Recently, Billy Monger and Johnny Herbert have teamed up to bring F1 fans the Lift The Lid podcast, that sees them share stories and insights based on their careers as racing drivers.
Coming from two different eras of racing, the pair discuss the big talking points grabbing the headlines in the world of F1, but also offer fans the chance to get involved, with their Team Radio episodes inviting questions on all things racing, from what’s it like dealing with jet lag as a driver to their dream destination for a race.
The latest episode, meanwhile, sees them head to Brands Hatch, the scene of Herbert’s crash in 1988 that left him with multiple fractures in his feet and legs.
It’s a poignant moment in the series, as it’s a nod to one of the reasons why the two are now working together, with Herbert one of the first to visit Monger in hospital after his own crash at Donington Park in 2017, which saw both his legs needing to be amputated.
You can hear them talk about Johnny’s experience of the accident here.
Here at GIVEMESPORT, we spoke to both Billy and Johnny at Brands Hatch, to get the inside track on how the podcast came to be:
“The idea came about off the back of the Netflix Drive to Survive series,” says Monger, “because I just found from a personal point of view that I was getting sort of bombarded with a lot of questions about Formula 1 from my mates who’ve never really been into it.
“They were asking me all these questions and whilst Drive to Survive teaches you the basics of Formula 1, it doesn’t teach you that bit more about it. And a lot of people, once they’re hooked on something, they want to know a little bit more. So it was just something that naturally happened.
“And then I knew Johnny. After my accident, he was one of the first people to come and see me in hospital, so we had that relationship.
“I thought, who would I enjoy speaking to on a regular basis about Formula 1 and could see myself having a lot of fun with, because I didn’t want to do it just for the sake of doing one, and I thought Johnny would be that guy.
“He relates well with the fans, they love Johnny, and I just thought we’d have a lot of fun giving our insights. I’ve got more experience from competing against some of the younger drivers and Johnny’s got the experience of his era and the huge names that he’s raced against. So it kind of offers, hopefully between the pair of us, a bit of insight across a few generations of Formula 1, up to the current point.”
“I’d sort of gone away from social media and that stuff,” adds Herbert, “just because it was silly, and you get abuse, things like that.
“But then when Billy contacted me, it just made a lot of sense. Just because we come from two different generations, the drivers are quite the same. It’s just the drivers that Billy drove against are the modern techie ones, and then I go back to the slightly older generation. But it’s not that old, the older generation, and the fundamentals are exactly the same.
“So the experiences that we have, from our racing point of view, go together. Our experiences from our accidents go together and our experience of getting back onto our feet are the same.
“So all those little ingredients sort of came into it. And then you talk about what’s happening on the track today and that’s where I think we have that ability to sort of have fun with it. The serious side at the same time was an important part of my decision-making anyway, to come on board, because you’ve got to have a good relationship with a guy you’re sitting there with.
“With this sport, we’re very, very lucky. It’s not the same as when I was racing – it’s always different. There are always some stories and there’s always something going on. There’s always some driving mistake or team mistake or rule changes, talking about all that sort of stuff is quite easy. It’s enjoyable.”
One of the stories you’ll have been able to hear on the podcast involves Michael Schumacher. Herbert recalls how the Ferrari legend used to go around when the drivers were having a drink and rip the buttons from people’s shirts:
“He didn’t drink very often, but when he did, that was the classic. You knew it was coming, so then you tried to wear a polo or something with few buttons.
“That was nice, because it was just a thing that you didn’t know he’d do. People always think he was that sort of robotic professional, but he wasn’t, he had a very good sense of humour, a very British sense of humour.”
For more great stories and insight from Billy and Johnny, subscribe to the Lift The Lid podcast here via your favourite podcast platform.