100 things that made F1 great



As Formula One fights to restore its credibility and rediscover its core values, we take a (not always) light-hearted look over the stuff that we miss most from the (not always) ‘good old days’ of F1. Some of our selections are fundamental, some may seem frivolous, but all of them are heartfelt and so, in no particular order…

Monza without chicanes

It was crazy and more than a little dangerous, but it was also racing at its most thrilling. The Italian grands prix of 1953, ’65, ’67, ’68, ’69 (above) and ’71 had more overtaking manoeuvres than some entire recent seasons. Modern Monza is still very quick (good on yer, Mr Montoya), but it doesn’t ebb and flow like the old one.

The old Woodcote

So you’re flat out up from Club and through Abbey, all the time thinking about Woodcote, whether this time there’d be a lift, involuntary or otherwise. It was mighty, wasn’t it? A thing of beauty – with an awkward bump at its apex. The chicane that besmirched it in 1975 wasn’t bad, but it still wasn’t a patch on the real thing. And as for the current-day Luffield… words fail us.

Chapman versus the police

Formula One’s most innovative designer had his faults. Among them were: he didn’t like being ordered about and he had a quick temper. This incident (right) took place at the 1959 Italian GP, two years before Jim Clark’s involvement in Wolfgang von Trips’s fatal accident would make all races at Monza edgy ones for the Lotus boss. He also once managed to get himself manhandled by those nice liberal boys in blue of the Dutch police force in the early 1960s. So many coppers can’t all be wrong.

Big, flat slicks

The ‘dragster’ tyres of the 1970s looked the business, but also provided the drivers with plenty of progressive grip with which to wow the fans – unlike today’s darty, narrow, grooved affairs. Surely Goodyear must have its old moulds lying around somewhere.


Sorry to bang on about it, but it didn’t have to be Monza – any short straight in the 1960s would see this edge-of-your-seat tactic employed, giving the less powerful but more nimble cars a chance to stay in the hunt. And it was a subtle art, saving engine and fuel, as well as providing heaps of overtaking opportunities. This was, of course, before ‘air’ became a ‘dirty’ word.

V12s (and V16s), but not W12s

When Ferrari finally fell into V10 line in 1996, the sport lost something precious: the spine-tingling sound of 12 pots cracked wide open. It seems apt somehow that the emotional Jean Alesi never raced a V10 Ferrari. Sure, this configuration gives designers the best of both worlds – revs and compactness – but its noise is suitably compromised. V16s, meanwhile, should be built, not to be raced (unless you are Auto Union), but to be listened to as they are warmed-up in the paddock. W12, however, should remain always the postcode it was meant to be. So join us, if you will, to help save the ‘Vélizy Wail’.

Simple crash helmet designs

Michael Schumacher is a genius; his crash helmet is a fright, an amalgam of all that’s bad about A-Level airbrush art. He deserves better – as do most of the current crop. If there is one good thing about the recent departure of Eddie Irvine from F1, it is that we will no longer have to stare at his hideous bachelor pad-poster of a helmet. What’s odd is that his old orange tribute to Senna wasn’t too bad. Guys, the simpler the better, the more memorable, the more marketable. There, that last one should do it.

The old Spa, Clermont-Ferrand, Nürburgring & Osterreichring

To be honest, there’s a whole host of circuits that you would wish still to be part of the scene, but these are the ones that provided drivers with their greatest challenges. And just think, in the early ’70s you could expect to visit at least three of them in the space of a couple of months – now that’s intense.

Gilles Villeneuve

Everybody loved Gilles. Even those who thought him overrated by his fans. For he spoke about his sport with an honesty and a passion that was refreshing even then – and he drove like the very devil himself. He was always on the edge – sometimes beyond it – but you always felt that he would be able to bring it back. More than the man himself died on the day that he was unable to.

