Mansell on modern F1 – ‘The whole face has changed’


1992 World Champion Nigel Mansell says the costs involved in modern F1 have made it impossible to achieve success without the backing of a major manufacturer.

Mansell won all but three of his 31 Grands Prix driving for Williams, and took his sole world title in 1992 at the wheel of the all-conquering FW14B.

However, Williams have slipped back from their multiple title-winning heyday in the 1990s, winning only one Grand Prix since 2005 as manufacturer-backed outfits began to dominate F1, with the Grove squad also suffering the ignominy of finishing bottom of the Constructors’ Championship between 2018 and 2020.

Mansell began his F1 career in 1980 at Lotus, and referenced how the cost of running a successful F1 team has ballooned since his early days in the sport.

Mansell – F1 is the ‘grand stallion’ of motorsport

“When I was driving with Colin Chapman [Lotus’ Team Principal until 1982], he was saying [the cost of running] a whole team of 100 people going to all the races around the world, paying the salaries of the drivers and everybody, was less than £3 million a year,” Mansell told Adrian Flux.

“Now you’re looking at some teams spending half a billion or more, if they’re truthful.

“The whole face of Formula One has changed, and unless you have a major manufacturer behind you, the entrepreneurs of the past, like Colin, like Ken Tyrrell, they don’t exist any more; you have to be a big manufacturer spending lots of money.

“In F1, to catch up, when you fall behind the curve to be competitive, you have to almost spend more and work harder and jump that curve just to actually try and catch up and compete on the same level.

“And so it’s really tough for the lower teams who don’t have the budgets. But Formula 1 is the grand stallion of all motorsport throughout the world – always has been, always will be.

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