He misread the room, it is fair to say. Britain's racing establishment had gathered at the RAC Club on Pall Mall to celebrate its first world champions: Mike Hawthorn and Vanwall, and Cooper's rear-engined breakthrough; French party poopers, therefore, beware.
Yet Augustin Perouse, President of the Commission Sportive Internationale, the sporting arm of the FIA, blundered on. Brushing aside the invited viewpoints of Hawthorn and Stirling Moss, plus those of team bosses Tony Vandervell and Charlie Cooper, his announcement of a Formula 1 of reduced power (1500-1300cc normally aspirated) and increased weight (500kg minimum) for 1961 went down like a loose spanner in the footwell.
There were reasonable arguments for change - the 2.5-litre formula had been in situ since 1954 and the category was clearly on the cusp of a technological shift - but the jolly old evening of 29 October 1958 was not the time for them.