When was F1 at its best? The rose-tinted spectacles problem (Making F1 better)

Did F1 really have a golden era?

Did F1 really have a golden era?

In the golden days of F1 every Grand Prix was a classic, with 20 changes of lead and a photo finish. Dashing drivers would climb from beautiful, sponsor-free cars, light a cigarette and regale the world’s press with quick-witted quips.

Nonsense, of course. It’s easy to write off modern F1 as a pale shadow of its former self, but all too often we are looking at the past through rose-tinted spectacles.

Still, there is much F1 can learn from its past. Which is why we should begin our discussion of how to make F1 better by asking what made F1 great, and what – if anything – is it missing now.

I started watching F1 in 1989 and I always think of those first three years as among the best ever seen in F1. These were the glory days of Prost-vs-Senna-vs-Mansell and I saw some spellbinding races – Hungary ’89, Suzuka ’89, Mexico ’90, Suzuka ’90, Spain ’91 and more.

But I suspect I’m falling victim to the ‘rose-tinted spectacles’ effect when I forget about the less exciting races – the ones where Senna or Prost led all race long and only saw a rival car when they lapped them.

Re-watching race highlights on Youtube makes things worst. A ten-minute race clip can make any race seem exciting – but what happened in the other 110 minutes?

Watch an unedited race from the seventies or eighties and a few things strike you.

First, there were so many retirements. Barely half the field made it to the chequered flag on a good day. Today a failure for one of the top teams is unusual, even at this early stage in the season.

Driver errors were not necessarily more common, but they were more likely to result in a retirement. Cars became stuck on kerbs, bogged down in gravel traps and smashed into walls.

Closer barriers contributed to a greater sense of speed and a more impressive spectacle – as did the showers of sparks from those low-running cars of the early nineties. Modern safety standards may make it impossible to recapture that kind of drama.

Above all, looking at past races you get the sense that everything was much less professional, even as little a 20 years ago. Teams were less well-prepared, more likely to make mistakes.

But they can’t un-learn what they already know any more than we can put a wall around the outside of Eau Rouge. Not all the lessons we learn from the past can be applied to the future.

Over to you

What do you think we can learn from past F1 seasons? Here’s some questions for you discuss in the comments.

When did you start watching F1? Which do you consider were the best seasons you ever saw – and why?

We never see slipstreaming races like those we had at Monza in the fifties and sixties any more. Races where a different leader every lap was common, and a driver knew if he led at the start of the final lap he wouldn’t win a race. Why is that? Would you like to see a return to that kind of racing at some tracks?

In the past F1 cars have lapped circuits in under a minute (at Dijon) and up to ten (at Pescara and the Nurburgring). Now they take a minute and a half, give or take 15 seconds, wherever they go. Why has that variety been lost, and should we bring it back?

The practice of multiple circuits sharing one Grand Prix, which was common in France and Britain for decades, has disappeared everywhere apart from Germany. Is this a good thing?

Why is the Circuit de Catalunya, a track that was lauded as an excellent venue for overtaking when it was added to the calendar in 1991, now condemned for producing boring races?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

This is part of “Making F1 better”, a series of articles looking at ways to improve Formula 1. Fore more information see the introduction: Making F1 better: a discussion series

Making F1 better

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218 comments on When was F1 at its best? The rose-tinted spectacles problem (Making F1 better)

  1. antonyob said on 23rd April 2010, 16:52

    the golden age or rather classic age for grand prix racing ended in 1959. the cars were beautiful, the racers gentlemen and the parties after a race were even better.

    but its no more f1’s fault that sport got more professional than it is the Wimbledon lawn tennis association.

    i’ve watched f1 racing since 1980 with my father who used to watch it trackside from the beginning (1950) and the kit car naffness of those years used to really annoy that generation. of course now we worry about dirty air, ride heights and 1 weave or 2 but its essentially the same. men moaning about something they know quite alot about to boys who know a bit less.

    its all good and this new era, in my opinion, is potentially a renaissance. enjoy it, and part of that, as always, is saying the past was better.