Gold wheels on Ferraris

So how can the Scuderia possibly improve on last year’s car? Bolt some shiny gold wheels onto this year’s, that’s how. Let’s face it, the 1973 Ferrari B3 was an absolute dog, but it still looked good, courtesy of its gold wheels. In fact, Ferrari could go the whole hog and put the 2003 car back into the team’s traditional scarlet as opposed to TV-friendly Madboro Day-glo.

The magnificently moody Reims police cordon

A packed line of gendarmes would sweep along the pit straight bouncing everyone out of the way – whether you were meant to be there or not. Yet despite their efforts the starts were often shambolic, courtesy of the yes-no-maybe antics of doddery flag-dropper ‘Toto’ Roche. It was, however, all done with a certain panache – unlike today’s robotic performance. No matter how many red lights go out, it shouldn’t mean go.

Ropey transporters

There have always been slick transporters — check out Merc’s one-car 100mph job of the mid-1950s — but at least these were leavened by the converted Bristol buses of Britain’s amateur brigade. And even into the 1960s the likes of Bob Anderson and Pete Lovely would rock up with their Brabham (above) and Lotus crammed onto the back of a VW flatbed. Now, of course, every team has million-pound units that are parked with millimetre accuracy — impressive, but at the same time depressing.

Jochen Rindt (see smoking drivers)

Maybe not the most polished performer F1 has ever seen, but certainly one of the most dramatic — and fastest. He constantly fretted about the fragility of his Lotus, yet he exuded a winning insouciance. And no F1 driver has blown cooler smoke rings…

Smoking drivers

We know it’s bad for you, but the evil weed still carries a certain cachet. Keke Rosberg’s 160mph lap of Silverstone was made all the more compelling by his purposeful stubbing out of a tab behind the pits. ‘Right, let’s do it!’ A swig of isotonic drink doesn’t cut it.


There used to be huge showers of them as titanium struck Tarmac. This spectacle lifted many a dull race and should be reintroduced forthwith — even by artificial means.

Gordon Murray

His cars were innovative and beautiful; he came out of left field and had facial hair. He was very successful, too, yet still felt compelled to rebel against the increasingly strict rule book and baled out to build the world’s best supercar. He should still be building the world’s best F1 car. It’s our loss.

Inconsistent, lovable Ferrari

The Big Red Machine has never been better. But is it us, or is the modern incarnation harder to like than any of Maranello’s hit-and-miss outfits of the past? No team will knowingly dial in unreliability and inconsistency, but we’re sure that modern Ferrari could shed the ‘them and us’ attitude it has recently adopted. Of course people are jealous of its success, which makes it all the more important that it opens up rather than becoming more insular.

Spectators in duffel coats

Autograph book in hand, on the grid and rubbing shoulders. Not the Mansellmaniacs who invaded Silverstone, but the ‘Excuse me, Mr Moss’ types. Today you shove your book through a slot in a fence, which is why fans are stalkers and drivers are paranoid.

Pinstriped Honda mechanics

Most of our lot, bless their cotton socks, were in boiler suits, oily rags jutting from every pocket; the men from the Orient were in tailored kit, topped by a natty cap. It was clear that both sides had something to learn from this East-meets-West era.

Cast-iron brake discs

Longer braking distances equal more overtaking opportunities. Not difficult, is it?

Ken Tyrrell

Top bloke. Straight as a die. Thunderous laugh. Much missed. He said that the sport didn’t owe him anything. He was wrong

Ayrton Senna’s qualifying laps

They bordered on the spiritual. Such intensity sometimes made him a bit scary in the races — but in qualifying, his speed was absolutely pure. Schumacher will soon beat Senna’s record of 60 poles, but he will never match the frisson of Ayrton, for nobody wanted, needed, pole more than the Brazilian.

Nigel Mansell’s charges

Sure, he hammed it up occasionally — well, perhaps more than occasionally — but what a showman. Give him a ‘lost’ cause and some new rubber, and you knew you were in for half an hour of serious commitment and excitement. The man was an absolute star — in the car. And that, when it boils down to it, is what motor racing is about.

