BBC BLOGS - Sarah Holt
« Previous | Main | Next »

Brabham to Button - F1 champions reunite in Bahrain

Post categories:

Sarah Holt | 11:01 UK time, Saturday, 13 March 2010

The oldest living world champion, 83-year-old Sir Jack Brabham, will be in Bahrain on Sunday to watch his most recent successor, Jenson Button, begin his title defence.

The 1959, 1960 and 1966 world champion is part of a dazzling guest list of Formula 1 stars who have made their way to the desert.

All 20 living world champions - with the exception of Nelson Piquet and Kimi Raikkonen - are in the principality to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the drivers' championship.

"It's the greatest collection of world champions that there's ever been," said three-time world champion Sir Jackie Stewart.

1992 world champion Nigel Mansell drives the Ferrari Thin Wall Special in Bahrain

Brazil's double world champion Emerson Fittipaldi added: "It's like a time machine. We've never had this group together in the same place before - it's a great honour."

A selection of classic F1 cars have also been wheeled out of the vaults of history and some of the former champions will be back at the helm.

Keke Rosberg is climbing back into the Williams that took him to the 1982 title for the first time since jumping out of it in the final race of the season in Las Vegas.

The 61-year-old, who is a regular fixture at Mercedes as he keeps an eye on son Nico's progress, says he hasn't driven an F1 car for 13 years.

Stewart is more of a regular on the classic F1 scene but was thrilled to still be trim enough to squeeze into his original 1969 racesuit, which he will wear at the wheel of his championship-winning 1973 Tyrrell-Ford.

Damon Hill is driving the 1996 Williams that took him to the title, Fittipaldi is back in the cockpit of the wedge-shaped Lotus 72 in which he took the 1972 crown, while 1992 champ Nigel Mansell is sitting tall in a 1954 Ferrari Thin Wall Special.

The drivers will parade the cars around the track on Sunday before the four current world champions on the grid - Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button - begin their quest for another title in the first race of 2010.

Watching the former champions pull on their race suits on Saturday morning and talk to their engineers before climbing into the cars on Saturday's run-through, it was obvious that none of them - not even 76-year-old John Surtees - had lost the desire or thrill of racing.

But none of them - with the exception of Alan Jones, Niki Lauda and Mansell - have been tempted to come out of retirement for one more throw of the dice as Schumacher has done after his three-year hiatus.

Schumacher, at the age of 41, described himself in Bahrain as "rusty" and his former foe Hill is watching with interest.

"I think it's very interesting to see if it can be done by Michael," said Hill, who was famously forced off the track by Schumacher at the 1994 Australian GP as the German clinched his first title.

"He's taking on a big challenge - but I think he's big enough for the challenge."


or register to comment.

More from this blog...

Topical posts on this blog


These are some of the popular topics this blog covers.

Latest contributors

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.