My Fantasy F1 Team: Luke Smith


We are joined by Luke Smith, a writer and journalist working for an American broadcaster NBC Sports, heading up its written coverage of Formula 1 on; his work has also been featured in The Times, The Independent and on NBC News and Yahoo! Sports. Today Luke gives us his fantasy Formula 1 set.

 Team owner: Colin Chapman

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Know best for his flat cap that would soar into the air upon a Lotus victory, Colin Chapman is one of Formula 1’s most memorable team owners. He was the first to broker having non-automotive products sponsor cars, most notably with Gold Leaf, and led Team Lotus to unprecedented success in the 1960s and 1970s. A true pioneer of motorsport – and we’re alumni of the same university!

 Team Principal: Christian Horner

Since first taking up the Red Bull Team Principal role in 2005, Christian Horner has overseen a huge transformation. Originally the “party” team, Red Bull went on to rule the Formula 1 world between 2010 and 2013 with Horner at the helm. His quick mind and awareness are critical in the modern-day paddock, making him the perfect counterpart to Chapman.

Sebastian Vettel has never quite got the credit or respect that he deserves in my opinion.

 Driver 1: Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel has never quite got the credit or respect that he deserves in my opinion. Ever since he made a splash by scoring a point on debut in 2007, Vettel’s enormous talent has been evident, yet he had the misfortune (one may call it) of enjoying the bulk of his success with the quickest car on the grid. The naysayers said the four titles belonged to Adrian Newey, not Vettel. I’m glad he’s since proven himself with Ferrari. Vettel is almost annoyingly consistent and very rarely makes mistakes. Further to that, he’s got a superb sense of humour, so Seb would bring that to the team as well.

Driver 2: Jackie Stewart

At the opposite end of the driver era spectrum to Vettel, Jackie Stewart was, like Chapman, a pioneer in his period. Stewart not only redefined safety standards and enjoyed a good influence off track, but he was untouchable on it for much of his career. All three of his championships were won convincingly, flying the flag for Tyrell in the face of the bigger manufacturers. Stewart’s legacy speaks volumes, and I have a feeling him and Seb would get on well!

 The car: McLaren MP4/4

Maybe a somewhat boring and predictable choice, but the McLaren MP4/4 should still be regarded as the greatest Formula 1 car of all time. Taking 15 of the 16 available wins in 1988, it was not only massively quick but also very, very reliable – a bigger challenge back in the 1980s. It’s also around halfway between both Stewart and Vettel’s eras, so it would make for an interesting challenge. Big wheels, big bodywork, stick shift – they’d be in their element.

 Livery: Renault R25

Mixing a modern livery with a classic car may be risky, but who doesn’t love the blue and yellow design on the 2005 Renault R25? It was one of the iconic liveries towards the end of Formula 1’s tobacco era, and although it’s unlikely to ever make a comeback, it would be nice to see Renault do something similar in the future with its revived team.

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