According to the Wall Street Journal’s Christian Sylt, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is planning a new championship to the series. The new championship will join Formula One, GP2 and GP3 in the series fold. While the current brand of F1 is exploring new hybrid technologies, the Historic F1 may be using the old V10’s or some other format from days gone by.

The concept is to provide a series for retired F1 drivers who still fancy a day behind the wheel. Former drivers such as Gerhard Berger and Martin Brundle have voiced their endorsement of the series and would relish the thought of getting back in the driver’s seat. While some are keen to take a crack at it, other former F1 drivers aren’t so sure they’d like the chance. World champion Damon Hill told the WSJ:

“I think most old drivers want to get home to bed early with a good book.”

Brundle admits that there would have to be some thought to the cars they would drive as trying to manhandle the chariots of yore may be a bit much for some seasoned veterans:

“a well-structured F1 masters series would be very popular with drivers and fans, and therefore TV and new media channels and sponsors too. I’m not so sure about driving the cars we used to race, most of us who are lucky enough to still be alive tend to limp a lot. To attract the household names of decades past I suspect the cars would need to be safer and less physical to drive.”

Other sports, such as golf and tennis, have a thriving masters series and F1 is looking at repeating the concept. While there have been similar series such as Grand Prix Masters in the past, the success of Historic Formula One will be down to one element…location. Brundle explains why this will work:

“whatever the format I’d want to be part of it especially if it was supporting the F1 calendar.”

The Key

That’s the key. As a support race to F1, the Historic Formula One would surely be a thrill for fans to see and hear. Attending the 2013 USGP in Austin left us somewhat numb as to support races beyond the Ferrari Challenge and while the race of vintage cars was supposed to be F1 cars, they weren’t. Who wouldn’t love to see Brundle and Berger mixing it up with Coulthard, Villeneuve, Hakkinen or even Panis? I’m sure you’re trying to figure out if Ralf Firman, Pizzonia or Mazzacane is available. If the V6’s aren’t enough, maybe a little pre-show V10’s would be in order?

In case you’re wondering, you can count your man Eddie Irvine out:

“it’s not for me personally”. “I think the fans would love it and some drivers too.”

There you have it, I hope this gets off the ground because I’d like to see Nick Heidfeld back in the cockpit of an F1 car but that’s just me.


An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Rapierman

    I seem to recall that they had a “historic” support race over at CotA. People seemed to enjoy that, so this might be worth a shot. Word of advise, though: Don’t bring back that Tyrell six-wheeler. I suspect people would be up in arms over that one.

    • MIE

      The Tyrrell six wheeler is always popular, they could let the still-born Williams six wheeler in as well. At one stage that held the hill record at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

  • jiji the cat

    gees i’m getting old. can’t believe the cars i have loved and grown up with are now historic.

  • Tom Firth

    I’m not so sure about driving the cars we used to race, most of us who are lucky enough to still be alive tend to limp a lot. To attract the household names of decades past I suspect the cars would need to be safer and less physical to drive.”

    I will get Dallara on the phone ;)

  • NeilM

    Sure it would be fun. But what about the resources needed to keep old F1 cars in operating condition, or for repairs when somebody stuffs one into the Armco? Most vintage F1 car outings we see today are either exhibition or ‘gentleman owner’ races, where there’s more running the car than racing it, and care is taken to preserve priceless machinery.

  • this is a great idea in some ways, but aside from the technical difficulties and costs of keeping these cars going after a shunt, does anyone want to see an old guy like bundle flip his car/break a leg, etc?

    i have a better idea: geezers in go-karts.

  • zzyzxx

    In 2012, the Historic Grand Prix cars were a support race in Austin. Those were actual F1 cars including the six wheel Tyrrell which blew its engine and leaked oil all over the track. Last year, it was something called Formula Vintage. Those weren’t F1 cars. Just different, minor single seat formula cars. Big disappointment compared to the first year.