After 31 years - and roughly 230,000 cigarettes - Autosport Grand Prix editor NIGEL ROEBUCK is bowing out. Here, he looks back on his time at the magazine
More than anything, it's the row of Autocourses that gets across to me just how long I have worked for this magazine: the last 31 of them cover that period of my life. I joined Autosport the very week - in September 1976 - that Niki Lauda made his comeback at Monza, 40 days after being given the Last Rites. And logically I suppose I should begin there.
I had been at the Nurburgring when Lauda crashed, knew he was unlikely to survive the night, and drove back, anticipating the worst. Next morning, though, the news was that he was still fighting for his life, and five weeks later came the rumour - barely credible - that he might drive at Monza the following Sunday. And so he did, finishing fourth. Afterwards I was in the Ferrari pit, watching in silence as he gingerly peeled his balaclava from the still-fresh wounds.