Training, kicking toilet paper, watching sheep being sheared – some members of the Formula 1 grid are finding more novel ways to occupy their time during the championship’s forced hiatus.
The 20 drivers should be two weeks into a gruelling 22-race season, but like many around the world they have more spare time on their hands than ever.
While Lando Norris has taken the online world by storm thanks to a combination of his sim-racing exploits and amusing Twitch streams, Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo has reaffirmed his position as F1’s regular joker in the pack.
He is camping out at the Ricciardo farm in Perth, and broadly splits his time between “a bit of training” during the day, and “evenings mostly Netflix or looking at stars”.
However, other activities have been the subjects of his attention, including making the most of the farm’s off-road tracks.
He has been “trying to do little self projects and do things where people are like ‘if only I had more time’”, including “messing about” writing song lyrics, “building things” and, he says, “sheep shearing the other day”.
“I didn’t do it,” he joked during a live stream on Renault’s Instagram. “It looked a bit difficult. I watched! I’d never seen it. The caretaker here, we’ve got sheep and cattle and stuff, he said you’ve never seen it so come down to the shed and have a look.”
Several drivers have shared their exploits on social media, and the majority are focusing on training. But fortunately, their insights extend beyond sharing very exciting pictures and videos of home gym set-ups.
From Charles Leclerc’s handstand walks to Lewis Hamilton’s hand-washing advice, plus Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen taking part in the toilet paper keepy-up challenge, the window into the world of F1 drivers has been cracked slightly open.
Williams driver George Russell lived up to his cerebral reputation by sharing pictures of him reading the late Niki Lauda’s autobiography, a revelation that earned glowing praise from The Race’s Edd Straw but led to Russell being chastised by Mercedes for daring to wear sandals with socks on.
Best thing to come out of being stuck at home so far!
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) March 23, 2020
But the regular stuff, training and sim racing, does serve an important purpose – even if the sillier side of social media is what generates the big smiles.
Calos Sainz Jr tested himself for COVID-19 on return from Australia and has remained in isolation despite being cleared of having the virus, hitting his home gym hard in the meantime.
He was also one of the recipient of Norris’s quick-fire phone calls on Sunday when the Briton was taking part in the F1 Esports Virtual Bahrain GP.
Norris has also been racing Red Bull driver Max Verstappen online, with the two colliding in a pro-driver event on Monday.
Esports also allowed Nicholas Latifi to make his Williams ‘debut’ as he took part in last Sunday’s brace of F1 2019 video game-based events.
— Nicholas Latifi (@NicholasLatifi) March 23, 2020
Patience will prove a virtue in a hiatus of three months, maybe more, before the season begins.
But normality will eventually resume, and F1 has pledged to be ready to put on a 2020 championship when it does.
Therefore online racing and creative workouts will keep the grid sharp in unprecedented times of uncertainty, and Ricciardo says training is helping him maintain a “competitive” spirit.
“I feel like now it’s perfect to get in shape because we’re forced to stay in,” said Ricciardo.
“There’s no airports, there’s no jet lag. We can create a real training camp.
“We don’t have to rush it.”