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F1 drivers go to extremes to make their point
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F1 drivers go to extremes to make their point
Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Mar 2011   |  9:54 pm GMT  |  37 comments

Yesterday I posted about Mark Webber relaunching the Tasmania Challenge, an extreme adventure race and today we have news of two other F1 drivers taking part in “extreme” activities ahead of the season opener in Melbourne on Sunday.

First the world champion Sebastian Vettel has boldly gone into Webber’s back yard and visited a sheep station, even having a go at shearing a sheep in the process. This is a real statement – the sheep shearer is a symbol of Aussie manhood and Vettel (and Red Bull) are certainly having a laugh here with this stunt, perhaps defusing the tension with Webber a little ahead of the season. It will certainly give the Australian media an open goal when they talk to Webber this weekend.

Meanwhile Webber’s former Williams team mate, Nico Rosberg, has taken on an “extreme” challenge of his own. The 25 year old Mercedes driver has released a video on his You Tube channel – nicorosbergtv -featuring him riding a unicycle while juggling three balls.


Some may call it a cry for attention, others may say it shows he’s a clever clogs who will have no problem multi-tasking with all the buttons and levers in the cockpit this year.

But Rosberg calls it training. It’s part of a video showing his training techniques, many of which featured in the “How to be a Grand Prix driver” feature we did at Yas Marina circuit last Autumn, including helmets on weights and such like.

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  1. Speaking of driver training, have you ever seen a video such as this?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WERFEQoa3A

    Travis Pastrana, Nascar driver and former Rally USA superstar. Interesting training.

    or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaupNGnI6VI (About 1min 45) – Ken Block, WRC

    Do you think it varies much from motorsport to motorsport? Is there anything specific that an F1 driver might do which you wouldn’t find elsewhere in motorsport?

    1. Travis Pastrana has always seemed like an amazing talent to me, it would be interesting to see him in open wheel cars!

    2. ACB says:

      I don’t know if it’s peculiar to Formula One but they do a lot of conditioning to take the later G’s their necks are subjected to. Also, their overall weight is far more critical in F-1 than in other motorsports, with the exception of perhaps Moto GP.

      1. ACB says:

        that should be ‘lateral’ G’s.

  2. . says:

    Haha, Vettel’s humor is just ace. I can’t understand how he gets so much bad-mouthing from the English speaking side of the fence.

    He is fast, down to earth, determined, intelligent, funny/witty and very mature for his age. Together with Kubica he is considered to be the most likeable by their peers, last years poll on another site showed.

    And Rosberg is the same kind of person, only without the bad-mouthing….which will change when he starts beating the favorites of the ones bad-mouthing I guess :P

    1. James Allen says:

      I spoke to Nico about unicycling this morning and he said he’s been doing it for years – not juggling at same time though – and even got Lewis into it in their F3 days…somehow I can’t quite imagine that

      1. unoc vII says:

        Maybe Nico would be better at MotoGP.. you need balance for that?

    2. K-F1 says:

      How is he mature when he cries a sulks from a bad race? He’s still a little baby and most probably still wears nappies while driving the car.

      1. unoc vII says:

        It’s hard to like a driver who just took out your favourite driver….

        So that rules might exlain why many of those who like Webber don’t like vetttel, and also Button, and Liuzzi, and maybe some Sutil fans for Silverstone bumping ram pass.

        As for the OP, he has that bloody anoying fingure and he looks so very smug and a bit snobish when he is on pole. While some drivers look pleased or very happy he looks like he is thinking ‘I’m soooo much better=, I’m the best yeah yeah yeah’ and that doesn’t come off well.

        That and I’m yet to hear a good joke from him, it’s general german humour, oversized ‘comical’ hats, overactions, references, blah blah.

        Added to that, many people don’t just like a driver because he is fast or whatever, they like drivers with character.

        Lewis Hamilton while fast also has a fiar bit of character. Mark Webber has loads of character. Button has a bit. It isn’t a be all and end all, but it helps.

        Look at Kimi Raikkonen, sure he is fast, but even in WRC where he isn’t fast at all many still love him because he is a great character.

        Vettel is rather bland, and when you are bland and the first things I think of when I think of them is their fingure, crashes and speed it just doesn’t feel like an appealing character.

        Added to that, apart from Hamilton (whom I believe the Brits love because he pretty much has been the first Brit at the top of F1 since…. before Alonso, Schumacher, Hakkinen.. probably Hill back in the 90′s), all the other top drivers have been underdogs.
        Button started out showing talent but was stuck in slow cars
        Webber was 5th in a Minardi his first ever F1 race after leaving sports car racing after flipping it. He showed talent before being given the ohice of Renault or Williams, he was then stuck in bad Williams followed by bad Red Bulls.
        Kubica has never really had a top car. Nor has hiefeld
        Rosberg neither.
        Schumacher is Germanys hero and where all the people who just want to support a fast clean plain German go to.