Jimmy Clark’s starts

In the days before traction control, getting off the line was an art — and nobody did it better than Clark. Any number of photos from the 1960s show him away and gone before the rest have even moved. Maybe he jumped some starts — that butter-wouldn’t-melt shy farmer exterior surely hid a steely competitive interior — but he couldn’t have done so on every occasion. And if he did, why didn’t everyone else?

Arturo Merzario’s Stetson

‘Little Art’ wasn’t a bad pedaller, but it’s his hat that he’s famous for in F1 circles. Sadly, word has it that he lost said titfer recently. Did ‘Pickles’ have any puppies?

Dunlop blue overalls

Unadorned save for a small sponsor’s logo and, often worn proudly on the breast pocket, that all-important British Racing Drivers’ Club badge, these nigh-on universal items are the symbol of a much simpler age. They weren’t much use in a fire, though.

Photographers on the apex

Today’s lensmen are usually fenced in and distant from the action. This is a far cry from the cluster of photographers leaning over the small brick wall at Copse; their lenses may have been short, but they stood tall in the bravery stakes. For instance, there is an image of Jim Clark in which he appears to be singing as he blasts along. In fact, he’s cursing snapper Michael Cooper, whose right foot is on the racing line!

Gear levers

Swapping cogs is a skill that should still play a part in racing. It’s satisfying to do — and to listen to, especially if you know that it’s being performed by another human being, albeit one with a special talent, rather than by a piece of software. And anyway, a cockpit without a gear lever looks emasculated. Steering column changes should be reserved for soggy ‘Yank tanks’.

When Max Mosley was in F2

This suggestion was put forward for our 100 before the urbane FIA President grasped the nettle and made this current F1 season something to look forward to rather than dread. But we still thought it amusing, so we left it in. Respect due, though, Mr Mosley.

Brands Hatch hosting the British Grand Prix

Silverstone had its charms (see The old Woodcote), but variety is the spice of life. And there can be no doubt that the dipping, swooping Kent track provided a much greater thrill.

Mike Hawthorn’s bow tie

And it would have been even better if it had whizzed around as he sped along.

Racing drivers in cool road cars

Coulthard has a nice ‘Pagoda’ Merc, Jacques used to own a Camaro, but usually today’s F1 drivers turn up at a circuit in a private plane, or something swift but sensible from their supporting manufacturer’s fleet. Give us Mike Hailwood in a Citroën SM or an Iso Grifo any day of the week.

The Mistral Straight

Long and shimmering, with Signes awaiting the skilful, brave and foolhardy at its distant end. Every circuit should have somewhere the cars can reach their maximum speed. Hockenheim used to, but its tree-hemmed straights were positively dowdy and dismal compared to Paul Ricard’s original blind.

Lotus’s green and yellow

BRG is a colour of many hues and, despite its importance, none of them are easy on the eye. That was until Colin Chapman pinched just the right amount of pizzazz from Indy and slapped a yellow stripe onto his sublime 25 in 1963. A legendary brand was born.

Lotus’s Gold Leaf colour scheme

Sponsorship: we can’t do without it, but we’re not keen on how it impinges on the purity of our sport. Just imagine, then, if the first colour scheme of its ilk had been an eyesore. As it was, the new era was ushered stylishly in by the red, white and gold of Gold Leaf. Even the naysayers couldn’t say the Lotus 49 looked hideous in its new livery. Far from it — few have bettered it.

Lotus’s JPS colour scheme

Tell today’s marketing men that you plan to paint your F1 car black and they would cart you to the funny farm. But having a Filofax and a nice suit doesn’t make you right all the time. Fact: Jo Public still thinks JPS is in F1

Carlos Reutemann’s moods

Even if you knew nothing about motor racing and Carlos walked past you on the street, you would think to yourself, ‘There goes a racing driver’. This Cary Grant of Formula One had everything — almost. It was as if he didn’t know how good he was, that maybe he thought about it all a bit too much. But his bouts of introspection and self-doubt were dotted betwixt numerous flashes of genius, a mix that made him the most compelling driver of his generation.

