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  • Since South Africa 1993, Beat Zehnder has not missed a Formula 1 Grand Prix. Hungary 2022 was his 538th race weekend, and he’s spent them all with the same team. Once it was known as Sauber, today it’s Alfa Romeo. Before joining Sauber, Beat was a ship engine mechanic. He was kicked out of his first job interview with the Swiss racing team because he had no interest in motorsport. How and why, then, has he spent so long in Formula 1? Beat tells Tom Clarkson incredible stories of the tiny Sauber team’s amazing entry into F1, and its repeated struggles for survival. Schumacher, Frentzen, Raikkonen, Kubica, Vettel and Leclerc are just some of the drivers Beat has worked with, but who does he call ‘the most complete’ of them all? Beat’s love for the sport was shaken at times of tragedy, but his loyalty and love of teamwork have never faltered.


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  • He’s the newest member of ‘The Piranha Club’ – the nickname for the ruthlessly competitive group of F1 Team Principals. Aston Martin’s Mike Krack is not a newcomer to F1, however. A former European go-kart racer, Mike earned his engineering stripes with Sauber in the early 2000s, where he moulded and mentored a young Felipe Massa. He witnessed the supreme strength and skill of Robert Kubica, and steered Sebastian Vettel through his Grand Prix debut at BMW in 2007. Vettel and Krack are now back together at Aston Martin, and Mike has illuminating insight into how the four-time champion has developed as a person and as a racing driver. Mike tells Tom Clarkson about his life leading major manufacturers’ racing programs, including the reason he previously walked away from Formula 1. He explains how he’s ‘finding his way’ as boss of the sport’s most ambitious team, charged with fulfilling owner Lawrence Stroll’s aims of challenging for the World Championship.
    Related episodes from the F1 Beyond The Grid archive:
    Sebastian Vettel

    Robert Kubica

    Lance Stroll

    Lawrence Stroll

    Felipe Massa


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  • When Marc Surer reached Formula 1 in 1979, he was a rising star: the reigning Formula 2 champion from the mountains of Switzerland, surely destined for the summit of F1 success. But two leg-breaking crashes made Marc’s climb steeper and harder. He relives those crashes with Tom Clarkson and remembers his remarkable recovery and return to racing. Amazingly, he scored points for Arrows, and almost made the switch to Ferrari after the death of Gilles Villeneuve. Marc also came close to racing for McLaren after a secret meeting with boss Ron Dennis. Later, he survived a fiery rally crash in which his co-driver was killed. Marc shares stories of racing up mountains as a child in a country where motorsport was banned, working with F1 design genius Gordon Murray, driving brutal turbocharged F1 cars armed with more than 1000 horsepower and wrestling Group B rally cars on snow and ice.


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  • Before he started, as he puts it, ‘playing with racing cars’, Jody Egginton trained as a schoolteacher. His love of motorsport led him to Formula 1, and he worked his way up from Tyrell during the early years of computer-aided design (CAD) to Technical Director at AlphaTauri today. Along the way he helped Force India achieve a stunning result in 2009, fought to keep the brand-new Caterham team afloat in the 2010s and worked with Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz at the very start of their F1 careers. He’s now driving AlphaTauri’s car development, pushing a team of engineers flat out to give Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda a car which can challenge for 5th in the F1 Constructors’ Championship. Jody tells Tom Clarkson about his approach to learning, communication, problem-solving and leadership, and shares advice for aspiring F1 engineers.
    Related episodes from the Beyond The Grid archive
    Pierre Gasly
    Yuki Tsunoda
    Franz Tost, AlphaTauri Team Principal
    James Key, McLaren’s Technical Director
    John Barnard, legendary F1 technical genius


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  • Jenson Button. Jacques Villeneuve. Colin McRae. Sebastian Loeb. The list of elite racing drivers David Richards has led is long and legendary. As an F1 Team Principal in the 2000s, he, Button and the BAR team challenged Ferrari for race wins. David tasted podium champagne, but the bottle never had ‘1st’ printed on it. Not so in the World Rally Championship and at Le Mans, where his teams and drivers have won a multitude of titles. David tells Tom Clarkson the story of his incredible life in motorsport: success in rallying, decades in F1 with Benetton, BAR and Honda, and he remembers the behind the scenes negotiations to bring his own company, Prodrive, onto the grid. Plus, desert racing with Sebastian Loeb, Extreme E with Lewis Hamilton’s team and his ongoing work to make motorsport more inclusive and sustainable as chair of Motorsport UK.


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  • ‘It’s a huge step… but the peak is miles away’. That’s how George Russell sums up racing for Mercedes. Since George joined the team’s young driver programme in 2017 he knew he could rise to the seat of a Silver Arrow Formula 1 car. How did he get there, and how high will he rise in the future? George tells Tom Clarkson about emotive highs with his former team, Williams, a bitter disappointment on his Mercedes debut in Sakhir and a learning moment in Italy which helped shaped him into the driver and the man he is today. Hear about the pressure George races under at Mercedes, his relationships with his colleagues, his view of his place in the sport, his principles and his ambitions in this in-depth conversation.
    Related episodes: George Russell’s first BTG interview from July 2020


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  • Who’s Tom’s guest this week? Hit play to find out. Then, spread the word using #F1BeyondTheGrid and follow the podcast for the fastest way to get the next episode

  • Zhou Guanyu’s route to F1 was epic. As a child he watched the Chinese Grand Prix from the grandstands and dreamed of joining his racing heroes. But with no footsteps to follow in, he had to plot his own path. Before he was even a teenager he moved from his home city of Shanghai to the other side of the world to test his talent behind the wheel. Fighting homesickness and intimidation from his racing rivals, he proved himself. Zhou tells Tom Clarkson about the sacrifices, key decisions, victories and personal loss he experienced along the way. Now he’s racing his childhood heroes as the first Chinese driver to compete in Formula 1. Zhou has already made history for his country and, as he says himself, he’s only just getting started.


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  • During his ten year career, Belgian driver Thierry Boutsen delivered consistently. He stacked up 164 races, 15 podiums and 3 Grand Prix wins; even beating the legendary Ayrton Senna to the top of the podium when driving for Williams at the Hungaroring in 1990. Thierry has always been driven by his passions, his love of speed began racing motorbikes in rainy Belgian woodland where he would develop the skills that would eventually help him take his first victory in difficult conditions at the 1989 Canadian Grand Prix. His Formula One debut was with Arrows at his home race in Spa in 1983, the same track it would end on a decade later when he briefly joined the Jordan team. Thierry tells Tom Clarkson all about his journey to F1, the race wins that define his career, his deep interest in engineering and his close bond with good friend Ayrton Senna.


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  • With a career spanning four decades, Frank Dernie knows a thing or two about how to make a car fast. After joining Williams in the late 70's as Patrick Head's aerodynamic assistant, helping design the successful FW08 chassis, he went on to work with some of Formula One's biggest stars, greatest teams and the fastest cars on the grid. A pioneer in his field, Frank was the first person in the sport to use computer aided design and is the man to thank for bringing the Williams team's active suspension to life. His analytical and data driven mind was in hot demand in the paddock from teams and drivers alike as he developed his race winning cars. In this episode Frank lets us take a peek inside his brilliant mind as he takes us back to those early days at Williams working with Sir Frank Williams, Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet, testing with Alain Prost and all that fell in between.

