The Inside Line - on Pedro de la Rosa 04 Dec 2012
With HRT absent from the 2013 entry list, we may have already seen veteran Spanish driver Pedro de la Rosa make his last Grand Prix appearance after a Formula One race career spanning 14 years and including stints with the likes of McLaren and Sauber.
If De la Rosa is not a feature of next seasons grid, what is certain is that his warmth, his wealth of experience and his genuine love of life - all evident in this interview - will be sorely missed in the paddock
Q: What keeps you awake at night?
Pedro de la Rosa: Apart from jetlag, its when people change their mind over what you have already agreed and then pretend that they actually never said it. I hate this and I must admit that sometimes it keeps me awake.
Q: If you could banish one thing from your life - for the rest of your life - what would that be?
PdlR: The death of my father. Watching him fight against a degenerative neurological disease, watching him get weaker and not being able to do anything about it, to help him, it was horrible.
Q: Whats been your most valuable life lesson?
PdlR: My father once taught me that when you shake a man´s hand, you have to do it with strength, vigorously and always looking into the eyes. There is not one handshake that I do not think about it.
Q: What do you admire?
PdlR: I admire people that are genuine. I admire people that love what they do, whatever it is. It is easy to tell who cares and enjoys what they do. I admire that.
Q: If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?
PdlR: Sleep less and study more!
Q: If your racing career were to end after this season, what would you do with the rest of your life?
PdlR: Not sure. I would like to have more time for my family, to travel less, read more, probably try to finish my university studies. Not sure, as I do not see myself without a steering wheel between my hands
Q: What animal best reflects your personality?
PdlR: The dog - a good friend.
Q: What is more important than winning?
PdlR: Feeling you are the quickest driver out there, no matter in what category or with which car.
Q: What would you spend your last dollar on?
PdlR: Some candy for my daughters.
Q: What is your biggest weakness?
PdlR: I do not like to travel and in this business it is a major weakness. It is a thing I have never managed to cope with properly.
Q: Whats your ultimate comfort food?
PdlR: I love a good Spanish paella near the beach. I always travel with an energy bar in my bag; I feel better when I avoid airplane food.
Q: Whats the first thing you do when you get home after a race?
PdlR: I need to unpack all my luggage, even if I arrive at a late hour. Only with everything unpacked can I sleep and think about the next day.
Q: What scares you?
PdlR: An illness you cannot fight against. I have seen it and after that you realize how terribly vulnerable we all are.
Q: Whats your favourite smell?
PdlR: Fuel. I like two-stroke engines burnt fuel and lubricant (non-synthetic) - like those from the old karting engines. I also love the smell of heptane, which I used to clean my go-kart with my father.
Q: Whats the best advice you have been given?
PdlR: Once a good friend of mine told me not to think just about the next race, or about the next two weeks, but to try to think beyond that. I know this might sound simplistic, but nearly all of the racing people are like that, including myself. We only think short term - very short term - and we need to be able to think long term, as well as being able to think laterally. Simple, but difficult to achieve once you are on the mouse wheel.
Q: Are you the man you always thought you would become?
PdlR: I dont know, I think this question should be answered by my wife and kids. I try my best to be a good father and someone my kids can look up to and feel proud of. I never dreamt of being anything special.
Q: What tastes like home?
PdlR: Absolutely nothing. What I can tell you is that I have moved house several times and I can assure you that it is not about the walls or the building - the spirit of things remains in the furniture and the things that move with you.
Q: When were you happiest?
PdlR: I feel I am a very lucky person because I feel there are so many happy moments every day. As one friend of mine once said, the happiest moment of the day is when I look in my car mirror and I catch my kids eyes looking at me. As a good Latin, I am probably happiest when we are having a family lunch on a Sunday, all together.
Q: What event cant you forget but would wish you could?
PdlR: When I was a kid I was playing with a screwdriver trying to fix my bike and accidentally the screwdriver slipped and went inside my cousin´s eye. He nearly lost the eye. It is something I have had to live with all my life.
Q: If you had to stay in one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?
PdlR: I would stay in Barcelona, where I was born. Great places, the sea, the mountains, the people and, yes, the sun
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