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View Poll Results: Should Ron Have Signed Tommy Byrne?
Yes 4 16.00%
No 21 84.00%
Voters: 25. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 23 Jan 2018, 13:19 (Ref:3794541)   #1
Tim 27
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Should Ron Have Signed Tommy?

Always found it ironic that the squeaky clean, politically correct () James Hunt should have been chosen to spearhead McLaren's title campaign with the blessing of Marlboro's John Hogan, yet 7 years later, under the leadership of Ron, but still with Marlboro, Tommy Byrne was considered too much of a rough diamond.
Should Ron have gone on talent alone, or did he do the right thing?
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Old 23 Jan 2018, 13:33 (Ref:3794542)   #2
S griffin
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S griffin has a real shot at the podium!S griffin has a real shot at the podium!S griffin has a real shot at the podium!S griffin has a real shot at the podium!S griffin has a real shot at the podium!
Who knows, he certainly had the talent, even after his time in F1. I think I remember reading when meeting with Ron, his attitude let him down. Sometimes those things matter and in that case it seemed to. Such a waste of a great talent.
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Old 23 Jan 2018, 15:53 (Ref:3794569)   #3
knighty
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knighty should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridknighty should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
Martin Brundle summed it up perfectly in the recent BBC documentary.......Tommy quite simply talked himself out of a drive, by running his mouth after he got out of the car after the elusive Silverstone test, I can imagine Ron heard enough and made his mind up on the spot, Ron had been in the sport for 15-20 years up to that point, and he knew who he was looking for, someone clynical and professional to fit the McLaren way of doing things......McLaren was corporate and attracting big sponsors.......Tommy was as rough as they come.......a classic example of having plenty of driving talent, but looking and sounding like a reprobate (in Rons eyes)

James Hunt was quite a well spoken fellow, so he always passed the sniff test

Last edited by knighty; 23 Jan 2018 at 15:58.
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Old 23 Jan 2018, 17:17 (Ref:3794585)   #4
S griffin
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I read an extract from Tommyís book in which he claimed he said the engine wasnít quite right or something, but he didnít say anything derogatory, so thatís his side of the story
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Old 24 Jan 2018, 05:35 (Ref:3794658)   #5
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This is just a convenient work of fiction.

Burns won the British F3 title in 1982, and was given a McLaren test.
1982 McLaren line-up was Lauda and Watson
1983 McLaren line-up was Lauda and Watson
1984 Lauda and Prost.

Where would Burns have fitted in?
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Old 24 Jan 2018, 10:22 (Ref:3794717)   #6
knighty
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knighty should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridknighty should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
exactly - there was no room for him at McLaren.......

I do buy it that Senna respected his skills a lot and put a few words in for him at several teams, so he did get a season, which is a lot more than most get.....but even then he was too arrogant and thought he knew better than everyone, and rubbed everyone up the wrong way, quite simply he was not a team player, and his people skills were awful.......so he never got another F1 drive.......simple as that.

In music terms, Tommy Byrne was the proverbial Brian Harvey from East-17.......great singer, but a terrible attitude and just another portaloo full of it

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Old 24 Jan 2018, 13:08 (Ref:3794746)   #7
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Originally Posted by knighty View Post
I do buy it that Senna respected his skills a lot and put a few words in for him at several teams, so he did get a season, which is a lot more than most get.....
I struggle to believe Ayrton would have put a good word in for Tommy anywhere after Tommy had wound him up and played so many tricks on him during their time together at Van Diemen.
There was even talk afterwards that during the McLaren test the throttle pedal had been adjusted to not allow 100%, although I don't believe this for a second.
For all his faults, on talent alone, I would rather have seen him in a McLaren rather than Watson for 83.
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Old 24 Jan 2018, 13:51 (Ref:3794750)   #8
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heres the web article, yes the car was protected on the test day by having the throttle wound back a bit, as it was too valuable to have crashed by a rookie trying to prove a point......iniipendednt stop watched had Tommy 0.5sec quicker than Lauda.

http://en.espn.co.uk/f1/motorsport/story/8578.html

But for me, its just a test day, I race karts with my son 3 times per month to a professional MSA/FIA level........the track can easily vary 0.5 seconds from day to day, depending on weather and the previous rubber laid down......but overall the point stands, Tommy was brutally fast........but did he spend weeks setting up the car to be so fast in the first place - no he didnt, could he do the test driving side of it and work his way around problems with the engineers, certainly not, thats why he hated the Theodore people.

Tommy would have just been another Mansell, nobody in Williams or Mclaren has a good word to say about Mansel as he rubbed everyone up the wrong way with his bluntness and poor people skills........hence the likes of Lauda, senna and Prost hoovered up all the WDC's in the 1980's & early 90's
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Old 24 Jan 2018, 14:54 (Ref:3794760)   #9
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I will be honest, I had never heard of him until this thread. So I have no option regarding the poll question.

