Today's drivers "will never know" what racing a "proper F1 car" is like.

That is the claim of 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell, who says the sport's best era was actually before his title with the super-powerful turbo engines of the 80s.

"Formula 1 will never get back to that," Mansell, now 65, told the FIA's Auto magazine.

"Driving those turbo cars was the most exhilarating, frightening thing that you could do in your life.

"The (1987) Williams FW11B -- nothing comes close to that car, nothing in the world. Really, today's drivers will never know what a proper F1 car feels like.

"In qualifying you literally had up to 1,500 horsepower -- it's reputed that BMW had more. And to have wheel spin in sixth gear down the straight, at 175 or 180mph -- you cannot put that into words as a driver.

"At every single corner you came to, the car was literally trying to kill you," Mansell added.

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3 F1 Fan comments on “Mansell: Drivers don't know what 'proper' F1 is

  1. Simon Saivil

    "...Mansell: Drivers don't know what 'proper' F1 is..."

    I'm not sure if the word "proper" is appropriate in this case. Is it, actually, ever appropriate?

    Certainly if you put any driver from the current grid in the car of Mr. Mansel's generation it would be little short of a fiasco. On the other hand, if one could, miraculously, make Mr. Mansel, or one of his competitors 30 years younger, and put them in the cockpit of the current F1 I wonder if they would know what to do?

    All cars were/are "proper" for their generation.

    The current F1 car is more removed from the street car than Mr. Mansell's F1, but that is separate issue.

  2. J. Spijkers

    I agree with both gentlemen above but I must lean more to The great Nigel Mansell.
    Throughout the F1 history, cars evolved for a variety of reasons and this is necessary for advancement in anything. It is unstoppable. Unfortunately F1 has become more of a car focused event. Consider how the cars and drivers are monitored and controlled from the pits. Before this was possible many years ago, the driver made the decisions and raced with driving skills often by the seat of their pants. Racing was much more exciting to watch. A good driver in a not so good car had a chance at the checkered flag. That is no longer the case. The excitement of watching has diminished not only because of the current evolution of the cars and pit control but also the boys that make up the rules. How many of those boys have actually raced a Formula 1car? I think the rules and cars should take a few steps back to bring the excitement back to F1. I welcome Colin Chapman's ground effects back. Refueling and turbo chargers is going in the right direction. Get rid of excessive pit control so drivers need to make decisions and race more competitively. What about the tire monopoly?

    • Simon Saivil

      I agree about the tires. Didn't Ferrari use to use Goodyear. I remember seeing a commercial about their tire saying "because that's how Mr. Ferrari likes it."

      The problem is that it's difficult to find a manufacturer who would commit resources to produce just 300-400 tires a year for one team. They could use that as an advertising strategy, but as a product it would most certainly be a big loss in their operation. Really pity that the next quarter financial statement governs everything.


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