F1 is back and we’re excited! That’s it now, every other Sunday we’ll be glued to our screens watching the drama unfold between drivers and constructors, holding our breath as those fantastic cars come within a hairs breadth of each other and muttering under our breath when our favourites don’t cut the mustard.
But what can we, as mere mortals, learn from the Gods of F1? Quite a lot actually.
Watching the build up to the Aussie GP we giggled to ourselves as Mark Webber told Daniel Ricciardo he’s ‘not a good passenger’! Of course not, you drove F1 cars for a living, I can’t imagine you ever like anyone else driving you. We’re not great passengers either, we like to be in control of the car, the music and the air con. Our delivery gang drive for a living so you might think they’d like to hand over the reigns and chill out when they’re not working but nope, they still like to be in the right hand seat.
We were humbled to learn that prosthetic legs and a severely damaged forearm are no match for racing cars. Kubica has fought a long battle to get back into an F1 car, and Williams made it happen when they made him a full driver (not just back up). And new presenter young Billy Whizz showed us that having both legs amputated was no match for continuing to stand on the podium during his F3 career. If they can do that – what can you do?
We learned that just because your team mate out-drove you and got pole, doesn’t mean it’s time to sit on your laurels and not put the effort in. Because if you do, you certainly don’t win. And (SPOILER ALERT!) Bottas won.
Renault showed us that you can have one of the best on your team and they still might make a mistake. In front of their home crowd. People are not perfect. Adrenalin kicks in and changes our ability to master a situation. Have you ever got in a brand new car, so excited to bring it home and opened your door on a wall, or let go of it in the wind? Dropped your shiny new phone? It wasn’t the end of the world. You learned from it, moved on (bought a rubber case for your phone!) and figured out what controlling those fears and excitement can bring you.
We discovered that you can work on something all summer; test it to within an inch of it’s life – but when it comes to show day, when it matters, it might not perform as you’d hoped. Ferrari are, I’m sure, all sat around furiously trying to answer Vettel’s question asked over the public radio system…’why are we so slow’? …
And we learned that the grass isn’t always greener. While Leclerc ponders if his move was the right one (he’s gone from middle of the pack to, well, slightly less middle) as his car was quicker but the team were in no hurry to ask Vettel to get out of his way. Leclerc is young and has a lot to learn but he is hungry and his team mate might have to watch out. But F1 IS a team sport. If you’re a fan you’ll know there’s been many a time when someone has been asked to clear the way for the good of the team. Leclerc has a whole season to learn that and we’re going to enjoy seeing if he can. Because if there’s one thing F1 definitely shows us, it’s that it’s not over til it’s over.
We saw the ultimate display of calm under pressure as Perez superbly guided his on-fire car to a safe spot, released his shackles and safely climbed out. How many of us can say we’d be the same in his situation? A car on fire is scary, and those flames demand respect. But the best way to be safe is to be calm. Anything else can lead to a different outcome altogether.
Oh, and we learned that you can change the rules if you want. Want to give an additional point for fastest lap? Do it! It’s possibly designed to keep the excitement on point until the end of the race and those little bonus points here and there could be the difference between being a champion and…not.
We at Oak Road love cars (you know that) and to keep yours on the road and in peak condition, pop to any of our three branches where you’ll find everything you need to make your own little brum-brum feel like an F1 car.