Football: Graeme Le Saux
Improvements have been there for all to see in recent years, in the shape of better stadiums and a higher quality of player coming from abroad. The game is now more socially acceptable, with more women and families attending, and more money than ever is coming into the game. Because it is working, it does not mean it cannot work better, however.
I worry that people are in danger of being priced out of the game in this market-led era. It may sound strange coming from one whose salary has benefited from the increased revenue - though I believe I am only paid relative to what my club is earning - but I do think that the game must resolve to spend wisely the money being generated.
At Blackburn we are fortunate that we have a new purpose-built training centre, but when Fabrizio Ravanelli was quoted as criticising training facilities and coaching in Britain last week, issues that were highlighted by the Independent on Sunday a few weeks ago, I believe it was no bad thing. Sometimes our game does need a kick up the backside.
Another problem that may soon need to be confronted is the wage differential within clubs, which can cause bad feeling. The fan is unlikely to sympathise with any squabbling; for them the prices they pay for tickets and replica merchandise need to be monitored closely and more thought must be given to how often clubs change their strips. I welcome the idea that new England strips will carry a date on the label telling the purchaser when the shirt will be supplanted.
As a player, the main change I would make in the English game is the introduction of professional referees. Everything about our game has developed, from television coverage to the professionalism of the players, with improved training and diets, but I believe refereeing has not kept pace. They say referees cannot be any fitter but though they may train hard between games, I don't see that.
It is not just a matter of fitness. If referees were full-time, they would be more attuned to the culture and fellowship within football. I don't believe that you can be a schoolteacher five days a week and then understand footballers on a Saturday afternoon. They would have more time to attend meetings with players and managers, or to discuss issues among themselves.
As a defender, I hate getting punished harshly for an attacker's piece of skill. By that, I mean that I can be going for the ball but be lured into an unintentional foul, for which I might receive a booking.
Many referees do not understand the difference between going for the ball and malicious intent. These days the bone-crunchers have mostly disappeared, but there is more subtle deviousness within the game, with players able to draw a foul or commit one less overtly, and I believe a full-time referee would be more aware of this.
I would also like to see more differentials in punishments. For example, another colour of card would be introduced to show what is and what is not a malicious offence. It seems ridiculous that some mild dissent can receive a yellow, the same as a bad tackle. This would also add to the spectators' appreciation of the game.
We also have to look at the use of technology. At first, a "third eye" would probably only be used to determine whether a ball had crossed the line for a goal, rather than to review offsides, but who knows what other advances will be made? The principle needs to be established.
One thing that we have to ensure. As we hurtle towards the 21st century, the game must remain in control of money and technology, rather than be controlled by them.
Graeme Le Saux, the Blackburn footballer, has 12 England caps.
Cricket: Mike Gatting
The big challenge next year is of course the Ashes series against Australia - if I had one wish for English cricket in 1997 then it would have to be to win the Ashes back. Can we do it? I think a lot depends on how much confidence we have coming back from the winter tours and whether we're going to have to rebuild the team. Provided the spirit is right, then we've got a very good chance.
My experience with the A team in Australia this winter leads me to feel pretty optimistic about the state of the game in England. You hear people say that there aren't any good young English cricketers, and that always saddens me. I think we showed out there that it's not the case. There are three or four players from that tour who I think will be knocking on the door of the Test team next summer, and maybe another three or four who haven't been on either the A or senior tours this winter.
Adam Hollioake responded very well to the challenge as A team captain. I tried to stand back a bit and let him run the show as he wanted, and he got a lot out of the boys. What was really pleasing was that we did everything in a great spirit, whether it was on the pitch or going out for a meal in the evening.
Adam was forthright, positive, and aggressive, and he wasn't afraid to tell people what he wanted and what he expected. Tactically he's still got things to learn, but that's understandable. As for becoming the Test captain, I think he'd do a very good job, but at the moment I think there are still probably two or three candidates ahead of him. But he's very relaxed about it and that may be no bad thing. You don't necessarily want someone who's going round desperately seeking the captaincy.
We'll have a new England management committee and a new chairman of selectors by the start of the summer - someone who I think needs to be respected by the players and can provide a sense of direction. Whoever it is should be able to stand back and take an overall view, but if it's to be a younger man who has played with a lot of the guys he's looking at and played against the opposition then that can only be a good thing.
