Alain Prost was called the professor, Nigel Mansell because of his courageous courage “Il Leone”. But modern GP drivers also have their nicknames – such as Carlos Sainz (Chili) or Daniel Ricciardo (Honey Badger).
Formula 1 fans have always been resourceful when it comes to giving their favorite drivers nicknames. But some drivers have found their nicknames themselves, such as Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz or McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo.
Carlos Sainz (E) – «Chili»
The 27-year-old Spaniard wears a chilli pepper on the back of his helmet, but why? The Ferrari driver explains: “It goes back to friends and a few happy nights. They had drunk too much and came from Carlos to Charlie to Chili. I don’t like spicy food, especially not chili peppers. “
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) – “The Honey Badger”
For years Daniel Ricciardo has been driving with a picture of a honey roof on his helmet or with the lettering Honey Badger. How did the Australian get the honey badger? Daniel: “The reason for this is my coach at the time, Stuart Smith. He had seen a documentary and said: ‘This animal is fabulous.’ And he said the combative honey badger and I have a lot in common. I thought so too.”
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) – “Iceman”
McLaren team boss Ron Dennis initially called Raikkonen “Ice-Kid” because of his cool demeanor. But that was not well received, especially since Kimi matured from boy to man pretty quickly – that was “Iceman” found, Kimi himself had it tattooed on her left forearm in 2008 and also drove with the corresponding lettering on the helmet.
James Hunt (GB) – “Hunt the Shunt”
In the early stages of his racing career, the Englishman James Hunt dismantled so many racers that the rhyming British combined his surname Hunt with “shunt” (accident in racing slang). James didn’t let that bother him, went his own way and became Formula 1 World Champion in 1976.
Maurice Trintingnat (F) – «Petoulet»
After the Second World War, the French competed in the race in the Boulogne forest in 1945 in a Bugatti that had served rats as a home and toilet for years. The legacies of the rodents are called “petoules” in French. Trintignant was often to be found in the paddock with a pointed cap.
Vittorio Brambilla (I) – “The Gorilla from Monza”
Because of his brawny physique, a stone-crushing handshake and a rustic driving style, Vittorio Brambilla received the monkey name. Brambilla was a man with two faces. Quiet in person in the paddock and very popular, feared on the track. Brambilla was happiest when he could work on cars in his workshop. Then he wasn’t a gorilla, but a little lamb.
Nigel Mansell (GB) – “Il Leone”
The Tifosi admired the courage of Nigel Mansell. When the Englishman climbed into his Ferrari in 1989/1990, the Italian fans knew that Mansell would give everything, the Briton was guaranteed a fireworks display. So they reverently baptized him “il leone”, the lion.
Jack Brabham (AUS) – “Black Jack”
The Australian got his name not only because he had black hair, but also a dark side. His piste rival Sir Stirling Moss said: “When it came to staying ahead, Jack wasn’t a squint when it came to his choices. He already drove to the edge of the piste to cover you with a shower of pebbles. ”
Juan Manuel Fangio (RA) – “El Chueco”
The five-time world champion was reverently called “maestro” by fans and rivals. The members of his former football team were less reverent. They called Fangio “el chueco”, the crooked-legged man.
José Froilán González (RA) – “The Pampas Bull”
With muscular arms and a bull neck, the Argentine heaved his racing cars around the corners, but the bull from the pampas was a nickname that was mostly used in Europe. At home they called him «el cabezón» (the big head).
Alain Prost (F) – “The Professor”
The Frenchman seldom drove as fast as he could, but mostly only as fast as he had to. If the car was not perfect or if it did not find the slope conditions to its taste, it was not one to outgrow itself. His extremely methodical way of working, with a keen eye for every detail that could be an advantage, as well as his above-average racing intelligence produced the nickname Professor.
Carlos Reutemann (RA) – “Lole”
According to his own statements, the nickname of the Argentine, who died in July 2021, goes back to his childhood. Carlos loved animals and happily hopped after piglets, in Spanish “los lechónes”, which became “Lole”.
Carlos Pace (BR) – “Moco”
José Carlos Paces leans against one of the seven dwarfs, the quiet one. And young Carlos was calm because his parents moved from Brazil to their old homeland Italy after he was born, but then back to Latin America. Carlos spoke Italian better than Portuguese, so he said little to nothing in Brazil. In the Italian dialect, “moco” can stand for mute.
Jean-Pierre Jarier (F) – “Godasse”
A godasse is an old shoe or slipper. The Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jarier got the name from a photographer friend, on the whole actually “godasse de plomb”, meaning lead foot.
Giuseppe Campari (I) – “El Negher”
In the 1920s and 1030s, the Italian was a star, as feared in a single-seater as it was in a sports car. “El Negher” was a modification in the Milanese dialect of “il negro”, the black, because Campari had a dark complexion and turned deep brown when staying in the sun for a long time.
Alberto Ascari (I) – “Ciccio”
Trademark of the only Formula 1 champion from Italy: blue helmet, blue shirt that stretched over the base of the stomach, hence “ciccio”, fat girl.