Instantly competitive teams

Do you recall the excitement of Wolf winning (below) first time out in 1977? Sadly, such spontaneity, it would seem, has gone forever. For new teams, not that we are likely to get any, talk of 10-year-plans for success. And, even more sadly, they are right to.

James Hunt

‘Master James’ was most definitely different. There was an element of spoilt brat about him, but it was difficult not to like someone who would turn up at a swanky black-tie do in jeans, t-shirt and bare feet — and carry it off, most of the time. And to think that Barry Sheene was a world champion in ’76, too!


Guy’s team always seemed more French than did Renault: a blue livery and Gitanes sponsorship helped. And some of the early JSs were superb, providing a natural habitat for a succession of tousle-haired Gallic fliers. To lose such an obviously nationalistic (in the best sense) team was a bitter pill.

Chapman’s hat-throwing

A black corduroy affair underarmed high into the air in celebration of another Lotus victory. Oh, and he’d be halfway across the track at the time. Also of note was John Cooper’s forward roll.

Picturesque circuits

Ever wondered why modern Formula One photography majors on the close-up? The reason is that backgrounds tend to be uniformly uninspiring at today’s anodyne tracks (even Monaco has fallen victim to charmless high-rises). In contrast, Montjuich Park (left) wended its way through leafy parkland and past bizarre World Fair-type architecture. Modern snappers would kill to find so many angles in such a small space.

4-3-4 starting grids

We don’t know how they did it — fit all that metal into such a tiny space — but they did, though, didn’t they? And the officials would be happy to stand on the grass, right next to the grid, at the start. ‘Don’t worry, good drivers these blokes. They know what they’re doing.’ They must have.

Mauro Forghieri

Ferrari’s long-time tech boss was perhaps the last man capable of designing every part of a GP car. Hugely expressive, occasionally impossible to work with, he would never fit in with today’s super-slick Ferrari. That doesn’t necessarily make him wrong, just different.

Interesting support races

A fine car the Porsche 911, but it’s been droning around before grands prix for far too long now. F3000 is worthy, too. But how about this for an idea? Marque provides a field of supercars — five of which will be earmarked for the top F1 qualifiers of the weekend, who then go head to head with a host of quality series regulars. Now you’re talking. It was called Procar (right), wasn’t it?

Grace Kelly on the Monaco podium

After 100 laps of grinding, pummelling Monaco, you’re hot, sweaty and parched — not at your debonair best in other words. And yet this is the precise moment you have to swap small talk with Hitchcock’s most beautiful blond. Never has Serene sat so well with Highness.

Enzo Ferrari’s huffs

There were occasions when the team simply failed to turn up, its martinet of a boss railing against this, that or the other, and sometimes threatening to quit for good. He never did, of course, but the Old Man could teach today’s lot a few new theatrics or two: balls-out arias rather than libretto tittle-tattle.

Keke Rosberg

Character: bristly— like his moustache. Driving style: occasionally unkempt — like his ‘tache. This straight-talking, no-nonsense racer made us Brits realise that not all Finns are monosyllabic down-in-the-dumps. For here was the Northern Hemisphere’s answer to Alan Jones.

Long Beach’s Linden Avenue

F1 meets Bullitt. Seemed outlandish at the time. Appears positively otherworldly now.

Feverish South American crowds

Britain in January and February: freezing cold and utterly miserable. Photographs in those months’ Autosport: half-crazed fans getting hosed down in baking-hot open grandstands. Different world. And all the better for it. Britain in winter was now that bit more bearable. Roll on July and the British GP — not that you used to have to wait that long (see Non-championship races).

Homemade grandstands

Preferably advertising hoardings with the signs kicked out so that the impecunious fan can get a better view of his heroes. Such antics undoubtedly added to the meeting’s atmosphere. Okay, so one or Iwo of these rickety constructions collapsed, but as it says on your (£100, grandstand extra) ticket, motor racing is dangerous.

