TOPS NEWS  January 2011

Figures from the SMMT show that Black was the favourite car colour for 2010, followed by Silver, Blue, Grey, Red, White, Green, Beige, Yellow, Brown.  They also point out that it is more fashionable to have your car 'wrapped' in vinyl in any given tint – to match your personality.


German judge Bernd Kahre has shot to popularity after letting 42 speeding drivers off without charges in the last week because he thinks speed controls merely serve to fill the state's coffers rather than prevent accidents.


Renault can name a new car Zoë after a judge threw out the case brought by the parents of two girls called Zoë Renault against use of the name.


There are rumours that Valencia wishes to end its European GP deal as the city cannot afford the €30m to host the race.  Race day attendances dropped from 112,000 in 2008 to 75,000 in 2010 bringing in just €10m. They cannot break the agreement unless an alternative venue will take over the deal.   Alain Prost has voiced frustration that moves to revive the French GP seem to have hit the buffers. "Do we want the French GP?  Today, there are no French drivers in F1, Renault will soon not be called Renault ... it's a bit complicated and also a financial issue. The price asked by Bernie Ecclestone is variable - €15m pa in Europe.  Abroad it's €30-40m, as in Abu Dhabi. It's an economic equation: how many spectators can you get? If it's about 50-60,000 and the price is €15m, your losses are about €8m. Who can put up €8m? So if the politicians or the government are not saying ‘it's important for France to have a Grand Prix’, it's not worth talking about..."


The Green Insurance Company has quoted an 18-year-old a premium of £26,700 for a 1997 Citroen Saxo worth about £300.  His cheapest quote was £6,700 from Direct Choice.


Cardboard cut-outs of mini skirted policewomen were installed at busy junctions throughout Prague to save cash on installing new traffic lights but the scheme has backfired and has actually doubled accident rates by distracting male motorists.      


Bernie Ecclestone had to go to hospital after an attack by 4 men outside the offices of Formula One Management in Knightsbridge, London.   Ecclestone received a blow to the head as the men stole £200,000 jewellery and his watch from him and his girlfriend


A Chinese passenger train recorded 302 mph during a test run on a new high-speed link between Beijing and Shanghai.  The line (cost £21 billion to build) is expected to carry 80 million passengers p.a.


Sue Cooke was given a penalty notice on her legally parked car in Leek, Staffs after her ticket was covered with snow and the warden refused to wipe it off in case he was accused of scratching her car.


David Jacob was given a £120 fine after workers painted a yellow line under his car in Upminster.  The fine will be cancelled!


The London Taxi Company has signed a contract to supply cabs to Paris.


Jaguar Land Rover (owned by India’s Tata Motors) has advised its top UK managers to consider relocating to China if they wish to be promoted.  China is Jaguar’s third biggest market after the UK and US.  


Range Rover specialist Overfinch Bespoke Vehicles whose clients included Holland & Holland and Jeremy Clarkson has been placed in administration


A British legal couple have been awarded £13m in their case against Prince Jefri Bolkiah who once owned 2,000 cars and 600 properties – they had claimed they were underpaid by him.


Paris is to launch the Autolib, a small battery-powered 4-seater bubble car made by Bolloré.  It may be taken from 1000 self-service ranks by subscribers.  It follows on from the successful Vélib bicycle rental scheme which also now operates in London.


To meet their own new regulations the MSA  have sent out a free ‘Environmental Spill Kit’ to every event-organising MSA club; it contains absorbent pads, absorbent granules and a sealable heavy-duty bag for the used materials. Competitors in a number of disciplines will also be required to carry a smaller version of the kit (capable of dealing with a 1.25-litre spill).  One assumes it is intended for car oil spills but the Press Release does not say so!  The MSA represents 33,000 licence holders, 15,000 volunteer marshals and officials, more than 750 member clubs and issues permits for 5000 motor sport events every year.


ASH Scotland has called  for a ban on smoking in all vehicles in Scotland.


Marcus Pye has replaced Martin Grant Peterkin as competitions secretary of the HGPCA and  James Beckett (ex BRDC) will run Top Hat Racing for Masters.


Despite Essex police spending £4000 on ‘talking’ fuel caps to stop officers filling cars with petrol instead of diesel, the wrong fuel was used on 332 occasions in the past 7 years




An abridged version of TOP NEWS, edited by Trisha Pilkington