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What was that name again?

If you're Fernando Alonso you probably thought when you were working at Ferrari that you had the coolest job in the world. A racing driver, in a Ferrari. The only job which might be cooler would be astronaut or test pilot. You must definitely have the coolest job of anybody called Fernando Alonso. So I wonder what the reaction was when F1's Alonso realised that a test pilot of the world's second largest commercial airliner manufacturer was also named Fernando Alonso? This got me thinking about other people in racing where their names are those of other famous people.

Apart from Alonso, most of these could have been written 30 years ago, which porobably says a lot about the author. If in fact they were done 30 years ago, my apologies.



Fernando Alonso

Widely considered to be the mosty complete F1 driver, Fernando won the 2005 and 2006 championships with Renault and has since come close with Ferrari. Recent years at McLaren Honda have disappointed.

Fernando Alonso, during qualifying

Fernando Alonso

Airbus Alonso was on the flightdeck for the first flight of the A380, the A340-200, the A319, and the A318and most recently the A350XWB, so he has quite a record. He was head of Airbus's test department. He's currrently head of Airbus Military, which makes the A400 "Hercules Replacement". Although he is now in charge of a desk rather than a sidestick these days, you could argue that it's still a better job than towing a Honda engine round.

Fernando Alonso with the carbon fibre A350 and (right) the A400 ("Atlas" in RAF service)

Frank Williams

The hugely respected principle of Williams Grand Prix Engineering began operating from a phone box. His partnership with Patrick Head is legendary. The team won their first world championship in 1980. Williams became wheelchair bound after a 1986 road accident. More than most, Williams GPE have expereinced ultimate highs (world champions) and appalling lows - the most mourned loss of F1 in Senna. Through it all they have survived. Frank's team is often said to be more engineering led than any other, and holds a unique place in the affection of F1 fans.

Frank Williams at the superb Williams Heritage collection with, er, Fernando Alonso

Frank Williams

Born in 1931, Frank Williams seemed to be one of the older members of the original Dad's Army cast, though in fact was mid to late 30's. He played the same part in the 2016 feature film, 48 years later. He was also a lay member of the Church of England Synod. So, another survivor.

Frank Williams as the Reverend Timothy Farthing. Separated by over 40 years.

Gordon Murray

Gordon Murray was one of the last "superstar" designers, who could be responsible for most of the design of the car. Although a brilliant engineer, his cars are almost always stunningly beautiful. Because form always follows substance. he probably ggot that from his first boss, the sainted Ron Tauranac. After a series of F1 cars, he produced the McLaren F1 and the SLR McLaren, but everybody's allowed one mistake. He designed one of the few road cars to run in Monoposto and is now designing the innovate T25 city car and its istream process. If you were a 21st century Dr Johnson, you would use him to define engineer.

Gordon Murray with trademark moustache and the effective and gorgeous MP4/4. Concept was the same as the disastrous BT55.

Gordon Murray

Just as the racing Gordon Murray started with a basic job under a hero, so did the puppeteer. Gordon Murray began operating Spotty the Dog on the Woodentops and produced Captain Pugwash (where despite urban myth there definitely wasn't a character called Seaman Staines.) He came to the forefront with Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley. The last is a bit new for me. It was a happy time. Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub.

Sadly, while this was being written, Gordon passed away.

The late Gordon Murray with models of various characters. The original puppets do not survive.

John Booth

Somebody who raced against John Booth's Manor Motorsport in F3 (as a team manager) said he was glad John got out of F1 without killing himself. Widely regarded as being conned into a project which did much better than the powers wanted it to, but was doomed to fail, John Booth climbed the ladder from the bottom. More than one of the grey hairs in Monoposto remember seeing John "Butcher" Booth winning Formula Ford races in the early 1980s. Round about the time that Simon Davey (who he? ed) was one of the coming men in FF1600. ("Yes, I had John Booth off a couple of times")

Manor won the British F3 Championship with Marc Hynes in an F399. Picture right is "Butcher" Booth in the reasonably effective but plug ugly RF83

John Booth

John "Brolly" Booth was a contemporary of "Butcher" Booth. Whilst the latter worked in a butcher's shop, Brolly was so named because his day job was making umbrellas. Also very successful in the early 80's Van Diemens, which still look like Formula Fords should, he is an unusually "real" twin to John "Butcher" Booth. The real question is "where is he now?" (When Motorsport run this as a story, I want a copyright fee).

There appear to be no pictures of Brolly Booth on the internet

Gary Anderson

If all Gary Anderson had done was design the Jordan 191, he would be in the Hall of Fame. It was the most successful debut F1 car of the last 30 years, and certainly the sexiest. Also probably the latest F1 car to be used as a hillclimb car, with disastrous consequences. Gary also produced one of Monoposto's most enduring winners. No, he isn't Jim Blockley's dad, he designed the Anson SA3, of David Dudley and Peter Venn fame. He later became a TV pundit, who actually knew what he was talking about. Rare. Like Gordon Murray, he worked under Ron Tauranac. He designed the best of the Stewart Racing F1 cars, the SF3. Having at one time worked in Lichfield, he is an honorary Midlander.

Jordan 191. What's not to like? Even the pop is nice.

Gary Anderson Gary Anderson

Apparently there is a sport called "Darts" where people throw small pointed objects at a board. At one stage it involved drinking lager a lot. A man named Gary Anderson is a successful exponent.

The other Gary Anderson designer is responsible for something we probably see and ignore every day - the rcycling symbol. He designed it as a 23 year old student in 1970 to win a national (US) competition . He has since gone on to be a successful graphic designer. The symbol is, of course, a stylised Mobius Strip, or one sided loop, so appeals to both artists and mathematicians.

The recycling symbol, and as far as I can understand from the page I ripped it from, the pic on the right is a composite of "industrial" GA in 1970 and now


Peter Wright

Peter Wright worked for BRM, Specialised Mouldings, and Lotus. As an aerodynamicist, he is widely regarded as "the father of ground effect". He was a major part of Lotus management, both in the racing and road car divisions, in the 80's and 90's and later became part of the FIA's technical team.

Peter Wright, Lotus Alumnus.

Peter Wright Peter Wright

Another thrower of pointy things. Here he is (right) with pointy thrower Gary Anderson (left).

Darts Players Gary Anderson and Peter Wright

Sir Peter Wright is a ballet choreographer and has worked with almost all of the famous names. He founded the Birmingham Royal Ballet where his Christmas ballet "The Nutcracker" is rightly renowned.

A performance of The Nutcracker. Birmingham does have culture.

Steve Jones

Steve Jones is the presenter of Channel 4's F1 coverage. He is a former presenter of Channel 4 "teen show" T4, and also of controversial show "Sex Box".

Channel 4's Steve Jones.

Steve Jones

A guitarist of popular beat combo of the 1970's, The Sex Pistols. I am an anarchist. One of their songs, not a claim by the writer.

The Sex Pistols' Steve Jones






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