With over 700 Formula 1 races to pick from, Herbie Blash reveals what became his greatest day in the sport.
The former F1 deputy race director stepped down from the post at the end of the 2016 season to end a career in the sport which spanned five decades. Having started as a mechanic for the RRC Walker Racing Team during 1965, Blash quickly climbed the ranks to become Graham Hill’s race mechanic at Lotus three years later.
After briefly dipping into the Formula 2 project at Brabham, Blash was a key managerial member of the team during Nelson Piquet’s F1 world title wins in 1981 and 1983 with Bernie Ecclestone as the team’s owner. But it was a race in 1982 during a disastrous defence of Piquet’s first F1 world crown, who has scored just a single points finish in the opening seven races, which makes Blash’s most memorable moment in F1.
“A real classic day came in 1982 when so much was going on in the background when Brabham started with BMW,” Blash said. “There were certain sections of the team which wanted to stop working with BMW. In Canada it really came to a head but Nelson Piquet was determined to continue with BMW.”
Piquet produced one of the drives of his life, battling an oil leak around his car’s pedals which was burning his feet 10 laps into the race, to clinch victory at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve ahead of Brabham team-mate Riccardo Patrese which Blash says became an even more impressive feat given the two cars were using different engines.
“We finished first with Nelson in the BMW car and Riccardo in the Ford car,” he said. “I don’t know of any other teams who have used different engines and produced a one-two so that was a real classic.”