Buy from Amazon


Buy from Amazon






 



driving1.jpg (28935 bytes)



"The chief qualities of a racing driver are concentration, determination and anticipation ...
A 1929 Austin without brakes develops all three - anticipation rather more than the first two, perhaps."

Graham Hill


Piero Taruffi, the author of the seminal work The Technique of Motor Racing written oven a half century ago believed that a successful racing car drive should have a fair share of the following:

  1. Great enthusiasm
  2. A sizeable helping of courage, and mastery over his nerves
  3. The trig ht mental and physical make-up
  4. Physical fitness and lots of stamina
  5. A good bank balance

PHYSICAL FITNESS

Fitness training has come a long way in the over 100 years that men have been driving racing cars. Each team now has a personal trainer assigned to one or both drivers.

Alexander Leibinger, a physiotherapist and osteopath said that being in good physical condition also helps to quickly eliminate the physiological byproducts of mental stress, like the acids the body produces. ''If you have a better basic fitness level then your body can handle it and eliminate all of the stress products,'' Leibinger said. ''That is why we do a lot of basic training, say 20 hours a week of endurance training and muscle training. To have a good basis so that during a race weekend, when the stress is very high, the body can handle it.''

 


PSYCHOLOGY

To state that athletes are different from you and I is to state the obvious but a strong case can be made for the concept that some emotions and character traits normally regarded as antisocial – rage, hate, greed, lust, revenge, ruthlessness, and so on – may be necessary to fuel competitive fires to the levels necessary to excel in Formula One racing, hence the old adage ‘nice guys finish last’. It may also pay off for a driver to be paranoid, feeling that the whole world is against him, which, in fact, all his rivals are. Nigel Mansell was just one example of a driver who seemed to parlay paranoia into success on the track. “We’ve always had bad losers – Nigel Mansell is a bad winner,” is how Keke Rosberg, the 1982 champion with Williams, characterized the Englishman.

Ayrton Senna was an innovator in using a sport psychologist (or physical/mental coach as Nuno Cobra called himself) before anyone else in F1. Senna would also meditate prior to every race, visualizing what would happen during the race and between his car and that perfect lap.

THE POKER-F1 CONNECTION
A driver who was quite vocal about his love of poker was racing legend Michael Schumacher. In addition to the adrenaline involved, there are many other connections that make the leap from F1 to poker make much more sense. With the adrenaline, part of being a good driver is being able to control the highs and lows to stay on an even keel despite the emotions being felt. Poker is the same way and while making rash decisions at the table may not have the same impact as they might on a race track, they could certainly end a player's tournament life. By restraining emotions and focusing on making the right decisions all the time and usually in the blink of an eye, it would seem that F1 drivers are equipped with the right skills to prevail at poker.

Another similarity between the two activities is being able to think about the big picture rather than each individual moment. For a driver, that mentality means making the right decisions with the end goal being to win the race. At times, it may temporarily cost them the lead, but they are always focused on the endgame and putting themselves in the right position to have the opportunity to win. The same can be said for professional poker tournament players. Because of the do-or-die nature of tournaments, a player who is only looking to survive has very little chance of winning. It's the ones that are able to see the tournament as a whole and how their decisions relate to the big picture that repeatedly find themselves at the final table.

Last but not least, there is also a connection to be found in knowing opponents. For an F1 driver that will usually be racing against the same competition from week to week, finding weaknesses to exploit is a large part of the game. A pro poker player would practice the same tendencies, although it can be on a much smaller scale. In paying attention to what their opponents are doing and trying to pick up tells or playing patterns, poker players are continuously analyzing their opponents to find flaws in their armor and develop a strategy that will exploit those flaws. With both, this strategic nature is essential to success and only those drivers and card players that master the process are able to elevate themselves to the top stratosphere of their respective industries. 


WINNING

Denis Jenkinson always believed that winning races was more important than driver's titles so it's not surprising that one of his favorite drivers, Stirling Moss, never won a title. It should be noted however that during a career that comprised 375 competitive races, Moss won an astonishing 212 of them.

In those days the best school for a race driver was the hill climb. That's where most of us learned. In a circuit race, you would guide yourself by the man in front and the man in back. But in a hill climb you were alone. You couldn't know what the next man would do, you had to go to the maximum all the way, give it everything you had for the distance.

Rene Dreyfus - My Two Lives


SPORTSMANSHIP

When asked Stirling Moss, British sporting hero stated that today F1, with it's multinational sponsor is more of a business than a sport. He explained that although he had a great rivalry with Mike Hawthorn in 1958, when both were racing to be the country’s first world champion, the two got on very well. Moss even stood up for Hawthorn when he was disqualified from one race in 1958. If he hadn’t, Hawthorn would have lost the precious extra points he needed to win the championship. Ironically two of the greatest champions in the history of racing, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher bare a strong responsibility for the winning at all costs atmosphere that pervades Formula 1.

Yet perhaps Moss is more the exception than the rule. Phil Hill, a man know for his integrity remarked:

"Racing brings out the worst in me," he said. "Without it, I don't know what kind of person I might have become. But I'm not sure I like the person I am now. Racing makes me selfish, irritable, defensive. If I could get out of this sport with any ego left I would."
 
 
Be sure to visit the Grand prix History Auto Racing Books
Mon Ami Mate by Chris Nixon A Racing Motorist  by S.C.H. Davis Gentlemen, Start Your Engines by Wilbur Shaw Grands Prix 1934-1939 by Rodney Walkerley Full Throttle by Tim Birkin Auto Union V16 - A Technical Appraisal by Ian Bamsey Sir Henry Segrave by Cyril Posthumus Managing a Legend by Robert Edwards It was Fun!: My Fifty Years of High Performance Power and Glory by Wiliam Court My Cars, My Career by Stirling Moss

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon
The Art and Science of Grand Prix Driving by Niki Lauda
Buy from Alibris
Ayrton Senna's Principles of Race Driving by Ayrton Senna
Buy from Alibris
Competition Driving by Alain Prost
Buy from Alibris

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon