Four iconic F1 cars at the Autosport show
18 January, 2010
Jan.18 (YF1) Last weekend’s Autosport Internationl show featured four of the most iconic and memorable F1 cars of the last 60 years. Daniel Chalmers was on hand to delve into the history and snap some pictures of these legendary cars on display. All in their own right, during their era, took Formula 1 technology to another level.
The Maserati 250F is one of the most beautiful and important F1 cars of all time. It won on its debut in the hands of Juan Manuel Fangio in the 1952 Argentinian GP. He went on to win again in Belgium before jumping ship to the new Mercedes team, where he won four of the remaining six races and became champion.
In 1957 Fangio re-joined Maserati , and there was more success to come in the latest version of the 250F. Fangio won the Argentina, Monaco, French and German GPs sealing his fifth, and fourth straight F1 world championship. Those records remained until Michael Schumacher won seven titles, winning five of them consecutively.
His German GP win was one of the most famous races of all time, as he overcame a 50 second deficit in just 20 laps to win the race, after a slow mid-race pit stop. He overtook the two Ferraris of Peter Collins and Mike Hawthorn in the last two laps of the race.
Stirling Moss also enjoyed success using his privately owned 250F. He won the Monaco and Italian GPs whilst racing with it in 1956.
Overall the 250F won eight races and two championships.
The car became a huge favourite with privateers, and appeared on F1 grids right up till 1960, eight years after it had made its winning debut.
The 250F in the photo was driven by Fangio in the 1957 Monaco Grand Prix.
The Lotus 72 was one of Colin Chapman’s most innovative cars, and it became one of the most successful designs in the history of the sport. The car featured in-board radiators and in-board brakes. Many thought that the car resembled a wedge on wheels. The Lotus 72 had a major influence on the shape and design of Formula 1 cars in the 70s.
At first the car didn’t handle well, but once the suspension was sorted the car became a success. Jochen Rindt won four races on the trot and raced into a 20 point lead in the championship.
However tragedy struck when Rindt was killed during qualifying in Monza. Remarkably in the last three races he still kept his lead and won the 1970 world championship. He became the first and only driver to win the championship after being killed. Replacement Emerson Fittipaldi played a key role in stopping Rindt’s rivals scoring big points.
In 1972 Fittipaldi drove the Lotus 72 to its second championship success. He became the youngest driver to win the championship at the age of 25 (that record has now been beaten by Lewis Hamilton)
The team then became sponsored by John Player Special cigarettes, and car was painted in the iconic standout black and gold livery.
In 1973 Fittipaldi was joined by Swede Ronnie Peterson. This was another successful year for the Lotus 72 with Fittipaldi and Peterson winning seven races between them. This secured the third constructors title won by the 72, but the fact that Peterson and Fittipaldi took points off each other all season handed the title to Jackie Stewart.
The car was then used for the next two seasons, after the Lotus 76 failed to materialise. Despite being a four year old design it still won three races in the hands of Peterson. In 1975 the 72 was used for a sixth season, but the design had now lost its competitiveness and limped to 6th in the constructors championship.
Overall the Lotus 72 won 20 races, and 5 championships (three drivers and two constructors). Amongst the great achievements of this car was that it was still a race winning car in its fifth season. This is a feat which you just wouldn’t see nowadays.
This turned out to be one of the most dominant cars in the history of the F1 world championship. Adrian Newey joined Williams in mid-1990 from March. There he showed his high level of talent, but was limited by the team’s budget and resources. However at Williams he had a larger budget and better resources to work with.
The car made its debut in 1991, and was the most advanced car ever seen in Formula 1. The FW14 featured traction control, a semi-automatic gearbox and active suspension. The car was mighty fast and won seven races but it wasn’t without its problems. Mclaren got off to the quicker start winning the first four races. This along with better reliability took both titles away from Williams.
After more development over the winter the then labelled FW14B became the ultra dominant force of 1992. The combination of Adrian Newey, the Renault engine which was the most powerful engine at the time, and Nigel Mansell became an unstoppable force in 1992.
In qualifying for the second round in Mexico only Michael Schumacher got within two seconds of Mansell and Riccardo Patrese. In the third round in Brazil the Williams duo lapped the entire field on race day.
Nigel Mansell won five out of the six opening races of the season. After just six rounds of the championship Mansell held a massive 28 point lead in the championship.
Mansell went on to seal his first and only world championship at the Hungarian GP, with five rounds still remaining in the championship. Nobody had won a championship this early, until Michael Schumacher won his fifth championship in 2002 at the French GP with six races still left to run.
Mansell won 9 out of 16 races , and his record in qualifying was even better taking pole position in 14 out of the 16 races, which is one of the few records that even Schumacher hasn’t yet beaten.
The R25 gave Fernando Alonso his first world championship, and the first for the team since they won both titles in 1995 when the team were known as Benetton. Back in those days Michael Schumacher drove for the team, and Ross Brawn and Rory Bryne were influential figures. However once they all joined Ferrari the team went through a lean period with limited success.
Progress started to be made when Renault took over the team in 2002. From there on in there was gradual improvements every year. Renault finished fourth in the constructors championship in 2002. In 2003 the team still finished fourth but they scored nearly four times the amount of points they did in 2002. Fernando Alonso also won the first race of his career in Hungary. In 2004 the team finished 3rd in the championship.
2005 was the breakthrough season. In winter testing you could tell that they were going to have a great year. It was said that after Alonso did his first run in the car he got out of his car, and started dancing around the garage in delight.
The R25 was a car that made the most out of its Michelin tyres and was very well balanced. The team shot into the lead after winning the first four races.
However Mclaren fought back and made Renault work hard for the rest of the year. Mclaren often showed the greater race pace as the MP4-20 was easier on its tyres. Renault’s title was built on their great start to the season, and their strong reliability record in comparison to Mclaren. Fernando Alonso won the title in Brazil, but Renault had to wait till the last round in China to win the constructor’s crown.
The R25 was a landmark car in that it was the first to stop Michael Schumacher and Ferrari’s utter domination of the 2000s. After winning 15 races out of 18 in 2004 it was starting to look like it would be a long time before anybody would halt the Ferrari bandwagon.