The perfect one? Drivers who don’t like each other, who have
differing strengths and weaknesses, who are in equally good
cars, equally good teams, and who polarize opinion among the
media and the fans. Senna vs. Prost, Sebastien Bourdais vs.
Paul Tracy, Franchitti vs. Power, Cale Yarborough vs. Bobby
(and Donnie) Allison, Nigel Mansell vs. Nelson Piquet all fit the
bill. They all make Kurt Busch vs. Jimmie Johnson and Lewis
Hamilton vs. Felipe Massa seem very tame in comparison.
Formula 1 race winner Tony Brooks once told the writer Nigel
Roebuck, “To make a car worth driving or watching, it should
have more power than its chassis and tires can comfortably
handle.” There has never been a better definition of the perfect
racecar than that. So that includes the pre-war Mercedes and
Auto-Union Grand Prix cars, the fearsome Maserati 450S,
Porsche’s 917, in both sports car and wildly overboosted
Not the perfect teammates, but the perfect rivalry of Alain Prost ( 11) and Ayrton Senna. They had it all – supreme talents, mutual oathing and equal cars. Senna tried to squeeze Prost into the pit wall on the second lap of this race at Estoril in 1988.
Can-Am form, the 1981 Ferrari 126CK,
most F1 cars of the mid-’80s and most
CART Indy cars of the mid-’90s.
Aesthetically, the cars listed above
were (with the exception of the ’81 Ferrari)
wonderful, too, though you could make
equally good cases for the Maserati 250F,
the Eagle Mark I, the Brabham BT52B,
Ferrari 641, and most of the Reynards and
Penskes of CART/IndyCar in the ’90s.
It was passionate, it was memorable, it
The Formula 1 coverage put out by the
UK’s BBC television through the 1980s
and ’90s had a play-by-play guy – the
legendary Murray Walker – whose
exuberant style was once described as
being like a man whose pants are on fire.
Donohue and four Goodyears try to rein
in the Porsche 917/30’s 1100 horses.