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F1 Icons: Nigel Mansell

Nigel Mansell is one of the most iconic F1 champions who fought back after one of the most dramatic last-race failures in the sport's history to win a world title.

Famed for his trademark moustache and fierce competitive spirit, Mansell ended a 16-year wait for a British world champion after James Hunt's 1976 victory. 

He was the first driver to win nine F1 races in a season and the first to hold the F1 and Indy Car titles at the same time when he won the American championship at his first attempt.

Formula 1
Born8th August 1953
Age70
BirthplaceUpton-upon-Severn, UK
F1 debut1980 Austrian Grand Prix
Last F1 race1995 Spanish Grand Prix
F1 titles1
F1 teams4

Nigel Mansell's early career

Mansell started out in karting and funded his own entry into single-seater racing, winning his first race in the British Formula Ford championship in 1976 and winning the title the following season.

It took him three years to win his first Formula 3 race, in 1979, but he also suffered a major crash in which he broke his back. His speed caught the eye of Lotus F1 boss Colin Chapman, though, and Mansell set some fast times as a test driver for the British team.

He earned his first drive in F1 in 1980 and competed in the full season the following year, claiming his first podium finish in the Belgian Grand Prix.

Three more years with Lotus yielded four more podium finishes but Mansell's career really began to take off when he moved to Williams for the 1985 season.

He won his first F1 race in his 72nd start at the European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch and finished sixth in the championship in his first season with the team.

Mansell went agonisingly close to winning the 1986 world title but memorably his car suffered a spectacular tyre blowout in the final race of the season, and he was runner-up again in 1987, winning six races but finishing behind team-mate Nelson Piquet.

After a less successful 1998 season, he moved to Ferrari for two years, winning three races and being named Il Leone (The Lion) by Italian fans for his relentless driving style.

He finished second in the championship for a third time after returning to Williams in 1991.

Nigel Mansell's championship year

Mansell finally got his world title the following season at the age of 39, winning nine races in a dominant year for the team. 

His British Grand Prix success was the 28th of his career and took him past Jackie Stewart's record for a British driver. He took 14 pole positions that year but also set the record for most races before becoming world champion at 180, which was broken by Nico Rosberg in 2016.

Mansell also became only the fourth person to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year twice having previously won it for his near-miss in 1986.

Nigel Mansell's later seasons

A contract dispute led to Mansell leaving F1 and heading to America where he won the CART (Indy Car) championship as a rookie. He took pole and won his debut race and was third on his first attempt in the Indy 500.

At the end of the 1994 CART season, Mansell made a brief return to F1 with Williams, taking part in three races and scoring his final career victory in the Australian Grand Prix. 

He moved to McLaren for the following season but took part in only two races before retiring.

Nigel Mansell's post-racing career

Mansell has not been involved in F1 to any great extent since his driving days, but he took part in other series', including the British Touring Car Championship and the Grand Prix Masters, which he won in 2005.

He raced in the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans in a team with his sons, Leo and Greg, but their race lasted only four laps. 

Mansell is also a keen golfer and he took part in the 1988 Australian Open.

Nigel Mansell's F1 record

  • 1980 Lotus, Not classified
  • 1981 Lotus, 14th
  • 1982 Lotus, 14th
  • 1983 Lotus, 13th
  • 1984 Lotus, 10th
  • 1985 Williams, 6th, 2 wins
  • 1986 Williams, 2nd, 5 wins
  • 1987 Williams, 2nd, 6 wins
  • 1988 Williams, 9th
  • 1989 Ferrari, 4th, 2 wins
  • 1990 Ferrari, 5th, 1 win
  • 1991 Williams, 2nd, 5 wins
  • 1992 Williams, world champion, 9 wins
  • 1994 Williams, 9th, 1 win
  • 1995 McLaren, Not classified

Nigel Mansell's Net Worth

Nigel Mansell's net worth is reported to be around $90 million.

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