• Maurice Hamilton's ESPN blog

Water Retention

ESPN Staff
July 19, 2013
Despite his height and frame, Jackie Stewart once weighed in at around 18 stone after a race... © Sutton Images
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I watched a video of last weekend's DTM race at the Norisring, thoroughly enjoyed it and clicked off secure in the knowledge that Mattias Ekstrom had scored a significant victory for Audi.

Opening 'Autosport', I discovered that Ekstrom's win has been thrown out. Okay, we've been here many times in F1: McLaren, Ferrari, Lotus (the 'proper' Lotus I mean, not the changed-by-deed-poll but otherwise excellent outfit from Enstone) and several others have had what appeared to be certain wins removed on frustrating and undeniable technicalities. But this one takes some believing.

The Abt Sportsline team was excluded from first place because Ekstrom's dad had poured a bottle of water into his son's left pocket. I'm not kidding.

Racing fathers can be a pain in the ass when expressing totally biased opinion about imagined unfair treatment. But I have to confess it's a new one on me to find the actual parent guilty of causing an outcome he/she would bitch about endlessly had the team screwed up at the expense of young Golden Balls.

This was a breach of DTM parc fermé protocol, particularly with regard to weight. The fact that driver and car weighed in 7kg above the legal limit is irrelevant, even when considering how much difference a sodden left leg will make on the scales. The rules say such things are not permitted on pain of exclusion. And that was that.

The team have appealed, of course. They could claim, I guess, that the left pocket in the Alpinestars race suit is, in fact, a crafty catch tank for coolant. Or Mattias's dad, having spotted a messy pasta stain from lunch, wanted his boy to look smart on the podium to avoid a sharp word from Mrs Ekstrom when he got home. Either of these sound as daft as the offence itself.

Just as well this sort of strict regimentation was not in evidence 400kms to the west of Nuremberg in 1968. When Jackie Stewart won the German Grand Prix in truly appalling conditions at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, he was soaked, literally, to the skin. If the DTM Obergruppenführers had been in charge, the Scot would have been ordered to strip off and wring out his overalls at the end of the pit lane.

Unusually for the Sixties, the driver would be weighed post-race at the Nürburgring, something the Tyrrell team were aware of.

'There was a tradition where they would weigh the winning driver and give the equivalent amount in chocolate to an orphanage,' recalls Neil Davis, Tyrrell's chief mechanic at the time. 'We knew this was going to happen so we filled Jackie's overalls with tools and weights. The organisers were a bit shocked when this wee Scotsman tipped the scales at something like 18 stone!'

I would have paid good money to witness Ken Tyrrell's reaction had an official then dared to suggest Ken had interfered with his driver's clothing. It would have taken more than a bottle of water to put out the ensuing verbal blowtorch.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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