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.

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.