12 November 2013
United States Grand Prix: Six of the Best - Substitute Drivers
Given the fact Kimi Raikkonen will sit out the final two races of the F1 2013 season, including this weekend's United States Grand Prix, Crash.net columnist Will Saunders takes a look at the substitute driver in his latest 'Six of the Best' feature...
With Kimi Raikkonen due to miss the final two races of the season to undergo back surgery, F1 is set to witness an increasingly rare phenomenon over the final two races of the campaign: the substitute driver.
The early years of Grand Prix racing were littered with driver swaps, teams changing the number of cars entered during the season, races missed through injury, local drivers finding favour for home races or teams entering as one-off privateers - reasons for change that have been mostly lost over the years due to more stringently fixed team and driver rosters.
With Raikkonen missing the final two races of 2013, 2008 remains the sole season in F1 history with no in-season driver changes.
In memory of the lost spirit of driver roulette, from temps to replacements, and stand-ins to outstanding, Crash.net salutes six of the best substitute drivers.
Nigel Mansell (Williams, 1994)
Nigel Mansell's on-off love affair with Williams was integral to the narrative of F1 for a decade, but its bittersweet coda is an oft-forgotten appendix to the story.
The conclusion to Mansell's 1992 championship season left a seemingly irrevocably sour aftertaste. Betrayed by Frank Williams' decision to hire Alain Prost, Mansell very publicly and dramatically retired from F1, taking his title-winning talents to Indycar with devastating effect.
Prost subsequently waltzed to the 1993 title and into retirement, allowing Ayrton Senna to take on the coveted mantle at Williams for 1994. Within three races however, Senna's untimely death left a void at the heart of F1. The sport was without a world champion for the first time since 1959, and, with TV audiences declining, an SOS was dispatched to Mansell.
'Nige' was equally integral to Indycar though as defending champion, and could only compete as his Stateside schedule allowed. His reconciliation with Williams was smoothed by a paycheque of £900,000 per race, a staggering amount compared to the £300,000 that team-mate Damon Hill was paid for the entire season.
Mansell's comeback came at the French GP, and he was instantly on the pace despite the wholesale regulation changes since his last F1 drive, qualifying second. Unsurprisingly, he was outpaced by Michael Schumacher and Hill in the race, but was running third before retiring with transmission failure.
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