Friday, 12 April 2013

F1 & Character development

F1 is one of my passions. And writing is another.

So how could recent events in this year’s early F1 season possibly have anything in common with my writing?

Last weekend a battle royal developed during the Malaysian Grand Prix that was fascinating to watch as events evolved but how could any of these actions between Webber and Vettel be relevant to writing?

Well for me – it’s more fun to write about flawed characters.

Without personal issues to deal with throughout the development of a short story or a chapter in your novel the reader would find lead characters without defects less appealing to read about. Their flaws show how humans err.

The more failings and tension the character displays adds to a scene... the better the chance an author has to hook in a reader.

Last weekend Vettel ignored a clear team order to stay behind his fellow team mate, Webber. (The F1 rules allow for this instruction to be issued and none of us spectators now why that specific instruction was issued.)

Webber exasperated by his fellow team mate over taking him simmered with a dark brooding contempt for Vettel that any heroine would find irresistible. And yet he contained his anger in public.

Whilst Vettel seemed unrepentant and turned to camera, then apologised as a six year old might- when sent by an embarrassed parent to confess and own up to being in the wrong. It was to say the least, an insult to Webber, as Vettel was disingenuous and insincere. At worst he lied and appeared arrogant.

Both scenarios made for fascinating viewing in this case and would translate well to the page and make interesting reading. We the spectators will watch this coming season with added interest as our heroes fight for what they believe to be right.

A desire to win, at ant price to be the Champion!

In my humble opinion Vettel should be suspended for one race to encourage him to obey instructions and play fair. But it seems that Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, appears to be impotent, by not reprimanding Vettel.

Again another fascinating asset, for any character/writer as this situation reveals the tension within the team. Why would a race leader choose to disregard such a public and flagrant abuse of his authority? I do not have the answers to this question and yet ruthless behaviour is often what we need for a character to succeed.

I for one shall watch this seasons F1 with added interest as the frisson between Webber (a personal favourite, what’s not to like?) and Vettel is bound to prove very entertaining.

Now if only I could write a character like this for my novel...


  1. Hello, I heard about this at the time, as OH is a big fan of F1, so I get regular updates.

    I work with a salesman who behaves so like Vettel, and a boss who behaves like Christian Homer. I feel very much like Webber! I had a lot of sympathy with him, as I watched him grit his teeth during his interview.

    But yes, you are right, these are the interesting characters in story, and we must have characters with major flaws to keep the story vibrant for the reader.

    Good post.

  2. Maria
    Thank you for your encouragement.
    I am still writing although these are not items I would want or could share with the general populace. I suppose I never stop writing…journal stuff and non fiction. At some point I will resume my novel and maybe after a long absence I will see how to make it better
    Regards Kay