    Related episodes:

    Nigel Mansell


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  • As a young racer growing up in America in the 60s, Bobby Rahal idolised people like Phil Hill, Dan Gurney and Mario Andretti - drivers who had made it across the Atlantic to drive in Formula 1. He dreamt of doing the same; of travelling to Europe to race at the circuits he'd read about in magazines and going wheel to wheel with his racing heroes. After making a name for himself on US road circuits and putting in some stand-out performances in Formula 3, that F1 opportunity came in 1978 when Walter Wolf offered Bobby a seat alongside Jody Scheckter at the US and Canadian Grand Prix. They were the last two races of the season and, sadly, they would be the first and last races that Bobby would contest in Formula 1. Although his time at the top was brief, Bobby’s legacy lives on as one of a handful of American drivers to have made it to F1. In this episode, Bobby addresses the need for more US drivers on the grid and he winds back the decades to reveal the passions that fuelled his love of European motorsport, his journey to F1 and what really happened at those two races back in 1978.


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  • McLaren technical director James Key is one of the youngest tech chiefs in Formula One. He’s very bright, he’s super-organised and he’s ultra-competitive, all attributes that he’s using to drive the team back to the top of the sport. In this episode, James opens up to Tom Clarkson about McLaren’s difficult start to the 2022 season, when their cars finished 14th and 15th in the Bahrain Grand Prix, and how the team pulled together in the days that followed to improve the MCL36. Only three races later Lando Norris finished third at Imola. James also gives a fascinating insight into what it’s like to work with McLaren drivers Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, and how they're adjusting to the new 2022-spec cars, and he hints at what we can expect from them as the season unfolds. We also hear about James' journey to F1, the technological advances he's been a part of, the highs, the lows and most importantly: what the future holds for McLaren.

    :
    Related episodes from the BTG archive:

    Lando Norris Daniel Ricciardo Andreas Seidl, McLaren Team Principal Zak Brown, McLaren CEO
    Steve Nichols, Engineer Alain Prost
    Mika Hakkinen


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  • From frustration which drove him to tears in 2019, to an incredible F1 victory in 2021, Esteban Ocon has felt the extreme lows and highs of a racing driver’s life. After losing his race seat at Force India, Ocon spent a season as reserve driver for Mercedes in 2019. A year of ‘low moments’ opened his eyes to what he jokingly calls ‘the dark side’ of F1 – the off-track negotiations which can determine a driver’s future just as much on-track results. Wiser and more determined, Esteban returned to racing with Renault in 2020, scored his first podium and became a Grand Prix winner with Alpine. On his return to F1 Beyond The Grid, the Frenchman tells Tom Clarkson all about that chapter of his life, and looks ahead to the story he’s determined to write with Alpine. Plus, F1 friendships, the importance of clean racing, and why he sees the Spanish Grand Prix as a home race.
    Related episodes from the BTG archive
    Esteban Ocon’s first appearance

    Fernando Alonso, Esteban’s Alpine teammate

    Otmar Szafnauer on Force India’s administration

    Mick Schumacher

    Lance Stroll


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  • 40 years ago, in May 1982, Formula 1 lost a marvellous maverick. No-one else drove a car quite like Gilles Villeneuve. He lost his life in a crash while at the very peak of his racing powers. In this special episode, those who knew Gilles share their memories and stories with Tom Clarkson. F1 World Champions Mario Andretti and Jody Scheckter and 7-time Grand Prix winner Rene Arnoux raced alongside Villeneuve and were close to him as friends. Jonathan Giacobazzi idolised Gilles; his family’s name appeared as a sponsor on the Canadian’s race suit, and their families travelled the racetracks of Europe together. Jochen Mass was also a good friend of Villeneuve – a fact that makes his blameless involvement in the crash which claimed his life even more tragic. They remember Gilles as a person, a teammate, a rival and a friend, and consider why he is still so adored, 40 years after his death.


