Brundle’s duel with Ayrton Senna for the 1983 British Formula 3 title remains the stuff of legend. Their divergent F1 fortunes can’t overshadow the talent of this World Sportscar champion and Le Mans winner-turned-broadcaster par excellence. He made the gridwalk his own (pre-Covid) and his analysis brings a sixth-sense to GP viewing.
In a close category, the Brummie-accented engineer, victor of the 1966 Daytona 24 Hours and triple 12 Hours of Sebring winner came through against the likes of Bob Wollek, Vic Elford and Olivier Gendebien. He’s best known for his association with Carroll Shelby and development of the Ford GT40, not least thanks to the 2019 film Le Mans ’66. Miles’ love for a hot beverage meant he was known affectionately among crews as ‘Teddy Teabag’.
Super-cool and super-quick, Jochen Rindt epitomised Formula 1 racing in the late 1960s; a superstar amid a field of big characters. Excluded from schools and often showcasing a broken bone as a youth, nocturnal car racing with friends gave him a love of speed and danger. His flamboyant talent brought cars to life whether leading from the front or charging from the back.
With Lotus in 1970, he’d fulfil the potential of becoming world No1, albeit under tragic circumstances.
To have achieved such greatness in his 27-year life – and to have pipped Henri Toivonen and Ari Vatanen and in the first year of our Cult Hero category – speaks volumes for Bellof’s skill. His two seasons at Tyrrell in 1984-85 hinted at a sparkling F1 future, including fourth at the ’85 Detroit GP, but his record in prototypes was incredible, winning the World Sportscar crown in 1984. He would surely have rivalled Prost and Senna in F1.
If it wasn’t for injuries, the Aussie rider would have more than the five consecutive 500cc titles he won from 1994. But his legend was forged in his recovery from what should have been a career-ending leg break. Doohan’s mental strength over numerous operations and complications mirrored his determination on track. It should be no complete surprise that his favourite corner was at Salzburgring – the most dangerous corner on the most dangerous track.
Many drivers are hailed as courageous. Few embody that attribute as entirely as Zanardi. It’s a miracle the two-time CART champion survived his 2001 crash and double leg amputation. But his passion for competition brought a switch to handcycling and Paralympic golds. A collision last year left the racing world hoping for another recovery.