorhome in the paddock as well.

The 1982 race could hardly have been more different. Rain was in the air then, too, although it never fell in the race, but the heavy clouds matched the atmosphere of one of the darkest weekends in one of F1's bleakest years.

Ferrari driver Didier Pironi arrived in Hockenheim that weekend leading the world championship - and hot favourite to win the title in a car that had become the class of the field.

But in a soaking wet practice session on Saturday morning, the Frenchman suffered a horrendous accident, running unsighted into the back of Alain Prost's Renault, somersaulting through the air and cartwheeling into the barriers. His legs were gravely injured - the doctors considered on-the-scene amputation only for Prost to plead with them not to go ahead - and Pironi's season was over. In fact, he never raced again, and was killed in a powerboat accident in 1987.

Pironi's accident left Patrick Tambay as the sole Ferrari representative. Tambay had got his drive as a replacement for his close friend, the legendary Gilles Villeneuve, who had been killed at the Belgian Grand Prix earlier in the season following a dispute with Pironi.

Villeneuve's death was the first of two fatalities that season. Italian novice Riccardo Paletti had been killed at the Canadian Grand Prix in June - his car was engulfed in flames after crashing into the stalled car of Pironi at the start.

So with Pironi out of the picture, the race was fundamentally between the Brabham-BMW of Nelson Piquet, the Renaults of Rene Arnoux and Alain Prost and Tambay. You can watch the full "Grand Prix" programme from 1982 here:

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Watch short highlights of the 1961 German Grand Prix
Watch short highlights of the 1982 German Grand Prix
Watch short highlights of the 1991 German Grand Prix
Watch short highlights of the 2008 German Grand Prix

(The races will be available in the UK on the red button on satellite and cable from 1400 on Thursday until 0830 on Friday, and again from 2000 on Friday until 1400 on Saturday. Unfortunately, there is no available space on Freeview).

This was the year that Brabham decided to reintroduce refuelling to F1 - and it led to some fascinating races in which either Piquet or his team-mate Riccardo Patrese streaked away at the front in the first half of the race as they tried to make up enough time to stop for fuel and fresh tyres and stay in front.

Amazingly, it was never possible to find out because any number of situations occurred to stop the Brabhams seeing their strategy through to the end. Usually, it was because they broke down. And they may have done that in Hockenheim, too, but this time fate intervened in a different way.

Coming up to lap Salazar's ATS shortly before he was due to make his stop, Piquet tried to go around the outside into the second chicane, the Ostkurve, only for the Brabham's left rear tyre to catch the right front of the Salazar's car and pitch them both out of the race.

Piquet - who had also stopped at the scene of Pironi's accident the day before - was livid, leapt out of his car, and kicked out at Salazar and punched him on the head, the pointlessness of doing so when the Chilean still had his helmet only emphasising his rage.

Tambay, meanwhile, had quietly dispensed with the two Renaults and motored on to a serene and cathartic victory.

Now, to wrap up, I will address your concerns about the five races we chose in the first place.

The idea is to give a nice selection of races that whets people's appetite for what's to come. We know we will leave some good races out - sometimes that is deliberate, sometimes it is because we forgot about them. In this case, it is a mixture of both.

But that doesn't matter. Firstly, because it generates debate. And secondly, because we actively want you to make your suggestions as to the races we have missed - and that's because we intend to continue this feature next year.

We're glad you like it, and we're thrilled to be able to bring it to you - and that we have many more classic grands prix to show you over the rest of our contract to show F1.


  • Comment number 1.

    Sounds like a really good highlightes selection.

    Just a real shame its not available on Freeview - so whats filling up the space there?

  • Comment number 2.

    "Hakkinen and Trulli decided to fit wet tyres, but Barrichello felt it was worth gambling staying on wets and it paid off magnificently."

    Shurely shome mishtake?

  • Comment number 3.

    That'll be the cricket

  • Comment number 4.

    Surely 2007 is worthy of a video? Torrential rain. Spyker leading a race and leading the restart. Hamilton woeful. Alonso taking Massa on the outside...

  • Comment number 5.

    Thankyou very much Andrew, another great selection.

    But, quite frankly, 2000 and 2008 were by far the best. No question. Brilliatnt, brilliant races from those two years.

    Thanks again Andrew.

  • Comment number 6.

    Brilliant selection - as usual. Shame it isn't on the red button but I suppose you can't have everything.

    Keep up the good work... Looking forward to watching Piquet fighting like some demented puppet again :)


  • Comment number 7.