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  • Growing up in Northern California, a young Alexander Rossi dreamed of racing in Formula 1. His route was not an easy one. Along the way he experienced false starts, unfulfilled promises, behind the scenes power moves and the tragic loss of his friend and teammate Jules Bianchi. Alex tells Tom Clarkson everything that led to his 5 Grands Prix in 2015 and just how close he was to staying in the sport for a longer time. Today, Alex is pushing to add the IndyCar Championship to his Indy 500 win, supported by team boss Michael Andretti, and challenged by teammate Colton Herta. Alex also has tales of racing at Indy with Fernando Alonso, and competing in Mexico’s extreme truck race, the Baja 1000.


    Related episodes from the BTG archive
    The USA’s first F1 World Champion, Phil Hill, remembered

    Mario Andretti – 1978 F1 World Champion

    Eddie Cheever – the USA’s most experienced F1 driver

    Danny Sullivan – from NY taxi driver to F1

    NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon on his F1 drive

    F1 driver and IndyCar star, Juan Pablo Montoya


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  • He says it himself, Alex Albon is back in F1 wanting to prove a point. After a 2020 season in which he scored his first podiums, but ultimately failed to match Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen, he lost his race drive and spent 2012 on the side lines. ‘It killed me’, he says, ‘but the hunger never went away’. Alex tells Tom Clarkson how hard he worked behind the scenes to help Verstappen win the Drivers’ Championship, and to fight for his F1 return with Williams in 2022. Now Alex is revitalised. He feels smarter and more at peace with himself. He’s certainly lost none of his skill behind the wheel - in Australia he drove 57/58 laps on a single set of tyres to score his first point for Williams in only his third race – and his friendship with rivals Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz is as strong as ever. A round of golf with those guys sounds like a lot of fun…
    Related episodes from the BTG archive:
    Nicholas Latifi, Alex’s Williams teammate
    Jost Capito, Williams CEO and Team Principal
    Christian Horner, Red Bull Team Principal
    Lando Norris
    Charles Leclerc
    Carlos Sainz
    George Russell
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  • Creator of an iconic F1 car, with an inside view of a ferocious racing rivalry: Steve Nichols has witnessed some extraordinary things. The American engineer designed the McLaren MP4/4, the car which stormed to 15 wins in 16 races in 1988. He tells Tom Clarkson the story of the MP4/4’s creation and what made it so fast. Working closely with Ayrton Senna as his race engineer, Steve felt the tension between the Brazilian and his teammate Alain Prost as they fought for the title in the car Steve had designed for them. He also tells the story of how and why he left McLaren and followed Prost to Ferrari, a difficult period which included another famous clash with Senna.
    Related episodes from the BTG archive:
    Alain Prost
    Mika Hakkinen
    David Coulthard
    Julian Jakobi - on managing Senna and Prost

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  • A year out of F1 has changed Kevin Magnussen’s world. He’s now a father, he’s moved back to his native Denmark with his family and he’s tasted US sportscars and the Le Mans 24 hours. When the chance to return to F1 with Haas suddenly came along, KMag said yes immediately. No fear. No doubt that it’s where he belongs. Kevin tells Tom Clarkson how it felt to lose his place in F1, why his second stint in the sport feels different, what it’s like racing as a dad, and his goals now he’s back in F1.
    Related episodes from the BTG archive:
    Mick Schumacher
    Guenter Steiner
    Romain Grosjean

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  • ‘I risked a lot more than people know’. In 1992, Nigel Mansell – a three-time runner-up – finally achieved his lifelong ambition. To win the Formula 1 World Championship, he fought through physical injury and psychological challenges. In this 30th anniversary special episode, Nigel tells Tom Clarkson the story of his championship winning year. He relives his dominant race victories, a Monaco battle for the ages with Ayrton Senna, the incredible celebrations that year at the British Grand Prix, and his crowning moment in Hungary. Mansell also remembers the stunning revelation, less than 24 hours after he won the title. which changed the course of his life.

    Related episodes from the BTG archive
    Riccardo Patrese, Mansell's 92 teammate
    Sir Patrick Head, Williams co-founder
    Mansell, Prost, Vettel and Leclerc on racing for Ferrari

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