ONE OF the most enduring complaints about modern motorsports is that drivers are PR-managed drones, soulless and bland compared to the hairy-chested heroes of yesteryear. But while many drivers can be media-trained to a fine sheen, the artifice does occasionally slip a bit in the heat of competition.
Here we take a look at the best comebacks, the snarkiest one-liners and the flat-out deranged radio/intercom communications. Just so you’re aware, the language on some of these can get a bit fruity, so yeah, that.
1. Fernando Alonso points out the obvious
Fernonso has had a pretty miserable second spell with McLaren. His first spell was arguably worse, but grubbing an ill-handling car around the nether regions of the F1 pack must be a soul-destroying task for a double world champion. At this weekend’s Abu Dhabi GP, Alonso found himself languishing in 13th place at which point Ocon and Gasly retired, putting the Spaniard in with a fighting chance of the last points-paying position. In an attempt to spur him on, Wilf Joseph, his race engineer reminded him that there was a point at stake. Alonso, in his farewell F1 race, offered Joseph a lesson in perspective.
“I have 1800 points.”
2. Mark Webber drops an angry number two
Dr Helmut Marko rarely missed an opportunity to remind Mark Webber of his place in Red Bull’s hierarchy, gifting academy scion Sebastian Vettel every possible advantage. Did this wear down the Aussie? Not one bit. It fired him up. So after being passed over in favour of the German for Red Bull’s new front wing design at the 2010 British Grand Prix, Webber delivered the perfect riposte. He won. Perhaps the loaded, “Now maybe we’ll get a smile from you,” from team principal Christian Horner was enough to tweak Webber into a dig, but the reply was a gem.
“Not bad for a number two driver. Cheers.”
3. Kimi Raikkonen doesn’t want your coaching
Kimi can be relied upon for some fairly terse responses when his wafer-thin tolerance for bullshit erodes to zilch. Being given the gee-up over the radio when he’s right on the ragged edge was always going to elicit a reminder of who was the F1 driver and who was the laptop jockey.
“Just leave me alone, I know what I’m doing.”
4. Check out the big brain on Trevor
We would never cast aspersions as to the relative intellect of a NASCAR driver, so we’ll let Brett Griffin, a trackside spotter for driver Clint Bowyer offer his learned assessment of track rival Trevor Bayne’s processing power.
“That cost us about three seconds. IQ of a f***** mud flap.”
5. Vettel’s home run
Sebastian Vettel can usually be relied upon to launch the toys out of the pram quite spectacularly when things aren’t going his way and Turkey 2010 was no exception. Guillaume ‘Rocky’ Rocquelin, head of race engineering at Red Bull was on the receiving end of one of the entitled one’s dummy spits when he carved the front off Mark Webber’s car with predictable results. The petulance that followed was one for the ages.
“****ing ****! What the f*** are we doing here? We are trying to win the World Championship for f**** sake. What a stupid action. I’M GOING HOME”
6. Screw this – Chase Elliott knows a tool when he sees one
We have to commend Chase Elliott’s composure. While sliding out of control across the infield at Daytona, he manages to give an impassioned plea for sympathy before identifying Michael McDowell’s shortcomings behind the wheel.
“If that damn 95 wrecks me one more time, man. Dammit! … What in the hell is that MFer’s problem, man?! That is the biggest dumbass I’ve ever seen in my life. That son of a bitch can’t drive a wood screw.”
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7. Todd Kelly has had enough
Queensland Raceway is a sweaty old place to spend 63 laps in a Nissan Altima, and when your engine lets go with two laps to the flag, it’d be enough to try the patience of anyone. “WOY ME?” beseeches a clearly frustrated Kelly. We then cut to some furious effing and jeffing/wheel beating, before he is informed that the engine has indeed lost crank case pressure.
8. Mark Tapper rally crash
This one really is not safe for work. Not safe if you have a sensitive disposition for extremely strong swearing either, but it just goes to show that professional rally driving really does require 100 percent concentration and that a gentleman displaying his fundament by the side of the track really isn’t something that’s ever going to help Mr Tapper’s cause. Hanging upside down from his belts and choking back tears like an emotional fruit bat, Tapper gives a very succinct explanation for the reason for his off-piste excursion.