We've tended to pick a lot of Test players over the summer, but for some reason we always seem to suffer a lot with injuries. Also I think it's fair to say that we're still looking for a strike bowler, and we've been at sixes and sevens over our choice of spinner, so that's why the bowling has changed round so much. We had a pretty settled top six at the end of last summer, but I'd still like to see Mark Butcher coming into the reckoning after his A tour.
As for the new English Cricket Board, I don't see it being very different to begin with from the old Test and County Cricket Board because you've still got quite a few of the same people in the same jobs. For me the really interesting appointment is that of Lord MacLaurin as the new chairman of the ECB. He'll be a breath of fresh air and will get the right people in the right places and will give the game credibility. He's renowned in business and where maybe there's been a lack of business organisation in cricket he's a person who can sort it out. He understands how teams work, whether it's on the field or in administration, and that's what we need.
Wednesday starts in the County Championship is another change. Whichever day the matches start on doesn't bother me, but the main thing is to be able to play four consecutive days rather than having to stop in the middle for a Sunday game. I don't think there is anywhere in the world that does that. Four-day cricket is hard enough as it is, let alone when interrupted.
Mike Gatting is captain of Middlesex and a former England captain. He coached England A on their recent tour of Australia.
Rugby union: Fran Cotton
South Africa, where I will take the Lions on tour in the summer, will be a very big test for British rugby. We're going into the world champions' backyard and you can't get a bigger challenge than that. We've got to pick players to play the game plan necessary to win and I think we are very lucky that we have got a quality coaching team who can get the very best out of them. I hope that all that adds up to the ability to win a Test series. We will find out in May and June.
The only difference ever, in my view, between southern and northern hemispheres rugby is that their competitive structures have always been stronger than ours. Way before Super 10s or Super 12s, South Africa had the Currie Cup and New Zealand had the Ranfurly Shield. The result is that their players have consistently played at a higher level than ours.
I would like to see a pan- European regional structure, where the clubs combine at a higher level. We have all listened to Wales coming back home, having been hammered in Australia, and Scotland in New Zealand, all talking about the need for a Super 12 style of competition. But we are absolutely no nearer to putting one in place.
My fear is if we do not do that over the next 12 months or two years we are going to be left for dead by the southern hemisphere again. Two areas need to be addressed. Our present administrative structures are not appropriate for a professional approach. I have just come back from South Africa and I was very, very impressed by theirs.
We have got to change ours and do it quickly. And, as I have said, our competitive structures are not good enough. It is as simple as that. Until they are good enough, and compare with those in the southern hemisphere, we are always going to be on the back foot.
To be quite honest, I'm not that hopeful that we'll be sitting here in 12 months' time saying we have made progress, because we haven't got a united policy from the five nations in terms of a northern-hemisphere strategy. You have now got the situation where even though the Rugby Football Union and the clubs look as though they are going to resolve their differences the clubs are fighting among themselves.
Nobody actually looks at how we are going to make 24 clubs into professional clubs. What's happening is four or five want to be "super clubs" and the rest are going to die. That is just the opposite of what's happening in the southern hemisphere, where they are trying to manage a situation to make sure that all clubs contribute fully to the national effort. We are going off in completely the opposite direction.
I've got to say, after watching club games this season, that the standard of rugby has improved. But, then again, in no way can you say a Bath-Harlequins game compares in any shape or form with a game between Transvaal and Auckland in the Super 12. Sean Fitzpatrick and company are playing 12 of those games as a warm-up to the international season.
If you look at the Sale- Richmond game last week, there were eight internationals in the Richmond team but that was an Auckland B standard match. It was a good game of rugby, but that's the difference. Unless we get that sorted out we will be left behind again. That's the frustration. We get all this evidence and nobody ever seems to do anything with it.
Fran Cotton, the former England and Lions prop forward, will be the manager of the 1997 Lions on their tour to South Africa in the summer.
Rugby league: Andy Farrell
health is the key
For me this has to be the year when we get genuine international competition going again. With any sport, you judge its state of health by the national side - and we have a lot of work to do on that aspect after the events of the past 12 months.
After the way in which the southern hemisphere tour went so wrong in New Zealand and all the bad publicity that came out of that, we will have the perfect opportunity to put everything right when we play Australia in the autumn.
It will be a good opportunity to put matters back on the right track, because a series between Great Britain and Australia will always attract the public's attention. That will have a long-term spin-off for Super League, which did not take off in quite the way it deserved to at every club last season. But a crowd like we had for the Boxing Day match against St Helens shows that the public's appetite is definitely still there for top-class contests at club level.