        Rosberg is a bit vein (how he presents atleast), Alguasairelkrjla is a DJ, Buemi has the longest face in the world, Kobayashi has become a synonym for banzai, Trulli creates trains, Hekki has come out from behind Kimi and is I’m pretty sure partially crazy (some of the stuff I’ve seen from him outside of F1), Barichello has been in 1000 GP’s and seems to have gained a new emotion for each one, etc…

        THat leaves drivers like Glock, Vetttel, Sutil etc… Ironically all Germans. HUlkernberg no one really liked that much until he looked to be dumped.

        Drivers with not so much personality.

        People love and remember Ayrton Senna more than Prost. They were both brilliant. Prost is a 4 times world champion and when they were together the score card looked like
        Prost: 1
        Senna: 1
        Prost with more points, but senna by the limited number of races rule: 1

        WHY? I’d say because Senna has such a great peronality, his voice sounded like poetry in many of the old clips, he has a story to him, etc… Yet not so many people remember Prost. Many who don’t watch F1 remember Senna but not Prost.

        Compare that with Vettel who has had Red Bull backing his entire race car driving career. He was given many many fridays to drive on, then some time in the development F1 team before being put in the RBR team with great and brilliant cars.

        Apart from Hamilton, no one else has had this chance in F1. Alonso worked his way up from Minardi and was youngest but not enough to beat Vettel, Webber was in a Minardi, Williams and slow RBR cars, Button etc….

        So that is why many people don’t like him, he just isn’t likeable enough and his negative characteristics outweight the good

    3. Conrad M. Sathirweth says:

      The thing that annoys me about Vettel is his petulant radio messages. And the finger.

    4. wayne says:

      I don’t think Vetell gets are more ‘bad mouthing’ from English speakers than anyone else. Our own Lewis is one of the most maligned of all the racers by his own nation (for some unknowable, unbelievable and indefensible reason). For me Vetell splits opinion largely because F1 pundits love to tag the next drivers with the ‘champion of the future’ and ‘legend in the making’ tag all too often. For me, Vetell has done little to justify the latter. For whatever reason the entire official F1 community ALWAYS gives the F1 wdc the driver of the year award in all polls – even if that guy squeaked home just ahead of his older and less sensational team mate in by far the fastest car over the season to win at the last race having not led the wdc all year! As if the best driver always wins as opposed to the best car! In F1 the car is far more important than the driver in so far as 90% of all the drivers on the grid last year would have challenged for the wdc in the Redbull as Webber proved. And has anyone seen Vetell make a sound competitive overtake when he has really needed to pull it off? His attempts last year all ended in misery when he was faced with a semi fast car. Here’s the thing, last Vetell would have been hammered by either Alonso or Hamilton if they had been in the sister Redbull and a few others on the grid to boot. Let’s see Vet prove me wrong this year as he is a likeable and talented driver.

      1. StallionGP F1 says:

        This is a very myopiv view of vettel the only 2 people alonso overtook all season was hamilton and massa also dont get me started on the fact that vettel lost the lead 5 times leading the race of which alonso profited and so did the maclaren had the redbull been reliable he would ve gone on holiday long before the season was over

      2. Conrad M. Sathirweth says:

        Alonso overtook more people than Hamilton last season

      3. unoc vII says:

        Alonso.. really… he started from the back in Malaysia I think, and also Monaco. He didn’t have the fastest car yet managed to have na amazing record the 2nd half of the season. I”m not a big Alonso fan but saying he only overtook 2 other cars is a bit much.

        2 things that anoy me about your view
        1) Other drivers including Webber had reliability problems with their cars, yet you only refer to Vettel missing oout on points because of his problems, not Webber catching Vettel in Brazil but then having to leave clean air because of the engine, or Webbers problem in Germany where he got up to Button but couldn’t get closer because he had to deal with his engine overheating… etc…
        2) You refer to Alonso just lucking into the points in a few races when Vettel lucked into it all season. He had the best car and was easily faster than the Ferrari and McLarens yet he is ignored because that is just his luck????

      4. StallionGP F1 says:

        When vettel lost points it was due to engine failure or reliability of the redbull and they were crucial i.e Korea which brought alonso into play or Australia if you re lucky to have a front running car you don’t need to overtake stick it on pole and race away that’s the best way in F1 am yet to see a driver who disagrees.

  3. Trent says:

    Interesting preparation!

    Speaking of preparation, I’ve tried something different for this season.

    I fondly remember the extreme excitement of the first race of the year when I was young. Back in the 80′s pre-internet days, the opening round at Jacarepaguá was the first time we’d get a look at the new cars (at least here in Australia, there being no up-to-date publications that really covered F1 well at that time over here).

    So this year I’ve had a self-imposed F1 blackout over the winter – this is my first sneak back on to the JA website and I have no idea what the new cars look like.

    As a result, I have extreme withdrawals but I’m totally wired with excitement. Bring on Saturday qualifying!