    Not on Freeview again!

    Flipping cricket is on the flipping radio and so IMHO its pointless wasting bandwith for Freeview viewers.

    Two in a row makes me a disgruntled license fee payer.


  • Comment number 8.

    I'm just glad I have the 1982 German GP to add to my "Grand Prix" collection.

  • Comment number 9.

    3rd race in a row not on freeview...and its stupid because there are old programs on there

    and when the tennis was on..suddenly there are days of free space 24/7 for new tennis..old tennis..yesturday at wimbeldon,.........etc

    why cant you even spare 2 hours for classic GP

    and why wait until thursday...there are only 2 channels actice on Sky?

  • Comment number 10.

    Re Mr Neutron, yes, thanks for pointing that out. That's corrected now.

  • Comment number 11.

    Some people really need to try and understand that 2007 was NOT the German Grand Prix, it was the EUROPEAN Grand Prix, that's why it wasn't an option. It's quite poor seeing just how many people fail to know this.

  • Comment number 12.

    Hi all,

    Due to some extra space becoming available the classic Grands Prix will start running on Digital Satellite and Cable from about midday today - right through until Saturday.

    We are looking at the freeview schedule and hope to show the Grands Prix at some point this week - but live cricket commentary and other live events are unlikely to be replaced.


  • Comment number 13.

    1982 Highlights link is incorrect. It should be:

    (Being clever I guessed that the extra 0 after the seven digit file code was superfluous.)

  • Comment number 14.

    Andrew, love this feature and keep up the good work.

    I hope in future you can show 2 winning choices as you have here and on occasion in the past, as it seems many people are voting for the 1980's footage everytime so we get a 30min Grand Prix Programme (me included sometimes), as opposed to just voting for the best GP.

    Gutted these can't be shown on Freeview as i've been recording them for keeps when they have. Any chance you could push for a window in the freeview schedule? I'd be happy if it was 1am to 6am - at least we could record it on freeview.

    Many Thanks.

    (PS, give the boys and girls in the BBC archives a nudge. Your previous posts have implied footage has gone missing and the archives aren't what they should be. Surely the archive is logged on a database nowadays)


  • Comment number 15.

    One of my memories of watching the 2000 GP in the hotel bar in Malta was the Germans leaving almost en masse after the first lap after Schumacher's departure.

    One of my most striking memories was that Ricardo Zonta was going to win. Closing on DC, HHF and Rubens, with all on slicks, it looked like he was in with chance. Unfortunately he got what I thought an undeserved drive-through, lost concentration and crashed.

  • Comment number 16.

    hi swerve, how would you record them?

  • Comment number 17.

    Andrew writes "But that doesn't matter. Firstly, because it generates debate. And secondly, because we actively want you to make your suggestions as to the races we have missed - and that's because we intend to continue this feature next year."

    On a positive note, it's great tto hear that the concept will continue. I for one hope that the BBC are indeed learning from the feedback of the viewers. What I hope for next season is a change in format:

    I hope you guys take a lot at what FujiTV in Japan have been doing for the past few years. They have been taking 8 races per season and showing them in full (yes, that is the full races as if live) in chronological order. The positive feeback FujiTV has proved the format was fully justified.

    Most important of all, I really hope the BBC gets its own archive in order and once this has been done, to track down things they are missing from the appropriate places. I've already mentioned before that Channel 9 in Australia used to broadcast races live as far back as 1981 using Walker and Hunt's commentary, when even we in blighty had to put up with poxy highlights or races continuously interrupted by horse racing, dog racing, nose picking championships etc.

    Maybe you can clear this up for the immediate future..... what I don't understand is why are we faced with the situation where we are suddenly faced with an option of 5 or six races that you guys have drawn up? You mentioned last time that it takes time to track the races down in the archives department and you do this well in advance before the actual week the races are broadcast....well why cant you simply give us a heads up the moment you actually find what is available and what isn't and then we'll have less of a hobson's choice scenario. For instance as you may have noticed I really failed to agree with the justifaction of showing the 1991 German GP which was apparently due to the need to show the cliche rivalry between Senna and Prost. Well if that was the case, 1989 would have been a choice that was 100 times better - the 91 GP was simply a non-event! In this exisiting format , we want more of a say - i'm not doubting yor skill and knowledge of contemporary Grand Prix, but if we are going to have classics presented to us, surely it would make sense to use a Grand Prix historian such as Nigel Roebuck to give you a hand?

