Grand Prix: Killer Years – Opinions?

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    The documentary was repeated on BBC2 last night, I was wondering who watched it and what opinion do people form of it?

    I found it served a reminder to younger fans of F1 about the dangers that were involved in the sport they love but it times, it did cross the line in terms of ‘impact’ and was filled with inaccuracies which got me rather annoyed. I got the feeling they were sensationalising and over dramatising a serious matter.


    It’s still available on the iPlayer of course, and I’d urge any F1 fan to watch it. Like you, LiteralF1, the innacuracies and opening ‘pitch’ made me quite cross, but it’s worth a watch for the historic footage if nothing else.

    There’s a really good sequence in particular of an in-car lap of what looks like Oulton Park in the early to mid-sixties where the proximity of unprotected trees to the race track makes your toes curl.

    An interesting comparison towards the end where Jochen Rindt tries to refuse to drive the Lotus 72, prefering the 49 because he didn’t trust the new car. Whereas Emerson Fitipaldi enthuses over the 72 “I loved it and it loved me!”


    Just watched it on the iplayer, it certainly doesn’t pull it’s punches with the graphic material, but there’s a lot of other video that I hadn’t seen before. I’m not sure the Williamson crash was the best place to end, it didn’t really resolve anything and the stat about the next season was more of a statistical anomaly. I suppose it did allow them to dig deeper into that period though, and keep the blatant British bias which runs through the program :P.

    I think we all should watch something like this once in a while, just to remind ourselves how lucky we are that safety has improved so much. Senna was the last great driver to die in an F1 race, long may it remain that way.


    “Senna was the last great driver to die in an F1 race, long may it remain that way.”

    Senna was THE last driver to die in an F1 race, but it does not matter whether he was a great driver or not. Any life lost is a waste, regardless of rank.


    We already have a thread on this, even if it’s bumped down to the second page now…but we might as well keep the most recent one going!

    I’m surprised that a lot of “professional opinion” has actually criticised the film, calling it exploitative because of its graphic footage. I’m sorry but how can you accurately get across how horrible those days were without footage and images?

    Then there are complaints that some of the footage is not F1, true the documentary does portray itself to be about F1 but “Grand Prix” doesn’t mean “F1” exclusively and it is the title after all.

    Only major thing I thought it was lacking were proper pieces about Cevert’s and Rindt’s deaths (unless I was dozing, I was quite tired!). There are apparently a few factual error in the programme which can’t be excused, but that’s my only quibbles.


    There was a fair bit about the death of Jochen Rindt if I remember rightly but nothing about Cevert. The main focus seemed to be on Jim Clark’s death, and the fact that if the best driver in the world could be killed anyone could which had a very profound effect on the drivers of the time.

    It was certainly shocking to me about the expendable attitude of people towards drivers, and the attitudes encountered by JYS at that time as he tried to instigate the changes needed(i.e.clerk of the courses at Spa and Nurburgring).

    The most shocking image to me was with Lorenzo Bandini lying slumped in his car, his overalls still smouldering because of heat from the fire. As I understand it he was still alive too at that time, and died later in hospital. Horrific to consider nowadays that such incidents not only happened but were frequent.

    I think the program sent a strong message, even with the inaccuracies of an era of F1 that should never be forgotten.


    Icthyes, if by professional opinion you mean by the comments of Dan Cross and Maurice Hamilton (which I have collated along with my views on the subject in a more verbose manner here http://literalf1.com/2011/08/24/%e2%98%af-grand-prix-killer-years/ ).

    There are many many inaccuracies in the film, from pronouncing surviving drivers dead to using F2 and F3 races material. The agenda behind the film seems to be over dramatising and creating an added artificial impact on something that really does NOT need to be over dramatised.

    We don’t need graphic videos of Bandini played multiple times and we don’t need incorrect facts to realise that a driver (or marshall or spectator) has died. A death is a death and a death too many in my view. I find the need to exaggerate taking away from the sanctity of the message the documentary aimed to provide.

    Also I touched in my article on how I was disgusted at the publics callous attitude towards driver deaths and almost accepting F1 as a death game! What are people’s views on that? I’m just 19 myself so obviously can’t fully comprehend the mindset then but it sounds shocking to me!

    If there was another thread on page two, I’m sorry I didn’t see it! Will look harder next time :)


    I really don’t think it was trying to over-dramatise things, for one thing the narrator’s tone never changed and most of the deaths (including obviously the ones that didn’t die) didn’t have footage either. And if they really wanted graphic detail, they could have extended it to Gilles Villeneuve, which you can find on youtube and I wish I’d never ever seen. Personally I don’t find the picture of a car rolling and bursting into flames graphic and I’m the kind of person who can’t watch horror films lol. If we had seen lots of bodies (we did see one at one point) then I’d agree.

    And multiple threads is just a silly bugbear of mine, don’t worry ;-)

    Prisoner Monkeys

    It’s on YouTube. I watched the first five minutes, but couldn’t keep with it.


    I thought it was quite good, but getting some of those facts wrong is pretty poor, as is ignoring what might have been the real cause of Clark’s death so that they could run with Chapman = evil.


    I thought it was fantastic, but thought that Cevert’s death should have been covered.


    2nd time its been shown on TV, i watched it before and recorded/watched it again. Powerful program. I dont think it crossed the line in its impact, this was a time when people died horrible deaths in ways we cant get our heads around today. Perhaps it should have been a 90minute show, covering Ceverts death but you have to draw the line somewhere, or it will go up to Lauda’s crash at the ’76 German GP, or Petersons death from Monza 78…

    The video of seeing Roger Williamson dying in that car though, is by far the most powerful video they used, even now its hard to believe it all happened (inadequate steward clothing, drivers continuing, no fire engine etc)

    I felt that Chapman got too much of a bashing, whilst theres some merit to it (particualy with Rindts death) its not like people only died in a Lotus at the time, and driver safety was non-existent in any car beit Ferrari, Brabham, BRM or otherwise.

    On Jochen Rindt & the ’72, I read David Tremaynes Bio of him which witnesses explain he initally hated the car but liked it by the time of Hockenheim when it was pretty sorted to drive. The reason he wanted the 49 at Monza was because it was more stable w/o the wings on the car, which they took off for higher top end.


    To be fair, Cevert was covered earlier this year in the BBC documentary on Jackie Stewart. They would have probably ended up repeating a section if they’d had featured him. I was a little surprised they didn’t mention Moss either though, as his crash was career ending


    I don’t want to come over as callous and uncaring or defending the indefensible but times have changed for the better so the past seems incomprehensible. Consider that in the 60’s:

    1. World War 2 was more recent than the death of Ayrton Senna is now.

    2. People chose not to wear seatbelts despite the horrific road toll.

    3. People were much more likely to die from disease younger than they are now

    4, Industrial accidents and fatalities were commonplace

    I could go on and on but I just want to make the point that the status quo takes time to change, people were not callous or indifferent, it was just the way it was, sadly. All credit to Jackie Stewart for rising to the challenge and making a difference.


    Sorry to pick holes in your argument, but I find your argument incorrect I’m afraid.

    1. World War 2 ended in 1945 and was therefore 15 years ago in 1960. Ayrton Senna died 17 years ago and therefore only until 1962 does your argument make sense.

    2. The reason why F1 drivers chose not to wear seatbelts was because it was safer to be thrown clear than be trapped in a burning car. Road users did not wear seatbelts because not all cars were fitted with seatbelts.

    3. Less people died only because of the lack of technology we now have today.

    4. I’m not sure where you’re getting your data from for this argument.

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