If you’re going to trust anyone to tell you how to set up you Formula One car, it’s gotta be someone with some damn good experience under their belt and knowledge you can trust. And that’s why Graham Hill, two-time F1 World Champion and the only driver to ever achieve the coveted Triple Crown (wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Indianapolis 500, and the Monaco Grand Prix), is the perfect man for the job.
While Hill hails from the era of days gone by—his two F1 championship wins came in the 1960s and he ultimately died in 1975 from a plane crash—his advice is still sound. After all, this is a time when F1 drivers were also kind of mechanics and engineers. There wasn’t advanced telemetry back then to feed the driver information. To race a car, you had to know the car.
And it just so happens that there’s a video of him from 1964 talking about what it takes to drive an F1 car:
The video starts off with something you just don’t see anymore: Hill tinkering with his car, noting that he—and the team—have to tune the chassis and engine for each circuit. That takes a hell of a lot more work back then than it does today, kind of a trial-by-fire since there was a good chance basic testing wasn’t going to provide all the variables that would pop up during the season itself.
Personally, I think the most interesting thing to note is the fact that Hill claims to have a rigorous note-taking process any time he got out of the car after a race. I’d never really considered it before, but at that time, it makes sense that drivers would have to keep their own handwritten notes available. How else would they be able to keep track of changes in the circuit? It’s not like there was advanced mapping techniques to let you know ahead of time.
It’s a fascinating little video, and a short one, too. No one will mind you taking two minutes to listen to a legend, I promise.