    You simply MUST spell out the format of voting and its implications more clearly from NOW!!! Too many people are unable to understand the conseuences of voting for races prior to 1997. This needs to be on the top of the page bold and clear for all to see that any race after 1997 will be shown a maximum of 5 mins AND the fact that they will be shown anyway. I URGE you not to put up for vote post 1996 races if the exisitng format continues. People are just confused or voting like headless chickens.

    I'll end this on a positive note and say once again, it is great that you are willing to listen - I dont think the BBC understands what a hit the classic GP idea is and more so, what a bigger hit it could be with the pundits if it could just fine tune some aspects. You have the rights to rebraodcast these old races, finally, we want you to take full advantage of it.


  • Comment number 18.

    @#4 m5_rcc: That was a European GP, it will probably be offered as an option for the GP in Valencia, as that now holds the European GP title.

    Thanks for the extended highlights of 1982 Andrew, I thought we were going to miss out on our 'Grand Prix' fix this weekend. :)

  • Comment number 19.

    Same as most things on the BBC, "Not available in your area", does Milton Keynes realy have such different copywright laws to the rest of the country?

  • Comment number 20.

    Thanks guys. I personally think this segment is only supposed to be relatively small given the huge amount of F1 coverage on the BBC. The current voting format is fine.

    I'd personally advocate next year showing full races for post-96 events. I kind of guess though that would be a lot of bandwidth to muster.

  • Comment number 21.

    Erm, it's on the red button on Freeview right now! Typical BBC not publicising their own service correctly!

  • Comment number 22.

    I'm not buying into $ky or Freesat (are they available on Freesat?) just for the numerous occasions where they're not available on Freeview.

    Should the BBC really commit to showing full races and/or more than just one 'full highlight' show I might consider it.

    Until then I have a wasted vote as Freeview users are very poorly served. That and the fact none of the kiddies want to see any races other than those which they've already seen. The lack of interest in the '61 race is unfathomable.

  • Comment number 23.

    I too can't understand why anyone would have voted for last season's race...for goodness sake! I'm glad that '82 won. Unfortunately footage tends to be a bit limited for races before the mid '70's...I don't know how much was available for the '61 race.

  • Comment number 24.

    Not at all related to this, but I'm surprised the BBC F1 website hasn't updated with the FOTA/FIA news from Germany.

  • Comment number 25.

    I think that if the next track is at a circuit, the classic GP's should only be from that circuit.

    None of the races in the Classic GP's were from the NEW nurburgring track. Four of them were hockinheim and the other was the long nurbugring around the 14.5M track.

    I was suprised to see no 2007, but 1982!!!
    Murry said after the 82 race "it might not have been an exciting race...", i'm sure Murry Walker would have chosen 2007 over 1982...

    But i'm not really bothered, i'm just happy that the BBC have so much more than ITV did. I'm Lovin the BBC!!!!

    Thanks Andrew!

  • Comment number 26.

    As germany 2007 was called the "EUROPEAN GP" i hope that means when we come to Valencia, we have the 2007 highlights available and all the other "EUROPEAN GP'S from nurbugring"

    2008 highlights of valencia repeated over and over again would bore any F1 FAN!! it was so boring!

  • Comment number 27.

    Swerve1: People are not voting for 80's races because we just get a longer programme it is because as i have said time and time again you guys voting for races after 1996 are wasting your votes. Andrew has already said that any races voted for after 1996 will get just 5 minutes due to the BBC rights yet so many people continue to vote for them. Win or lose all options are shown for 5 minutes anyway so you are WASTING your vote if you vote for anything after 1996. Us who vote for the 1980's races are just using our brains that's all - come join us! :)

  • Comment number 28.

    Big slap on the back to the BBC for bumping the Classics on Freeview this evening.

    Really appreciate it. Thank you BBC.

    I echo the sentiments of post #17. The voting/classics need to be revised. I think we should vote for which BBC Grand Prix highlights for each relevant Grand Prix and let Andrew/BBC team can dig something from the archives for short highlights.

  • Comment number 29.

    Jonvic80 - I agree with your points. I think your merely reiterating what i've said. We vote for the 80's races because the post 97 footage is 5mins whether it wins or loses. I agree and vote likewise on every previous occasion (except on this one occasion because the 80's choices were pretty poor in my opinion, though i still respect Andrews choices).

