Currently reading: Creating a Formula 1 fantasy team with all the past legends
You have all of the sport’s history to choose from, so who and what would make your dream F1 team?

Ah, the 'what might've beens' that litter every motorsport age. My favourites? If Stirling Moss hadn't called time after his Goodwood crash on Easter Monday 1962, just how different might Formula 1 have looked through the 1960s?

And what about Jim Clark? Killed in 1968, he didn't even get to sample slick tyres, never mind the game-changer of true downforce. Decades later, if only Ayrton Senna had lived beyond 1994. We only caught a glimpse of the early salvos in a brewing rivalry with Michael Schumacher before the great Brazilian was cruelly ripped away from us at Imola. There are scores of examples.

But now Autocar - in all too typical fashion - has pushed the daydreaming to a new level, to tee up the ultimate Formula 1 fantasy.

When push comes to shove, and with mix-and-match choices from across all eras, what would be your ultimate F1 dream team?

Entirely and unapologetically subjective, you'll have your own favourites. But, crikey - choices, choices. Okay, let's dive in. 

Team captain: Ross Brawn

Like Colin Chapman - who very nearly got my vote - Brawn is an engineer and designer with the charisma, authority and weight of experience to lead up front.

He learned from another one of the best, Patrick Head at Williams, and designed promising Arrows grand prix cars and an epochal F1-in-sports-car-clothing in the Jaguar XJR-14, before being pulled into Benetton in 1991 by Tom Walkinshaw's new alliance with Flavio Briatore.

Once Schumacher had been poached from under the nose of Eddie Jordan, Brawn was the key to unlocking the team's dormant potential to win world championships then he repeated the feat, year after year, with Schumacher and Rory Byrne at Ferrari.

After a break to go fishing, it was at Honda-then under his own steam as the remarkable Brawn GP caught the zeitgeist with Jenson Button in 2009 - where his leadership qualities really began to blaze.

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He laid the foundation for Mercedes' record-breaking hybrid-era run with Lewis Hamilton before the poacher turned gamekeeper to run the whole F1 show. I saw him recently. He is supposedly retired but only 69 - and I reckon I could pull him back for one last job. There would be no one better.

Designer: Adrian Newey 

I should have asked while sitting next to him at the Autocar Awards earlier this year. The world championship count is up to 25 now. That's twenty-five.

Thirteen drivers' titles with Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve, Mika Häkkinen, Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen; 12 constructors' crowns with three teams - Williams, McLaren and Red Bull.

No one else comes close for hit rate or longevity. Uniting Brawn and Newey would be the racing equivalent of De Niro and Pacino sharing a screen for the first time in the film Heat.

Paths should have crossed in 1986, at the short-lived Ford-backed Haas squad (no relation to the current team owned by Gene rather than Carl), but thereafter they always worked against rather than for each other.

Imagine the combined brain power. Newey mumbles about retiring, but at 64 he's still addicted to winning - and surely that's now too easy at Red Bull. So one last throw of the dice with your old nemesis, Adrian? C'mon in.

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Driver #1 Jim Clark

Comparing drivers from different eras is a fatuous exercise. But for me Moss and Clark are the epitome of all a racing driver should be.

Very different characters, of course, but I've gone for the quiet Scottish sheep farmer because I have a hunch he would have loved both Brawn and Newey - and certainly vice versa. Clark would have emerged a legend in any age.

Driver #2 Mike Thackwell

I'm heeding Frank Williams' warning about "two bulls in one field", so I won't pair Clark with another Galactico. Instead, I want the mercurial 'coulda-shoulda-woulda' young hero who will burn bright then burn out too fast.

I could name 20. I've gone for a Kiwi, the guy in the red helmet with a big white T, who caught my imagination as a kid. Mike Thackwell was just 19 when Tyrrell drafted him briefly at the tail end of 1980.

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But he was too free-wheeling and unconventional for uptight F1. But alongside the inspirational, beatific Clark and with Newey and Brawn guiding him, maybe... just maybe.

In truth, he would probably be gone mid-season, to go surfing or run a bar or become a teacher for kids with special needs (all of which Thackwell did post-motor racing). But boy, what stories we would have giving him his shot.

Engine: Matra V12

Heart definitely ruling the head on this one. Twelve cylinders only rarely hit sustained success in F1. But that certain sound - you can't beat it, and the sonic cacophony of the Matra zinged the ear drums like no other.

Three GP wins, all with Jacques Laffite, was the lot (although Chris Amon came heartbreakingly close in the glorious MS120D at daunting Clermont-Ferrand in '72). But Newey and Brawn would find the key. Wouldn't they? If not, we can fall back on an old Cosworth DFV V8 mid-season.

Sponsor: Martini

Fags are out of bounds (nice one, Rishi), but how about booze? Martini stripes always pressed my buttons more than Gulf Oil's powder blue and orange - plus you can have them against silver (1974 Porsche 911 RSR 'whale tail, white (Brabham BT44 perfection) or 'rosso' (BT46B fan car).

Last seen on a Williams during a brief flurry of revival, those red and blue stripes complete the perfect cocktail. Cheers!

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Add a comment…
REALZEUS 28 December 2023

Putting in a V12 that is not a Ferrari is half-witted, to say the least. 

Bangbox 27 December 2023
I don't think those are Martini stripes on the BT46. With Martini there is a red stripe as well. The BT44 (white) and BT45 (red) were sponsored by Martini. The BT46 was sponsored by Parmalat, albeit with a very similar striped livery, but without the red. I must get outside more...
Peter Cavellini 28 December 2023
Bangbox wrote:

I don't think those are Martini stripes on the BT46. With Martini there is a red stripe as well. The BT44 (white) and BT45 (red) were sponsored by Martini. The BT46 was sponsored by Parmalat, albeit with a very similar striped livery, but without the red. I must get outside more...

your quite correct, I have two models produced by Polistil in 1/15 scale and there livery is as you described,I like the B45 best though.

Peter Cavellini 27 December 2023

Or, how about a race of your top ten all time F1 Champions?, assuming you could invent a Time Machine.