In his long auto racing journey, Nigel Mansell discusses the reasons why he didn’t get along well with certain of his colleagues.
Nigel Mansell, the 1992 Formula 1 World Champion, claims that his chilly relationships with some of his colleagues were caused by him outperforming them on equal equipment.
In his F1 journey, which lasted from 1980 to 1995, Mansell achieved 31 Grands Prix. Prior to winning the 1992 championship, he shared a squad with a number of World Champions, notably Mario Andretti, Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, and Alain Prost.
With only two Grand Prix victories to his career, Mansell was Nelson Piquet’s teammate in 1986 and was anticipated to help the Brazilian contend for the World Championship.
Mansell, though, had Piquet beat for much of the season and would have taken home the championship had it not been for a tyre blowout in the dying laps of the season’s penultimate race at Adelaide.
Throughout their two years as partners at Williams, Mansell and Piquet were infamously at odds, which the British driver now blames on the fact that he frequently defeated the Brazilian in 1986.
“People forget that when I was driving for the teams up until ’91, ’92, I was the number two driver, driving with four different world champions,” Mansell vait said in conversation with Adrian Flux.
“When I look back on my career, I understand far more now than I did then, because I never realised why they didn’t like me too much.
“But when you’re a World Champion, and [I’m] beating them in a number two car, like I was with Nelson Piquet with Williams, he wasn’t my best friend, was he?”
Mansell: Being ranked second means inferior reliability
After coming dangerously close to winning the championship in 1986 and 1987, Mansell joined Ferrari for 1989, but Alain Prost’s arrival the next year put him in the shade.
By midsummer, the Frenchman had four triumphs under his belt while Mansell was scoreless and had mechanical problems.
A furious Mansell, who had finished first in the British Grand Prix, intended to declare his exit from the sport right once. However, he would subsequently change his mind and sign with Williams in 1991.
Mansell discussed Prost’s superior reliability and claimed that his many mechanical retirements were caused by his position as Prost’s number two.
“I retired at the end of 1990 at Silverstone because a lot of friends had died who I knew really well, and I was never getting the support to get the job done,” said Mansell.
“I signed as number one for Ferrari for ’89, ’90, and then Ferrari bought the number one status back so that Alain [Prost] could come to the team.
“And the reliability of the cars back then was crucial. If you don’t finish a race, you can’t get the points, you don’t accumulate the points, you don’t become World Champion.
“If you’re the outright number one driver back in the 80s and 90s, you had a 30 per cent better chance of finishing a race.
“If you’re a number two driver, you could be as quick, but your car is not as good as the number one car from a reliability point of view.
“So, I decided at Silverstone, in fact, that enough was enough, I was never going to get the support that I actually needed to get across the line.”
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