The new F1 Beyond The Grid podcast has Stefan Johansson talk about IndyCar drivers, F1 career, time with Ferrari/McLaren and more.

  • The F1 Beyond The Grid podcast began with a monologue from Tom Clarkson on the touchy topic of Alex Zanardi’s condition.
  • Then – contrasting other F1 Beyond the Grid podcasts that follow chronological order – the discussion shifted to Johansson’s current work with IndyCar drivers Scott Dixon and Felix Rosenqvist, as well as his whereabouts.
  • After this, he reflected on F1 career generally, before delving into the more specific answer to a question asked by Clarkson on his preferred breed of cars: the turbo monsters of the 80s – when he started his F1 career – or the technically-advanced cars of the early 90s – when his career ended.
  • Johansson preferred the fan-favorite 1980s cars, due to the impossible challenge of taming the turboed beasts – another thing he discussed the difficulty of.
  • Moving away from the cars to the people behind them, Johansson then told stories of Ron Dennis, his impeccable precision, and the work he did with him.
  • Before he worked with Dennis and McLaren though, Johansson collaborated with famous designer John Barnard in Formula 3 – something else he talked about in the interview, before chatting about Ronnie Peterson.
  • Discussing his F1 career, the Swede then discussed his stint at McLaren in 1987, in a car that was extraordinarily difficult to drive.
  • He also addressed his accident with a deer that year, and the scare that it gave him, he actually also revealed that he was made aware of Ayrton Senna taking his seat in 1988 on this very same weekend.
  • Switching gears, the discussion moved back to the 1984 F1 season when he was at Toleman, and how he stacked up against Senna.
  • Johansson theorized that his performance at Toleman was a springboard to his move to Ferrari a year later, and discussing this career move, he covered the Italian team hiring him in what was a rib-tickling anecdote underlining the attitude in Maranello at the time.
  • Post this, he chatted about Imola 1985, where he took the lead near the end in front of Ferrari’s home crowd, just before his car ran out of fuel.
  • On this note, he also spoke on how his sportscar racing drastically improved his race craft, before noting that even though modern drivers complain about having to save tyres, the same was the case back in his day.
  • Johansson added that Scott Dixon is one of the greatest in motorsport in this particular field of fuel saving and racecraft, before explaining that the only thing preventing the Kiwi from making it into F1 – and in fact becoming world drivers champion – was timing.
  • He then covered him being pushed out of Ferrari, due entirely to politics, and his subsequent short-lived deal with Honda.
  • When that prospect fell flat, Johansson promptly moved to Ligier, and in the podcast he also discussed the car he drove that year, that he joked had its aerodynamic design done by Isaac Newton, given that the only thing keeping it to the track was gravity.
  • Following his career path, he then discussed his move to Onyx with the famously-liveried ‘Moneytron’ car or 1989, before addressing his one enjoyable podium of the season that surprisingly did not perk up the ears of the top teams.
  • Looking back, he said that the 1985 Toleman was the best car he ever drove, even if his experience was limited to merely a testing session.
  • As for the best race of his F1 career, he said that it had to be the San Marino GP that year – the race he feels changed the entire course of his career and life overall.
  • Before signing off, Johansson promoted his watch initiative, as well as some high-profile relationships he has in America.

Due to FOM’s restrictions, we cannot use the podcast but we have the link where you can find it:

Here’s the last F1 Beyond The Grid podcast with Alex Zanardi