Bob, the man who makes drivers talk
Striped shirt tucked into a checked blue pair of shorts and hands occupied with a questionnaire and a microphone, Bob Constanduros crossed a flip-flop covered leg over the other. And right there, the Formula 1 circus cranked into action on Thursday.
It always has on that very same cue, since 1985.
"So, shall we begin then, gentlemen," the Englishman said. It was more an announcement than a question, delivered while craning his 61-year old neck into a sheet of paper. Heads of F1 drivers, influential ones, nodded diligently in the background — but not once did Constanduros look up to acknowledge it. He knew he had commanded their full attention. Just the way he had on every single race weekend for the last 27 years — all 529 races of it.
Ever since he sat under the dais to compere a drivers' press conference in Jacarepagua, Brazil — the first race of the 1985 season, his first as host — Constanduros has been what John Arlott has to cricket, the voice of F1.And motorsports in general.
As someone once famously said, "If Bernie Ecclestone does the thinking, then Bob Constanduros does the talking." Period.
From his iconic scream of 'Champaaaaaaaaagne!' to kick off podium celebrations at the end of every race to getting the drivers talk, make that sing, to his tunes in every conference held before, during and after every Grand Prix, Constanduros is a living and talking legend in the sport.
"I'm just lucky, I suppose," Constanduros says with a grin, once again letting the listener weigh in each syllable. "This journey has taken me all over the world. It has also let me witness my 500th consecutive F1 race last year (at Monaco). But most importantly, it has allowed me to reach out to the drivers and give them their say." And said they have since, quite an entertaining bit.