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A night at the Oscars

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A night at the Oscars
Dec 8, 2008, 10:46 PM

[caption id="attachment_488" align="alignleft" width="128" caption="Glenn Dunbar/LAT"][/caption]At the Autosport Awards last night, otherwise known...

Glenn Dunbar/LAT
At the Autosport Awards last night, otherwise known as the Oscars of motorsport, Martin Brundle and I were presented with an award for our commentary on the final laps of the Brazilian Grand Prix, the "Moment of the year". It was a great honour, made all the more special because they chose Murray to present it to us.

They played the video of the final few corners on the big screen and my heart was thumping in my chest all over again - it really was the most extraordinary moment of sport.

I'm absolutely delighted with this gong as it provides such a perfect full stop to the whole 12 year ITV project.

Martin also took the opportunity to set the record straight on his feelings about working with me in the commentary box for the past seven years.

In the last few years, he said, it has suited some people on some websites and forums to make out that we didn't get on and that he didn't respect me. Last night, in front of an audience of our peers from the motor sport world, he made it clear that the opposite is the case. He and I have always known exactly where we stood with each other and only we know how much time we have put in behind the scenes, keeping each other up to speed.

Like many partnerships in the public eye, people were always looking for signs of a strain between us, but you don't go shouting about how great your relationship is all the time because the commentators are not the story, the racing is. This was an appropriate place and time for him to make his true feelings clear.

Now it's time to move on.

Elsewhere in what was an enjoyable, if relatively low-key evening, Jenson Button put a brave face on his predicament... the McLaren engineers explained how they couldn't bear the tension in the last few laps in Brazil and thought they'd lost the championship...Christian Horner seemed quite upbeat about Mark Webber's chances of being 100% when he returns to the cockpit after his leg-breaking accident and Stirling Moss talked about 'chasing crumpet' in that Carry On way of his.

But there was a real seriousness in the air; Honda had cancelled their tables at short notice and the impact of their withdrawal from F1 hung heavy over the room. A few people, particularly drivers, talked about the impact the global recession is going to have on the sport, while surprisingly many others still seemed to be in denial.

Motorsport is a cash-hungry sport and when the cash dries up, it is forced to downsize. We've had some interesting comments on this and please keep them coming. I don't think we'll see the recession hit its stride until after Christmas, when the gloves will come off and things will get really tough. But that room last night was full of men and women who would race a Citroen 2CV if that's all there was left - and I include Lewis and Jenson in that.

The sport will survive and it will do it a bit of good to shake off the excesses and the overblown budgets. You don't need 1000 people in a team to go racing in F1. When I started, in 1990, Ayrton Senna won the title and McLaren had 180 employees. Now three times that number make Lewis' car.

There are also too many championships around. Once the recession has thinned out the field, we should be left with a leaner, fitter motorsport scene and I look forward to covering it.
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