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A beginner’s guide to... F1 cliches

Senior Editor

Greg Stuart
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AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 31: Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing talks in the Drivers

“What is it about Spa that makes it such a great drivers’ track?” “Are you looking forward to racing in front of your home crowd?” “When are we going to know about your plans for next season?” “What were the conditions like out there today?” F1 drivers aren’t just some of the fastest racers on the planet – they’re soundbite machines, too, trained to withstand a barrage of questions like these throughout a Grand Prix weekend.

That often means that an F1 driver has to resort to trotting out cliches in answer to journalists’ enquiries – if only to protect their own sanity. So to help you work out what Hamilton, Vettel et al really (okay possibly) mean when they speak to the press, we’ve provided you with a handy translation guide for the most over-used phrases in F1...

“We just weren’t fast enough out there”

When you’ll hear it: From a driver after a less-than-sparkling performance during practice, qualifying or the race

What it means:I just wasn’t fast enough out there”

“We win as a team and we lose as a team”

When you’ll hear it: After a driver has suffered a crushing defeat

What it means: “It wasn’t my fault”

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“For sure”

When you’ll hear it: Pretty much every driver interview, and probably more than once

What it means: “Of course”

“The team did a great job all weekend”

When you’ll hear it: From a driver basking in the afterglow of a Grand Prix victory

What it means:I did a great job all weekend”

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“We struggled a bit with the balance”

When you’ll hear it: Post-session, when a driver’s found themselves woefully off the pace

What it means: “The car is a jalopy”

“We’re still evaluating our options for next year”

When you’ll hear it: When a team principal is asked about their driver line-up for the following season

What it means: “I’d advise one or both of our current drivers to start looking for a new job, sharpish”

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“I’ll hopefully be in a position to announce my plans for next year soon”

When you’ll hear it: From a driver, with a wry, media-friendly chuckle, after being asked for the 700th time that weekend about who they’ll be driving for the following season

What it means: “Please, pleeeeasse stop asking me questions about my ****ing plans for next year!”

“Tomorrow is a long race”

When you’ll hear it: After a disappointing qualifying

What it means: “Tomorrow is a normal-length race, but given how fast everyone else is, it will seem long”

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 15:  Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner, Ferrari Team

If your team boss says they're still evaluating their options for next year, be afraid...

“Honestly, I’m just taking it one race at a time”

When you’ll hear it: When the championship leader is asked whether they’ve started thinking about the title

What it means: “I have already chosen the name of the boat that I will buy with my championship bonus”

“I just try and focus on doing the best job I can”

When you’ll hear it: When a driver has been asked about their team’s impending bankruptcy/the rumours they’re about to be fired/problems with the squad’s senior management

What it means: “Oh ****. I think I need to call my agent...”

READ MORE: The insider’s guide to… Preparing a car through practice

“I respect the stewards’ decision”

When you’ll hear it: After a driver’s received a penalty

What it means: “The stewards are wrong and they’ve just made an enemy for life"

“We’ll come back stronger at the next race”

When you’ll hear it: From a driver desperately trying to salvage some optimism after a dismal race

What it means: “It appears my championship hopes have just gone down the toilet”

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 14: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Aston Martin Red

"That's racing sometimes"

“That’s racing sometimes”

When you’ll hear it: After a driver’s been taken out in a first corner shunt that wasn’t their fault

What it means: “I can’t believe I just flew half way around the world to race for eight seconds before getting wiped out by that spatial awareness-less moron. I’m off to the bar...”

“Obviously we’re not where we want to be right now”

When you’ll hear it: From a driver or team principal midway through an annus horribilis

What it means: “Someone’s going to get fired”

READ MORE: Are we close to knowing Hamilton’s future plans?

“We’ve got a lot of work to do tonight”

When you’ll hear it: On Friday evening, after a disappointing Free Practice 1 and 2

What it means: “My engineers have got a lot of work to do tonight. Me, I’m off for a massage and some Netflix”

“I’m excited about exploring other racing options”

When you’ll hear it: After a driver’s contract hasn’t been renewed, and they find themselves out of F1

What it means: Basically, all the words from Adele’s Hello

This article originally appeared on F1.com on March 5 2019

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