Reaching My Apex - With Sam BirdMaddy Slade | 17 Oct 2022
Recently, we sat down with British professional racing driver Sam Bird. Bird currently drives for Jaguar TCS Racing in the FIA Formula E World Championship, and has won a race in every season. Read our interview below to learn about how he reaches his Apex…
How did you get into racing?
I used to watch formula one on tv with mum and dad and thought the drivers were superheroes. I told my parents regularly that that’s what I wanted to do with my life. I was always obsessed with cars, I was taken gokarting when I was 8 and really caught the bug. From then on if my grades were good I was allowed to go karting, and if they weren’t then I wasn’t. It then just continued to grow from there, by 20 I was testing for Williams F1 and by 22 I was a reserve driving for Mercedes F1 working with Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg.
All the travelling that comes with it must be exhausting, how do you maintain your fitness routine when you’re away?
It’s really difficult, we always make sure the team puts us in hotels with a gym. I really enjoy working out and trying to push myself on a daily basis. If i’m somewhere with a spectacular scenery I’ll switch it up and make the most of it by going out for a nice run.
Is there anything you do to mentally prepare yourself before a race?
I’m currently working with a sports psychologist who has worked with exceptional athletes in the football world and the Olympics. I don’t consider it [having to work on your mental health] a weakness, it’s not that you’re weak in the head, it’s just another tool I use to unlock more potential, and I think it’s a strong thing to be able to do.
You recently competed in the London Formula E race with a broken hand, that’s pretty impressive! How do you stay motivated despite setbacks?
With that specific scenario - I’m there to do a job for Jaguar and there to do a job for myself - I needed to get championship points for myself and for my team. During the race I also had a slow puncture as a result of the collision but ended up placing 8th. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but as a sportsman you do what needs to be done for yourself and for your team and you would do anything. I’m proud of myself for doing what I did despite 45 minutes of searing pain.
Do you have a morning routine?
I don’t have a religious morning routine I always stick to, but one big thing for me is coffee. First thing is a glass of water and then it’s good old coffee - not instant, but a really good cappuccino or flat white. If I don't have my coffee I can be miserable a couple of hours later…
Do you have any wellbeing rituals? i.e. journaling, meditation
No - but racing-wise I do practise visualisation
What does health/balance mean to you?
At the end of the day I try to treat my body as if it was a performance race car as well; you have to fuel your body in the same way as you would fuel your engine. I always try and put decent food in my body and I’m always trying to better myself when it comes to performance. Gym-wise it’s a case of getting to the next level, what can I do to make myself run a couple of seconds faster? I’m always thinking about how I can improve. So I guess there’s always a goal and you just push yourself accordingly. Of course there’s always a time and a place for a party, I’m just not one to consume vast quantities of alcohol during the week, I just don’t enjoy the following day - I feel rubbish and I can’t train or be at my peak.
What is your Apex and how do you try to reach it?
My Apex is winning the formula E world championship - I will do anything to try and achieve that. Every other little goal that I try and achieve is geared up to getting to that point; that’s my Everest, that’s my Apex.