    1. Chapor says:

      I admire that amount of self discipline… I wouldn’t be able to do that. Not even almost.

      Here is to Sunday. Can’t wait… :-)

    2. Stevie P says:

      And how are you finding it Trent?

      1. Trent says:

        Difficult!
        But it’s worked – I reckon I’m more hyped up than for many a year.

        I’ll be out of my misery very soon!

  4. goferet says:

    From what I read, Vettel was pretty timid to sheer his sheep, maybe the same will happen on the track – Webber being the sheep that is.

    As for Rosberg, that’s pretty impressive, I guess he could have made it as an acrobat too

  5. Phil says:

    As an Australian, I can categorically state that the sheep shearer has not been a symbol of Aussie manhood since the 1950’s.
    If there is a ‘symbol’ this day and age, it’s surf life saving ( which is just as tacky).

    1. unoc vII says:

      Sheep sheering is a sign on manhood in the same way that the Queen is a sign of our great connection the Britian….. yeah not really mate

      Good casual job for those intereted. Had a friend working with sheep while studying to become a vet a little while ago.

      The sheep sheering, crocodile dundee etc… is all pretty much stereotypes. Some people wrestle crocodiles, they work in Zoos and relocating them, most can’t. Most can’t sheer sheep either. Similiarly, most Brits aren’t midgets with yellow teeth and Vettel is yet to make a sausage or declare war on Poland

  6. David Mulhall says:

    Vettel visits sheep station? Don’t be fooled… Vettel visited a childrens farm in Abbotsford – which is about a 20 minute drive from the track

    1. StallionGP F1 says:

      Why the Vettel bashing guess dats wat you get for being successful

      1. Nando says:

        He was stating a fact.

    2. Mat says:

      No he didn’t! Seb went to Warrook Cattle Farm in Gippsland, about 1/2 way between Melbourne and Phillip Island. I’ve been there myself and it’s pretty good as far as touristy places go.

  7. Rosberg’s unicycle juggling is an excellent display of spatial awareness, balance and multi-tasking.

    Given that most people can’t ride a unicycle or juggle, that’s pretty good.

    Like most things, once you’ve got them down pat, you can mix them. I’m sure we’ve all got skills that seemed improbable at one time.

    I’m sure Nico has been able to do each of these things individually for years. All the same good practice and keeps your mind sharp.

  8. murray says:

    There’s a bloke who’s been World Wood-chopping champion 21 times, and who’s making a comeback run to try and win a joint title with his son, having won one with his own father. These guys axe and drawsaw through 45cm and 60cm logs faster than chainsaws, their competitive weight is twice Webber’s. Butch is relative.

  9. Adam Tate says:

    I knew my juggling skills were more than just a parlor trick in terms of importance! Though I can’t do it on a unicycle like Rosberg has managed to do, I have been able to juggle whilst riding a bicycle and let me tell you it is a great workout for your body and mind! It also gives you such a sense of silly elation just by being able to do it!! :)

  10. Racyboy says:

    I recently read an interview with Nico in F1 Racing where he said he wants to raise his profile…juggling on a unicycle is one way to do it.
    It does say a lot though, and it’s a pretty good analogy for how the drivers will have to handle their cars season.

    If the Mercedes is as good as Michael says it is, coupled with the stategic brain of Ross Brawn, I think Nico will raise his profile very quickly.

    btw…didn’t Mika Hakkinen once give Michael a unicycle?

    Welcome to Australia James, great to see you back on ONE.

    1. Racyboy says:

      typo..cars this season

  11. Lilla My says:

    I’ve just watched the video with Nico Rosberg, you wrote about James and I think it’s in fact interesting. From your description I thought it would be just joggling on the unicycle shouting “look, how great I am”, but this is about the whole F1 drivers’ training programmes and their objectives :). Something absolutely different to sheep shearing, IMHO.
    Btw: what is it with the “for sure” phrase? I don’t think there’s any other group in the world (apart from F1 people) who use it that often :).
    I’ve even caught myself on using it lately, thought I hadn’t before. Too much F1?

    1. Fluebroggle says:

      For sure, I have noticed this too.

      The first driver I really noticed repeating it was Kimi, but now it seems to be the “must say it at least every 3 sentences” for most of the drivers!

      1. Lilla My says:

        I thought it was actually Massa who overuses it the most (apparently it’s a calque of a very common phrase used in Portugese) and generally the Ferrari team (which would explain Kimi to some extent). And, FOR SURE, it has something to do with Maranello guys: Alonso used to say “you know” all the time (“for sure” too, but not that much), but now “for sure” just slips out of his mouth all the time – at the beginning and at the end of every sentence.
        And I also thought that English/American/Australian people wouldn’t use it, but Lewis is also doing it.
        It’s just sooo contagious. I find it really funny and even adorable:).

    2. Ebi Bozimo says:

      For sure! :)

      1. the northen jock says:

        was a sublime advertising for a deoderant

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