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Formula One in the 80’s

Will Greenway
The late Formula One legend,Niki Lauda  roadandtrack.com

With the recent passing of legendary Formula One driver Niki Lauda, it's time to look back to F1 in the 80’s.

The 70’s were considered the ‘Golden age’ of F1, where anyone who fancied it, and had the money to finance it, could give it a go.

 The 80’s saw the introduction of the turbocharger into Formula 1. Turbo engines weren’t cheap and this forced smaller players out of the game. This change in technology meant It was time to make way for the big boys. Renault, BMW, Porsche, Honda, and Ferrari all developed high end, turbocharged engines.

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Credit: motorsport.com

 But turbo cars took balls too. Some of the cars were pushing over 1000 horsepower and ridiculously powerful cars required ridiculously skilled drivers. Nelson Piquet, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna were three names which would go on to be etched into history forever for their ten combined world championship titles throughout the 80’s and early 90’s.

Possibly the most controversial championship title of all time was in 1984, where Niki Lauda, having recently come out of retirement for a hefty sum, beat his teammate Prost by a mere half-point. This was, and still is, the closest finish in Formula One history, due to half-points being issued in Monaco as a result of heavy rainfall.

Turbocharged cars dominated the scene until they were outlawed in 1989, making way for naturally aspirated engines, to take a place on the podium once again. But don’t think for a minute that this could allow drivers to relax in the 90’s, because a new challenge faced them in the form of Michael Schumacher.