“Musing about life and where it takes you, as you do, I realised I’ve seen every one of F1’s 32 world champions”
I’ve also had the privilege of interviewing 24 of them and even having some of them alongside me in the commentary box – notably Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, James Hunt, Jody Scheckter and Alan Jones. So, a host of memories then? You could say that… but where to start?
How about with Juan Manuel Fangio, arguably the greatest of them all – five world championships with four different constructors? Three times I interviewed him, one of them for a whole morning in his London hotel suite about his iconic victory in the 1957 German GP. I found him to be charming, modest, quietly spoken and rivetingly interesting. He recalled every yard, every gear change and every rev of his Maserati 250F during his stirring drive at the Nürburgring; where he caught and passed Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins for what turned out to be his last victory. “Come and see me when you’re next in Balcarce [fat chance!] and I’ll show you round my museum,” he said. Sadly that never happened, although I later got to drive his Mille Miglia Mercedes-Benz 300SLR at the Buenos Aires circuit.