Nigel Mansell: “I loved the skid plates and the sparks”
In the 1980s, Formula 1 driver aids weren’t a topic of conversation. They had yet to be invented – unless you were Nigel Mansell that is.
The glorious sights of the first few laps with fuel-heavy F1 cars was the best fireworks show on earth, titanium skid plates doing their best, and spectacularly enhancing the visuals of the on-track action. It also showed just how low the cars were running.
So, how were titanium skid plates a ‘driver aid’ in Nigel Mansell’s eyes?
“In free practice I would search out bumps that were slightly offline that I could use in the race if someone was right behind me. The lines wouldn’t slow me, but I knew would give a big shower of sparks to the guy behind, and hopefully pock-mark their visor too. They really did make burns on your visor.
“The best one was at Abbey Curve at Silverstone,” Mansell adds. “If anyone was close enough to get a run on me out of Club corner, I knew just where to place the car at Abbey to give them a face full. I loved it!”
Bring back the sparks!