  2. Pingguest said on 23rd April 2010, 16:54

    What we can learn from the past is that standardizing and homologating parts, enforce a minimum life span and introducing rules to artificially spice up the racing, harm the close racing we used to have.

    • matt90 said on 23rd April 2010, 17:27

      Only because overtaking is difficult. Otherwise, in terms of difference in pace between teams isn’t current F1 among the closest its ever been?

      • DanThorn said on 23rd April 2010, 17:37

        Would overtaking be as difficult though if so many potential areas of development hadn’t been capped? Aero is all there really has been to develop for a while now, and as a result we have the issue of dirty air and limited overtaking.

  3. FLIG said on 23rd April 2010, 16:57

    I started watching F1 before I could speak – my father is a F1 fanatic since the 70’s, so our main father-son thing was sunday morning with pop corn and watching Piquet and Senna making us brazilians really proud. But I have memories and favorites since 1990, and I really think that since then, there is no “golden age”. I remember that the drivers offered more unexpected driving when Mansell, Piquet, Senna and Prost were winning, but I had lots of fun watching Schumacher win with his Benetton; Hill’s title was ‘ok’. Then Villeneuve x Schumacher was great, I really enjoyed that and Frentzen’s run with the big ones. Hakkinen x Schumacher was interesting also. A shame that Raikkonen had such a bad star to him; I really think that if he had more luck in his McLaren days, Schumacher would not be that big of a legend today.
    And thinking back… maybe this year is the most exciting I’ve seen so far. I mean, I loved it when Senna was winning, and I bet the british loved it when Mansell was winning but… from that period, I remember I was really impressed with how many races ended with the leader lapping the 4th place, sometimes even 2nd place would be a lap behind at the end of the race.

  4. I started watching F1 in 1991, but I can’t really say which was my favourite season.

    I think a key factor in making a season as a whole enjoyable is a good championship battle with good rivalries.

    If a season is dominated by one driver, if you are a fan of that driver you don’t mind, but otherwise it can get quite boring. Which is why I liked 1992 with Mansell and Williams but I didn’t enjoy the Schumacher/Ferrari domination of the early 2000s.

    I don’t know about anyone else but when I watch any sport on TV I always become much more involved if there is someone to cheer on.

    I defiantly think that F1 should visit a wide variety of circuits and as I don’t believe in one country permanently having two Grand Prix I think it is a good idea to alternate between circuits if one country has a few good tracks.

  5. rampante said on 23rd April 2010, 17:02

    I agree with the view that it was always better at some other time than the present. I have watched since 1970 and really not missed a race since then. There have been some good points about the coverage that was available at that time with many incidents only given only in commentary as there were not a 10th of the cameras they have now. I have also been to many races starting in the late 70’s and 80’s and spending 10 years working with one of the team sponsors through the 90’s let me see the changes not only to the track and facilities but also the vast sums of money that was being spent on the sport.
    In every era of F1 there has been competition and rivalry whether it was Stewart, Fitipaldi etc when I started to watch up to today with 4 WDC on the track. Apart from 2 or 3 seasons when 1 car has made a fool of the rest it has mostly always been tight with several drivers in with a good chance of winning. I think one of the main problems is full live coverage, I know this may sound strange but we are all on this site for one reason and that is our passion for the sport. Casual fans who make up vast viewing numbers only want to see 2 hours of non stop action without really knowing what is going on. This makes it difficult for F1 because it now has “improving the show” as key to going forward. Please don’t rubbish this idea and think that I’m saying the sport should be dull but think about it. A 1 hour TV slot with 30 min of racing and most “viewers” would not see the problems. We the true fans will go to the race if possible and watch otherwise. We will also have reason to moan afterwards for all the wrong reasons. We now have all practice covered, full quail and the race. With forums video clips and really all the info you could want in seconds. For me it has never been so good. Sorry for the long winded reply.