Chassis versus engine

Today’s talk is of the ‘complete package’. But once you could approach the challenge from opposite ends and meet competitively in the middle. Slow on the straights but fast in the corners, and vice versa, made for great races.

Yumps, bumps and suspension movement

Tripping the flight land-tastic. An F1 car in mid-air made the hair on the back or your neck stand up. Nowadays, drivers ensure everyone gets it in the neck if there’s so much as a ripple in the track. In the interests of them, and us, we need to bring back suspension movement.

Wives and girl friends doing lap charts

Bette Hill, Pat McLaren, Nina Rindt — among others — could keep track of an entire field armed with some squared paper, a pencil and a couple of stopwatches. They may have been doing it to take their mind off the worst aspect of F1, but it certainly made it a more personal pursuit. How touching that it was Bette who told Graham that he had missed the cut at his beloved Monaco in 1975.

Brake dust on drivers’ faces

Probably a health hazard, but it provided evocative ‘war point’ as the knackered but elated winner climbed the podium to accept his reward and smudge the cheek of a ‘sweater girl’. It’s to Schuey’s credit that he climbs from his car looking so fresh, but as an image it’s just too ‘Because I’m worth it’.

Obstreperous backmarkers

Preferably, he would be a former hotshoe unhappy at being given the cold shoulder by a front-running team in favour of some new beau. Some would say that the likes of Rene Arnoux and Jean-Pierre Jarier did their reputations little good in the closing stages of their F1 careers, but there was something to be enjoyed in their cussedness. Today, of course, ignore two blue flags and you go directly to jail.

Elf’s driver scheme

France’s new fuel giant was brash and ambitious, and motor racing was the chosen medium to get its message across as quickly as possible. Which is why we have to thank it for Beltoise, Servoz-Gavin, Cevert, Depailler, Laffite, Pironi and Prost. We guess it was something they just had a flair for.

No traction control

And it wasn’t just the starts; it was everything. For throttle control is even more important than manual gearchanging. It’s at the core of what separates the great from the good. Thank God for Max.

Driver briefings on the grid

The heroes of yesteryear may not have taken kindly to being given a lecture from a public schoolboy in a worsted jacket in front of the grandstands, but it made for great photo opportunities —and was, vitally, a million miles from today’s behind-closed-doors mentality.

Interesting airboxes

March’s swaged-in sculpture of 1973, Ligier’s crazy ‘teapot’ (above), Tyrrell’s soon-to-be-dropped twin-pronged affair on the six-wheeler, the forward-of-cockpit approach employed by Eifelland. Oh, for the days when aerodynamics was little more than a wetted thumb held up to the breeze.

Non-championship races

Let me just check my diary: Lombank Trophy at Snetterton in March; Goodwood’s Glover Trophy in April — oh, and the Aintree 200; Silverstone’s Daily Express Trophy in May; the GP in July; all rounded off nicely by the Gold Cup in September. Being a British F1 fan in 1963 was so much more fulfilling.

Rob Walker

Best of an important breed (see Competitive Privateers). If he was good enough for Moss, he was good enough for everybody.

Graham Hill’s one-liners

It’s no wonder the public loved him, he was motor racing’s answer to Terry-Thomas. His annual banters with JYS (who more than held his own on these occasions) usually stole the show at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards, and his forays into the commentary box were riots of ‘funnies’.

Competitive Privateers

There is something engaging about someone doing a sport for fun. And it’s even better if they are able to put one over those who have one eye on making money out of their pursuit Lord Hesketh was the last of the amateur breed — and what we wouldn’t give for a bit of his team’s joie de vivre right now.

A Minardi on the front row

God bless Pierluigi Martini, Aldo Costa (unsung design hero) and Pirelli. Just a shame that it happened at Phoenix?

