08.12.22 NL Blog
Abu Dhabi GP: The story behind my weekend
The build-up to this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix has been different. Very different.
With my physical prep in the bag, my trainer – a former Royal Marines Commando – took me to Salisbury Plain in the UK to spend a day with the 14th Regiment Royal Artillery, a training regiment within the British Army.
I’m a great believer that if you can get different perspectives from other environments, it can have a positive influence on your own surroundings. A military-themed day out on 300-square miles of grassland with soldiers and heavy artillery machinery was definitely a first for me!
I wasn’t there to train or be beaten to a pulp at a crazy boot camp. I was there to observe the guys in their working environment and to see the similarities between the military and motorsport, in terms of the focus and drive needed, and the ability to perform at a high level all the time.
If we make a mistake on track, we can have a heavy accident. But if there’s a lapse of concentration in the military, lives can be on the line. Chatting to the pilots of the machinery, the importance of communication came across loud and clear as well. It’s very similar to F1. Being able to focus and be streamlined in what you say is crucial because misunderstandings can impact the results.
As a driver, I was also keen to see the heavy artillery machinery – which looks like a tank – in action. To thunder across the plain and ride in such an incredible vehicle was an awesome experience. But it wasn’t all plain sailing for me. I was asked to help change a track on one of the machines before we wrapped up. It’s a long process because the track is well worn and doesn’t come off easily. But with a little persuasion from a sledgehammer, we got the job done.
Overall, it was a fun way to spend some time in the build-up to a race weekend. It was a great opportunity to appreciate a different walk of life and to soak up some new information from a driver’s point of view. Sincere thanks to the 14th Regiment Royal Artillery for having me along for the ride!
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