  6. Juan Pablo Heidfeld said on 23rd April 2010, 17:05

    I started watching f1 in 2001 and felt that in many ways the drivers have to try and make it interesting. For instance, the do or die style of Montoya hepled the sport throughout the ‘Schumi-Years’. I am very happy he is doing badly by the way :) . I think Hamilton and Alonso are the two best overtakers currently

  7. Intermeccanica Italia said on 23rd April 2010, 17:06

    To get f1 interesting, I think it would have been useful to have a limited amount of fuel. Drivers could decide when and where they would use it. You would likely see a lot of fuel saving and overtaking – tactics and strategy – through out the race.

  8. Gilles said on 23rd April 2010, 17:07

    I first started watching in 1982, and indeed: that spoilt me forever, because I still regard it as the best season ever. My other best seasons would be 83,87,97,01,09.
    I prefer that more than 2 teams can regularly win a race. That makes a season great, because it introduces unpredictability. That’s not the same as saying that all the other seasons were completely boring; as you indicate: a battle between two drivers can develop over a season and makes something interesting or a specific race can have a battle going on which you remember for some time. Not all races are great, but at the start you must not know who is going to win. If pole sitter wins 90% of the time, then the race can be cancelled.
    Over the years I’ve become to hate the idea that technology completely dominates the outcome: F1 is supposed to be where the best drivers are, but how to know which one is the best when they can’t show that on track because one car is 1-2 secs a lap faster. Off course, F1 is technological and therefor the car will determine the outcome and I can understand that a Ron Dennis would like it known that his cars are the best, I’m even interested in the technology behind it all, but at the end of the day when you watch the race that technology is invisible to the eye: we just see people in a procession – a very fast one indeed, but still a procession. This is why I personally favor the resource restrictions and standardization movement, in that it brings back the driver’s skill to the foreground.
    I loved Villeneuve when he came in because he was completely different and made things happen (the move on Schumi in Portugal), the same about Montoya and currently Lewis – pure racers who will make the difference because they take risks to overtake. I don’t want the pitstops back, because everybody waits for their team to win the race for them. Back to basics: cars should be racing on track, not obliged to make a pitstop – that should be the exception.
    I think they’ve gone a bit overboard with changing the tracks in the name of safety; I subscribe to Villeneuve’s point of view that a mistake should hurt, hence more daring tracks with smaller run-off area’s. The mighty Tamburello corner has been completely maimed now and even the new tracks are built with ‘safety’ in mind. I would say that the cars can currently take a lot, by the 90s standards Kubica would never have survived his crash, so I would use more daring tracks.
    But when you mention Brands hatch, Zandvoort, Nurnburgring, Laguna Seca, Watkins Glen or even Le Mans and Bathurst first comment is always that the runoff area’s would be too small. Don’t go off the track then, lift off and let the spectators know who is the most daring and able… Tracks should make it possible for a driver to distinguish himself from the others, currently they’re all alike, there’s hardly any variety. I would love to see Dijon back – simple track, but the scene of the best close racing ever.
    The money also plays a part: Bernie wants organizers to pay for the race, when the track is part of the appeal it’s a definate no-go. For instance: a US GP on the oval at Indy is already not possible because revenues will need to be shared with the track. I was incredibly excited about F1 at Indy, untill I saw the layout with that pussy midfield section. The most gutsy drivers are not in F1 apparently …
    Not all races should have 100+ overtakings, but more close racing and actual possibility of overtaking would already solve a lot. Drivers not able to race each other because ‘the turbulent air from the guy in front’ is extremely disappointing to hear.
    I disagree with road-relevance and technology labs: this has more to do with giving arguments to the sponsors when they have to convice their boardrooms to spend the amounts on F1 they’re spending. F1 needs a correct level of technology, it’s a mechanical sport after all; but I would think the LM series would be more relevant to car manufacturers. Sidenote: they have moved F1 in the direction of endurance racing by limiting the number of engines that can be used during a season; I would favor one per weekend. Developping technology in F1: Williams has developped its hybrid drive for Porsche, but outside F1 (they didn’t use it in F1). So they don’t need F1 to develop something.
    If they would do so, then we would see something like Renault developping their turbo: they blow up for 2 years and get laughed at for doing so, untill it starts to resemble something. In the current climate, that experiment would have finished after one year. So they develop off track and only use it when it has a certain level of reliability, but if it has then it can be fitted directly to road cars as well without needing F1.
    A good car will be sold, whether its manufacturer is in F1 or not. I would never buy a Renault road car, even if they contributed a lot to the sport.
    Part of the F1 appeal is also that it’s the most conveniently televised motorsport: every 2 weeks there’s a race at more or less the same time, easy to follow in the papers because of all the glamour and it only takes 2 hours. Le Mans gets a lot less coverage on the public channels, nor do touring car championships. I think the reason here is that the FIA has successfully tried to lure all the manufacturers into F1 and making sure that no real competition arose. The only rival series are actually indycars, but they have US sponsors and are not globally oriented. If Indycars raced on F1 tracks and serve up a close racing fest, shown on TV every 2 weeks with a global mindset; it would not matter that they are racing custom cars. Bold statement I know, but try to picture it if you will.
    The people element will draw the crowd, not the technology.
    That said, open wheel-open cockpit racing is great because you can see the driver and the exposed wheels make it look fast and dangerous.
    I’ll stop ranting now – thanks for giving me a platform to vent my frustrations, my psychologist says I’m making progress …

