A lucky boy gets a friendly hug from Sauber F1 and former Chelsea football star Esteban Gutiérrez (photo by VOXSPORTS).
Halfway through the Formula 1 (F1) in Schools workshop, where students were busy sanding down their wooden racing cars, a flurry of excitement erupted as Sauber F1 Team’s rookie racer and former Chelsea FC player Esteban Gutiérrez settled down amongst them to start working on a car figurine of his own.
This rare opportunity for youngsters to interact with the Sauber F1 members, which included team marketing director Alex Sauber, was the result of a year-long partnership between Barclays Premier League’s Chelsea Football Club and Sauber Formula 1 Team, which came to a head on the 18th of September with a Dribble and Race event held at Henderson Secondary School.
Mr Liau Thion Huat, the event’s operations manager, recounts how the response to the event.
Gutiérrez watching a student demonstrate how to affix wheels onto a car (photo by VOXSPORTS).
“We had to say no to many students; they all wanted to join after hearing what will be happening,” he says. “It was overwhelming.”
Consisting three segments - a workshop, a sharing session, and a football clinic, Dribble and Race saw 48 students from Chelsea FC Soccer School Singapore and the F1 in Schools programme take part in an afternoon of sports.
A shy student mustered up enough courage to ask Gutiérrez if he felt hot driving in his racing car, to which he replied, “Yes, it is. Especially in humid countries [which] includes Malaysia, since the race there is in the day.”
Sauber, however, was quick to assure the youths that there was a nifty system in place within the cars to ensure the drivers stay hydrated.
The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the football clinic, as the youngsters decked out in their football attire, were presented with a chance to dribble the ball and score a goal against the former Chelsea star.
Joining them was Chelsea FC’s mascot, Stamford the Lion, as he entertained and cheered them on.
On the event, Gutiérrez was all praises.
He said with a wry smile, “I think it’s all good, because I got to play football, while also getting my hands dirty making the car and talking to the kids at the same time.”