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GP Week : Issue 172
Dudu Massa watches as his brother Felipe Massa is airlifted to hospital after his big crash. Alain Prost F1 >>> FEATURE 25 GPWEEK.com // 25 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: “The bad results influenced the psychological side,” the Ferrari driver told Portuguese language Revista Espn magazine in July. “I found a psychologist and went through therapy. I will try everything right until the end, because I believe that things will change.” While Massa’s is an extreme example – the popular Ferrari driver had to deal with the psychological impact of a life-threatening accident suffered in 2009 – picking oneself up after a bad performance is a regular feature of an F1 driver’s life. To an outsider, staying motivated in a difficult season looks to be one of the greater challenges a driver can face on a regular basis, but the men behind the wheel tend to disagree. “It’s really normal in sport, y’know?,” says Chinese Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg. “Sport is all about highs and lows, and it’s the lows that are the difficult ones. I myself have learned to push through them and come back stronger, and that’s motivation alone: you want to come back on the other side even better than before and do a very great job. ... I have learned over the years: that’s racing. You have good phases and sometimes bad phases, then a good phase comes along again. The bad phases are the ones that teach you the most, and I always try to take the most out of those to emerge so much stronger.” Mark Webber agrees. “Adversity comes with the territory,” the Australian admits. “If you have a very low ambition and set your goals very conser vatively then it might be a bit more stable, but when you want to achieve great things or special things, there’s going to be some adversity along the way and getting back up from the canvas is part of the rules. Sometimes our failure is part of success: we need to have that [failure] to be successful.” Speaking to the FOTA Fan Forum in Stuttgart over the summer, Nico Hulkenberg said that the job itself was motivation enough: “There are always obstacles which you just need to overcome,” the Force India driver acknowledged. “At the end of the day I must say we have a dream job in Formula One, flying all over the world, driving the cars, working with fantastic people, and it is simply a lot of fun. When you have a bad result you get upset and seek the reason, which in itself provides renewed motivation.” But regular setbacks can be demotivating, and after a string of sub-par performances how does a driver find the determination to keep on going? “In our sport we are privileged to drive these cars and for us it is a big excitement to be involved in this sport and it’s natural that you want to do the best that you can do,” explains Michael Schumacher. “ ‘It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday’ is something that you learn very quickly. It only matters what you do at the moment and you might do in future. That’s what it’s all about. I guess it’s a school that you go through in the early days in karting and that’s what you grow up with. Partly it’s a character that youhaveorbuildup,sotoallofusI guess [staying motivated is] very natural.” Timo Glock takes a different perspective: “Every race is a new race, and brings renewed opportunities.