  9. rikadyn said on 23rd April 2010, 17:08

    whatever seasons the movie “Grand Prix” is represenative of…

    basically the wingless years…

  10. Todfod said on 23rd April 2010, 17:08

    I started watching f1 in 1996, and i personally thought that 97 and 98 were pretty good seasons, but the so called ‘boring modern era’ produced the most exciting seasons in 2007 and 2008.

  11. rob from inverness said on 23rd April 2010, 17:17

    The first GP I watched was at Aintree in 1957, the Monza in 1958. Is anyone old enough to beat that. The 1.5 litre formula from 1961 was pathetic – like formula ford cars, really, and I lost interest for a while. In my time, there have been three Great Eras (1) when Clark, Stewart, Rindt and Hill were sharing tarmac. The the 1970s were a lost decade – I mean, Jody Schecter as WDC……But the late 80s with Prost, Mansell, Piquet and Senna was the best – turbo engines, quali specials etc. The Scumaker era was a bore – apart from Damon and Hakkinen, no good drivers to compete. Plus MS was helped to his records by Ferrari Int. Assistance. Thank goodness, we have now moved into another Era of Greats – Hamilton, Alonso, Button ( the new Prost )Kubica. Hopefully, this era will mature well for five years or so.But I’d give anything once again to see Jean Behra oversteering the V 12 Maserati through the Parabolica, a mesmerised little boy amid a crowd of fanatical Italians………

    • David A said on 27th April 2010, 19:53

      Schumacher was helped to his records by his determination and hard work. Aside from Hakkinen and Alonso, he had to fight against drivers like Alonso, Raikkonen, Villeneuve, Coulthard and Montoya for his wins, so don’t start taking out your hate on Schumacher (not Scumaker, as you put it) just becuase he beat whatever your favourite teams and drivers were.

      And in the 70’s, Lauda, Fittipaldi and Stewart each took 2 titles, and you can’t call Mario Andretti a poor driver, can you?

  12. matt90 said on 23rd April 2010, 17:17

    I’d love to see some track variation. Obviously the chances of getting really long tracks back are slim, as there aren’t really any long ones which are up to safety standards. I’d like to see the Bahrain outer circuit used for a ‘short’ track (short in time, not especially short in distance I guess). Pescara sounds like an incredible challenege. Shame it wouldn’t be practical. Same for the Nurburgring. I also wish the original Hockenheim was in use.

  13. Icthyes said on 23rd April 2010, 17:20

    There have been several golden ages, I feel. The early days with Moss, Fangio, Farina, etc; Jackie Stewart’s era; the times of Villeneuve, Pironi, Lauda; the monumental Piquet-Mansell-Senna-Prost saga; and, I sincerely believe, the current one, starting from 2007.

    F1 has learned one thing from its past, and applied it to the present to make it better: big rule changes. In 1998, we saw McLaren come back to the front, Ferrari establish itself as a top team, and Williams decline. In 2009 the effects were even more dramatic, so much so that I wish new teams could have come in then.

    I definitely think we need more variety in the tracks; minute-long laps would be brilliant for close qualifying and mixed-up grids, whereas long circuits could test the drivers and cars over a whole range of areas. And personally, I would love to see a race like the very old days before even F1, going from A to B with no laps (though it would be difficult to reconcile this with F1’s current format)

    I don’t see the need to bring back multiple races per country, and we should cancel one of Spain’s. But we could have extra non-championship races in countries that already have races; instead of testing at Catalunya, it could be the first race of the season, but not of the championship.

    Above all though, the biggest lesson to be learned is the cars. Sure, teams can’t unlearn what they know, but the components can be banned or heavily restricted. At least F1 seems to be getting it right step-by-step, if the banning of refuelling is indeed the first of many steps, but it needs to stop mitigating the changes with gimmicks like the qualifying tyre and two-compounds rule (which I feel could have been managed in much better ways, if they were that necessary, and out of all the possible combinations we’ve ended up with the weakest). The next step is to reduce downforce overall by chopping at the wings.

    In short, F1 needs to look back at all eras, ask “what was the best thing about it?” and see if they can fit into the current F1, or build the future F1 around it. Some of them will be contradictory and choices will have to be made. But when you look at the constant success of football, whose rules have changed so comparatively little over 100 years, you have to wonder why F1 sometimes goes down these paths of change for change’s sake, under the banner of bringing the sport into the future.

    The sport could be improved so much more if we just looked at the past at what worked, what hasn’t, and what isn’t. Regardless of which was the most golden of ages.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd April 2010, 18:46

      There have been several golden ages, I feel. The early days with Moss, Fangio, Farina, etc; Jackie Stewart’s era; the times of Villeneuve, Pironi, Lauda; the monumental Piquet-Mansell-Senna-Prost saga; and, I sincerely believe, the current one, starting from 2007.

      So here’s a thought – are ‘golden eras’ in F1 defined not by cars and technology but by personalities?

      And is personality in short supply in F1 today? Given that we respond to F1 press conferences by counting the number of ‘for sures’ perhaps it is…

      • Gilles said on 23rd April 2010, 19:09

        Keith,
        I would say that the people element draws the crowds and technology second. When you think of why you watch F1, what is the answer: ‘I want to see how Jenson drubs Lewis’ or ‘I’m wondering how that RB suspension will work’ ? I can’t imagine the second one, all the pre-season talk has been about Lewis vs Jenson, Schumi back, Alonso vs Lewis, etc – not about Ferrari versus Mclaren …
        That said, from a personality perspective you get a mirror of the times we live in: everyhting is pc now, nobody is going to publically call his team members ‘idiots’ and expect to get with it … I can’t even imagine a driver’s strike nowadays. They would be fired on the spot. They do their talking on the track: ALonso is never going to ackowledge he put Massa in his place with his pit entry overtake,even if it was obvious for all to see.
        Sign of the times, I guess.
        But I concur with other posters in that the current field has all the making of a new golden era: alonso-button-hamilton-kubica-rosberg. There’s no hiding on the track !

