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GP Week : Issue 172
F1 >>> FEATURE Gilles Villeneuve and Ferrari team-mate Jodi Scheckter Juan Manuel Fangio Ayrton Senna 26 GPWEEK.com // 26 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: “It is the same with each season. Next year the cards will be reshuffled and that is why I don’t suffer motivation issues.” Drivers learn to find motivation from a variety of sources, and this year the added challenge of an up and down season has given some of the grid added enthusiasm. “For me [the changeable season is] an extra motivation,” Rosberg said in Korea, “because I come here and I'm not sure that I'm definitely going to be in the same position as in Suzuka. There's achancethatIwillbeabletobealot further up and fighting for much better positions, so it's quite a nice thing.” One element of a driver’s psychological preparation is learning how to keep their competitive aggression at bay when competing, channelling the energy so that it becomes productive. After all, they don’t call it ‘turning a wheel in anger’ for nothing. “I’ve been crazy as hell and felt so mad I could have jumped out of the car at 200mph,” 1979 world champion Jody v confessed. “I’ve changed gears without taking my foot off the accelerator, wanting to destroy the engine. I used to get really upset in practice and qualifying; that was the worst time. The races were more about controlled aggression. But when you’re really desperate and there’s only a few laps left you get angry and it gets really dangerous. But you just don’t care. You hold your foot down.” Aggression and its derivatives are motorsports buzzwords, heard in press conferences around the world. A quick scan of any recent press releases talks of teams being aggressive with their strategy, their tyre choice, or their gear ratios, while drivers often use the world to describe their laps in qualifying. A Formula One driver needs a certain amount of aggression on track, for it is that which makes him seek out impossible gaps and create overtaking opportunities where none exist. But that aggression must be tempered with a certain calm, for it is in that sweet spot that the strongest performances lie. From popular heroes like Ayrton Senna and Gilles Villeneuve or the modern, more love ‘em or hate ‘em Lewis Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado, aggressive driving has often resulted in some legendary performances. But aggressive drivers are also remembered for those times when it all went wrong, when the competitive instinct clouded the mind, resulting in the wilful disposal of a clutch of world championship points. Taming the beast and keeping the speed is the struggle a racing driver faces every time he gets behind the wheel. The same desire to compete that motivates him to keep on going during a slump can be dangerous if not properly channelled. Really, it’s all been said more eloquently before. In ‘If’, his catch-all guide to life, Rudyard Kipling adroitly summed up a racing driver’s lot: “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs... If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same; If you can make one heap of all your winnings and risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, and lose, and start again at your beginnings and never breath a word about your loss... If you can fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds' worth of distance run – yours is the Earth and everything that's in it...” “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs...