When it comes to talking about the various issues in the world, Formula 1 has built a sense of responsibility. The sport tries to address and integrate itself into talking about these issues.
The ‘We Race As One’ initiative is a testament to this as the campaign focused on diversity and inclusion, sustainability, and community.
In recent times, mental health has become a topic of conversation even for the drivers on the grid.
In his 2007 autobiography, David Coulthard discussed experiencing an eating disorder during his early career days. According to the Scotsman, he wanted to keep his weight in check as he tried to get an opportunity in F1.
Nico Rosberg revealed that he had to see a sports psychologist during his time as an F1 driver. The 2016 world champion mentioned that this helped him a lot in his fight with Lewis Hamilton.
Several F1 drivers have started publicly discussing mental health. This is a sign that the topics of conversation are slowly shifting.
George Russell sought help
George Russell also mentioned recently that he sought help from a psychologist so that he can cope better with losses. His loss at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix was almost a confirmed win for him. But the circumstances were not in his favour.
“I’m feeling stronger and stronger about this, the more time goes on and since I’ve also had these difficult moments and learnt that talking about it to the right person,” Russell said.
“Obviously talking to your family and friends is all well and good but getting professional advice was really important.
“That allowed me to come back stronger, fitter, healthier than ever, and [I’ll] be able to perform off the back of it.”
Lando Norris also talks about mental health
Another driver who has been vocal about mental health is Lando Norris. The McLaren driver spoke about his struggle with anxiety and problems with self-belief during his first F1 season.
He then revealed that working with a mind coach helped him better understand himself and his problems.
Since then, Norris has had more luck on the track with the Brit being one of the most stand-out drivers of 2021. He has even outperformed a more experienced Daniel Ricciardo.
Romain Grosjean started the trend
Romain Grosjean was among those few drivers, who openly mentioned seeing a sports psychologist. This was long before his horrific crash at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Frenchman admits that seeking help has enabled him to cope with the accident and mentally recover from the trauma that he faced.
Seeing a prominent athlete like Norris or Russell speak up can really boost the morale of fans.
Norris recently spoke about the reaction he got after speaking openly about these issues.
“I was getting messages from people saying how I’d impacted them,” the Briton told ESPN.
“And how me being me… how I’d changed their lives or, I guess as deep as saying, they were thinking about suicide and stuff like that, saying how I’d had an impact on changing that.
“Saying they’re enjoying their lives a lot more.
“Seeing a lot of those messages and learning about that made me realize I can use my platform a lot more to speak up about it because it’s things I’ve struggled with in the past, and [it’s about] knowing and learning how much of a difference I can have on people around the world.” he concluded.
Russell, too, had things to say, especially to men.
“I think so many people, men particularly, see psychology as a weakness, which is absolutely not the case. Your mind is the most powerful tool in your body,” he said.
“I was never one of these people who thought mental health is not that important and you’re either mentally strong or mentally weak or whatever and you just got to be strong about it if you’ve ever had a difficult moment, toughen up and get through it.”
It is always good that this message reaches people, the more the better. If celebrities and athletes speak up, more people will follow.
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