Peaked crash helmets

Because they looked right. Best of all was the Bell with the press-stud peak that turned through 90 degrees at its leading edge (as modelled by Jo Siffert). The drivers must have liked them, too, because they kept their ‘skid lids’ for ages, which is how they got their fabulous patina.

Testing anywhere but Barcelona

Do you remember when the teams used to disappear to Kyalami for a month? Those tyre tests were like an extra couple of GPs. It all seemed so faraway and glamorous — unlike the Circuit de Catalunya, which has not one iota of the charm of nearby Barca.

Ron Dennis as a mechanic

McLaren is the epitome of modern-day F1… slick, rich, hi-tech. But at its core is an oily rag background for its boss (above right). That’s what will always make them racers.

The Eagle

It starts with the best nose-cone in motor racing and ends in a fanfare of chromed exhaust pipes. Dipped in deep royal blue, Dan Gurney’s racer was a classy piece of kit — just like its constructor.

Corners with evocative names

Turns One, Two, Three etc — doesn’t anyone in F1 have some imagination? Flugplatz, Burnenville, Jukskei Sweep, Hunzerug, Nouveau Monde — isn’t that better?

Jimmy Clark wearing a cardigan on top of his overalls

Well, Scotland is the home of knitwear. We’re not sure how he got it past the safety scrutineer, though. Perhaps there wasn’t one. And anyway, if the best driver in the world felt a bit chilly, he was quite within his rights to wrap up warm.

Senna versus Prost

Formula One’s most Wagnerian duel. Two legends, in one of the best cars ever built, given free rein to express themselves. Did it matter that McLaren won all but five races of the 1988-89 period? Not really. To be honest, we’re not even bothered which of them won the title in what year, we’re just glad that we saw it. It wasn’t quite so good when Prost jumped ship to Ferrari, but it was still a clash of giants among pygmies.

Hans Heyer

A man with a penchant for Tyrolean hats fails to qualify for the 1977 German GP. Ah, but he blags his way onto the grid — and starts the race. Not only that, but his privateer Penske retires before officials have the satisfaction of black-flagging him. And that was his only GP. What a star!

Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Chain’

Okay, hum the theme tune to ITV’s F1 programme. We’re waiting… Our point is made. Dow, der, der, der, da, na, da, na, da, dow. Yep, the Beeb got it spot-on.

Obscure, hopeless Italians

Sounds harsh, but don’t forget that we are ‘in praise of’ here. But why just Italians? Because they start with an advantage denied (most of) us Brits: a fast-sounding name. So I say a heartfelt thank-you to: Giulio Cabianca, Gerino Gerini, Lamberto Leoni, Alessandro Pesenti-Rossi, Domenico Schiaitarella and Prince Gaetano Starrabba.

Interesting paddock visitors

We’re talking George Harrison (below), James Garner, Henri Leconte and Peter Ustinov — not Leo Sayer. And turning up at Monaco doesn’t count.

Interesting driver quotes

The likes of Andretti, Jones and Lauda all had plenty to say, and they weren’t afraid to say it. Now we have press conferences. Sigh.

Nigel Mansell’s injuries

He was as tough as old boots — raced with a broken neck, sat in a bath of petrol in his first GP — yet at times he seemed to play the wounded soldier. Real soap opera stuff.

Schumacher in not the best car

He’s proved he can win races and titles in such, witness 1994, 96-99, and during this time the rest of the field — Hill, Villeneuve, Hakkinen, Coulthard — got a look in. However, since everything gelled at Ferrari, nobody else has had a sniff. Not good.

Rouen’s downhill sweepers

There were three, bordered by sharp drops and high banks. With no margin for error, they claimed several victims, but those who mastered them knew they must be worth their salt.

Teams not running two cars

It was not unusual to see four or five Ferraris on a GP grid in the 1950s — maybe one of them in the yellow of Ecurie Francorchamps. The Yardley and Marlboro BRM teams carried this multi-car standard into the ’70s, but two cars per team was by now the norm. And today, it’s the law. Which is a shame, because punchy one-car teams often used to shake up the establishment.

