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8 F1 cars you have to see at the 2023 Festival of Speed

10th July 2023
Simon Ostler

The 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard is just around the corner, and among a packed entry list full of incredibly exciting cars for the worlds of road and racing, we’ve picked out a handful of F1 machinery that you’ll certainly not want to miss.

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1. Lotus 25

First up is the Lotus 25, a car that raced in F1 from 1962 to 1965, taking 14 wins across four seasons in the hands of Jim Clark, including seven in 1963 alone. As was commonplace with Colin Chapman’s propensity to push boundaries, the Lotus 25 was the first F1 car to feature a monocoque chassis, a fact that gave Lotus an enormous advantage thanks to huge savings in weight, a stiffer body, and vastly improved handling compared to what had come before.

Jim Clark won the championship in 1963 courtesy of finishing on the podium in every race bar one, cementing the 25’s place as one of the most dominant cars of its time.

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2. Lotus 79

Continuing the theme of engineering advancement, it was Lotus again shocking the rest of the F1 grid in 1978 when Colin Chapman perfected the theory of ground effect with the Lotus 79. Up until this point, aerodynamicists had only experimented with the notion of ground effect, but Lotus were the first constructor to successfully build and race with this new idea.

Following on from the experimental Lotus 78, the 79 was the class of the field, with levels of grip beyond anything the sport had seen before. Mario Andretti took six wins on his way to the championship that year, and ushered in a new era of ground-effect cars in F1.

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3. McLaren MP4/14

Jump forward 20 years or so in time and Formula 1 looked very different. Ground effect was gone, but the cars had developed to such an extent that the FIA began to implement measures to limit performance. Slick tyres were replaced by grooves, but McLaren, together with a certain Adrian Newey, had stolen a march on the rest of the grid.

After dominating the 1998 championship with Mika Häkkinen, McLaren returned in 1999 with the MP4/14, a car that on paper was once again the class of the grid. The season was far from smooth, however, as reliability issues threatened Häkkinen’s superiority. Despite the struggles, the Flying Finn accrued five wins throughout the year, capped off with a victory at the final race of the year in Japan, to seal his second successive championship.

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4. McLaren MP4-23

McLaren will have a substantial presence at the 2023 Festival of Speed, as it celebrates its 60th anniversary, and alongside the 1999 championship-winning MP4/14 will be this MP4-23, the car that Lewis Hamilton took to his first F1 world title in 2008.

At the time, these cars were among the most aerodynamically advanced the sport had ever seen. The ever-intricate bodywork designed to manipulate airflow was eventually outlawed after that 2008 season, so this car represents the both end of an era, and the beginning of the Lewis Hamilton story.

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5. Mercedes-AMG F1 W02

Unlike the other cars we’ve featured on this list, the Mercedes W02 didn’t win a world championship, it didn’t even finish on the podium. In what will be one of the more wholesome moments of the 2023 Festival of Speed, however, current Mercedes F1 reserve driver Mick Schumacher will take to the Hill in the car his dad drove during the 2011 season.

While Mick has found himself on the sidelines for the 2023 season, his affiliation with Mercedes has meant he will be following in the footsteps of his legendary father when he fires the W02 up the Hill over the course of the weekend, and we can’t wait to see it.

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6. Williams FW14B

Now for one of the best, and most beautiful F1 cars ever built. Formula 1 history is studded with gems like the FW14B, a car that threatened to render the 1992 season something of a non-event such was its dominance.

With its active suspension, and Nigel Mansell at the wheel, the championship was sewn up by the summer, as second place was enough for the feisty Brit to finally claim his title at the Hungarian Grand Prix. To make its presence at the Festival of Speed all the sweeter, none other than Sebastian Vettel will be on hand to take it up the Hill Saturday and Sunday.

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7. Williams FW19

It’s quite amazing that Williams’ last F1 championship triumph came in 1997. We’ll be remembering that great season when the FW19 takes to the Hill, listening to the sound of its 3.0-litre V10 engine and revelling in memories of simpler times.

In the hands of Jacques Villeneuve and Heinz-Harald Frentzen, this car took eight wins in all on its way to a drivers’ and constructors’ championship double in the face of staunch competition from Ferrari. 

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8. Williams FW45

You won’t see this car moving on the Hill, but it’ll be an interesting showcase all the same. In case you missed it, Williams announced a fan competition to vote for a choice of four special Gulf liveries, and the winning livery is due to be unveiled at the Festival of Speed.

It’ll be a good chance for you to check out the new design in detail, while also getting a feel for the scale of modern F1 cars, which is unlike anything else you’ll see on this list.

Lotus 25, McLaren, Williams FW19, FW45 and Mercedes images courtesy of Motorsport Images. Lotus 79 and Williams FW14B images by Peter Summers and Jayson Fong.

The 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed takes place from 13th-16th July. Be sure to check back here at Goodwood Road & Racing to keep up to date with all of the latest news and announcements.

  • Formula 1

  • FOS 2023

  • Festival of Speed

  • Williams

  • McLaren

  • Lotus

  • Ferrari

  • Mercedes

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