#F1: The Greats Always Find A Way
I had a spot of tea earlier today with a Liverpool football fan. That in itself is not really anything to write about, however, our subject was Sir Jackie Stewart. That is something to write about.
Clearly, there is no need to go into this great racer’s career or accomplishments. Instead, I wanted to share something I found extraordinary. Scotsman, Ian Barratt spoke to me about an interview he had watched which featured Sir Jackie Stewart. In the interview, Stewart’s keen sense of smell somehow became part of the discussion.
Few people realize that Stewart was a clay pigeon shooter before he found racing. He was actually quite good, reaching world class levels. It was his quick reaction and coordination that eventually lead Jackie Stewart into a race car and Ken Tyrrell to signing him to a £5 contract. At the time, no one ever thought he would one day be a triple world Formula One champion.
How does this relate to Stewart being a Formula One great? Well, Sir Jackie Stewart went on to describe how drivers and engineers were able to pick up on whether competitor’s cars were running lean or rich or burning oil. When trailing another car, Stewart would know when to push for an overtake.
This same sense came in handy one day during a race when Stewart’s snout picked up the scent of fresh grass. Uncertain why he could smell grass, he lifted going into a blind corner. This move might have well saved him a massive crash and perhaps even injury. It seems that there were six or seven cars that had spun off or crashed off into the grass.
Stewart’s sense of smell and his awareness were able to make It is little things like this that set the greats apart.
This reminded me of an interview with Hockey great Mario Lemieux after a game in which he setup a goal with a blind pass. A reporter asked Lemieux, how he knew his team-mate would be there to receive the pass. Lemieux told him that he caught a glimpse of the reflection off the glass behind the net.
Much like Stewart, Lemieux used his awareness to react to a situation, further proving the theory that the greats, always find a way…
Author: Ernie Black