• Formula 1,  History,  Racing drivers,  Single seaters,  The Pantheon

    The Pantheon: Juan Manuel Fangio – the greatest

    There’ll never be another driver like Juan Manuel Fangio. In the year that the Formula 1 World Championship is marking its 70th anniversary, when the sport’s current master driver stands on the cusp of breaking all of its proudest records, Fangio’s position remains unassailable. It is possible that Fangio is the greatest racing driver who has ever lived; at the very least he was as great as any who have a realistic competing claim. San José de Balcarce is a small town 260 miles to the south of Buenos Aires. It’s the kind of place that nothing much ever happens, nor is it ever expected to. It was here that…

  • Formula 1,  Racing drivers,  Statistics

    Formula 1 2020: the inevitable preview

    Formula 1 2020. Here we go again. Neither an infectious respiratory illness pandemic nor Greta Thunberg could stop it, the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is back for its seventieth year. 2020 features twenty cars and drivers, nineteen of whom are going to be mightily disappointed. But one will be number one, which is all that really matters. Top level sport and mid-range sporting entertainment is what we’re all here for, so let’s not waste any more time and take a look at the runners and riders. MERCEDES The Mercedes team enter the 2020 season on the cusp of all-time greatness, having already achieved enough that they need not worry…

  • Racing drivers,  Formula 1,  Single seaters

    They comin’… 20 young drivers on the way to F1?

    Whither the babies of yesteryear? Well, they’re all racing drivers now, daddio and believe me, they comin’. Admittedly this is something of an exaggeration: not all young people are now racing drivers. I mean, someone has to pick up the slack and do the drug dealing and knife crime, but there is nevertheless some basis to my argument. A new generation of racing drivers, born in this century, are on the cusp of breaking through into Formula 1. It won’t be before time. Formula 1 motor racing has become beset with a certain stasis recently. For all the talk last season about the up-and-coming challenge from the newcomers Max Verstappen…

  • Formula E,  Racing drivers,  Statistics,  Women racing

    Formula E: Eight things you should know

    The 2019/20 FIA Formula E championship arrives in Marrakech, Morocco this Saturday for the fifth round of its sixth season. Having weathered scepticism throughout its life, Formula E has begun to truly emerge as one of the most reliably exciting and dramatically storied series in world motor racing. With it also being one of the few top-line racing series currently available to watch on free-to-air television in the United Kingdom, anyone with a desire to get into motorsport could do significantly worse than to open the iPlayer this weekend and give it a go. Today, here are eight key points that you need to know ahead of the lights going…

  • Formula 1,  History,  Racing drivers,  The Pantheon

    Niki Lauda and the Formula 1 pantheon

    Niki Lauda, the Austrian three-time World Champion who continues to leave an indelible mark on the sport of Grand Prix motor racing, would have been 71 years old this week. An opportune time, then, to introduce the +1 Lap Pantheon: an ongoing collection of portraits and stories of the people whose impact on Formula 1 cannot be weighed. Over the course of a four-decade long dalliance with Formula 1, Lauda wore many hats, not least of which was the famous red cap he used to disguise the ferocious scarring acquired at the Nürburgring in 1976. During his career, he would occupy the roles of pay driver, gifted number two, inspirational…

  • Racing drivers,  Formula 1,  W Series,  Women racing

    Ten of the best: women racing drivers

    The last woman to start a Formula 1 World Championship Grand Prix was Lella Lombardi of Italy, who drove the Surtees-Ford in the 1976 Austrian Grand Prix. As far as I’m concerned, that is a preposterously long time ago. Too long. I hadn’t been born yet, and I’m old. Too old. I was 12 the last time a woman driver even attempted to qualify for a Grand Prix: another Italian, Giovanna Amati, in the laughably uncompetitive Brabham in 1992. The time has come for a revolution on the Formula 1 grid. Today, here are my picks for the ten best women racing drivers competing in world motorsport today. Could one…

  • Formula 1,  History,  Racing drivers

    Brambilla & Maldonado: one’s enough

    Two high priests of destruction, Vittorio Brambilla and Pastor Maldonado’s names became shorthand for the kind of muscular approach to Grand Prix motor racing that both excites the imagination of the casual viewer and endears them endlessly to their fellow practicitioners. Both of them would stand on a Formula 1 podium one single time during their career: on each occasion it would be the top step. Vittorio Brambilla was born in the epicentre of Italian motor racing, Monza, on 11th November 1937. The Brambillas were a motor racing family: his elder brother Ernesto “Tino” Brambilla was a motorcycle racer who would also twice enter the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix…