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GP Week : Issue 233
soon after I got my drivers' license a mate and I would race through the hills around my home town. There were some great country roads, and since my mate lived in the area he knew where all the best ones were. Once we took a wrong turn and ended up on a dirt road, but that only made things more fun as we pulled the handbrake around corners imagining we were colin McRae. Obviously we weren't but in our heads we were and the experience filled us with the sort of confidence that makes any young driver a liability on the road. And that proved to the case when, showing off my newly honed skills to another mate, I went sideways into a gutter and made a right mess of the car. It was driveable, but only just. The worst bit is it wasn't my car; it belonged to an aunt who'd leant it to me while she was overseas for a few months. It was my one and, so far, only crash. It was absolutely my fault. My story isn't isolated. Pretty well every one of my mates growing up crashed their car, one I know ended up on his roof. Crashing a car is pretty much guaranteed when you take to the roads. Hell, the other day I was hit by a car while out on my motorbike as I headed out to the race track. What confuses me though is how none of my antics have gained the attention of the world's media. I mean, my crash was far more interesting than hitting a parked car, and while I wasn't driving a Zonda it's as much a newsworthy story as Lewis Hamilton having a bit of a prang. So why wasn't the press beating down my door asking how I was and if everyone was okay? Simply because it's not newsworthy. It's not newsworthy for me to bang the car into the gutter, or my mate to roll it through a hedge, or Lewis to hit a parked car. It's the sort of soft, sensationalist journalism that is the detriment to us as a society - rather than being fed key issues described and analysed by people with inside knowledge we are spoon fed garbage fitted to the lowest common denominator. I have to declare that I did pen an article on Lewis' accident, but that will not be found in these pages. It was written for another publication which has very specific readership demographic. Even then the focus was not on the fact it was Lewis Hamilton but on the fact it was a Pagani Zonda. I'm firmly of the opinion that what Lewis and his mates get up to off track is entirely up to them and of no interest to us. While their day jobs may attract the media spotlight away from the track they are just people. They have lives, pay their bills and probably go down to the local supermarket to buy milk - just like you and I. If one of them happens to crash a car it does not automatically because newsworthy just because they're a racing driver. We can all have a little giggle about the fact the newly crowned world champion crashed a car, but let's not turn it into more than it is - an amusing little anecdote. The same goes for the rest of their personal lives. I've immense respect for Sebastian Vettel because he's able to compartmentalise his life so well. He doesn't do social media and keeps his personal life just that, and that should be applauded. He has a good balance between work and home life and doesn't see what he does away from the track as interesting enough to bother sharing. He's probably too busy running down the shops to buy milk. But there are others, like Lewis, who choose to share their lives on social media. That's fine too, it's their choice to give us a glimpse into their lives, but there are millions of people who do the same every day. Perhaps the difference is what Lewis is up to is rather more than mundane, but the basic premise is he's hanging out with mates, having a good time. He's throwing a birthday party for his mother, which is something every good son should do. So while the semantics may be different, fundamentally what Lewis does in his spare time is no different to what you do. So what he does doesn't deserve any sort of media coverage, provided it doesn't interfere with his job. Right now you can't mount an argument to suggest it is. Okay, Nico Rosberg has beaten him in the last two races but it's not like he's destroyed his teammate. Hamilton's qualifying lap in Brazil was so close to Rosberg's that it may as well have been the same. In the race Hamilton was a close second throughout, as he'd been in Mexico too. Last week Lewis was feeling a little unwell and had a car crash. Two absolutely normal things that you and I can both admit have happened to us. It's not news - I just wish we could stop insulting our own intelligence by suggesting it is by covering it like it's somehow important. 13 GPWEEK.com // 13 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: OPINION OPINION MAT COCH Editor when news isn't news