With Sebastian Vettel in the news today, leaving Ferrari, an Australian, Daniel Ricciardo, in the mix of the story – will he replace the German at Ferrari? - and a weird return to attention from Bryan “Racist? Me? Adams, the coincidence was too much to resist here at Wind Back Wednesday where silliness is a core principle.
Almost exactly ten years ago, Vettel and Australian Mark Webber were not exactly best pals at Red Bull. As the Sydney Morning Herald reported in July 2010, “In a bid to clear the red mist around Red Bull, team boss Christian Horner invited the feuding duo of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel to a barbecue and karaoke session. The Guardian reported Webber belted out Bryan Adams's Summer of '69 while Vettel, strumming a guitar, opted for Deep Purple's Smoke On The Water. And to prove both drivers could sing from the same hymn sheet, the entire party rounded out the evening with a rendition of Don McLean's classic American Pie - a song with mystical cohesive powers.”
Naturally – they don’t call me Dr Music for nothing* - the paper asked me to provide expert psychoanalysis and further assistance. Below is that expert opinion, and while I would not want to blow my own horn here, it’s worth noting that after this consultation Vettel went on to win his first Formula One championship that year, and repeated that in the following three years.
What’s that? Did Webber win? Look, I said I was a doctor, not a miracle worker. But my door remains open to Ricciardo, or any troubled driver: have your people call my people.
*They don’t call me Dr Music. But they should.
THE DOCTOR IS IN. YOUR SESSION STARTS NOW
SUMMER OF ’69 by Bryan Adams, chosen by Mark Webber
Here is a song which seems to be about innocence and aspiration, about the purity of choice we make as a kid with dreams alongside our pals. A bit like off-season testing. (“Oh when I look back now/That summer seemed to last forever”).
But look closer and you see that the Australian hasn’t forgiven. Or forgotten. “And now the times are changin'/Look at everything that's come and gone/Sometimes when I play that old six-string/I think about you and wonder what went wrong.”
He’s smiling but he’s saying, don’t mess with me Seb.
SMOKE ON THE WATER by Deep Purple, chosen by Sebastian Vettel
Aggressive much? Sebastian Vettel ostensibly gets to sing about an ancient rock band’s experience on Lake Geneva but as he shakes his golden locks to and fro over the famous guitar riff he can unleash an Ian Gillen scream and tell Webber that even inside the flame retardant suit in that cramped, hot cockpit, he too has a long memory “We make a place to sweat/No matter what we get out of this/I know, I know we'll never forget”
AMERICAN PIE, by Don McLean, chosen by management presumably
The brilliance of choosing American Pie is, appropriately enough for a motoring event, manifold.
Firstly there’s the fact that no matter how out of tune you are, both musically and in personal relations, the rousing chorus encourages group effort over technique while throwing in a gratuitous motoring reference in the Chevy. Best of all, it is interminable, its many verses building to nothing in particular except a long, long night of the soul.
By the end of that song you can’t remember what it was you were angry about at the beginning of the night. (You can hardly remember your name or if you have a reason to live for that matter.)
May we commend Vettel for not choosing to remind Webber of his unfortunate habit of early finishes by singing David Bowie’s Always Crashing In The Same Car.
And likewise commend Webber for not going to the same well and choosing Mr Bowie’s A New Career In A New Town as career advice for his teammate.
But maybe next time they could try a few karaoke standards to really seal the deal and bond the team.
The Beatles’ Drive My Car – “yes, I’m going to be a star ... but baby I love you”.
Christie Allen’s He’s My Number One (driver) – so team boss Christian Horner can sing to both men, “he’s a classic example, such a beautiful sample, he’s my number one (driver)”.
Bette Midler’s You Are The Wind Beneath My (car’s front) Wing – for the feuding mechanics.