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.
Lord Hesketh on James Hunt and the authenticity behind F1’s original party team
When Hesketh Racing burst onto the F1 grid in the 1970s, they took everyone by surprise. They appeared to be playboys, having fun on and off track. But away from the yachts and the parties, was a small, well-organised group of passionate racers who were determined to win. With James Hunt at the wheel, they did. Lord Alexander Hesketh, who bankrolled and ran the team, tells Tom Clarkson how he ‘accidentally’ got into motor racing, rose to the top, and challenged the old guard of Ferrari, Lotus and McLaren. Lord Hesketh explains the unique quality behind his team’s success and reputation, what made James Hunt a great driver, and why F1 will never see a team like his ever again.
Renault stalwart Alan Permane on 30 years of stars, success and struggles at Enstone
He joined Benetton in the late 1980s as a bottom-rung mechanic and he’s been with the team ever since, as it morphed into Renault then Lotus and now back to Renault. Alan Permane, Renault’s Sporting Director, has seen and done it all in his time at the Enstone factory. He was Michael Schumacher’s mechanic, Giancarlo Fisichella’s race engineer, and he stepped up to lead the team after the Crashgate scandal. He also had an expletive-filled team radio exchange with Kimi Raikkonen in India. Alan reveals the secrets of Renault’s success in the mid-2000s, and how they’re planning to take on Mercedes with Fernando Alonso in 2022.
Jochen Mass on a career tinged with tragedy, racing Lauda and Hunt, and mentoring Michael Schumacher
Jochen Mass’ F1 career began with a bang and ended more than a decade later in a fiery crash. In the 1970s he shared podiums with the likes of Lauda, Hunt, Fittipaldi and Scheckter. His talent deserved more than a single victory, which came on a dark day in Spain in 1975. Tragedy struck again in 1982, when Jochen played a blameless part in the crash which killed the legendary Gilles Villeneuve. Tom Clarkson uncovers the twists and turns of Jochen’s time in F1: the near-victories, cars, bosses and teammates which shaped his character. Jochen is certainly not afraid to speak his mind – a quality he put to very good use in later years when advising his Mercedes sportscar team mate, a young Michael Schumacher.
Eric Boullier on managing Raikkonen, dealing with Kubica’s accident and switching from Team Principal to Promoter
Many of you will remember Eric Boullier as Team Principal at Renault and Lotus before he became the Racing Director of McLaren. He resigned from that role in 2018 before switching camps to Paul Ricard, where he is now managing director of the French Grand Prix. On this week’s show, Tom probes Eric about his life in the sport, from the challenge of managing Kimi Raikkonen to dealing with the aftermath of Robert Kubica’s accident. There’s also time to chat about McLaren and the drivers he worked with there – Button, Alonso and Vandoorne – plus Eric brings us up to speed on all things French GP…
Safety Car driver Bernd Maylander shares the secrets of the job
This week’s guest has led more the 700 laps in F1 – but you may never have heard of him. That’s because Bernd Maylander is the Safety Car driver, and has been for the last 20 years. When the weather is bad or there’s a serious incident, Bernd takes to the track to lead the field around at a safe speed – not fast by F1 standards, but still seriously quick. On this week’s show he gives us the inside line on his job, revealing who is the most aggressive behind the Safety Car, the worst conditions he’s ever driven in, how he feels about Lewis Hamilton always giving him the hurry up, and what happened with that massive re-start pile-up in Mugello recently…
Toto Wolff on his love of F1, missing Niki Lauda and disinterest in chasing records
He’s a workaholic, whose team is about to win a record seventh consecutive constructors’ championship. Yet his desire for more trophies remains all-consuming. This week we welcome back Mercedes boss Toto Wolff for an intimate and relaxed chat at his home in Oxford. Topics up for discussion include his future, how Niki Lauda remains a big influence in his life, the realities of the Rosberg/Hamilton relationship (and why it makes a future Hamilton/Verstappen duo unlikely), how his relationship with Hamilton has evolved, and why records mean nothing to him...
Great Lando Norris Interview
What a wonderful chat with Lando Norris. Tom brought out Lando’s personality and sweetness and seriousness. Really enjoyed it.
Our favorite Aussie
Awesome podcast with Daniel RIC and TC. Good luck to Daniel for the 2020 Season. Keep
Being inspiring! Best regards. David C.