      • Gilles said on 23rd April 2010, 19:11

        One more thought: why don’t they broadcast the driver’s briefings: would have loved to see Lewis being grilled and his reaction ..
        Next one will probably be interesting as well.

      • Icthyes said on 23rd April 2010, 19:52

        Not necessarily personalities but the abilities of the drivers themselves. I haven’t put 1997-2000 down because there were only three top drivers competing for the world championship, and one of them in only one of those years.

        But I do think personalities are purposefully kept under tighter wraps. Mind you, Webber seems to get away with a lot of what he says!

  14. Like Keith, I started watching a couple of races in 1989 on TV with my Dad. However, 1990 was my first proper season that I followed slavishly (I was 11 so beer, music and girls didn’t figure into my weekends at that point!). Without putting the rose tinted spectacles on, I can say that several things were markedly different to how things are now.
    1) Cars conked out on a very regular basis! Nigel Mansell seemed to spend a lot of his time walking back to the pits that season. The reliability of cars was nowhere near as accomplished as they are now, but maybe that wasn’t a bad thing?
    2) We now have much better coverage of the weekend. The BBC have really outdone themselves since taking over from ITV. Yet back in 1990, there was no coverage of qualifying and sometimes live broadcasts were interrupted to cover the 3:30 at Chepstow.
    3) There was a greater variety of circuits. Quite frankly most of the new tracks are utterly dire. Picking up on what Robert McKay said, why do we need chicanes in new tracks??? Abu Dhabi had one leading into a hairpin for Christ’s sakes!
    Back to 1990, you had slow tracks like Monaco and at the other end of the spectrum, blindingly quick circuits like Hockenheim and Monza. For a world championship, I believe a good mixture of different challenges to the driver and engineer is essential. Unfortunately, this is not happening at the moment.

    P.S. How Hungary had stayed in the championship for 24 years beggars belief!

  15. Nixon said on 23rd April 2010, 17:28

    I began from 2004, but i have some information on some old races. 2005 was my best season.

  16. Chris said on 23rd April 2010, 17:32

    I started watching in the mid 60’s as a kid. Hard to say which was a favourite season from all those! I doI remember things like James Hunt at Silverstone losing his airbox and having it basically tied back on,, Jackie Stewart driving through corn higher than his car trying to regain the track, mechanics in tweed jackets smokin a fag trying to borrow a wheel from another team and photographers standing on the track on the
    inside of coppice at the start jumping out of the way of the cars! Things have changed a bit eh?

  17. Jim N said on 23rd April 2010, 17:42

    I’ve been watching F1 since the early 70’s, but I can’t say there was a golden age in my experience. Yes good years and good races, but scattered reasonably evenly. Great drivers help, I always enjoyed watching races with Mansel or Senna in them… even better in the same race! But there were still boring races even then. Hamilton is very much in that mould and it’s great watching him.

    In my opinion they have already made two great steps in improving the current racing. Banning refuelling and more lenient Stewarding. The first means that drivers have finally realised that they have to pass on the track, and the second means that they will be allowed to try it without being penalised. I’m sure we will have some more boring races this year, but I also sure we will have some more entertaining ones, even in the dry! I think this season could be great.

    You don’t even need overtaking for great racing, but you need the possibility of overtaking… Gilles Villeneuve’s win at Jarama in 81 where he kept the pack inches behind him for the whole race, was unbelievable racing, and is one of the greatest races ever.

    Finally you asked “what made F1 great” the answer is simple… Bernie Ecclestone ! …. that should raise some hackles but it’s true!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd April 2010, 18:02

      You don’t even need overtaking for great racing, but you need the possibility of overtaking… Gilles Villeneuve’s win at Jarama in 81 where he kept the pack inches behind him for the whole race, was unbelievable racing, and is one of the greatest races ever.

      Very true. I think it’s important that the debate be about more than just “how can we create more overtaking” – it’s about much more than just cars going past each other.