The other thing we need to make a success of in 1997 is the World Club Challenge, in which clubs from Britain and Australia will play each other at home and away. That can only be really good for the development of our game; every player here is already really looking forward to it. The only way you can genuinely judge yourself is by playing against the best players in the world and this competition pits us against the best on a regular basis.
And that is why you will not hear too many complaints from players this year about the length of the season. Clubs have been moaning that last season was too short for them to be able to bring in the money that they needed if they were to keep going. This year, we are going to the opposite extreme, which should at least please them from a financial point of view.
But the extra games that are responsible for lengthening the season are the ones in the World Club Challenge. While players might find it a long haul, I cannot see any of them wishing that they could get rid of that part of the season.
There could be some problems, with things like the amount of travelling involved. But this is the sort of thing we simply have to do if the game in Britain is going to go forward.
The other reason for the length of the coming season is concern over the number of players - including quite a few of my team-mates from Wigan - who have been playing rugby union this winter. They will not be able to do that next year; there just won't be the time and they will need a rest.
That also has to be a good thing for our game, even though it might come as something of a disappointment to a few individual players. All the blokes that I have talked to have really enjoyed the experience of playing an off-season in union. But the ones who have grown up as rugby league players are still rugby league players; when you spend your career in one sport it sticks with you.
One of the disappointing aspects about the New Zealand tour and the way it went downhill was that it was full of players who had chosen to tour with the Lions, rather than taking up lucrative offers elsewhere. Apart from that tour, I've always been treated really well when I've played for Great Britain. I'm sure we will be treated like a Great Britain team again when we play Australia.
A series against Australia at home is an entirely different kettle of fish and can make this a very good year for the sport.
Andy Farrell is captain of both Wigan and Great Britain rugby league sides.
Tennis: Richard Lewis
The Henman effect could be crucial in 1997, and one of my main wishes is that it filters right down through the game and into the schools. It's clearly something we want to build on to make it a sport more and more people want to play. The harsh reality is that we are competing in the same market-place as so many other sports, and I hope Tim will make the big difference for us.
I haven't heard any real figures to suggest conclusively that there is an increase in interest in tennis as a result of Tim. I know from anecdotal evidence that coaches are busier, and the television viewing figures for the national championship final between Tim and Greg Rusedski were significantly up. I'm not aware that club membership has increased, but then maybe it is not the right time of the year. After all, the Henman factor only really started in the middle of last summer, and we should wait until the spring.
I'd also like to see more players closing the gap on Tim and Greg. We've a healthy group of players around the 200-mark, and there are one or two who have the potential to make the top 100. We've got high hopes for Andrew Richardson - he's a a big chap with a big serve, good off the ground, and his mobility has improved. Jamie Delgado can go a lot further too, while people like Mark Petchey and Chris Wilkinson are still very committed.
We cannot pretend that the women's side is as well off. Sam Smith is definitely capable of reaching the top 100, but now we're looking to our younger girls - Jasmine Choudhury, Abigail Tordoff and Laura Cartwright. They've all got a good attitude.
As far as the Lawn Tennis Association are concerned, we're very vibrant and we've got lots of new ideas. But there is a problem with funding the back-up facilities we need to bring on the best young players, and I think my biggest wish for the new year is to see a change in the system whereby Lottery grants are handed out. It's a bureaucratic jungle at the moment. Nobody quite knows who is doing what. One of our big projects is the introduction of a sports science programme, taking in bio- mechanical studies, diet, injury prevention, fitness and so on - all things that are essential if you're to produce top players, particularly those making the transition from the junior to senior ranks. But these things are expensive.
People might say, "Well, hang on, you've got guaranteed income from Wimbledon every year", and it's true that the LTA are by no means one of the poorer governing bodies. But the developments at the All England Club mean that our share is not likely to go up in the foreseeable future, and in any case we should never allow ourselves to be dependent on it. It would be foolish not to look for other sources of income.
We are making ground in Britain. We're up to 40 centres with our indoor tennis initiative. But there are still some big places - Bristol and Manchester, for example - that don't have one. We've got Bisham Abbey, which is our elite school, but in France they've got eight places like that and they're all much bigger and better resourced. We've got plans for another six centres of excellence, and we want to develop the community tennis partnership scheme, whereby clubs link with schools and local authorities so that the maximum use is made of courts. Once you do that, it opens up so many opportunities for coaching programmes. We're doing well, but we've still got a long way to go.
