In these PR savvy days, the current breed of ‘for sure’ Formula 1 drivers rarely say anything to upset the team, team-mate or sponsors. There has been the odd exception to this rule in recent years, Rubens Barrichello’s Blah blah blah outburst after the 2009 German Grand Prix made more headlines than the race it’s self. Lewis Hamilton, a man who has been taught the media savvy ways since his karting days. At Monaco this year he proved that even he wasn’t immune to a headline grabbing out burst with “It’s an absolute frickin joke” and “Is it cos I is black”.
There was a time when comments like this were common place in the news paper columns, a time when the drivers told us exactly what the thought! Nelson Piquet (snr) wasn’t a man to mince his words, during an interview Nelson had this to about rival Nigel Mansell. “Mansells wife is very unattractive, Mansell is very strange, it seems that he likes to suffer. And I talk about double suffering! Not only is he married with that horrible woman, he built a statue of her in their house’s garden”. I don’t think he was that keen on the Monaco Grand Prix either, although he was more polite. “Driving in Monte Carlo is like riding a bike in your house”.
If you want to find out where the drivers of the day got this from, you don’t have to look past former Brabham boss, Bernie Ecclestone. It’s hard to think that he now is the top man in Formula 1 when he comes up with comments like “Anyone who doesn’t speak English, isn’t worth speaking to”. Maybe Formula 1 domination isn’t enough for the pint-sized pensioner? In 2009 he was quoted in an interview praising dictatorships, Hitler in particular saying “He got things done!”
There is no love lost between Jo Siffert and Pedro Rodreguez. After an on track collision Jo said “The little Mexican bastard tried to kill me”. Prehaps the next race was at Brazil, where Chico Landi asked the drivers “are you here to race or crash?”
Alian Prost was well known for his rivalry with Ayrton Senna, one thing that really bothered the Frenchman was Ayrton’s one track mind. ”It would be a personal victory for me to convince Ayrton that there are more things in life rather than just racing” He wasn’t however so kind about his then team-mate’s aggressive driving style. “Ayrton Senna has a small problem, he thinks he can’t kill himself because he believes in God and I think that is very dangerous for other drivers.”
Who knows when we’ll be treated to the next pearler from one of today’s drivers? Driver turned commentator, David Coulthard obviously doesn’t “Racing drivers have balls, unfortunately non of them are crystal”.