From Senna to Lauda, the most famous pranks in Formula One


 Imagination, intuition, decision and speed of execution. Formula 1 drivers use these qualities on the track but sometimes they use them to pull off memorable pranks. Here are the best ones.


Imagination, intuition, decision and speed of execution. Formula One drivers use these qualities both on the track to try and knock a tenth of a second off each turn and off the track to play pranks on their fellow drivers. 

After a race, some drivers prefer to relax in the comfort of their motorhomes, either alone or with their families. Others, on the other hand, can’t wait to have some fun and often do this by playing tricks on their teammates or other members of the team. We have selected some of the most successful pranks on and off the track ​

Berger plays a prank on Senna: it’s a question of jumps and leaps​

Gerhard Berger was Ayrton Senna’s longest-serving teammate: together they raced for three seasons, from 1990 to 1992, with McLaren equipped with Brembo brakes, for a total of 48 GPs. Even a casual bystander could see they had a special relationship and there are numerous stories to relate. Once, on a helicopter flight not far from the Monza Circuit, the Austrian threw the Brazilian’s carbon fiber briefcase out of the helicopter after Senna had boasted that it was indestructible. A trip to Australia was also memorable, when he filled the hotel room with a dozen frogs.​


​Perez plays a prank on his engineers: as soon as you get back, we’ll get even​

In 2011 Sergio Perez raced in Formula One for the first time in a Sauber with a Ferrari engine. In the first 14 GPs, he only picked up points on three occasions. In Japan, starting in 17th place after the qualifying round was a bad start to his Sunday. And yet, thanks to two pit stops and careful use of the tires, on the 42nd lap, the Mexican managed to move into 8th place. On the last lap, though, he began to shout over the radio “I’ve lost power, I’ve lost power” to everyone’s dismay. As he crossed the finishing line in 8th place, he burst out laughing, “Ha, ha, I was just joking”.​



Lauda plays a prank on a journalist: don’t look at me, I can’t hear​ 

Despite the hardship he suffered due to the accident on the old Nürburgring, the late Niki Lauda was a man of spirit as well as the first driver to win a world championship with Brembo brakes. When the film Rush came out, he returned to where the accident took place, on the Bergwerk corner, with an American camera crew. When the journalist asked him what it felt like, he began to talk, then peered into the grass and picked up something: “Look what I’ve found. It’s my ear.” The cameraman and the woman were astounded. He was actually holding a pastry which he had hidden a few minutes earlier.​


Piquet plays a prank on Mansell: the best on paper​

Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell were teammates in 1986 and 1987 at Williams Honda, which at the time was the best single-seater car of the lot. Their third last race was the Mexican Grand Prix. During the test sessions, the Brazilian noticed that the Brit kept stopping all the time and had an upset stomach. At a certain point, he hid all the toilet paper in all the bathrooms but his colleague only realized once he had sat down. To all accounts, he roared like a lion which was his nickname.


Alesi and Berger play a prank on Todt: a U-turn and an overturned Y10​ 

After Senna, Berger became Jean Alesi’s teammate from 1993 to 1995 at Ferrari. The Frenchman recalled how one day they were at Maranello and the Austrian asked him for a lift to Fiorano. However, Alesi didn’t have a car and so they borrowed a Y10 from Jean Todt who was the Scuderia Ferrari General Manager at the time. Jean Alesi drove at top speed but Berger responded by putting on the handbrake. All went well until they drove onto the track where they overturned. The mechanics immediately turned the car back onto its four wheels and covered it up. 

In the end, the two Ferrari drivers got away with a telling off from Todt which was certainly nothing to do with the value of his Lancia. They could have hurt themselves when they used the handbrake incorrectly. You cant’ take safety lightly even if the brake system is from Brembo. ​