Five of the most Rakish Formula One drivers in history

Formula one circuits are now completely devoid of spectators, confining each Grand Prix to be about the drivers and the cars, omitting the verve and glamour that the crowd brings. In view of this we take a look back at some of the most stylish drivers who showed style on and off the track.

The high-octane world of F1 is a rondure of risk, danger and skill. It magnetises a likeminded, thrill-seeking audience who relish in the glitz and glamour that is a derivative of the consequence of the sports wide-ranging lucrative appeal. Picturesque racetracks, fast luxury sports cars, generous sponsors and royalty involvement is just a few of the sports ingredients that manifests hedonism, splendour and indulgence. Now commercialised on a stratospheric scale, the top tier of the single-seat sport has always been synonymous with style, particularly through the audacious and charismatic drivers who perform the unthinkable on and off the track. It is why the crème-de-la-crème of the stylish elite, from Hollywood, royalty, politicians and corporators want to join in for the ride.

The full-season calendar has been hampered by Covid-19, but so far only five races have succumbed to the virus from a 22-race schedule. Organisers have now confirmed there to be a provisional 17-race calendar for 2020 which featured the Tuscan Ferrari 1000 Grand Prix at Mugello last weekend. A new racetrack, Ferrari’s cars raced in a special one-off livery, the team’s 1,000th Formula 1 world championship race. The cars were dark red and are a reproduction of the first Ferrari F1 car, the 125 from 1950. The drivers have been diligently getting down to business with Britain's Lewis Hamilton taking victory in an incident-strewn race. However with no fans yet to smell the fumes of burnt rubber from the skidding tyres, it has also left a gaping hole in the glitz and the glamour that is such a big a part of the sport. There’s no definitive timeline on when they will return, so we thought it apt to look back at a selection of the most stylish drivers in the history of Formula One.

Sir Jackie Stewart

A beacon of patriotic emotion with a unique style which was full of flair, Sir Jackie Stewart was a three-time F1 world champion (1969,1971 and 1973) and arguably the greatest British racing driver ever. Nicknamed ‘The Flying Scot’, he has passed his golden anniversary as a Rolex Ambassador in which his characteristic traits of: sophistication, style, performance and long-lasting legacy perfectly embodies the brand. Known for sporting tartan flat-caps and helmets, he was also regularly seen strolling along Monaco’s harbour in a pair of flat-fronted trousers with wide flares and his chromed plastic brown tinted 'Elvis' style sunglasses.

Reine Wisell

Racing in the same era as Sir Jackie Stewart, ‘The Sideburn Swede’ is a largely forgotten figure in the F1 scene if you’re not an avid follower. He was not as successful as the other drivers on this list, but his stripling Swedish blonde complexion accompanied by his shark-tooth like sideburns and cheeky charisma catapulted him into the environs of sport’s most good-looking participants.

James Hunt

The most notorious F1 playboy of them all. The handsome, cigarette-smoking 1976 champion with flowing blond locks had the words “sex, breakfast of champions” sewn on to his race overalls. Addicted to adrenaline, he was one of those sportsmen whose appetite for risk, success and excess outweighed most other contemporaries, helping his stock rise through the ranks of motorsport with undeniable flamboyance.

Mario Andretti

Italian-born Andretti, was named US driver of the year in three different decades (1967, 1978 and 1984) and was crowned F1 champion in 1978, in the iconic Lotus 79. He personified the American Dream and demonstrated incredible longevity in one of the most dangerous eras in motor racing, across a number of classes. This heroic career, his heart-on-sleeve attitude and his handsome, clean-shaven face – bar one sideburned period in the 1970s – made him hugely popular.

Ayrton Senna

Much was always made of Senna’s occasional references to his religious beliefs, and a perceived aura of spirituality certainly marked him out from the general run of grand prix drivers. The Brazilian was ferociously competitive, but when photographed pulling on his helmet over his flameproof balaclava, this ethereal persona erased any signs of his killer instinct actions on the track.

Contributor

Freddie Anderson

Published

September 2020

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