F1 raises its awareness with Chelsea FC
By Clarence Lim
You won’t normally envision soccer and F1 rolled together in one event. As a built-up to the weekend’s F1 race, there were a range of F1 events occurring all around our island, including the Dribble and Race event held at Henderson Secondary School. Chelsea Football Club and Sauber F1 Team, in conjunction with F1 in Schools, offered a once-in-a-lifetime cross-sport experience to 48 students.
The event aims to pique young people’s interest in F1 and its history as well as train under Chelsea FC Soccer School coaches. The students, aged 11-14 were given a chance to construct their own balsa wood model car and race it.
The highlight of the afternoon was Sauber F1 driver, Esteban Gutierrez, who engaged with the youngsters and gave them an insight into his journey to achieve his dreams of racing in Formula 1. He had humble beginnings and started off with karting before making his way into the big leagues. The youngsters asked quirky question, including one about whether its hot inside an F1 car, and Gutierrez cheekily commented that the heat is much worst in Singapore.
After the talk, it was time to let the feet do the talking in the soccer clinic. Gutierrez gamely admitted that soccer was not his forte, but he sportingly engaged in a kick-about with the youngsters, drawing laughters from the crowd whenever he makes his moves. He even became a goalkeeper, together with Stamford, the Chelsea mascot. I am sure he prefers fast cars to fast balls flying towards his face, but he averted most of them pretty well. The Chelsea FC Soccer School coaches then took over and it was time for serious business as they put the young ones through the drills. Up for grabs was a chance to win an incredible behind-the-scenes tour of Sauber’s garage this weekend, which motivated the students to put in a good showing.
This event was unique for its synergy between 2 popular sports, Soccer and F1 racing. Although these 2 sports seem miles apart, but a common thread of hard work and perseverance runs through, as it takes just that to achieve one’s dreams. I believe the youngsters will go home today with a new zest to work hard towards their dreams, inspired by how Gutierrez went from karting to the bright lights. I am sure all the F1 drivers have a story to tell about their fight to reach their pinnacle, and I am looking forward to see the story unfold this weekend.