Richard Lewis is the Lawn Tennis Association's Director of International and Professional Tennis.
Racing: Gay Kelleway
My first concern would be for the owners. They are the people who supply the horses, who provide employment and income for everyone else in the racing and betting industries, and so they are the mainstay of racing. I feel they are not getting enough return on their investments.
One of my proposals would be that a few of the smaller, less successful racetracks should be closed, so that we can concentrate on improving the rest. This would result in better facilities for everyone, which would promote a better image and encourage bigger public interest.
Prize money needs a big injection of cash. It is all very well to say that racing is a hobby for owners and so they should not expect a return, but, as I have said, it is the owners who supply the product, and they should have better rewards for so doing. Much has been written about the role the bookmakers play in the industry's finances, and I feel they should contribute more. A few more gestures like that of Manny Bernstein, the bookmaker from Leicester who is sponsoring tomorrow's standby all-weather meeting at Lingfield, would be very welcome.
As far as sponsorship is concerned, an independent committee should be set up to seek overall sponsorship for all racetracks, not just leaving it to individual tracks to find their own race sponsors.
Perhaps there could be an approach to the National Lottery, which has damaged the bookmakers' turnover; after all, racing is not just a sport but a very large industry employing a huge number of people to cater for its needs. It's something like the sixth or seventh biggest employer in the country by the time you take into account not just stable staff, trainers and jockeys but stud staff, transporters, fodder merchants, sales companies and all the other associated businesses.
Having said this we do have the most prestigious racing in the world, both on the Flat and over jumps, attracting the leading owners and breeders. Our horses and jockeys carry the flag successfully abroad, as the results from the Breeders' Cup, Japan Cup and other top races show.
The introduction of an increasing number of racing clubs and syndicates has done a lot to enable more people to get involved in the sport, making it an affordable venture for many more ordinary members of the public. People who start off in ownership as part of a club or syndicate may at some later date decide to become sole owners or get involved in more horses, and we must look after them.
I think all-weather racing is a great plus, keeping things active during the winter, for there are many people who prefer Flat racing to jumping. I agree that some horses are not keen on the surface, but it is up to the trainers to sort their horses accordingly. In the past there have been days when there has been no racing; now we are at least guaranteed some sport.
British racing is undoubtedly the best, but we must make sure it stays the best, despite its problems and the growing competition from other parts of the world. I would hate to appear to be knocking our sport, but as in any big industry there is plenty of room for improvement. There are so many disparate views, but I am sure that with more communication between all the interested parties, and a lot of hard work, we will get there.
Gay Kelleway is Britain's leading woman trainer of 1996. She has 70 horses in her yard at Whitcombe Manor in Dorset, including the Grade 1 winning chaser Absaloms Lady, the top-class miler Sorbie Tower, and the 1997 2,000 Guineas hope Musheer.
a higher profile
Golf: Mickey Walker
When it comes to the profile of women's golf, things are changing slowly. We need a quantum leap. It is a shame that a lot of golfers, let alone the general public and commercial business, are unaware of the achievements of British and European women golfers.
In Laura Davies, Annika Sorenstam and Lotta Neumann we have three of the top four players in the world. But while most golfers will have no trouble naming the Ryder Cup team, they would struggle with the Solheim Cup team beyond Laura "and a few good Swedes, don't know their names... and that little one, Alison Nicholas".
Most people in sport know who Laura Davies is and she gets more publicity, but overall we get so little press coverage. And when it comes to winning awards, Laura does not get the recognition she deserves. If a man had achieved what Laura has in winning 10 times around the world, including two majors, they would never be out of the headlines and would appear on every news programme going.
In Laura's Christmas card, I said that if I was in charge of the awards she would have won all of them, but never mind there is always next year. She could win all four majors, collect more money than anyone has ever before and still not get the recognition, so don't worry about it. The thing is, she is not just the best woman golfer in the world but she has as much, if not more, personality than anyone in sport. She captures the imagination with her lifestyle. Most men would love to be able to do what she does, drive a Ferrari, be great at sport, play golf the way she does.
It is a sad reflection on how commercial companies view women's golf, and the lack of publicity in general, both in live television and column inches, that the European Tour is struggling to put out a schedule of 20 events. It is not a reflection on those running the Tour, but it is inevitable that our most talented players are going to want to play in the United States and I can't see that ever changing.
That is where the four women's majors are all played. Financially the rewards are greater and, as we have heard from Nick Faldo, the conditions are better and the standard of tournaments is very consistent. We have such a discrepancy between our top tournaments and our smaller events but it is great that our leading players come back to play here as much as they do.
