I don’t often watch modern day Formula 1 but when I do I’m amazed at how locked-down the cars look. They’re stable and stuck to the tarmac at all times. This may be exciting from an engineering point of view but from a spectators point of view it is dull. In 2016 it seems that the car is doing all the work. In 1990 it was blatantly obvious that the driver was doing all the work. I mean just look at this lap of Jean Alesi qualifying for the 1990 Phoenix Grand Prix.
The V8-powered Tyrrell 019 wasn’t the best car in the field so to put it fourth on the grid (ahead of the McLaren of Ayrton Senna), Alesi had to push it to its design limits. And that’s exactly what you can see here. Wriggling. Drifting. Squirming. Sliding. Literally brushing the concrete barriers with his tyres. Alesi is dancing a dangerous dance, a tango with the Devil. A performance that makes you hungry for more. Except there is no more. All we have of this last golden age of Formula 1 are these fragmented YouTube snippets. What a bummer. – Thomas Falkiner