Mansell under pressure

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

The manner in which Nigel Mansell parked his McLaren to register retirement from the Spanish Grand Prix inevitably raises the question of whether he is already contemplating retirement of another kind.

Even Ron Dennis concedes that the MP4/10’s performance, or lack of it, was a factor behind his new signing’s reluctance to drive the first two races. How the former world champion must have pondered his future after finishing a lowly 10th at Imola and deciding that he did not even wish to continue with the race at Barcelona. “It’s undriveable,” said the disgruntled Briton as he retired from 21st place. “I’m not going out there in it to have an accident.”

He is a driver who thrives on ‘people power’ and is formidable when in buoyant form. But a demotivated Mansell is perhaps the last thing a team needs when it is fighting a rearguard PR action.

The problem is two-fold. Firstly, as teammate Mika Hakkinen confirms, the car is unbalanced, with or without its radical ‘midship’ wing. Secondly, Mansell’s problems are exacerbated by his driving style.

“My style is to go deep into a corner and then turn-in,” he explained after the first day’s qualifying in Barcelona. “Mika’s fastest lap today is near enough two seconds quicker, but in fact on the overall lap I’m at three per cent more full throttle than he is, and yet I’m slower. The reason for that, and that counts for three and a half seconds more full throttle per lap, is that I’m aggravating the front-end of my car and I have more understeer, so I go into the corner and I can’t turn. We do have a weakness on initial turn-in.

“I’ll share this with you: Mika said to me at Imola, ‘How the hell did you go round that corner like that?’ I picked up three or four tenths just on braking and entering one corner. But it was only one corner and then there were six others he was killing me on all the second gear comers!”

It is not the first time Mansell has found himself in such a predicament. At Ferrari in 1990 he struggled all season against Alain Prost, who preferred a car set-up for understeer. Mansell would rather cross himself and reach for the garlic than face such a nightmare.

Williams Technical Director Patrick Head maintains that Mansell’s biggest asset has always been his tremendous physical strength in the corners. When Martin Brundie suggests that the fitting of power steering to last year’s McLaren gained him seven tenths of a second at Silverstone’s Becketts alone, you can see why. Now, however, Dennis concedes the weakness in the frontend of this year’s car means Nigel’s aggression only exaggerates the problem.

“I think our honesty at the start of the season worked against us, and continues to work against us,” pondered Dennis at Imola. “It sort of gave a dog a bad name.” But Barcelona’s high speed curves exposed the MP4/10’s inherent flaws to such a degree that it palpably warranted a bad name. You can bet your bottom seven million dollars that Mansell called it a few…

Related articles

Related products