Jim Lyon - For once a straight-talking Aussie will be a big loss

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
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It might be close to sacrilege to admit it on British Grand Prix weekend but I am not much of a petrol head.

I can appreciate why people like it but motorsport has never really gripped me.

A car is a functional thing and - to the dismay of my friend Rob who is also the mechanic we take our decidely battered motors to - if it has fuel, oil and water in it and it starts when I turn a key I am happy.

I never feel the need for speed and if my old Vauxhall Vectra gets me from A to B then it has done its job (please keep going, old girl!).

So, coming from that outlook, F1 was never going to be the one for me.

I do, however, like my sport to have characters.

Not self-promoting ‘characters’ - your Robbie Savages of this world - who try to place themselves as a personality but are missing the fundamental skill required.

I like genuine, decent sportsmen, who have an opinion and sense of humour but compete in the right manner - hard but fair.

And that is why Mark Webber’s announcement this week that he is to leave Formula One is such a blow.

In an industry riddled with egos and attitudes, the Australian has always been something a bit different.

He seems to have a good perspective on life and sport, has views worth listening to and is, as I have said in the past, the sort of person you would enjoy having a beer with.

He is also a very talented performer.

I understand a profession that possesses the relative danger element there is in top-level motor racing will always produce stars who are looking out for number one.

But with too much diva-like behaviour, the average-bloke attitude of Webber will be missed,

And there have not been many occasions a Brit can honestly say he will miss the input of a straight-talking Aussie - especially in a summer of Lions and Ashes action.