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Gary Anderson and Lee McKenzie: F1 Secrets

Above: (left) Gary Anderson, Lee McKenzie and Philip Porter

Article by Kyle Hollister

Formula 1 broadcaster Lee McKenzie and former Jordan technical director Gary Anderson provided a captivating insight into F1 racing at the Motoring Literary & Art Festival in December.

McKenzie, well-known for her in-depth interviews with F1 drivers, designers, and team principals, shared snippets from her book Inside F1. Anderson, who worked as a race mechanic before designing Formula 1 cars for Stewart, Jordan, and Jaguar, revealed the differences between Formula 1 in the 1970s when he started and the sport today.

Having “worked her way up the ladder”, McKenzie has long been passionate about all aspects of motorsports, particularly Formula 1. From “sharing a hire car with Lewis Hamilton” to co-driving in the WRC, she certainly knows the ins and outs of the sport.

Anderson recalled being shocked when he realised that he could make a lucrative profession out of his love of tinkering with racing cars. He said that when he started small teams could have fewer than 10 members, but now some teams have 100 times that.

In his early days, Anderson expressed his desire to work on their Formula 1 cars. “It was my wife who wrote a letter to Colin Seeley [managing director of Motor Racing Developments, the company behind Brabham] asking for a job.” Seely wrote back to him saying there was no job for him but the same day, “Bernie Ecclestone wrote back and said yes there was”.

Anderson said it is important that whether you are male or female, you have to be the best in order to succeed. “A female could drive a Formula 1 car tomorrow if she had the right opportunity,” he said.

Anderson told the fascinated audience that it was “an interesting time in Formula 1” with new drivers like Oscar Piastri alongside veterans like Fernando Alonso. McKenzie discussed World Champion Max Verstappen's “addiction” to his race car simulator and revealed Formula 1 teams’ concerns over the sport’s spending limits. “The budget cap for me is to level the playing field with whose car will go fastest,’ she said. “Not whether Christian [Horner, Red Bull Racing team principal] will have to ask his wife to play at the Christmas party.”

The event marked a memorable occasion for Formula 1 enthusiasts, and a rare opportunity to hear the candid reflections of two influential figures who have left an enduring impact on the world of Formula 1.

By Kyle Hollister


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