Martin Brundle on his F3 days
Reader question: It’s now 30 years since your epic British F3 battle with Ayrton Senna. What was your defining moment of that season?
Simon Arron: It was probably the bottom of a Ralt RT3 just above you, wasn’t it?
Martin Brundle: Yes, with Senna’s sidepod on my shoulder so that I couldn’t get out of the car at Oulton Park… No, I think my defining moment would be winning at Silverstone when I very first beat Senna. He beat me nine straight times and then I beat him and it transformed, probably, my career, maybe my life, because I suddenly had this thought, ‘I can beat him’. I had this confidence and he knew exactly the opposite, he knew that I could beat him. It just turned the season on its head and the rest is history, we both went straight to F1.
I remember that race weekend because we were eighth or ninth with the British F3 Avon tyres in practice [the British and European series were running together and drivers could choose to score in one or the other]. I came in, changed to Euroseries Yokohamas and put it on pole. You lifted a little bit for Becketts but then didn’t lift at all until the chicane if you got it right. It was brilliant, it just stuck to the track.
Senna crashed trying to keep up in the race and I won. I often wonder whether I should have stuck with Avons and taken the British F3 points, but I think beating Senna just turned my career around psychologically.
Your hot topics
Taken from the comments on Damien Smith’s Spanish Grand Prix coverage
James: The fastest race lap was six seconds slower than pole. Let’s compare that with other events, pole v fastest laps, to see just how slowly a current Fl car is being driven in a race…
LMP1 Spa 0.8s, LMP2 Spa 1.1s, DTM Hockenheim1.5s, BTCC Thruxton1.3s and F1 Spain 2009 2 seconds.
David Wiles: It is now so long ago that restoring mechanical grip and reducing, if not eliminating, aero grip was suggested that I can no longer remember the year I first heard it. Instead we get DRS and fake tyres to improve the ‘show’ while cars lap six seconds off the qualifying pace.
Rich Ambroson: The soap operas are fine for some, but I’m interested in the cars and the drivers and, sure, the good stories in the paddock, but not this ‘political intrigue’ nonsense. Nor do I have a care for ‘chess on wheels’…
Ray in Toronto Canada: For the most part, Pirelli has done a good job. It was a thankless task, to be fair. Part of doing a ‘good job’ is remaining flexible and making changes for the good of the whole. Not everyone gets it right all the time: Alonso has hardly been flawless since last summer; McLaren made numerous bungles with the fastest car in 2012 and has imploded this year; Red Bull made the RB9 with ‘too much’ downforce (for this spec of tyre) and made some wrong tyre calls in China and Spain. No one’s perfect.
Online with our writers
F1’s home advantage
73 of the 872 GPs held have been won by a local hero: 8.37 per cent But there is more to this than weight of numbers. Had Nigel Mansell been the only British driver to win the British GP, the manner of his four successes — five if you include his maiden victory in the 1985 European GP — would have been sufficient to overcome all statistical doubts.
I was there when… 1996 Spanish GP
The only man who made conditions look straightforward was Schumacher, who recovered swiftly from his poor start and annexed the lead from Villeneuve on lap 12. Thereafter he was frequently up to three seconds faster than anybody else and his quickest lap — a lmin 45.5127sec, set shortly after he’d taken the lead — remained 2.2sec clear of the opposition.
The law’s not always an ass
A few weeks ago I was in Shanghai for the Chinese GP to act as a driver steward. I’d taken the role once before, at Catalunya in 2011, but this one was a busy weekend. There were several incidents and it’s good to have some insight into what’s happening. That enables you to make decisions that might look strange from the outside, but are backed up with hard data.
@Damien_Smith A year on from his Spanish Grand Prix win, Maldonado can’t get out of 01. Both Williams drivers take an early bath. Oh dear.
@Andrew_Frankel Ace news about Honda’s return to F1. With NSX and Type-R confirmed, the company is returning to its roots of pure engineering and passion.
@Motor_Sport Motor Sport is not only at Donington, but Spa for the FIA WEC too. Sunshine at Eau Rouge with frites. Perfect.
@Ed__Foster Di Montezemolo: we will NEVER make an electric car while I am chairman. #Ferrari #phew
@Ed_Foster Every minute 95 items with a #Ferrari logo on are sold worldwide. That’s a lot of products…
@matoxley Monday (May 20) is the 40th anniversary of the deaths of Jarno Saarinen & Renzo Pasolini at Monza. GP racing’s darkest day. Saarinen was one of the greats.
matoxley John McGuinness at yesterday’s Classic TT launch at The Ace Café. He’s on the Paton twin he’ll ride.
@olivergavin Remembering #AyrtonSenna today. Pic taken @ 1991 Autosport Awards. I had the huge privilege of meeting Ayrton & Sir Stirling #Amazing Men
@Motor_Sport On May 11955, Moss and Jenks won the Mille Miglia.