what it is like in an F1 car at gen­uine rac­ing speeds and, boy, did it do it! When the big day came, I was strapped into a space be­hind Martin, be­fore un­der­tak­ing three mind-blow­ing laps of the great cir­cuit which has been so much a part of my life. Over 190mph (300km/h) down the Hangar Straight, mas­sive G-forces around the cor­ners, and ac­cel­er­a­tion and brak­ing that were lit­er­ally gut-wrench­ing. It was wet and when we came in Martin said: “That wasn’t very ex­cit­ing. If it’s dry af­ter lunch we’ll go out again.” And we did. For another five laps, at the end of which I was com­pletely shat­tered. Those five laps, dur­ing which we were alone on the track, took about seven and a half min­utes, whereas an ac­tual race of wheel-to-wheel com­bat lasts for some 90 min­utes. F1 driv­ers re­ally are su­per­men.

Not all my F1 Rac­ing ex­pe­ri­ences were as happy, though. I once brashly wrote that Sauber were there to make up the num­bers and that I wouldn’t know their de­signer, Willy Rampf, if he rode through my study on a uni­cy­cle. It was a silly and un­jus­ti­fied thing to say and to this day I don’t know why I did it. It gave great of­fence to the charm­ing Peter Sauber, who went around the pad­dock at Sepang col­lect­ing as many copies of F1 Rac­ing as he could find, and putting them in the bin, and who had a frank and fear­less dis­cus­sion with me about his point of view. I felt about two inches tall and bit­terly re­gret­ted what I’d said. Can’t win them all, I sup­pose.

But what a roller coaster of a ride it has been for F1 Rac­ing read­ers. You’ve ex­pe­ri­enced the dom­i­nance of Michael Schu­macher and Fer­rari, the rise and fall of Re­nault, the un­ex­pected down­fall of McLaren, a pri­vate team in the form of Red Bull dom­i­nat­ing them all, the amaz­ing Brawn story, the emer­gence of Fer­nando Alonso, Lewis Hamil­ton, Se­bas­tian Vet­tel and Max Ver­stap­pen, and three Bri­tish cham­pi­ons – Da­mon Hill, Jen­son But­ton and Lewis Hamil­ton, plus the crush­ing su­pe­ri­or­ity of Mercedes.

All this and the cut and thrust, hurly-burly and po­lit­i­cal shenani­gans of For­mula 1. You might think that it is dif­fi­cult to fill over 100 pages 12 times a year, but such is the va­ri­ety of hu­man and tech­ni­cal ac­tiv­ity in For­mula 1 that this mag­a­zine does it – and I’m proud to be a part of it. So very well done to the F1 Rac­ing team, past and present. Happy Birth­day!

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