Jos Verstappen in 1994, Felipe Massa in 2008 and his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen a year later in Brazil. All three drivers have had their share of pit stop horrors. Both Jos and Kimi were engulfed in burning high-octane fuel while Felipe miss-timed his release in the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix to take the fuel hose and two mechanics along with him on exit. All exciting, but dangerous.
A lot of unseen effort goes into Formula One. Multi-million dollar deals, driver contracts and immense scrutinizing to keep the protagonists on the grid in check. F1 is a peculiar business. Drivers are employees and their sole objective is to win, whilst their employers are tasked with developing competitive cars and maintain solid sponsorships to fund their endeavours. All at the same time, hundreds of personnel are “back at the factory” working day and night through the year, be it in the sweltering heat of summer or the cold recesses of winter. Here are eight spectacles that run through the heart and veins of Formula One.
Formula One is a scene of an organised chaos. Filled with roughly 2000 people, during a season teams travel across the globe from corner to corner. Once only 8 races filled the F1 calendar, but now there are around twenty each year, beginning in March and ending in November, spanning a massive distance of 160 000km across the rondures of the Earth. But even after the rush of a year traveling around the world chasing a trophy, it is only the racing that stops. Then it is a battle against time for engineers, mechanics and aerodynamicists just to name a few, fill the factory to continue developing a car that has already been conceptualised around July/August of that same year.
The 50’s. The Wild West of Grand Prix racing and a time when it all seemed so primitive. Men raced rugged machines around undulating tracks, and danger vibrated through the minds of many. Juan Manuel Fangio’s tale is diverse and obscure. From his regular visits to the podium to a bizarre kidnapping. We take a quick look into the spellbinding life of the man who became The Maestro.
On the 17th of July 1911, one of the most compelling and accomplished Formula One drivers was born. The start to his life was not made easy and his journey into Formula One was a rigorous path to travel. Juan Manuel Fangio spent his adolescence in San José de Balcarce, a dusty rural city in the Buenos Aires Province. Like many children in Argentina, he went to school and played football with a keen passion. It was on the football pitch where Juan adopted his first nickname, El Chueco – “The bandy legged one”. This was thanks to his avid skill in bending his left leg completely around the ball to score.
Juan Manuel dropped out of school at the very early age of 13, and worked as an assistant mechanic as he had done so for the previous two years. He spent nearly 40 years working as a mechanic, often preparing his own very basic motorcars for events. He entered them into strenuous, long distance Argentine races, often spanning over an obscene length of 400 km. Years later, Fangio’s mechanical skillset in the European world of racing would prove to become invaluable.
Every once in a while, an F1 team produces something different. A car that is so great, it cannot even be termed competitive.They were simply to good. Some dominated for just a season, whilst others remained and were developed for years.
Formula One is sports automated gift to mankind. Heroes from all populated continents have competed in some spectacular machinery over the years. Remarkable designers and architects of cars have bred some creative and awe-inspiring initiatives. The challenge for engineers to work their way around the rules and regulations has been a constantly fascinating journey. Some innovations were so ingenious that scrutineers failed to nullify any unwanted loopholes found by teams. Some names that have emerged over the decades have helped create Formula One into the household name it is today. Here are the top twelve most dominant cars in Formula One.