Speed | Philip Watson

Speed

eddie-irvineI’ve written quite extensively about Formula One, filing reports, mostly for Esquire and GQ, on topics ranging from pit-lane politics/glamour to Bertie Ecclestone and the big business of F1 to the explosive and often race-winning precision of the modern Formula One pit stop (Esquire dubbed it “the most exciting eight seconds in sport”).caroll-shelby-cobra-1

I’ve also interviewed quite a number of leading F1 drivers. One of my more interesting encounters was with “Fast” Eddie Irvine, then at the top of his game and number one driver for Ferrari. I got rare access, through the Williams team, to the pre-season testing, preparation and debut grand prix in Australia of then 20-year-old rookie Jenson Button; seven years later I would catch up with him again. There were also profiles of Juan-Pablo Montoya and Heinz-Harald Frentzen, and a tribute to the great Ayrton Senna, on the tenth anniversary of his death.

caroll-shelby-cobra-2I spent time, equally as memorably, with Murray “excuse me while I interrupt myself” Walker, and later with the man who would succeed him as the “voice of Formula One”, Martin Brundle.pit-stops (image © adam hinton)

I also spoke to two other men inextricably linked to speed and power: Carroll Shelby, the rugged and renegade Texan champion racer who developed the legendary Cobra sports car; and Richard Jenkins, a young English engineer and inventor attempting to beat world speed records, over land, sea and ice – using wind power alone.