Drivers wearing laurel wreaths on the podium

They must have felt like a lead weight around your aching shoulders, but they looked good, were a strong link with the past and emphasised the gladiatorial nature of the sport. The sponsors, however, weren’t keen on them since the foliage covered up their logos. So F1 was pruned.

Round steering wheels

Thin-rimmed (preferably wooden), three or four spokes, and with a small team logo at its centre. While we’re at it, let’s bring back dials instead of those infernal fairy lights.

Andrea de Cesaris

In his first full F1 season he wrecked a record number of cars and scored just one point. Yet he hung in there — he was well connected — and contested 208 grands prix, with 10 teams. And he wasn’t too bad by the end.

Drivers on commercial flights

This way they’d have time to mull over the GP just gone with the assembled press (like they used to), and as a result the following week’s reading would have more of a voice than perhaps we get today. Plus it would do them good to rough it once in a while.

Number 27

Its significance kicked off with Jones and Williams in 1978; its immortality was assured when Villeneuve took it to his death in ’82. It was thereafter carried by Tambay, Alboreto, Mansell, Senna, Prost and Alesi. But it has been out of use since 1996, which is when F1’s numbering became more logical, i.e. boring.

When British drivers dominated…

Thanks to Moss, Brooks, Hawthorn and Collins in the 1950s, and Clark, Hill and Surtees in the ’60s, it was not unheard of for the British stars to sweep the podium.

… And German drivers disappointed

Barring a brief flurry by von Trips in 1961, the Fatherland suffered a severe drought of favourite racing sons. Which was fine by us. And still would be but for the Schumachers.

Seventies sideburns

For best effect these hirsute additions had to be in conjunction with Elvis shades, the type with holes drilled in their arms. Emerson Fittipaldi had the most famous F1 ‘sideys’, but Reine Wisell’s were maybe better (below).

Castrol R

Ah, you can’t kid the Castrol R kids. No smell in racing comes close to beating this vegetable oil when it’s done to a turn inside a Maserati or Ferrari. Nectar!

Flaming turbos

Those small in-line fours and V6s emitted a strange wuffly engine note. But this aural deficit was made up for by a visual feast… huge sheets of flame jetting out the back.


Be they RAF-type or ex-tank commander, they knock mirrored visors into a cocked helmet.

Twisty exhaust pipes

These items are still works of art today — it’s just that you can’t see them. It seems a shame to go to all that trouble if you’re not going to plonk them inside the vee for all to see.

Driver strikes

The comrades of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association weren’t averse to flexing their muscles during the 1970s and ’80s. The best of these disputes occurred at Kyalami in 1982, Lauda taking the opportunity of his (very) financially rewarding return to immediately bring the brothers out. While FISA and FOCA were going at it hammer and tongs, the men the spectators came to see wanted to make sure they had their say — and got their slice of the cake. Given the calm since, it’s reasonable to suggest that most of their demands were met.

Straight-armed driving position

In the days of open cockpits, style played a greater part than it does today. Making it look easy was part of the game, and no-one could beat Moss in this respect either.


Oh, the flak this team got during its V16 era and the immediate aftermath. Some of it was due, for they underachieved for Britain, but in its defence others were learning from its mistakes. And how right that it should have its seasons in the sun (1962-65). A 1.5-litre P261 with an orange band on its nose, and Hill or Stewart at its helm, is one of the most enduring images of British motor racing. And how apt that it all should collapse into a morass of mismanagement and overenthusiasm. The P207 is something British motorsport tries to forget.

Jenks’s letter from Europe

In the days before satellites, rolling news and long lenses, DSJ’s monthly round-up in Motor Sport was like a beacon from some distant planet. He was the only link that true racing enthusiasts had between themselves and, say, the South African Grand Prix, and they clung to his every word. And he in turn never let them down.

Rose-tinted spectacles

These must be worn at all times for maximum effect.