Nigel Mansell turned 60 years old last week.
There was a time when the idea of any F1 driver making it to 60 seemed a pretty unlikely concept. They were guys who lived hard and fast, tiptoed on the edge and all too often died young, be that at the wheel of a racing car, flying an aeroplane, you name it.
But Nigel’s generation suffered less than those who went before them. Of the 24 men who were on the grid when Nigel made his F1 debut in Austria in 1980, only three are dead.
Two died at the wheels of racing cars and one racing a powerboat. Several hobble pretty badly and one is just incredibly lucky. Whenever I think about racing drivers being lucky souls, I always think of Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jarier, known in his day as 'Jumper'.
He is remembered as being one of the unluckiest men to ever drive in F1 with his cars failing him several times when he seemed to be en route to a victory. In the end he competed in 134 grands prix between 1971 and 1983 and failed to win a single one.
Once he was the least successful F1 driver of all time, but fate took note of Jarier's on-track misfortunes and paid him back in full one day when he was piloting a Hughes 500 helicopter across the south-west of France in December 1994.