Sir Jackie? We don’t need no stinkin’ Sir Jackie!

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If you were in Formula One and driving for a living, would you want a coach or mentor? If you are Romain Grosjean, perhaps not. At least that’s what the Frenchman has told reporters. A good mentor is invaluable, I have a few myself, and it is always great when one of those mentors have been very successful in the field you are pursuing. Imagine having a person like, say, Sir Jackie Stewart offer to help you. Actually, that’s exactly what happened and Grosjean said he’d pass on the opportunity.

“I used to work with a coach and I don’t feel that I need one today. It can change week to week, maybe I’ll feel I need some help but at the moment we are pretty happy with the way everything is going,” Grosjean said.

“You always try to get the best but then you get to a level where you don’t think you need it any more. But in three months I might say ‘I want to work with somebody’. It’s how you feel inside.

“To be honest, at the moment I think the people around me, with Gravity (his management company), with friends I can have at the track, the management and engineers, everything goes quite well.”

Sir Jackie Stewart had commented on the terrific drive that Grosjean had made in the British Grand PRix and suggested he may have won that race if he had avoided the clash at the beginning. Stewart suggested that he could work with Grosjean to help eliminate those incidents int he future.

Not everyone is a Stewart fan. One need only ask former FIA president Max Mosley what he thinks of the championship-winning Scotsman and it may not be the most praising of comments…at least it hasn’t been in the past. Stewart has been on a campaign lately and you know what happens when he gets it in his head to initiate something in Formula One…people’s lives start being saved. At least that’s what he did in the 60’s and 70’s with the safety campaign that made him equally unpopular in certain circles back then.

Now he wants drivers to take the idea of a coach or mentor seriously. He has a good point…or 12. Young men in their early 20’s haven’t had a lot of experience in the types of contracts they are being asked to sign, the amount of money they are managing (or funneling to teams for a ride) and the pressure that is inherent in the sport of Formula One. Many other sports have coaches that help the athletes cope with these tough life decisions. But not F1. Why?

What do you think of a driver coach concept? Could the FIA or GPDA offer a program for drivers to help them as part of their services of membership? Why would Grosjean, and all other drivers, not see some wisdom in having Stewart or Fittipaldi or Rosberg, Villeneuve, Hakkinen, Moss, Berger, Prost or any other name among dozens that would be a good mentor? Wouldn’t it be wise to have this wisdom and accumen available for drivers?

Sure, drivers have management companies but many of those folks are simply sports management companies with a phalanx of attorneys to review contracts (“show me the money”). Let us know what you think about the idea and leave your opinion in the comments section below.


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