Interview and photos by Diego Merino, in association with Clarksport.
One of the Brundell Brothers, Mark Blundell, is in Mexico City for the Legends Cup support race during the Grand Prix weekend (come to think of it, we’d need to get Martin Brundle on the horn as well to complete the puzzle because he’s also in Mexico City). Our own Diego Merino caught up with the man we used to watch in F1 action in the 1990s. How cool is that? And Mark was very kind to answer all of Diego’s questions. Kudos.
Q: “Hello Mark, how do you feel coming back to Mexico City?”
A: “It feels good to come back to Mexico. I mean actually I was here a few years ago when I was doing the driver steward role (with the FIA), but racing – oh! – 1991. With Brabham at the Grand Prix and then World Sportscar with Nissan the two years previous to that so I’ve walked around the circuit this morning and had a good sight of things. I mean the track looks fantastic and as ever the city is vibrant and enthusiastic and alive. So yeah, it’s good to be back.”
Q: “Do you miss parts of the old track?”
A: “I think the Peraltada corner is the one that everybody misses because for me it’s maybe one of the most committed corners that we had in F1 many years ago so yeah, memories of that. Obviously, I’m sad to see it’s not here but maybe that’s modern-day Formula 1.”
Q: “What was your approach going into the Peraltada every time?”
A: “I think one of hope that you exit because it was such a committed corner and it was incredibly bumpy, like you say. It was very difficult. In the wet conditions again it was very difficult to cope with but you know it was one of those corners that made a difference to drivers and car. You could see the extra commitment made an actual time difference and that’s very rare these days.”
Q: “There’s a saying in Mexico that the Peraltada used to pick the men out of the boys. With today’s safety standards, do you think there’s room for this type of corner now?”
A: “I mean maybe I’m old-school, I’m not modern-day. For me, I think some of the modern-day drivers would appreciate some of those corners because I think it would give them some real insight into back in our day. I think a modern-day Formula 1 car and a corner like that would be quite exciting to watch. So yeah.”
Q: “Coming to the present, what’s your view of the 2022 season so far?”
A: “It looks like it’s been a great season. It’s been incredibly good to see Ferrari and Red Bull and Mercedes fighting. See teams like McLaren making good progress, Alpine. So yes, I mean hopefully next year will be even better but there’s always going to be politics as well so there’s always politics off the track and the fun on the track. I think the off-season this year is still going to be full of things to read.”
Q: “With you having a successful racing background both in Europe and in the US, do you think Liberty or the new F1 management have finally cracked the American market?”
A: “I think what they did with the Neflix programme has definitely made the USA very aware of Formula 1 and I don’t mean that with just a petrolhead and an enthusiastic fan. I think general public now understand what Formula 1 is. So yes, definitely they pressed the right button. I don’t think they need to worry about control alt delete. I think they did the right move and the right decisions. If you look at how many Grands Prix there’s going to the in the USA next year, yes. And if we have an American driver, there’s more growth coming.”
Q: “How do you feel being the last podium finisher for Tyrrell? Because we remember the team and your time there so fondly.”
A: “Well, it’s always nice to be part of some history. I’m not one to look back, I like to look forward. Maybe when I’m older and sit there with my grandchildren we’ll look back at some of those historic moments. It’s sad to see the name gone and the people involved but yes, it is a nice memory.”