This weekend I was increasingly annoyed by James Allen’s notion of ‘never giving up’. He used it incessantly during the race, and in his review of the race on itv-f1.com. He was claiming it was Schumacher’s ‘motto’, and that it has now become Alonso’s: this race being proof of how he never gives up.
I’ve got two problems with this. The first is that no driver ever gives up. It isn’t a motto, it’s the principle behind the whole sport, in fact behind every sport when any sportsman enters an event. They don’t give up until the game/race is over. That’s what sportsmen do. It isn’t a motto particular to any one or two. Everyone knows if you want to win that’s what you have to do.
My second problem is that whilst ‘never give up’ is true for an event, it isn’t a general motto for a sportsman’s life, because part of the very nature of being a sportsman is being able to know when to give up. There comes a point in every race when a driver does give up (if nothing else, at the chequered flag). Michael has given up on the championship, even though he could still win it. And more importantly, Michael has given up on F1 when clearly if he continued next year he’d still have a chance of winning. Michael, if he’s lucky, will live to about 80 years old – ie, the majority of his life will be out of Formula 1. This bizarrely short amount of life dedicated to one career is particular only to sportsman.
So, I wish James would stop saying his motto, because it is his motto, not Michael’s and not Fernando’s. James just invented it for himself. It doesn’t actually mean anything.