Modern F1 drivers “don’t get to develop as men” - Mansell

Nigel Mansell says that modern day Formula 1 lacks big characters because young drivers no longer get chance to “develop as men”.

Modern F1 drivers “don’t get to develop as men” - Mansell
Start: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W06 leads
The FIA Press Conference,): Max Verstappen, Scuderia Toro Rosso; Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull Racing; Will Stevens, Manor F1 Team; Fernando Alonso, McLaren; Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari; Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1
Nigel Mansell, FIA Steward
Max Verstappen, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR10
Max Verstappen , Scuderia Toro Rosso
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W06 on the formation lap
Nigel Mansell
Start: Nigel Mansell, Williams leads

That the ever-increasing influence of corporate sponsors on teams has left drivers less able to speak freely than their predecessors from previous eras is one of the most common criticisms levelled at the sport by fans.

Emerson Fittipaldi told Motorsport.com in July that today’s generation of F1 drivers have become ‘robots’, while 86 percent of those who took part in the GPDA Global Fan Survey said drivers were not open and honest enough.

Speaking to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, Mansell said that part of the reason for a lack of big personalities in the sport today stems from the fact the drivers have such full-on schedules and that they therefore do not get enough chance to mature.

“It’s not the drivers’ fault,” said the 1992 F1 champion. “The truth is that they are restricted in this day and age.

“They learn the tracks on simulations and step on circuits for the first time for the race. They don’t have time to really visit the countries and develop as men, or learn different cultures.”

Using Toro Rosso rising star Max Verstappen to illustrate his point, Mansell continued: “It is clear he has talent, but he is the perfect example of how drivers evolve today.

“It’s surprising to see him so fast on tracks he has never been on before, but that is thanks to the simulators. He doesn’t need to know the car, as the engineers take care of that.

“He also has one less thing to worry about thanks to improved safety. His accident in Monaco [where he collided with Romain Grosjean] would have cost him in the past, as many others have had to retire after similar incidents.”

Driver skill masked

Mansell also reiterated that F1’s rulebook needs an overhaul to place more emphasis on the driver’s skill, lamenting how easy modern Grand Prix machinery has become to master.

“In my era you were lucky if you had three engineers, while there are 30 in the pit box now,” added the 62-year-old.

“Tyres were wider, but we still slipped around corners, which allowed a driver to show their style.

“Today the cars are easy to drive, as the pit wall tells you everything all the time and the drivers aren’t able to show their abilities. If you are aggressive, you wear out the tyres, therefore you must go slower.

“And things like the DRS are madness: what skill is there in passing in that manner?”

shares
comments
Analysis: Why F1 can't afford to lose Toro Rosso

Previous article

Analysis: Why F1 can't afford to lose Toro Rosso

Next article

USGP preview: Lewis Hamilton gunning for a third Stetson but will rain ruin his race?

USGP preview: Lewis Hamilton gunning for a third Stetson but will rain ruin his race?
Load comments
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Prime

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Tim Wright.

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Prime

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? Stuart Codling talks to the man in charge.

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Prime

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers Prime

How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory Prime

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Prime

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021