f1 confession

Of Drowning Contests and Champagne Spraying

So, since someone asked about where these two came from on F1 Confessions and I was the anon that submitted that confession (as I didn’t have an account at the time) and there really isn’t enough characters in the ask box and it doesn’t allow paragraphs….

Drowning Contest: The 1962 world championship came down to the final in South Africa that year with Graham Hill and Jim Clark fighting for glory. Before the race, Graham joked that they should have a drowning contest to decide who would be the champion. Despite being a rather poor swimmer, Jim agreed…on the condition that Graham went first. Graham won and Jim, in good gesture, gave a loser’s speech:

“We all knew BRM had to win something this year to remain in business, and we all really wanted them to, but this is ridiculous…”

Graham did end up winning the championship after all when Jim (who needed to win the race and Graham not to score any points to get the championship) retired with an oil leak.

Champagne Spraying: In 1967, as part of their attempt to win Le Mans, Ford had placed Dan Gurney and AJ Foyt in a team. Between AJ being having no experience in European car racing (and generally sticking to America and her more oval based racing) and the fierce rivalry between the two Americans in general as well as them needing to basically make a big dent in the roof of the car because Dan was so blooming tall (6'3"), very few were rating the pair’s chances, even a few within their own team! A part for the first 90 minutes of the race, the pair led the entire race and won by four laps to their nearest rivals. After being given their bottles of champagne and seeing many of his doubters in front of the podium, Dan shook then sprayed his bottle over everyone.

A week later and Dan won again, this time at the F1 Belgian Grand Prix. Not only was his forth win in his career but it was the first win in his own team, Eagle. For the second time in a week, Dan sprayed the champagne in celebration, pretty much cementing the act as part of racing tradition.