For the first time since 2013 I felt I was well enough to be able to travel up to the Birmingham NEC for Autosport International. For those of you unaware Autosport International is a massive motorsport car and trade show. It caters for every time of motorsport imaginable from Formula 1 to LeMans to rally to hillclimb to drifting to oval and autograss. There are hundreds of race cars and trade stalls packed into the NEC for two trade days and two open public days every January. It is a fantastic opportunity to see some rare metal in person and to learn lots of new things.
Today I will be highlighting some of the cars that you rarely get to see up close. The Formula 1 machines of both past and present.
Lets start with the display of cars from the 2015 season! Some of the cars weren’t displaying name plates or numbers which makes it difficult to determine which if the team members actually drive them. I believe they are just exhibition models rather than raced cars. If you know differently then please do let me know!
First up the championship winning car fielded by Mercedes AMG and driven by Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg; the W06. The stunning Ferrari SF15-T piloted by Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.
The Honda-McLaren MP4-30 driven by Fernando Alonso and Jensen Button. The Honda-McLaren program didn’t get off to the best of starts in 2015 but it was a brand new engine built by a company who haven’t produced an F1 engine in many years. There are bound to be teething issues! I wish them the best of luck in 2016.
The stunning Lotus E23! Lotus have been using the black and gold livery honouring the JPS era cars for a number of years now. It still makes me smile whenever I see it though. For me the best looking car on the Formula 1 grid!
Not the best photo I have ever taken but 2015 saw the return of Martini to Formula 1. The famous white livery with red black and blue stripes adorning the Williams Fw37
Last but certainly not least are the RB11 and RB10 fielded by Red Bull Racing and driven by Daniel Ricciardo. The RB10 display car looking very intimidated with the airbrushed bull on it’s engine cowling.
There were two fantastic displays of historic Formula 1 cars put out by Classic Team Lotus and Williams. A handful of historic Formula 1 cars were also scattered about the show as per normal.
Lets start with the cars that were on display by themselves:
First off we have the McLaren M26 driven by James Hunt in 1978. Not Hunt’s most successful car with only 6 out of 16 races finished. A beautiful machine nonetheless, powered by the famous Cosworth DFV V8 that was so popular in the 1970s. The 1972 Surtees TS9B. A beautiful machine once again powered by the Cosworth DFV. Not one of the most successful racing machines but a rare rare car! It was nice to see it on display!
The Rizla liveried Hesketh 308D from 1976. Not as successful now that James Hunt wasn’t behind the wheel! I do like the Rizla livery though!
the best Formula 1 car on show for me had to be this Lotus 56 gas turbine powered car fielded by Gold Leaf Team Lotus in 1971. An odd machine powered by a ST6 turboprop engine producing 550bhp. The car was very heavy and very fragile meaning that it was never competitive. An interesting piece of Formula 1 history though! I would love to see it run one day!
Here we have a Lotus 72. This particualar example is the 1970 car, of course powered by the Cosworth DFV, and was the most successful car of the season scoring 4 victories at the hands of Jochen Rindt.
Lastly on the Lotus stand we have the Lotus 79B ‘Ground effect’ car. A beautiful machine incorporating the aerodynamic innovation from Colin Chapman.
The Williams FW11 driven by Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet
FW18. The most successful car of 1996 winning 12 of it’s 16 races and driven by Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve.
The 2012 FW34 driven by Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna
The FW25 from 2003 powered by a BMW V10
FW06 driven by Alan Jones in 1978 and 1979 and Clay Regazzoni at the start of 1979
I hope you enjoyed my little gallery of the Formula 1 cars of Autosport show be sure to subscribe to my email list or like my Facebook page Motorsport For Mental Health to keep updated with my blog posts! Thanks for reading!