Beyond The Grid, delivers great stories, fresh insight and amazing anecdotes from the world of F1. Each week Tom Clarkson brings you in-depth, personal conversations with the biggest names in the sport, from current superstar drivers and leading team bosses to legendary figures from history.
Pedro Diniz on fear, his fiery escape, and F1 pressure
Fear is something F1 drivers don’t often admit to feeling. Pedro Diniz does. In his 98 Grands Prix during the 1990s and into 2000, the Brazilian experienced the highs of hard earned top-six points finishes and, on his day, was a match for teammates Jean Alesi and Damon Hill. But, as he tells Tom Clarkson in a rare interview, lucky escapes from a fireball in Argentina and an upside-down car in Germany left a deep impression. ‘The biggest challenge was really the challenge of my mind’, Pedro says. How do fear and the immense pressure of racing in Formula 1 affect a driver's performance? How can meditation and yoga help a racer go faster? Pedro tells all. He also remembers first encounters with Kimi Raikkonen and Rubens Barrichello at the very start of their racing careers, and explains his post-racing passion for producing organic food. Sebastian Vettel is among the people who are very interested in what Pedro’s doing today on his farm in Brazil.
Fernando Alonso on Schumacher, Hamilton and title number 3
He’s back on the F1 podium with Alpine, but he still wants so much more. Fernando Alonso has his sights set on silverware in 2022 and beyond. In this exclusive episode, the double world champion opens up on his past, present and future with Tom Clarkson. He explains why racing Michael Schumacher was so special, why he ‘wasn’t ready’ for their fierce championship fights in 2005 and 2006, and what he learned from his ‘magic’ Ferrari opponent. Alonso reflects on his rivalry with Lewis Hamilton at McLaren and the world titles he missed out on in 2007, 2010 and 2012. Does he feel his talent deserves more? Did he fall out of love with F1 when he walked away in 2018? How long is he planning to stay in the sport this time? One thing is certain, Fernando is still pushing for wins, for championships and to create a sporting ‘legacy’ he can truly be proud of.
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Danny Sullivan: from taxi driver to F1 points and Indy glory
How does a young man from Kentucky go from driving a New York taxi to racing in Formula 1 and winning the Indy 500? Danny Sullivan’s extraordinary story starts with a childhood obsession with F1 books. It sparked a dream of becoming a racing driver, and he moved to Europe to make it come true. Incredibly, Danny lived with the legendary team boss Ken Tyrrell, who gave him an F1 drive in 1983. Danny tells Tom Clarkson about his best moments in Formula 1: how an inspired but risky strategy call helped earn him a 5th place at Monaco, and the time he battled wheel-to-wheel with world champion Keke Rosberg in a thrilling race finish. After a short stint in F1, Danny returned to America and wrote a dramatic new chapter with victory at the 1985 Indy 500. Even now his story continues, helping to make big calls as a FIA Driver Steward - all part of a whirlwind career that he recounts in vivid detail.
Valtteri Bottas on pride, pressure and frustration at Mercedes
Five seasons, one unfulfilled dream. Valtteri Bottas will leave Mercedes as a race winner whose brilliant performances contributed to a Constructors Championship quadruple. Yet, as he tells Tom Clarkson, he’ll look back on his years in silver and black with some dissatisfaction. How did Valtteri’s determination to prove himself, the constant uncertainty about his F1 future, and the need to support the team and his teammate Lewis Hamilton combine to make his life difficult? What would he do differently if he could go back, and why will things be different at Alfa Romeo from 2022? Plus, the Finn explains his love of coffee and cycling, and hints at an F1 grand plan which could see him in a red race suit one day…
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Tommy Byrne: Senna’s early rival, F1’s lost champion?
Tommy Byrne’s talent in a racing car was likened to that of Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher. To those who watched him closely, he was a champion in the making. Why, then, did his Formula 1 career last just five races in an uncompetitive car? Tommy tells Tom Clarkson the story of the impressive wins in junior categories – including one in Ayrton Senna’s car – which got him to F1 in 1982. He explains why his straight-talking personality and party lifestyle upset the F1 establishment and why he never got the opportunity to race for a front-running team. Tommy also remembers the McLaren test that could have changed his life and the shock, decades later, when he learned what was really going on behind-the-scenes that day at Silverstone.
Jean-Eric Vergne on learning from F1 regrets
Matching Daniel Ricciardo in the same car and twice finishing 6th in a Grand Prix is a Formula 1 record to be proud of. But looking back at his three seasons driving for midfield team Scuderia Toro Rosso, Jean-Eric Vergne thinks he could – and should – have done better. In an honest and unflinchingly self-critical interview, Vergne tells Tom Clarkson how his mentality and even his physical size negatively affected his F1 career, and recalls the many things he wishes had turned out differently. He tells the astonishing inside story of his 2014 F1 exit, and reveals the unfortunate timing, bad luck and driver moves which edged him out of the sport. JEV also explains how Lewis Hamilton inspired him to kickstart his own racing career to win championships in Formula E and why he wants to face new challenges at Le Mans.
This episode is sponsored by Babbel:
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Incredibly insightful into F1’s Heroes
As a relatively new F1 fan, I’ve been tearing through the back catalog and can’t get enough of your interviews, Tom. The space you give for these heroes to share their amazing stories is just breathtaking. Keep it up!
Tom - loving your podcast series. I’m an Aussie fan who grew up in Adelaide on F1. My favourites so far; Derek Warwick ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Kimi ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Martin Brundle ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Gerhard Berger ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ How about a chat with Thierry Boutsen? I’d love to hear more of his friendship with Ayrton, why he missed out on the Williams seat for 1991 and was there any truth to the talk about a Senna / Boutsen combination at Ferrari? Matt
Just listened to the Olivier Panis episode, if you were a fan of the 90s-2000s F1 this is incredibly insightful and fascinating. Great works guys!