Mansell said Formula 1 “will never get back to” the cars of the eighties’ turbo era. “Driving those turbo cars was the most exhilarating, frightening thing that you could do in your life,” he told the FIA’s Auto magazine.
“The Williams FW11B: Nothing comes close to that car, nothing in the world. And Formula One will never get back to that. 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 wheelspin 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.”
Drivers have also called for circuits to offer more “consequences” for going outside track limits instead of the widely-used asphalt run-offs seen at many modern tracks. Mansell described how the tracks of the eighties offered an intimidating challenge for drivers of the time.
“If we were racing at the old Silverstone, for example, you’re going down Hangar straight with qualifying boost, well in excess of 200mph. You’re turning into Stowe corner ﬂat, without a lift – and this is on the old circuit, with six-inch-wide poles and wire across them on the outside of the corner as catch-fencing – and you’re running wide and almost hitting these poles.
“Then you’re into Club corner ﬂat again and you don’t lift. You’d come out of the corner and literally breathe a sigh of relief. One, because you could breathe after the extraordinary the G-forces pulling you around; and secondly, and most importantly, because when you came out of the corner, you’d think ‘I made it’.”
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2019 F1 season
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