      Finally you asked “what made F1 great” the answer is simple… Bernie Ecclestone ! …. that should raise some hackles but it’s true!

      Ooh, nice and controversial…

      • Gilles said on 23rd April 2010, 19:15

        Indeed – my thought exactly, even about Bernie: he has made F1 into the global tv-friendly money-making motorsport it is today.

    • Icthyes said on 23rd April 2010, 23:37

      Bernie has indeed done a lot for the sport and no-one can take that away from him. It’s the direction it’s been going in over the last half-decade that’s a little worrying for fans.

  18. Jay M said on 23rd April 2010, 17:45

    The Question we should all be asking ourselves is what form of Motor sport offers 100% excitement? And how does it do that?

    I am Not joking around when I say that you should seriously consider Professional RC Racing.
    The Lap times are almost always under 20 seconds for every track. This keeps you glued to your seat as it makes every corner so critical, and one mistake will provoke an overtake.
    The Grip generated by these machines is all chassis and fine tuning to 0.1mm on roll centre adjustments and the lot. With very restricting rules on aero. The Sedan Body only allowed one rear wing to a certain dimension. This allows the cars to travel close to each other and maintain grip whilst getting the slightest draft.

    Take a look at this video of the 2008/09 World Championships at one of the best RC Tracks in the world. (until it recently got demolished for a new facility)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaXLtPGrTGQ&feature=PlayList&p=A3BBFD037127A3D8&playnext_from=PL&index=0&playnext=1

    So by making the Formula 1 Cars have more mechanical grip freedom (like ride height adjusters) and less downforce, and shorter tracks we could potentially see some very exciting races.

  19. Paulipedia said on 23rd April 2010, 17:46

    I went to my first GP in 1980 at the grand old age of 2 at Brands Hatch. I can’t remember too much of that day but what was to follow was a love affair that has never wained.

    My first memories come from the European GP in 1985, also at Brands. I sat with my parents in the little triangular infield at the end of the pits exit. What would health and safety say about that now?! After the race we somehow managed to get into the awning of the Williams team and celebrated Mansell’s first ever win, I have some great photos of my brother and myself sat between our Nige and Rosberg. Also that year I went to the British GP at Siverstone, was also memorable as I met my hero Alian Prost, sneekily navigating my way into his transporter.

    Other highlights include Mansell’s win in 1992 at Siverstone. Never has the Silverstone crowd been so vociferous. Unfortunately it was the last time I was to run down hangar straight to the podium in celebration.

    The Mid 80’s to Early 90’s were definitely a highllight of the past 25 years I have been watching but in my honest opinion I don’t believe I have ever been so excited for F1 races as the last few seasons. A new legendary era has begun.

  20. Realist said on 23rd April 2010, 17:52

    I raised those same points yesterday commenting on the other post about making F1 better. It’s inevitable that each person will have a different favorite era in F1. I loved the 80s, even though the fuel restriction rules were awful.

    The lack of reliability gave GPs a shadow of unpredictability until the closing moments. Even during the much more predictable 90s, you had races like Canada 91 when Mansell lost a race at the last lap. It didn’t matter if a car was much faster than the others. It could still abandon at the last moment. Of course, that’s something we can’t expect to come back to F1. Reliability is only improving in the future.

    Of course there weren’t millions of overtakings or anything like that in the 80s. Some teams dominated and they were the ones that led the pack. I guess the difference was still in the fact that some cars adapted better to some circuits than others. Nowadays a good car is good doesn’t matter the circuit, with very few exceptions.

    All this post notwithstanding, I’ll paraphrase what a Brazilian F1 journalist has written some time ago, I don’t remember in which blog: “maybe the problem isn’t F1’s, but ours”.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 24th April 2010, 11:22

      I had forgotten that. You used to watch the end of a race wondering if any of the cars would break down. That suspense is completely gone now and I don’t even know if you can bring it back.

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