passion v science in motorsport

Just came back from another evening out with hubby (I know we are getting spoilt at the moment while Mum is in the country happy to babysit for us). This time we ventured out to our local cinema to see ‘Rush’ the Ron Howard directed film about the duel between F1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda. As I have aged, I have found myself less tolerant of observing blood and guts. So when I was watching Niki in agony a he had his lungs pumped of all the crap that had accumulated while he sat in a burning car for a minute, I felt faint and nauseous. I know when I am going to faint when an ice cold feeling falls from the top of my head and I know I need to remove myself from the situation or risk ending up on the floor Its pathetic isn’t it, but unfortunately I cant control it.

Watching the film the two different approaches to racing emerged – passionate drivers and scientific drivers. Looking back over the decades, it is fairly easy to split drivers into these two categories. For example, Prost, Stewart and Schumacher join Lauda in the scientific approach, constantly examining racing engineering to increase competitiveness and matching this with precise and consistent driving. Senna, Mansell and Alesi were drivers who manhandled the car round the track, willing to put their lives on the line and get every last inch of performance out of the car by driving it on the edge. 

Today’s drivers also fall into these categories too, with the scientific ones gaining a reputation for excellent car set-up and passionate drivers providing a spectacle for the fans as they take risks on the track.

There is one driver who I find difficult to place in either camp. Like many fans, everyone has fond memories of the era of F1 they grew up watching. For me it was the nineties and the driver who successfully bridged passion and science was Damon Hill. Contained, determined, focused but with guts and a dry wit.

This picture sums him up well…


I am blogging every day for Unicef – check put my page on the Unicef site here.

Thsnks for reading.



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