From (finally) interviewing the notorious Bernie Ecclestone to driving across the ‘Severn Bridge’, these are our writers’ highlights from 2020.
We hope that Autocar has helped provide you with plenty of light relief and enjoyment in this year of all years. We’ve been producing the magazine from our various homes since the 25 March issue, a process that, without boring you with the technicalities, hasn’t been without its challenges. But neither, it must be said, has it been without reward.
If you will allow the indulgence, this is the right space for me to highlight some of the unsung heroes of Autocar, those who combine the words and pictures we produce into a physical magazine. Without their contribution, there would simply be no Autocar each week; their efforts allow all the highlights you can read of here to be told to you.
So take a bow Sami Shah, Kris Culmer and Darren Jones from the production desk, Sarah Özgul, Rebecca Stevens and Stephen Hopkins from the art desk, as well as picture editor Ben Summerell-Youde and regular freelance subs Peter ‘Chip’ McSean and Tim Dickson. I know every one of you will appreciate their efforts as much as I do.
“Autocar? That’s nearly as old as I am, isn’t it?”
From that moment on, 30 seconds into introducing myself out of the blue on his phone, I knew that Bernie Ecclestone, a mere 89 to our 125, was always going to be one step ahead.
I’ve always loved Formula 1 and regarded Ecclestone with a mixture of awe and outright fear, such is his reputation for ball-breaking deal-making and old-school opinions.
And while all those negatives may be true (his best answer was when I asked how he deals with enemies, to which he replied, “I take them flowers… Leave them by the grave”), he was engaging, open, funny and serious as required, candidly answering everything from his thoughts on modern F1 to whether he’s a hands-on granddad.
Damn it, I liked him. I’d been invited for an hour and stayed for two. He said I’d be welcome back. I still can’t work out if I’ve called him right or if I’m a sucker – and that, I suspect, is exactly how Bernie likes it.