Christian Horner has said that Formula 1 needs to let its drivers be themselves more. I agree. In particular, the younger drivers need to be set free before they become PR automatons. Young people are frequently ludicrous and brilliant – let them get on with it.
Horner’s own Red Bull driver, Daniel Ricciardo, is a case in point. It’s not original or clever to point it out, but it’s unavoidable: he is one infeasibly beaming Australian.
Who hasn’t enjoyed seeing him on the top of the podium twice this season? It’s a joy to see him enjoy winning so much. Or doing just about anything, it seems. It would be criminal if his PR handlers were to erode that implausibly large smile to a weak, heartless smirk.
Or look at Marc Marquez. Admittedly anyone doing as improbably well as he has for the past season and a half would be on a permanent high, but he’s another one that’s a joy to see win.
It’ll be interesting to see how he comes across on MotoGP Tonight on BT Sport next month. Tickets to be in the audience practically evaporated, so the public are keen to see what he’s like. Hopefully he’ll be as charming as he tends to come across as in interviews, and not dead behind the eyes already.
Riders do inevitably calm down, though. Like Jorge Lorenzo. He wouldn’t jump in the water at Jerez with his leathers and helmet on these days, as he did in 2010. Shame, that.
It’s not all beaming smiles and daft celebrations though. One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about the World Rally Championship this year has been on boards with Elfyn Evans. It’s the young Welshman’s first full season in the WRC, and the look on his face while driving, a mixture of intense concentration and justifiable fear, is a thing to behold. This on board from Monte Carlo is a bit dark, but it’s clear enough.
So: young people being young people. More of it please!
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