Mansell Baffled by Ferrari's Fall

Nigel Mansell is baffled by Ferrari's sudden slide from dominant champions to Formula One also-rans

Mansell Baffled by Ferrari's Fall

"I'm completely at a loss for words about what has happened to them this year," the former World Champion, dubbed 'Il Leone' (The Lion) when he drove for the Maranello team in 1989 and 1990, told Reuters in a telephone interview on Thursday.

"I don't know if they've been told to disappear for a year. It's all been too quick."

Ferrari won 15 of last year's 18 races and have been constructors' champions for the past six seasons while Michael Schumacher has won the drivers' title an unprecedented five times in a row.

Yet they arrive at their home Grand Prix at Monza this weekend with just one hollow win in the six-car US Grand Prix in June and their title hopes about to be extinguished altogether.

If Schumacher fails to score more points than Renault's Fernando Alonso on Sunday, his record-breaking five-year reign will be over. He is 40 points behind with five races left.

Mansell meanwhile is looking forward to a comeback of his own, ready to revive old Formula One battles with his former Ferrari teammate and rival Alain Prost in a new Grand Prix Masters series.

The idea is for an international cast of champions and other former racers, who must be over 45 years old, to compete in equal equipment four or five times a year.

"The rivalry is still there, definitely," the 52-year-old Mansell said.

"Alain will do everything in his power to win, he doesn't like getting beaten by anyone and least of all me."

Unprecedented Access

Despite the obvious link with Formula One, with former champions Emerson Fittipaldi of Brazil and Alan Jones of Australia also signed up, Mansell said the series was "nothing to do with Formula One, really".

"Formula One is the pinnacle of motorsport. This is something we are putting together to entertain the fans," added the Briton.

"There won't be the high pressure or the high commercial interests but it will have a very high profile ... it is going to be a spectacle."

The new series promises, in Mansell's words, "fun, entertainment and unprecedented access for race fans" - something he believes is lacking in Formula One.

"The one lap qualifying system demeans Formula One for me," he said. "Formula One is better than one lap qualifying and it sometimes spoils a race. I think that's a great shame, fans spending all day on Saturday to see just one lap."

The Briton said that Grand Prix Masters, with 600bhp cars and a weekend format similar to the old days, would offer a real race although the drivers had nothing to prove and would be clearly aware of their limits.

"All of us are a lot wiser. We're not going to do anything outrageously silly," he said.

With Fittipaldi now in his 60s and other drivers hardly slimline - Mansell's Grand Prix career ended in 1995 when he failed to fit comfortably into his McLaren - fitness will be an issue.

"We're going to have to be a hell of a lot fitter than we are now to do a proper job," said Mansell.

"I'm going to exercise a lot more, although when you get to a certain age you can injure yourself in training as well."

shares
comments
Ferrari President Thanks Barrichello

Previous article

Ferrari President Thanks Barrichello

Next article

Grapevine: Zanardi Sure of Williams Test

Grapevine: Zanardi Sure of Williams Test
Load comments
French Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

French Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The French GP was a weekend decided by tiny margins both at the front of the field, as Red Bull inflicted a comeback defeat on Mercedes, and in the battle for the minor points places. That's reflected in our driver ratings, where several drivers came close to a maximum score

How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes Plus

How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes

The French GP has been a stronghold for Mercedes since Paul Ricard's return to the calendar in 2018. But that all changed on Sunday, as a clever two-stop strategy guided Red Bull's Max Verstappen to make a race-winning pass on the penultimate lap - for once leaving Mercedes to experience the pain of late defeat it has so often inflicted on Red Bull

The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push Plus

The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push

The age of the high-profile title sponsor is over, says JONATHAN NOBLE, but Formula 1’s commitment to technological innovation is attracting high-tech partners

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2021
How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era Plus

How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era

The 1956 Italian Grand Prix was over for Juan Manuel Fangio, along with his hopes of winning the world championship – until his Ferrari team-mate (and title rival) voluntarily surrendered his own car so Fangio could continue. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls Peter Collins, a remarkable sportsman

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2021
The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France Plus

The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working Plus

How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working

After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Plus

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021 Plus

The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Formula 1
Jun 16, 2021