    The one thing i don't get is the BBC obviously have the full footage of many GP's from the 80's and 90's. They have obviously given rights for other broacasters to show this footage with Murray commentating..etc, such as ESPN, Channel 9 in Oz..etc, Yet they don't seem to be able to find the footage here. I'm assuming they haven't given the master tapes to these other TV companies so it must be somewhere in Broadcasting House.

    Again, i don't want all this to detract from this feature which is an excellent idea, and i'm glad Andrew is pushing it for every GP weekend, well done to him. You just get the impression the archive team give him 6 or 7 random GP's that they've 'found' and the poor bloke has to make the best of it. I'm assuming the archive is digitally catalogued nowadays so the races are either all there or some have been deleted.

    Again, i must reiterate that this is a brilliant feature that i enjoy and look forward to and i really appreciate the fact Andrew gets back to us.

  • Comment number 30.

    I have a feeling that some races may have suffered from the BBC 'doctor who deletion' problem - i.e. they were wiped. If you have not heard about this then google 'missing doctor who episodes' and see what the BBC did - i hope this did not happen for F1 races from the late 60's and early 70's.....

  • Comment number 31.

    I for one and quite happy that footage from the ITV era (1997 - 2008) is limited to 5 mins only (even that is too much!). Like many others have mentioned, it seems rather odd to put it mildly that people wish to vote for races because they can "remember it". Coverage of GP's from the last 20 years is extremely easy to come by either on the internet, personal recordings or season reviews produced by Duke. It just seems an incredible waste of time, effort and opportunity to vote for such nonsense. Kids are obviously going to disagree with me, call me an old git, but i'm not even 30! This desire to see races from the 00's and 90's seems completely illogical to be and to be frank, annoying!

    I want to see rare footage, footage that we haven't been able to see before or for a very long time. I want to see races from the 80's at the latest and especially the 70's and 60's and 50's when ever possible.

    And why limit this to just classic GP's? You could for instance as I have suggested before show the 160 mph lap by Keke Rosberg qualifying for the 1985 British GP or how about rebraodcasting the 1983 F3 championship which featured a certain Senna and Mr Brundle. The BBC covered that championship, and I would love to see those legendary races.

    And why is it Andrew that ESPN Classic have got hold of original BBC items from the 1970's but yet the BBC itself can not track them down?

    Come clean, tell us what the BBC has on its shelf. The BBC coverage was broadcasted in various other countries too, Australia, Canada, South Africa for example, can you not try to relocate lost footage?

    Would be nice if you could get back to us on these points.

    Oh yes, and full races is the way forward, season by season!

  • Comment number 32.

    OK, I'm much, much happier now it's on Freeview. Well done BBC, and thank you.

  • Comment number 33.

    Cheers Andy, for getting longer ITV highlights than just the five minutes, and you managed to get the ITV commentary team as well!

    Good job!

  • Comment number 34.

    Senna27 - i'm not sure i expect that much. I'm slightly older, but pretty sure the BBC only started showing all rounds of the world championship in the very late 1970's, so there isn't an abundance of footage the BBC would own from before then. I think other than that they just used to the the British GP and maybe Monaco in terms of full races.

    The only other footage they may have will be the news reports like the one from 1961 mentioned here.

    Though there are season reviews available, they don't have the voice of Murray Walker on. For me, this is the main reason why i enjoy these old races. I just love his 'trousers on fire' style of commentary. Thats why its the BBC footage i'd like to see.

    As for the ITV era, i wouldn't say 5mins is enough in all cases. If memory serves, 1997 to 2000 the Championship went down to the last race each year, with 1998 being personally my favorite season ever. Though again, the BBC are limited on what they can show here. I'm surprised they even have the rights to show highlights of these races.

    By the way.. Hockenheim now on Freeview - Good work Andrew & BBC.

    Also BBC/Andrew, don't let this healthy debate put you off. Providing you can squeeze these races onto Freeview, this feature is great.

  • Comment number 35.

    Having read about the 'scrabble' for freeview slots the BBC often encounters i feel Andrew must have fought our corner to get these on freeview in the middle of the week - many thanks for the effort :)

  • Comment number 36.

    Glad to see the footage on Freeview, but one question.

    For Australia, Spain and Monaco we had two full BBC 'Grand Prix' Highlights programmes along with the usual five minute ITV clips. Now we only appear to get one full programme and the same ITV segments.

    Has the time allocated for Classic F1 been cut? I don't know about other people, but I am starting to feel a little short-changed.

    Don't mean to sound ungrateful, but when you set the bar so high at the beginning, it is what comes to be expected all the time.

  • Comment number 37.

    I'm so disappointed.

