My Fantasy F1 Team: Martin Whitaker

Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Qualifying, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Saturday 5 April 2014.

The head of Sportique 88, a solid and boutique sports and business advisory consultancy, mister Martin Whitaker, shares his very own Formula 1 fantasy set with the Paddock magazine.

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The car

I am going to go purely on aesthetics and chose a car, as well as a “T” car, that would send shivers down the spine of the opposition just on looks. The old adage that if a car looks quick standing still fits both the Lotus 49 and the Lotus 72. I have a soft spot for the 72, not least because of my driver choice, but the car was synonymous with some of the all-time greats including Rindt and Fittipaldi. The recent 60th Anniversary celebrations at BIC paired Emerson with his 1973 JPS liveried version, a magical moment! Chapman’s 49 was such a beautiful and purposeful race car, and – in the hands of Clark, Hill and Rindt – it was dominant. In either green and yellow or red, white and gold, it was pure music in motion.

The drivers

Ayrton should be clearly at the top of the list, but one of the most naturally talented drivers who never really got the praise that he justly deserved was Ronnie Peterson. Ronnie was my hero, could drive just about anything and fast – very fast. As for the second seat, I have always said that rally drivers are the most complete competition drivers, two of the best whom I had the privilege to work with were Carlos Sainz and Colin McRae. Both would have been super competitive in a Formula 1 car so let’s put both of them in the second seat on a rotational basis!

The team owner

Team owners are generally recognised for their combination of passion, razor-sharp and incisive mind, business acumen, ruthless streak and a quick wit. These are all attributes that have benefitted some of the best team owners – Ecclestone, Chapman, Williams to name just a few. However, I’m going to go for one of two – Lord Alexander Hesketh and Tom Walkinshaw. Hesketh, purely because he epitomised everything that the sport stood for in the days of the privateer (much like Rob Walker) and Walkinshaw because he was a gritty Scot who was ruthless in his pursuit of getting the best out of any team, irrespective of what formula he was running. Tom had racing and business coursing through his veins every second of the day and is much missed.

The designer

I’ve already gone for Lord Hesketh as one of my team owners so it’s only fair that I will go for Harvey Postlethwaite as my designer. Apart from being an exceptional and enduring character, what Harvey did in his only too brief life was to design cars with a natural ability and flair that made the whole thing seem like fun – part of the Hesketh ethos. He came to prominence at Hesketh creating the winning 308 for James Hunt on a seriously limited budget. He went on to create race winners at Wolf, Ferrari and Tyrrell. All designers have an eccentric bent, Harvey was certainly one of these. Whether as designer, raconteur or dinner guest – Harvey Postlethwaite would be at the top of my list.

The Team Principal

Toto Wolff says that the Team Principal is a position of the past. He is probably right, but the sport would not be where it is today if it was not for some of the great men who have filled this strategic role. Teams are now big business with strong management structures, impossible to run by one individual; at least that is the modern opinion. Let’s suggest someone new. Someone accustomed to leading from the front, but with the characteristics of Ecclestone, Dennis, Chapman, Tyrrell and Williams. Jose Mourinho! Different, but certainly filled with the passion required for Formula 1.

The livery

There are many great liveries – Gold Leaf, JPS, Gulf, 7Up, but I’m going for Martini. The azure, dark blue and red make this one of the most iconic colour schemes ever to grace a racing car – long distance, rally or Formula 1 – and it is as inspiring today as it was back in the 60s when it first appeared. Definitely, my favourite and the colours will grace my winning team!

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