Wow so the lovely Arden PR lady is texting me and bringing Mitch to meet me and Ash.
On my birthday.
A week today.
- Q: I think there’s the perception among fans that a driver who goes the independent route has perhaps paid his dues and is worth a bit more than one who goes up via the driver programmes. As an independent athlete yourself, do you think there’s a similar perception in the paddock?
- Mitch: Possibly, mate. Possibly. You’ll see this year I’ll have a Red Bull helmet. I’m a Red Bull athlete now, but I’m not part of the team; I’ve got no commitments with them. It’s much the same deal as the snowboarders and so on, straight from the Red Bull head office in Austria.I think people can easily work out the path you’ve taken and why you’ve taken it. Because some people join these programmes if they’ve got a bit of talent -- they’ve got no money, either, so that can be a hard way of getting to Formula 1 as well. I guess some people look at it in different ways. I guess for me, coming from a different part of the world, they can see that as a hard pathway in itself. I guess just like Mark: the teams saw something in him and realised where he’s come from. From that, they know he’s very, very determined and shines among the rest. Hopefully, I can make that same impression this year or next year with Formula 1. I guess there are a lot of different views on staying independent or going with the junior teams or whatever. If you’ve got a massive sponsor or backer then it’s logical to stay independent, but if you don’t, the only other way is to join one of these F1 programmes, which aren’t easy to become a part of either.
- Q: A lot of Australian motorsport fans know you via your relationship with Mark. He’s been pegged as everything from a manager to a mentor. What’s the official relationship there?
- Mitch: He does manage me. I signed a management contract with him at the start of 2011. I’ve seen in the media that they just think he’s my mentor. He does mentor me, but it’s a little more than that because he also manages me and helps direct me, and people probably don’t realise how much we actually see of each other. But that’s all good. We’re not too worried about that. But he does manage me, so that’s obviously pretty cool.
- Q: I’ve read that you were lodging with Mark at one point. Is that right?
- Mitch: No, but he does live about 50 metres down the road from me. I wouldn’t say it’s living together (laughs), but we do see a lot of each other.
- Q: You go down there for breakfast?
- Mitch: Yeah, exactly. We probably see more of each other than people probably think, doing preparation together and training together and so on.
- Q: What was your first point of contact with Mark?
- Mitch: I met Mark in 2009 at the Melbourne Grand Prix. I was racing in Formula Ford there in the support class and out of the blue got to go into the F1 pits, see the car, and then have a half an hour chat with Mark, which was awesome. From there, I didn’t think much of it. I tried to get in contact and write an email to him to say thank-you for his time, but I couldn’t really find anywhere to get in touch with him. So I left it at that, and then at the end of the year, he and Ann Neal got in contact with a few people in New Zealand who knew us, and they wanted to do something more for me. So that turned into a mentoring role for 2010 when I was in Formula 3. Then after that year, I signed for him to be my manager and that led me to going into GP3.
- Q: Do you cop much stick at home for being managed by an Australian?
- Mitch: Yeah, I get a little bit of stick, I guess. But it’s all good. Over here, we’re the same in a lot of ways. People think I’m from Australia all the time and that does piss me off a little bit. Some people don’t even realise New Zealand is its own country, which is a bit sad. Mark’s all good about me being a Kiwi, I guess, and we share a lot of the same interests. But when we get back home we’re enemies again (laughs).
- Q: Mark Webber could almost be an honorary Kiwi. He’s pretty mild-mannered for an Australian sportsman.
- Mitch: Yeah, absolutely. I agree with that (laughs).
I feel the need to say this.
When Mark decides what to do about his contract for next year and onwards it is obvious that whatever happens there will be a group of people that blame Sebastian. If he leaves RBR. Seb’s fault. If he leaves F1. Seb’s fault. If he stays at RBR people would say only to help Seb.
I just hope I’m proved wrong.
If people say that then they are dumb, the world does not revolve around Seb.
team grabby hands
I hate that people are already presuming he is leaving.
When the time comes it will go through a week of mourning with a totally black theme and lots of emotional photosets with quotes under them…
And then its business as usual following him in his next adventure!
This URL ain’t ever changing.