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heres the web article, yes the car was protected on the test day by having the throttle wound back a bit, as it was too valuable to have crashed by a rookie trying to prove a point
But, I read that same article yesterday after Googling him. The rumors about the "less than full throttle" and times that showed him faster than published. Consider me dubious of some of that.

My thoughts is that the "less than full throttle" strategy makes little sense if they were trying to protect the car. A small reduction is likely to have no "positive" impact on the potential for reducing the chance of an incident that will damage the car. A significant reduction might but would be clear to the driver and observers. I think a small reduction that is not obvious might even increase the chance for an accident. Especially if the driver knows what the car should be doing, but is unable to extract the expected performance. So he may try harder and drive beyond the capabilities of the car to try to extract non-existent levels of performance.

If however they wanted to protect the engine, I can imagine lowering revs for example, but that would also likely be noticable and something hard to keep a secret. I am not saying it didn't happen, or wasn't attempted, but just that it doesn't make much sense. But I learned long ago that intelligent people make stupid decisions.

Regardless... if the reported times (even the slower, but still fast times as reported by the team) are accurate, I doubt he was experiencing any type of significant lack of power. Again, maybe someone tried something (such as simply adjusting the stop of the fuel pedal in an attempt to prevent full throttle. Maybe it didn't work as planned!

In the end, to me, this all sounds like a big fish story in which the truth continues to be stretched the more it is talked about and the more time that passes. Who doesn't love "if only" types of stories?!

Give it a few years and he will have had power reduced by 50%, been on old worn out tires, usage of just one gear, and lapping the circuit in under a minute!

Richard
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Old 24 Jan 2018, 15:45 (Ref:3794764)   #10
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Certainly there seemed to be more to the test than meets the eye. I guess weíll never know the full story. He seemed to have a bit of that Muhammad Ali in him, believing himself to be the best. Just a shame for his talent it never worked out.

I remember reading something Gary Anderson said, where in the 1984 Monaco F3 support race his car had a gearbox problem, where a gear or two was missing and the team were gonna pull him in after a couple of laps to save the car for the next race, but changed their minds when they saw him scything through the field from mid grid, to finish in the top six. To do that with a couple of gears missing showed he didnít lack talent and commitment
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Old 24 Jan 2018, 16:45 (Ref:3794776)   #11
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jimclark should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridjimclark should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
"To do that with a couple of gears missing showed he didn’t lack talent and commitment"
Talent? Agreed.

Commitment? 'Not an example of commitment I'm afraid...
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Old 24 Jan 2018, 17:53 (Ref:3794794)   #12
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I think a point worth noting is that the McLaren test was part of the team's obligations to Marlboro (so that they could offer a prize for sponsoring F3). As such, it wasn't a 'shoot out' for a drive or anything of that ilk. A reasonably similar comparison is the McLaren test for the Autosport/BRDC award - whilst a considerable number of drivers have tested, only Coulthard and Button have ever raced for the team (although I appreciate that a few more have been test drivers/reserves).
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Old 24 Jan 2018, 19:18 (Ref:3794813)   #13
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I think a point worth noting is that the McLaren test was part of the team's obligations to Marlboro (so that they could offer a prize for sponsoring F3). As such, it wasn't a 'shoot out' for a drive or anything of that ilk. A reasonably similar comparison is the McLaren test for the Autosport/BRDC award - whilst a considerable number of drivers have tested, only Coulthard and Button have ever raced for the team (although I appreciate that a few more have been test drivers/reserves).
This. It was never a trial for a race seat.
This from MotorSport regarding that period of Tommy's career.
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....he starred in the end-of-season non-championship Formula 3 race at Thruxton by finishing second with a Murray Taylor Racing Ralt RT3-Toyota.

Formula 3 success and F1 struggles

It was the prelude to a full season in the British series in 1982 and Byrne began by winning five of the opening six races. By mid-season the title appeared his and such was his success that Byrne joined Theodore’s Formula 1 team from the German GP. He retired in both Austria and Las Vegas but failed to qualify on a further three occasions. This F1 diversion almost cost him the F3 title – missing three races – but he clinched the title at the final round.

Part of his prize was an F1 test with McLaren but his confident manner annoyed many and perhaps thwarted progress. Instead, Byrne raced in European F3 for Eddie Jordan and then Anson during 1983 and 1984 respectively.
https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/d...rs/tommy-byrne
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Old 25 Jan 2018, 08:07 (Ref:3794888)   #14
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His stats don't look too great to me. Spent 7 years in Indy Lights and never won the title. Didn't even win a race the last 2 years, although they were par time. 2 years in F3 with just 1 win. Sounds like most of his "greatness" comes from his own mouth. I haven't read the book though.
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Old 25 Jan 2018, 17:08 (Ref:3795036)   #15
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I saw him race many times and he was sublime- very much the real deal . Out of the cockpit though , he could not have had a worse enemy than himself .
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