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Formula Ford. Is it still the best training ground?

Submitted by on June 29, 2012

Look back at the history of Formula Ford, and you will see just what a pedigree it produced. From Senna to Hakkinen to Button and Webber, and so many more.

By Andy Hallbery

I once had a round table with drivers who were all successful in Formula Ford, and all went on to better things. Sitting at the table were Mark Blundell, JJ Lehto, Mauricio Gugelmin, Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard – all multiple winners and champions in Formula Ford. My question was simple. After driving in Formula 1, would you still be quick in a Formula Ford car?

The resounding answer was no!

Blundell: “Formula Ford teaches you how to race. But once you’ve had the power of an F1 or Indycar, your style changes. Going back would be hard I think.” Gugelmin agreed. “Karting and Formula Ford is where you learn to race. In FF1600 you start playing with set-up. Then in the bigger cars, people do that for you.”

Coulthard took that question one stage further, and in April 2012 rolled back the years… This is a fascinating video with contributions from DC, Blundell, Webber, Button, David Brabham and more.

Quique Mansilla gave a slightly more blunt answer when asked if he would be quick in Formula Ford today. Bear in mind the Argentinian gave Ayrton Senna a real run for his money in FF1600… So, would he be quick? “F*** knows is my initial answer!! It’s matter of trying, but for sure it wouldn’t be easy after 31 years. I guess it’s like bicycling – it’s hard to forget, but you get rusty for sure…”

Special thanks to David Coulthard, follow him on twitter @therealdcf1. Video first broadcast by BBCTV’s F1 team.

Thanks to Ford and the MSA.


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