Bernie Ecclestone raised a hell of a kerfuffle the other week when he jokingly mooted the possibility of F1 drivers being allowed to take short cuts during races. As I was bumping in to London on the train this morning I suddenly remembered: it’s been done.
At the 1959 US GP, Harry Schell managed to persuade the organisers that he had beaten his previous best qualifying time by six seconds, and he was permitted to start his Cooper from the front row. It subsequently emerged that he had noticed a few unmanned marshals’ posts around the back of the circuit and taken a crafty short cut. Although he claimed the whole thing had been a prank, he was quite happy to accept the elevated starting position.
You couldn’t do this on a modern F1 circuit, though; Sebring was based around the landing strip of a wartime airfield, with a proliferation of convenient taxiways off the main route…