    I'm not interested in seeing races from 2 or 3 years ago, they're hardly classic, they're contemporary.

    Especially when it comes to tracks that have been recently butchered!

    Hockenheim lost all it's appeal to me once Bernie's bulldozers came along and demolished the old, high-speed circuit. Hockenheim used to be THE test of power, very fitting for a German grand prix, with the host nations' autobahns and the old motorway circuit (whos name escapes me right this minute, you know, the one that was essentially a length of autobahn with a hairpin either end).

    Essentially, anything that ITV have on file should be ommited from the choices, besides, they're all on Youtube anyway, complete with commentary of Mr. Allen, which may be a horrible, irritiating noise, but it does at least reference what you're viewing. Sorry 5 Live.

    Here's a question for you all though, about the Belgian grand prix of yesteryear. Before the days of pit-lane speed limits (when men were men, and children had their feet hacked off by front wings) Jean Alesi, in a Ferrari, came into the pits, changed tyres and got out IN front of whom he was following as he went in.

    What year was that? It was definately a BBC year, so maybe we can have that race on the red button for this yearsw' Belgian HP?

    Bourdais for the win!

  • Comment number 38.

    Senna 27, you're alright

  • Comment number 39.

    Hi Andrew, my Classic Hungary suggestions...

    1986 - Senna and Piquet duel.
    1989 - Mansell drive through the field, interesting battle upfront all race.
    1992 - Mansell clinching the championship.
    1997 - Damon Hill's greatest ever drive (?)
    2006 - Honda's only F1 victory, great wet weather racing in the early part too.

  • Comment number 40.

    Yet again the highlights are not on Freeview. Now I understand that you have other things to show on there but I looked at what was being shown at 18:30 today and its was Golf on one channel (Fair enough), and blank screen on the other with the guide saying that there was not going to be anything shown on the channel between 18:30 and 0:00. So why were the highlights not shown in that gap??? You say that you have no space available on freeview but it is quite clear that there is a 5 and a half hour gap with nothing being shown.

    I hope a member of the BBC can answer that question for me as I would really like to know why.

    As to the voting for these races, perhaps you should show full Grand Prix highlights for all those before 1997 and 5-10 minutes for the ITV ones, and then we vote on which race was actually the best, rather than vote on the ones we want to see. I'm sure I would of voted for 2000 in this weeks choices but because I knew that we might not get full Grand Prix highlights of another one, then I didn't. Voting for the one we think is best when we have seen them means that races like 1961 would have more of a chance of winning and would provide people with the knowledge of what the majority of people thought was the best race.

    Those mentioning the 2007 race at nurgurgring or the others that have taken place on the circuit since the new track was built, it was actually called the EUROPEAN GP or LUXEMBOURG GP.

  • Comment number 41.

    The highlights were shown on Freeview yesterday (Wednesday), between 18:00 and midnight.

  • Comment number 42.

    The ITV era races are 'not' all on Youtube! As I said before, I tried searching for the '99 Malaysian race - best I could get was the Aussie intro and parade lap! Maybe the other 'winning' recent races are but after my search for Malaysia '99 was fruitless I decided I couldn't be bothered with the rest of them.

    Personally I vote for whichever race is either the best(if I can remember it) or sounds interesting(if it's old school). I have to say I'm annoyed that the Beeb's pre-1978 race archive seems to be substandard to put it politely because having enjoyed more detailed highlights from the 80s, it would be good to get that same level of detail from the 60s and 70s.

    I should certainly not have to limit my choices to 1978-96, and I don't on principle.

    As for Germany 2000 well, yeah I remember the nutter, if memory serves he'd just been fired by one of the big German car companies and wanted to protest.

    As for the race itself, well I vaguely remember being happier about Schumacher crashing out early than I was about Barrichello winning, though I do remember a general good feeling about Rubens winning.

  • Comment number 43.

    flukielukas, I like the Hungaroring choices there.

    '89 should definately be on freeview when the time comes!

    There's not really a lot of choice when it comes to excitement in Hungary, was '97 the year that Damon's Arrows gave up with a lap or two left?

  • Comment number 44.

    Well if the races were shown on Freeview then why did Andrew say they were not going to be shown??? I'm not saying they were not shown, I just want to know why we were not told and why when there was another gap in the listings that they were not shown? I know I would of been able to watch them when Neo-Slider said they were on, but due to not being told they were on, and the fact I have bandwidth limits, I have been unable to watch them. Some communication is clearly lacking here.


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