Over the years of my work at the race tracks I had the pleasure to witness the FIA Masters Historic Formula One a lot of times. The Oldtimer Grand Prix at the Nürburgring or the Spa Six Hours Meeting at Spa Francorchamps, every time the races of the „old“ Formula One cars is one of the highlights of the weekend.
They are loud, fast, most of the times the fastest on the track. They are colorful with the original livery, even with the famous old school branding for cigarettes like Marlboro or John Players. They remind me to my youth when I wore younger clothes. To a time when motorsport was very dangerous and sad news about fatal accidents were usual. But nevertheless this time was unique and the races were more thrilling than today.
Of course it was always a tactical sport with many technical failures, but the driver was more important than today and they had an image of „playboys“. They had beautiful looking girls at the pits waiting for them, they were smoking cigarettes – they were heroes of their time.
I think, most of the drivers who are driving the historic Formula One cars today have the same feelings of this era of motor racing. Bringing back the „good old times“ – living the dream of their youth. Most of them are „best ager“ but nevertheless brave enough to drive a fast car like this nearly on the edge.
Most of the historic Formula One cars are powered by the Ford Cosworth V8 DVF engine with a limit of 10000 rpm, „simple“ technic but very reliable even until today. They go by the name of Lotus, Brabham, Ferrari, Tyrrell, Williams, Arrows, Wolf, Osella, Ligier, Matra, Surtees, Shadow, Ensign, Trojan, Hesketh, March, Copersucar, Theodore…
Now valiant old-timers, they made history back in a glorious era for Formula 1, from the end of the 60s to the mid-80s. Formerly handled by expert drivers such as Ronnie Petersson, Nelson Piquet, Jackie Stewart, Mario Andretti, James Hunt, Patrick Depailler and Riccardo Patrese to name just a few, they could have chosen a peaceful retirement in a museum or a private collection.
But in true racing car spirit, they shuddered at the mere thought of the soft touch of the feather duster, refusing to be confined to the carpet of the still and suffocating exhibition hall, no place for such thoroughbreds. They belong on the track, in the middle of the action – in the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship. Here, they are in their element. In front of the crowd, their excitement is palpable as they sense the wonder they inspire in generations both old and new. Naturally and unassumingly charming, they represent a celebration of variety – in those days, Formula 1 cars were anything but conventional. Some even had six wheels…
There are four classes in which the FIA Masters Historic Formula One races are held.
- Jackie Stewart class : Formula One cars built and raced prior to 31 December 1972
- Emerson Fittipaldi class : Post-1972 non-ground effect Formula One cars
- Patrick Head class : Post-1972 ground effect Formula One cars
- Niki Lauda class : Post-1972 flat-bottomed Formula One cars
The characteristic time schedule of a race weekend is the following
- Friday : Untimed practice (if available)
- Friday : Qualifying
- Saturday : Race 1
- Sunday : Race 2
At the end of the championship, there will be four winners, for each class one.
The 2022 calendar shows you where you are able to share my passion for the Historic F1 cars.
- June 10th-12th Red-Bull-Ring Austria
- July 15th -17th Zandvoort Historic Grand Prix Netherland
- August 12th – 14th Oldtimer GP Nürburgring Germany
- August 26th – 28th Silverstone Classic England
- 30th – Oct. 2nd Spa Six Hours Belgium
- October 28th -30th Algarve Classic Festival Portugal
Come there to one or more events and watch the races of the „golden era“ of Formula One racing when motorsport was dangerous and sex was safe. Find out more about our photographer Ralph Lüker.