I work for Sky TV, so maybe I shouldn't say this, but women's golf seems to be way down the list after seniors golf, Nike and Asian tour events, and even Hippo and Goosen tournaments where there are unknowns playing in front of no gallery. They are covering virtually every men's European event live in '97, but since getting the exclusive rights for the Solheim Cup, they have done one other tournament live, another delayed and highlights of a dozen events a few days later. I don't think it is realistic for our minor events to be shown, but our bigger tournaments, such as the Evian and the Hennessy are bigger than some of the men's events in places like Madeira where there are 100 people and a dog watching.
The only major to be shown this year was the US Women's Open and yet the chances of a British or European winner are better than on the men's circuit. We won three of the four this year and the fact that people did not get the chance to see and be inspired by all those victories is something I find very saddening.
Mickey Walker is retiring captain of Europe's Solheim Cup team.
Elite move in to make the running
Athletics: Steve Backley
British athletics has come in for a good deal of criticism, especially after this year's Olympics. In fact, we had a lot of success, and there were some brilliant individual efforts which all got overlooked because we didn't get a gold medal, but in 1997 the athletes are going to be closely involved in the running of the sport through the setting up of their own association and representation within the British Athletic Federation.
Traditionally the athletes have had bad communication with the establishment. Part of the reason for the fall in the image of the sport has been this breakdown. Because athletics is such an individual sport and led by so many different organisations it's got fragmented.
Our objective in launching the British Athletes' Association is to get everyone on one side, all saying that we want the sport to flourish from grass roots up. We've all got to row in the same direction. We haven't got all the answers, but with athletes at the heart of the decision-making process as a unit, we have a say in what can happen. If the top athletes are happy and want to compete on the British circuit, then money can be pumped back through the sport and everyone can prosper. It didn't take a lot of doing by Geoff Parsons and Roger Black to convince the athletes to say this needed doing. Geoff is now our representative on the British Athletic Federation.
There are a lot of middle men in the sport, but we are not trying to cut out the agents who have a valid part in the sport. In future, sponsors will have direct access to the athletes themselves. In the past, sponsors have been promised the earth by people who have not always been able to provide the athletes they've promised. Now we can act as a responsible group talking to sponsors and television.
What is impossible is to guarantee that in future we will have gold medallists. We've got to make it as likely as possible with a big influx of money, setting up the Institute for Sport and making sure the athletes have the type of support their rivals abroad are getting. I'm competing against Germans who again in 1997 will have four or five people directly supporting each of them. We talk a good story, but when it comes to delivering the back-up, that's a different matter. We do our best, but the back-up has got to be in place for our athletes really to compete.
I think the support from sponsorship is less bleak than people have made out. We are aware that we've got to put on good television spectaculars, but now we have a direct input we can help do that. Raising commercial sponsorship for individuals like myself takes a lot of effort - a far from perfect situation. The ideal would be to be on a regular income and at this time of the year go off to Australia for three months and take my coach and bio-mechanics experts.
Drugs will continue to be an unwanted subject in 1997, and I could not believe it when I heard that there was a proposal to reduce the four-year bans by half. To me, if you're a cheat, you're a cheat and you are banned for life. The odd mistake, that's a different story, but the hard-cheating drug takers - well all I would ask anyone suggesting reducing the bans is "Who are you trying to protect?" If the ban was reduced it could just tip the balance for people who are thinking about coming into the sport. That is the sort of thing our new association will be able to speak about with one voice.
Steve Backley, the javelin silver medallist at the Atlanta Olympics, is a founder member of the British Athletes' Association.
The hard fight for
Boxing: Colin McMillan
Links between the professional and amateur sides of the sport must be improved. If we don't protect the grass roots, boxing will die. The codes need to be kept apart, with their own governing bodies. The present restrictions on professionals and amateurs training and sparring together should be abolished. It is normal practice in the United States for them to work side by side, which is fine so long as nobody takes advantage.
We should consider allowing pro managers or promoters to subsidise amateur clubs with the understanding that they would have first refusal on any boy turning pro from that club, but there could not be any kind of contractual agreement until the boxer was aged at least 18 - we could not have youngsters of 14 or 15 signing something which would commit them in the future.
