10 – F1 Legends – Nigel Mansell

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There is a saying in the F1 paddock that those who liked Nigel Mansell were those who had never met the man. That harsh exaggeration highlighted the feelings of some insiders towards a man bullish with self-confidence yet at the same time racked with wearying self-doubt.

Mansell would never take his foot of the gas and use every bit of speed from a car, racing wheel-to-wheel with the golden era of F1, equally he would complain about perceived slights and see plots against him at every turn

Mansell came up the hard way in racing, investing all his own money as he attempted to reach Formula 1 through the lower ranks. It was not until Colin Chapman was persuaded by his F3 team manager to give Mansell a chance as test driver for Lotus that things took off, and he took that opportunity and was a regular race driver by 1981. Few rated him initially despite the clear potential, and it was not until 1985, on the 72nd start, that he won his first race at Brands Hatch. From that moment onwards he became arguably the most competitive Englishman ever to sit in a F1 car, certainly the most aggressive. His 31 race wins placed him behind only the great names like Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna in the all-time rankings when he finally quit F1 and even today only Michael Schumacher has overtaken him.

It was as easy to see why the fans loved him, with his never-say-die approach. He stopped his career in F1 at the very hour of his World title triumph in 1992, falling out with Williams in a row about money amongst other things, but had his revenge when he won the 1993 Indycar Championship at the first try. He did come back to F1 in 1995 with McLaren but retired during that season.

A curious Brit of contradictive emotions, Nigel Mansell was a determined driver whose character sometimes obscured his achievements. It says everything about him as a driver that he was the one man Senna knew he could not intimidate.

NIGEL MANSELL

Born 8 Aug 1953
Age 58
Active years 1980 – 1995
Starts 187
Wins 31
Podiums 59
Poles 32
Front row 56
Fastest laps 30
Teams – (Lotus 1980-84) (Williams 85-88 & 91-92) (Ferrari 89-90) (McLaren 1995)

1992 FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPION
1993 INDYCAR CHAMPION

A few new ideas

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LEGENDS
Every Thursday for the next ten weeks, I will be going through my top ten ever Formula One drivers and delivering an in depth analysis and opinion on them, I will analyse everything from points scored to championships won.

CLASSIC F1
Once every two weeks, I will be casting my mind back to a memorable Grand Prix from over the years. I will have a full race summary and photos of the selected race.

TRACK GUIDES
It is exactly what it says, Every Friday night on race weekends, I will be giving the track guide and explaining what is the quickest way around the racetrack

SUPPORT SERIES
There is more to F1 weekends than just the race, there are support series that follow F1 all around the world, I will be looking at the rising stars of GP2 and GP3 and the championship battle, Giving team and driver profiles and race reports from these fantastic racing series a few hours after the F1 races finish on Sundays.

SEASON REVIEW
There has been many vintage F1 years and I will be doing monthly four-part specials about those special seasons, Once a week I will tell the story of a championship and how it unfolds week to week and by the fourth week of every Season Review, The selected championship will be concluded and you will know every detail.

THOUGHTS AHEAD OF THE WEEKEND
My thoughts, analysis and predictions for what to look out for and expect over the Grand Prix weekend.

There will be many more ideas over the next few weeks so watch this space 🙂

Thoughts Ahead Of The Weekend – Spain

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This is the first installment of my “Thoughts Ahead Of The Weekend” articles where I will write about what I think will happen and how things will pan out on the track.

So we are at the Spanish GP at the Circuit de Catalunya for Round 5 of the F1 World Championship, traditionally this is the weekend where all the teams bring major upgrades to their cars so we should expect to see a lot of new ideas, whether they work is not yet certain but there will be improvements at a few teams.

After winning the last race in Bahrain, Sebastian Vettel is going to the Spanish venue having won there last season, but the team to be looking out for is definitely Lotus who are very confident of a podium if not a win.

Under pressure will be home favourite Fernando Alonso, he is loved by the Spanish fans and will be hoping for some luck and something for his fans to cheer come Sunday afternoon. Ferrari have brought an upgrade to the car and it should give them a bit of extra pace.

Lewis Hamilton is also a man who is under pressure, having not won a grand prix this season he will be itching to get to the top step of the podium at a track where he hasn’t ever been on pole or won the race. Will that be about to change?

Mercedes may have another chance to work their well designed DRS system to their advantage during Qualifying, The team have said that they don’t think the Barcelona track will suit them though, then again they were far from sure that it would in China during the race and they still won.

I think that Qualifying could be anyone’s with both Lotus and Mercedes right up there with the leading teams of Red Bull and McLaren but if the weather forecast is correct and we have rain on race day then that will throw in a few others into the mix.

In terms both the drivers and constructors championship standings.

