Formula 1 and… Badminton?

Formula 1 and…. Badminton?

Sometimes things come together unexpectedly. Formula One and Badminton don’t seem to match, but today they will.

First, a simple link; both are sports of speed. Did you know that a badminton shuttle can reach over 330 km/h and accelerates much quicker than a F1 car?
The real match between the two sports however is about to happen now, on the badminton court. Red Bull organized an event before the Chinese Formula One with their Formula one heroes Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. They are not driving this time, but will take up the ‘birds’ and rackets. When the two star drivers enter the sports hall they have badminton champion and Olympic Medalist Wang Yihan on their side. She will teach the drivers the tricks of her game.

A few years ago Verstappen started my fire for Formula One again. Although it can still be a frustrating sports to watch, especially when there is little overtaking, F1 has become much more exciting now I have my favourite driver. I want Max to win, because he’s daring, fast, not afraid of what people think… and also simply because he is from Holland, like me.

Last year I already had a little chat with Max, just half a minute between PR obligations. He seemed a very friendly guy and was even interested in how life is in China. It was in a more natural surrounding for him: a karting track. He was fast as a rocket there, but here on the badminton court speed doesn’t come from a throttle.
Wang Yihan starts the warm-up with the two drivers. Daniel wears funny socks and his trademark grin, he clearly enjoys the badminton and is doing very well. He is either experienced or a natural talent in Badminton. Max wears ordinary socks, looks more serious and and needs more guidance by coach Yihan to get things right. How to hold the racket, how to smash.

It’s a big contrast with his race track performance, where he is brave and pushing forward. Good qualities if you also have patience and a good strategy. But the youngest F1 winner in racing history doesn’t seem to realize he has time on the track. In milliseconds lap time, he’s there with the best drivers already. But count in minutes, in total race duration, there is still space for improvement.
A few days after this event Max proves this again during the Chinese Grand Prix by doing too much too quickly. After a very impressive start he makes a few mistakes in his rush, which cost him a good position in the race. Ricciardo keeps his calm and brilliantly drives to victory. I wonder if he wears those socks while driving?

As the badminton event comes to an end I know that Max will certainly be world champion some day, but it won’t be at badminton.

When I have my own badminton racket bag signed by all three stars i think about how many great badminton talents China must have. And Holland now has the Formula 1 star. It’s now time to also find a Chinese Formula One hero, don’t you think?