Professional boxing has to become much more democratic, with the boxers themselves enjoying greater input into how their sport should be run. The Professional Boxers' Association is not yet as strong as we would like it to be - our role model is the footballers' union - but it has a part to play in all consultative processes with the Board of Control, the British Medical Association and other interested parties. The PFA receive a share of the TV money which football generates, and we believe the PBA should benefit similarly. The Board of Control already take a levy from the TV cash, and we believe that should be shared with the PBA.
With the extra cash, there is so much more we could do for the good of the boxers: we would like to set up a proper insurance scheme to look after the sport's casualties such as Michael Watson and Rod Douglas, or to provide compensation for men whose careers are cut short because of a detached retina and other injuries. We are making progress towards these kinds of schemes already, but the cash would make it so much easier.
We would also use it to establish proper educational schemes to enable boxers to prepare for life after boxing. This is a short career, yet it demands such commitment that there is little time for anything else. If you don't reach the top and make decent money, you can find that you have written off 10 to 15 years of your life and suddenly you're 30 with a limited future. In this area, too, the PFA are showing the way, showing what can be achieved with a strong power base. Our association is growing in influence - we have achieved a lot in areas like medical improvements and contract revision - but it is a long struggle. There was a lot of initial scepticism when the PBA was established, but we have been going for three years now and have built a solid foundation.
On the world front, there is a real danger that the public and the TV companies will become disillusioned with boxing because of the fragmentation of the world titles, but the various organisations are so financially entrenched that there is no realistic prospect of championships ever being unified again. But it would be good if at least they could clean up their world ratings, and rank men on merit. Today, getting rated is a matter of how powerful the people behind you are, not how good you are.
My personal agenda for 1997? To retain my British title against Paul Ingle on 11 January, win the Commonwealth title in March, and beat Naseem Hamed in the summer. I've had two or three hard years, but now things are finally moving in my direction.
Colin McMillan is the British featherweight champion and secretary of the Professional Boxers' Association.
Driving home the
Motor racing: Jackie Stewart
Next year will be the first season in which I will have a full involvement in Formula One since I retired from driving at the end of 1973. Watching for that length of time from the touchline, if you like, has been an interesting experience. There are two main things I would most like to see happen in my sport over the coming 12 months.
I have to be careful how I say this, but I'd like a more friendly ambience to be created in and around the paddock area at Formula One races. At the moment, I find it a relatively hostile environment, with not a lot of jolliness or feeling of camaraderie, whether it be with the media, the teams, the suppliers or the sponsors.
Now I don't want to be negative; I'm trying to put the right words together. But it needs to be a more friendly atmosphere. It seems to be kind of severe and austere at present, and the people distributing the authority need perhaps to be a little bit softer. Maybe that's the best way to put it. It's the whole ambience, from the time you get in. It seems to be more a case of what you can't do than what you can.
I think that atmosphere is not user-friendly. All these people are customers of one sort or another. I'm used to being in the service industry, whether it's at Gleneagles or whether it's dealing with the Ford Motor Company's feelgood factor, through the way that we make our cars and what we create for our customers. And there we work awfully hard to make that a good experience, wherever possible. You need to have that good feeling, and at the moment it just doesn't seem to be there.
What I don't want to be accused of is not yet being directly involved - until the first race in Melbourne in March - but at the same time here I am telling them how to run a business. An outsider telling the governing body, and the Formula One Constructors' Association, FOCA, what to do.
I don't want to sound negative about all this, because there is a lot of good in Formula One. My name has always been associated with safety, and if we are thinking of New Year's resolutions, and things we would like to see happening over the next season in our sport, my second wish is to see us continuing the quest for using everything in our power, with modern technology and experience and knowledge, to keep moving forward and making it a safer, sounder sport for all concerned.
In the Sixties and early Seventies we had a mountain to climb on the many safety issues. I remember once being told that if I didn't like the trees at one very well-known circuit, then I knew where they were and maybe I should cut them down myself.
Fortunately, we live in far more enlightened times where taking unnecessary risks no longer seems to be part of the game, and since Ayrton Senna's tragic accident at Imola we've all come again to re-examine standards. The governing body, the FIA, have made some terrific progress in the past 10 to 15 years. The developments have been numerous, and we all know that none of us can afford to be complacent, and to risk standing still. I don't think that the FIA have had the credit they deserve for that progress; they have been extremely pro-active.
I very much wish for that drive to continue, as I am sure that it will, not just next year, but well into the future. A safer sport is a much better sport.
Jackie Stewart won the world championship three times and is joint founder of the new Stewart Grand Prix team.Reuse content