current drivers racing 25 years ago?????

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    How do you people think the current crop of F1 drivers would cope if they went back in time and drover the F1 cars of say 20 to 30 years ago?

    For example Lewis Hamilton in williams RED 5 at Silverstone in 1987. Could he do the same feat that Nigel mansell did to win, coming out of the pits 29 seconds behind Piquet with only 28 laps left in the race.

    Personally i am not sure if they really have the skill that those guys back then had. They have it too easy now i think.



    I was thinking about this when I watched the Hamilton Senna feature. I reckon Hamilton would have been good back then but we shall never know. However I don’t think they have it that easy these days, in some aspects yeah it’s more simple with no manual gear sticks but those steering wheels look immensely complicated. I can’t imagine the drivers of the past being able to manage the new cars either.



    It’s completely different now. Mansell is constantly moaning about how every driver now has it easy but I’d love to see him try it out now. So yeah they didn’t have power steering or manual gear shift but other skills are involved today.

    I’d loved to see Mansell try driving non handed down the straight to adjust brake bias and an F-duct. It’s completely different so I don’t think you can even compare them.


    Fer no.65

    He drove non handed while changing gears around Monaco, while thinking “if i screw it up here, i won’t be able to tell it”

    I’d put that higher than just pressing a button…



    It’s just different. They’d all still be good drivers but it would take time to adjust. Look at drivers like Rubens who have been around for donkeys and seen the sport change. They’re still good but they learn different ways of driving.

    Hamilton didn’t sound quite so confident when he was talking about driving the Mclaren and that’s not because he isn’t a great driver but because it would be so different. I guess it’s like when rules change with TC and refuelling, some just suit drivers more than others but they’d all cope.

    I think driving today is still as hard just different. There was an interview with Heikki who was driving old Lotus cars (in the F1 racing mag I think) and he said he preferred driving today’s cars and that they were still hard to get the best out of them.



    Ivan Capelli, now commentator for Italian TV, once said that it’s difficult to make comparisons between drivers of different ages. Once life was very hard for drivers, who had manual gear shifts, no aids, no so advanced aerodynamics, but he says that now for drivers each race lap is like a qualifying lap. You have to continuously push buttons, change the braking bias, etc. and if you make a small mistake you can throw away your race, so nervous stress is much higher now than 20 years ago.



    Check out Vettel’s onboard from Hockenheim. Driving one handed for quite a lot of the lap – http://bit.ly/coNkJy

    Like people say, it’s just SO different you can’t compare. F1 drivers are so much fitter now I don’t think the older drivers would be able to race in the shape they were racing in those days.



    I think the dominant factor is the fitness level of the drivers now. They are so much stronger and with so much more stamina now than they were twenty years ago, that I am sure they could deal with the stresses much better.

    I would suggest that today’s drivers are physically and mentally able to get 100% out of the car for longer than the vintage drivers.

    The modern drivers might not be prepared for the gear change blisters, but I think they would still be able to give their max after 50 laps of high-speed corners which might have taken its toll on the drivers from the mid-eighties.



    Thanks for the imput guys and gals.

    I really was trying to get at the race craft of yesteryear and of course i agree those guys would struggle in todays F1


    Dan Thorn

    Were the drivers of 60 years ago really all that unfit? 100 laps of Monaco, for three hours in cars with big heavy wheel and a loose rear end would require an incredible amount of stamina. Yes the speeds are slower but it required a different kind of fitness.

    Modern F1 fitness is predominantly about being able to sustain the sheer forces of braking, accelerating and turning, whereas 60 years ago they had to be put a lot more inputs into the car and the drivers had a lot more movement. A lot of the guys back then were big chaps with a lot more muscle mass required for controlling such beastly cars!



    I have to agree with Dan about how physical driving was. Today drivers are stronger in places that were not as critical before. The biggest issue now is g force and the loads the drivers are under. Cars are much more stable now compared to then. Remember in the 30’s(60 years earlier) cars still did 250kph at Brooklands they just took the same time as a sea going tanker to stop. Driving a 2 ton Bently with tyres as wide as a pair of shoes was never going to be easy. When cars had 1000plus bhp and very litte in the way of grip they were very different beasts to drive. You can’t compare what todays drivers would be like then for the same reason as drivers from that era in present cars.

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