Vettel – 53
Hamilton – 49
Webber – 48
Button – 43

Red Bull – 101
McLaren – 92
Lotus – 57

Spanish GP News – Thursday

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Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn will not be attending the race as he is unwell.

McLaren have decided to change their pit crew in an attempt to stop the errors that have cost Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton massively so far this season.

It is looking increasingly likely that there will be rain during the Grand Prix, but the forecasts also say it will stay dry for Qualifying.

Sir Jackie Stewart has tipped Paul Di Resta to replace Ferrari’s Felipe Massa. However if Di Resta is going anywhere it will most likely be the Mercedes team.

Lack Of Respect?

Fernando Alonso was talking yesterday about the legend that was Gilles Villeneuve, the Ferrari driver who was killed 30 years ago when he mentioned that there is a possible lack of respect between the drivers that wasn’t there in the 80’s

I would agree with Fernando’s assumption, even at the last race in Bahrain, Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg basically drove Alonso and also Lewis Hamilton off the track yet received no penalties

He has a valid point when he said that if today’s F1 stars were to have a racing battle like Villeneuve did with Rene Arnoux at the French GP in 1979, it wouldn’t last very long because one of the drivers would inevitably have crashed into the other.

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Spanish GP News – Wednesday

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McLaren have confirmed that they will try a higher nose at the Spanish GP

Caterham give American driver Alexander Rossi the chance to drive P1 at the Circuit de Catalunya

Hispania have given the same treatment to Dani Clos

Kimi Raikkonen says that he will be chasing victory. The Iceman said “I am here to race and I race to win,That is the target for me and the team. We want to win grands prix. We have a good car and we saw in Bahrain it is good enough to win. That’s the target.”

2013 F1 Driver Changes

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It is only four races into the 2012 F1 season but there is already talk of 2013 driver moves. Recently the rumour going about the paddock is that Red Bull’s Mark Webber has signed a pre-contract agreement to replace Felipe Massa at Ferrari. Webber isn’t the only driver being linked to Ferrari, Sauber driver Sergio Perez has been linked with the drive and it seems he is more likely to get it as he is a member of the Ferrari Drivers Academy and he has impressed them so far this year.

Lewis Hamilton will be out of contract at McLaren at the end of the season and may look for a new challenge though he has been with the team since he was young. If he does leave McLaren it will be fascinating to see where he ends up with possible seats up for grabs at Red Bull, Ferrari and other leading teams.

If Hamilton does leave McLaren, It is quite difficult to see who they would sign to replace him, there could be a straight swap with Red Bull involving Mark Webber joining McLaren and Lewis going to Red Bull or else even Kimi Raikkonen who could get out of his contract a year early to rejoin his former team.

Michael Schumacher is coming to the end of his second F1 career and he is unlikely to renew his deal at Mercedes.This won’t be helped by his thoughts on the Pirelli tyres and his lack of success since he came back. Waiting in the wings for that seat is Scotland’s Paul Di Resta, The Force India driver has a close bond with Mercedes having driven for them in DTM before he reached F1. It would be great to see Paul in a car that will be racing for podiums and possible race wins.

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4 Different Races, 4 Different Winners. The Most Unpredictable Season Ever!!

It was clear that Sebastian Vettel had the edge last year in the world of Formula One. 17 Podiums. 15 Poles. 11 Wins but we all knew 2012 would be different. Red Bull didn’t have such an advantage of speed like in 2011, This was proven in Australia when Vettel could only manage 6th in Qualifying. He went on to get a 2nd place finish behind the McLaren of Jenson Button. The 2012 F1 season was underway and looked to be the start of a classic year.
The F1 circus landed in Malaysia and this race will be remembered for the shock result of Ferrari and Fernando Alonso taking the win in front of what was to be an even bigger surprise, After starting 9th on the Sepang grid, Sauber’s Sergio Perez made the bold decision to switch to full wet tyres after the first lap, When the rain came down, he was able to keep on going while the rest of the field had to stop. He had his chances to take Alonso for the win but ran wide at Turn 14 putting an end to his challenge for the win. Since that result in Malaysia, Perez has been linked with a switch to Ferrari for 2013. So after 2 races. Alonso led the championship.
China was next on the calendar and under pressure was the Mercedes team who had went into 2012 needing a major improvements so when Nico Rosberg lit up the timing screens during Q3 they were overjoyed, He got pole by an incredible half a second. The race was a similar story, Rosberg dominated from lights to flag for his first ever win and also the first Mercedes win since the days of the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio back in the 50’s.
So from Shanghai they went to the deserts of Bahrain and it was a very controversial affair, With all the recent trouble going on there were concerns about safety but the race went ahead as planned, Saturday was about the return to pole of the World Champion, Vettel showed that he still has the speed and done so again in the race, He held off a strong challenge from Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean to seal his first win since the 2011 Indian Grand Prix.
So, Off we go to the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend. Who will win is anyones guess.