Ex-F1 champion Nigel Mansell ‘Older drivers hesitate when they see current crash'[F1-Gate.com]

1992 F1 world champion Nigel Mansell welcomes current safety standards in F1, although he believes some circuits and corners have been “sanitized” as a result.

Nigel Mansell’s F1 career began in 1980. Serious injuries and fatalities were more common then. Mansell himself was injured in an accident in 1982 and 1987 and was forced to miss the race.

With driver safety becoming an increasingly pressing issue in recent years, many corners have been modified to slow cars, and a large amount of tarmac runoff has also been installed.

Nigel Mansell laments such changes despite the lower risk of injury.

“The shockwave has been sterilized by being exhausted on all circuits in the world,” said Nigel Mansell in an interview with Adrian Flux.

“So all the fast and dangerous corners have been removed. It’s small. Even if you make a mistake and leave the circuit, you can come straight back.”

“When we made a mistake many years ago, we paid the penalty. We hit an armco, a concrete wall, etc.”

“You talk about people dying, but a lot of people have suffered injuries that forced them out of the sport. Broken legs, broken arms, broken backs. They spent the rest of their lives physically driving a Formula 1 car. . I couldn’t drive properly.”

Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger lost their lives at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, making them the first drivers to die in a Formula 1 car since Elio de Angelis in 1986. Mansell also addressed changes to F1 safety which came into effect after the weekend.

“In 1994, about a month after two horrific fatalities, the outlook on the whole of F1 changed more than ever,” Mansell said.

“From the driver’s point of view, it’s a Christmas decoration. They feel superhuman. Now they can get into the most brutal car crashes and get away with it. It’s amazing.”

“Older drivers look at it and think, ‘It’s going to be terrible’, but the drivers just jump out of the cockpit and go back to the pits and they’re fine, which is great.”

Most of Nigel Mansell’s F1 career was spent in an era without driver aids such as power steering and semi-automatic gearboxes. Nansel points out that today’s F1 cars don’t pose as many physical challenges to drivers as they once did.

“When the drivers get out of their cars at the end of certain races, it’s like coming out of the hair salon,” Mansell said.

“The biggest thing that has been designed in a Formula 1 car is the power steering. No need to sweat. We had very strong arms and we had to catch the car in the corners. Just hang on to the Formula car 1. If I don’t have enough physical strength, I would have gone off the track and had an accident. Now I can drive with one finger.

“It opened up the sport to a lot of riders who didn’t really have the physicality. Years ago you had to be strong, you had to be a bit wild. If so, a bit of speed during the racing. Especially with the ground effect cars, I was physically devastated, like, ‘I can’t drive anymore, I can’t breathe anymore.'”

“Right now, with the seats and the technology, we have 30 to 50 engineers balancing the car and asking the driver to maintain the balance of the car.”

“We had a chief engineer, designer, analyst, but we were doing it ourselves. It was amazing and the landscape of the sport today is amazing.”

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