F1 2020 · Interview

Press conference from home: Seb discusses how he spends his time in lockdown, the future with Ferrari & more.

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In a Skype Press Conference from home, Seb answered questions from the media regarding how he spends time in lockdown, pay cuts & future with Ferrari, Sir Stirling Moss, Virtual Racing and more.

The press conference was about to start early in the morning at 8:30. Seb joked with the British media: “I just realised it’s an hour behind in the UK, so it’s 7:30 there. Sorry for that!”. Seb was already a couple of hours awake before the start of the press conference: “I  like to start early so I have lots of time left in the day. I’m planning on going for a little bike ride later.”

Then Seb discussed with the journalists the topics below: 

Lockdown Life with Family

“A lot of my time is spent training. It’s similar to a winter progamme. The nicer thing right now is that you can go outside for a lot of the stuff because it’s getting a bit warmer, jumping on the bike etc. That will help me physically and mentally to stay sharp.

“Well the kids are definitely occupying me. Two of them are in kindergarden so we get some stuff sent over but also we’re quite happy to keep the kids entertained and figure out some stuff. There’s been lots of variety, both German-speaking, English-speaking, in terms of offers to do stuff with the kids like courses and stuff online which help. But in general, we’re definitely not getting bored and not running out of ideas. They keep us busy! 

“I enjoy it a lot, the time I have with them [the kids], but I miss it a lot being in the car. That sensation of driving, there’s nothing really that can replace that, so that’s what we’re waiting for. It gives a chance to reflect and it’s quite intimate time with family as well. Obviously the circumstances that led to it are not nice at all but we’re trying to make the best out of it”. 

New Ferrari Deal Discussions

“It depends when we will have the first race. There is a high chance we will have to make a decision before there will be the first race because at the moment it looks like there will be no race before June or even July. The main priority at first was to ensure that we’re all dealing with the situation in the right way. Therefore, everything was put on hold and I can imagine that’s the same everywhere else and it was the same for us. It’s not like a couple of days after Australia we said ‘right now [we’ll talk]. We will make progress. Whatever the deal will be like, it will be whatever I and the team will be comfortable with. So in terms of duration I don’t know. Normally the contracts I’ve had in the past were all three-year deals. I know I’m one of the more experienced drivers in Formula 1 but I’m not the oldest and I don’t think there’s an age limit in this regard”.

Pay Cut Discussions

“It is definitely something I am talking about with the team. As I said earlier, we don’t know yet how the season will look and when it will start and how many races we will have etc. I’ve always kept whatever decisions I made on this front between the team and myself and it will be the same this time. I’m not keen to use this point at this time as an image polish or anything like that. What I’ve decided to do in the past it has been quiet and it will be the same now”.

Virtual Racing

“The truth is I didn’t have a simulator until a couple of days ago, so I haven’t been tempted because I didn’t have the chance. I have heard a lot of things about it, so I figured I should get one and try, but I still need to set it up properly. Generally I am not going to foresee a career in sim racing – I think it is more something to try for fun. I’ve grown up with some of the stuff and I have been playing some games, but to be honest since I had kids it’s not the first thing on my list to do. But we’ll see how much time there will be. I’m aware that some people take it very seriously and spend a lot of time there, but I also enjoy doing other things so it will be a bit of a mix”.

Sir Stirling Moss Tribute 

“He’s a great person and obviously a very, very great racing driver. He will always be remembered as one of the great drivers in Formula 1. If you look at just F1 he didn’t win the world championship but he definitely deserved to do so, and he had lots of very good races outside of F1. I think he pretty much achieved everything you can achieve. There’s not many who can compare themselves with him. I think what really stays is the fact that he was such a charismatic guy, nice person, and true gentleman. For sure he will be missed”.

F1 Must be Patient

“We have spoken about that a fair amount inside the GPDA (Grand Prix Drivers’ Association). It’s a very, very difficult one. It’s a tough decision. On the one hand you have the health of the sport if you look at it from a business aspect, on another hand you have the responsibility of the people in the paddock – the working people inside the paddock – and of course most importantly the fans. It’s a sport that is carried out in the open but we have a lot of people that normally come to watch our races. We need to make sure that as much as we are taking care of ourselves we are also taking care of the public. Now, there’s a lot of options you can think of in terms of how to get going again, what’s the best format to start racing again. 

“Whether it’s without fans, whether it’s with fans, ghost races or no-ghost races and other things, I don’t know. I think nobody likes to race in front of empty grandstands, it feels a bit odd, but on the other hand the question is when is the right time to sort of say let’s start racing again and whether a ghost race can be held much sooner than a race in a way that we’re used to it.

“What we would all like is to get back to normal – not just for Formula 1 but for everybody’s sake and the whole world – but as I said previously in this regard the best prescription will be to be patient. It is painful because I want to get back in the car and if I’m selfish I want to race, but there’s a lot of people that would like a lot of things right now compared to the situation they’re in now.

“Probably at the very beginning the first couple of races will be compromised compared to what we’re used to but hopefully not too much because obviously we want to race in a way that we are all familiar with, meaning in front of crowds, in front of fans, with great atmosphere and so on. We will see”.

Social Media 

“I have not progressed on social media, I didn’t have the time (laughs). It’s something I never started so it doesn’t fee like I miss it!”.  

You can watch a part of the Press Conference with Sky Sports UK here.

Sky Sports Italia Call 

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