The Red Bull team principal on running a half marathon, his dogs and why Martin Brundle would be a dark horse in a fight
Hi Christian! Hi Small Talk, how’re you doing?
We’re top banana, thanks. You’re running the Silverstone Half Marathon for Wings for Life – how’s the training going? The training’s going … yeah, it’s going, put it that way. I can’t believe it’s only two weeks away, to be honest with you. I ran further than I’ve ever run before at the weekend, which was 12k, so I’m in with a chance.
What of winning? What time are you aiming for? No, I’m not bothered about time. Just as long as I see the chequered flag.
Have you had any problems with chafing? [Firmly. Clearly this will be the final word on chafing] No, I haven’t chafed anything yet.
Good, good. What’s on the iPod when you’re out for a run? Do you know, I haven’t got one.
But you’re at the cutting edge of F1 technology! I’m out there, just running.
So you’re more in tune with your surroundings, a natural style? Well, I wouldn’t say natural.
When you’re not perched on the pit wall or out for a run what do you do to relax? I just enjoy being at home. We live in the countryside in Oxfordshire. It’s a nice part of the world so it’s just nice to be away from it and at home with the dogs and my girlfriend and so on. That’s the best way of switching off.
How many dogs have you got? Three
And what are their names? What are their names? We’ve got two west Highland terriers and an Airedale.
Fair enough. Most people go for Spot or Fido or, if you’re Doc Brown in Back to the Future, Einstein, but each to their own. When you’re not at home, what’s your favourite city? Crikey. It’s difficult to say, there’s so many places that have got a lot of character and charm and appeal, whether it’s Melbourne or Singapore or Montreal or Budapest – they’re all great places to visit.
Now you’re involved in motor sport, but what’s your level of expertise with your own car? Can you fix it if you break down on the M40? [Chuckling] I doubt it very much. No. I would say I have a rudimentary understanding, let’s leave it at that.
But you could change a tyre if need be? If I could find the toolkit. And then work out how the jack works. They’re complicated these days. But obviously driving an Infiniti they never break down.
Well, we’re sure. Speaking of the M40, what’s the best thing about coming from Leamington Spa? The best thing about coming from Leamington Spa … is obviously the spa water.
Excuse our ignorance, but you drink that, right? Or do you bathe in it? [Laughs] I don’t think I’ve ever drunk it or bathed in it. Just knowing it’s there is enough.
What was you favourite childhood toy? Childhood toy …
[Small Talk reckons this’ll be a Scalectrix] … My god … ummmm
[Small Talk is pretty sure this’ll be a Scalectrix] … I can’t remember. It seems so long ago now …
[Yeah, it’s a Scalectrix] … for sure it would have had something to do with speed …
[Here we go] … so probably it would’ve been a Scalectrix.
Were you ever any good at other sports? I enjoyed having a go at other sports. I used to play a bit of tennis as a kid. And I was sort of OK. But anything to do with speed fascinated me.
Did you pass your driving test first time? Yep. Two weeks after my 17th birthday I was waiting at the end of the drive. I was desperate to get driving as quickly as possible.
And when you’re not driving and perhaps celebrating a race win, what’s your poison? [Lengthy pause, before inspiration strikes] Anything with Red Bull, obviously.
With vodka? Jagermeister? Oh, you can mix a lot of things with it these days.
And when you’re sipping away on your Red Bull and spirit, what bar snack would you most like to be nibbling on? [Chuckles] Oh, you’ve got me now … favourite bar snack … well, obviously being an athlete in training I’m avoiding bar snacks.
The healthiest ones are Japanese rice crackers. Small Talk tip for you. [In a tone that suggests he will not be keeping it in mind] Right, I’ll keep that in mind.
Tea or coffee? Coffee. Milk and sugar please.
Kylie or Britney? Erm, Kylie. That’s probably vastly out of date really now. Ah, well it’s a good job you didn’t mention any one more modern, I wouldn’t have known them.
What would you put in Room 101? [After a brief explanation of the concept] Speed cameras.
A lion and a tiger are going mano a mano – who comes out on top? The tiger
Any particular reason? [Lengthy, increasingly exasperated pause] Not really. Perhaps they eat more Frosties.
What about a fight between Martin Brundle and Eddie Irvine? Oh, crikey. That’d be a bit like that fight in Bridget Jones. Martin would be the dark horse actually.
But Eddie’s looks like a wiry type, useful in a scrap. Eddie’s got the talk but whether he could pack a punch? I don’t know. Probably.
Would you rather be attacked by a horse-sized duck or 20 duck-sized horses? I’d rather not be attacked by either to be honest.
Small Talk didn’t push you on the bar snacks. We let you get away without telling us your dog names. But on this we really must insist … Oh, Christ. Err … ducks can be fairly vicious … Yep. Swan’ll break your arm. I’ll go for the duck-sized horses.
Who would play you in the film of your life? [With an air that suggests time is running out] I’ve got no idea.
And last of all can you tell us a joke? Not any good ones.
Not even your dinner party standby? I can’t think of any that are printable, to be honest.
Not to worry Christian, thanks for your time. No problem, Small Talk. Bye!