I grew up in western Pennsylvania, USA not far from Watkins Glen speedway in lower NY where F1 raced for many years. As I learned the finer points of motor racing watching IMSA, F1 and CART series, I was schooled by none other than Sir Jackie Stewart as a commentator for ABC Sports. Jackie had earned my respect as a 3 Times F1 Champ and nothing was cooler to an impressionable young man than a champion auto racer with a Scottish accent telling the rest of the world about cars and driving fast. But Sir Jackie has let me down this time.
I'd like to say that while I agree that everyone should have the privilege of a voice, (an opportunity to express their opinion), I am equally adamant that not everyone should express it.
In a recent interview with ESPN's Nate Saunders, Sir Jackie addressed the issue of Lewis Hamilton's refusal of Mercedes Team orders to pick up the pace at the end of the race to assure a podium finish for Merc Teammate Nico Rosberg thereby securing Rosberg the Driver's Championship for 2016. As we know, had Nico finished 4th or worse, then Lewis would have won his 4th Championship Tile surpassing his boyhood idol and arguably the best F1 driver of all time, Ayrton Senna. Rather than follow instructions from Team Boss Toto Wolffe, Hamilton slowed his pace backing up the field behind him in an apparent attempt to have Rosberg passed and thereby securing HIS Championship.
Sir Jackie responded to this action of Hamilton by calling him a "ballerina", going on to say,
Now again, I love Jackie Stewart. He was, in my youngest of days, a man I greatly admired. He is a living icon of the motor racing world. But, Sir Jackie is a little bit out of the loop as it comes to administering a modern F1 Team, and (perhaps more importantly), his experience can in no way shape or form be compared to Hamilton's experiences, or the experiences of the modern F1 driver and their Teams.
So I guess the question is this: Do you think Jackie Stewart is going to pull over and allow a teammate to secure the Wolrd Championship without a fight? Does he really expect any racing driver to ignore the drive within themselves to win? Does he think that the creation of teams and team Bosses means the elimination of the racers spirit?
Hypocrite. Sir Jackie Stewart lead the first driver's strikes in F1. Why didn't he just do what the people that were paying him told him to do? His Team owners wanted them to drive, Jackie Stewart not only refused, but openly championed this same rebellion against team owners by other drivers. At Watkins Glen the weekend that Francois Cevert was killed, the man that paid Jackie wanted him to drive - knowing that it was going to be his last race anyway, and Stewart in open rebellion to his Team Bosse, he refused (with good cause I might add).
I grow tired of grandstanding hypocrites. Icons of a sport or not, don't criticise what you did not exercise yourself. I love you Sir, Jackie, but you're dead wrong about this - and I think you know it.