Confidence and Paranoia (1998).
"Mika was going to be the winner and Michael just wanted to show him who was the boss.
That is why Mika took the risk to overtake him then and there. Michael realised what
was happening and he said that no-one would allow this to happen, so they tangled.
It was just fantastic. I saw it and it was amazing. I am sure they will have such
a big competition in their careers in Formula One. Since that day, I think Mika has
been waiting for a chance to get his own back on Michael. Just one good chance."
- Christoph Schulte, racing journalist, looking back on the 1990 race in Macau in 1994.
"I am not saying we are the best of friends, but we understand each other very well.
He is a good guy and I like him. He is the kind of guy you can have a very hard, fair,
fight with, then step out of the car and shake hands with. He doesn't complain 'that
was not fair' or 'that was not correct'....I can cope with guys like this."
- Michael Schumacher describing his relationship with David Coulthard in 1996.
"Perhaps we should add 'Doing a Schumacher' to the Nineties lexicon: meaning blaming
someone else for your own mistakes."
- Letter to the Daily Mail, September 14 1998.
The 1998 season revealed very clearly why Michael is too valuable a commercial asset to be punished for his many misdemeanours as he emerged as the only real threat to his Macau sparring partner, Mika Hakkinen, in the vastly superior McLaren car. With the exception of two races in which Hakkinen's teammate, the young Scot David Coulthard, and Damon Hill took the honours, the two won everything. No Schumi, no championship battle. As per usual, Michael was involved in lots of controversial incidents. In Argentina he barged race leader Coulthard off the track (see picture left), leaving him to salvage an eventual sixth position that could have been a victory. In Canada he did the same thing to Heinz-Harald Frentzen, ending his race, and for good measure also accused Hill of trying to "kill" him by "deliberately" weaving in front as Michael tried to overtake as they battled for second place (1). This shows that even though Damon is not a championship threat any more Michael cannot resist the chance to berate him - he obviously does still regard him as a danger. Michael also tussled with Hill during the Japanese Grand Prix, even going so far as to suggest that Damon might have a "Schumacher complex"! (2).
However, one incident stood out among all the rest. This was the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa - the most revealing incident psychologically of Michael's career. The first lap saw a massive thirteen car pile up, the biggest in Formula One history, triggered by both a spinning David Coulthard and the race organisers' refusal to use the safety car despite the heavy rain - thus spectacle triumphed over safety again. The race was restarted and Michael soon grabbed the lead after tapping Hakkinen's car into the gravel on the first lap and then overtaking the flying Hill on lap 8. After that it seemed as though no one could catch him, and he had increased his lead to over thirty seconds by lap 26, when he came up behind Coulthard. Michael could see very little through the pouring rain and smacked into the back of the Scot as he tried to overtake him, ending the race for both of them. Michael climbed out of his wrecked car, stalked over to the McLaren garage, and tried to attack Coulthard, claiming that he too had tried to "kill" him.
This incident revealed very clearly that Formula One, like all sports (and wars!) can reawaken the primal instinct in males to compete against one another. Michael here regressed to the primal stage - Coulthard later claimed that he appeared to him as "a wild animal" (see picture, right). The fact that Michael would not back off here, pushing far too hard in a race that he was comfortably leading, proved to be his downfall - a classic case of the hunter unable to give up the chase. Coulthard was furious, condemning Michael's behaviour as "unacceptable and disgusting", and suggested that he should "get some help" to control his anger (3).
The stewards' verdict, supported by most people, was that the whole incident was Michael's fault as telemetry readings showed that Coulthard did not slow down noticeably as Michael came up behind him and did move aside for him to pass. Only die-hard Ferrari fans whose fervent nationalistic pride blinds them to Michael's faults (such as the one who designed the banner pictured left) could claim otherwise and vilify Coulthard. Michael was therefore guilty of using what is known to sports psychologists as the "Self Serving Bias" (taking credit for successes but blaming others for failure) - as Coulthard said to him "It was you who ran into the back of me, pal" (4). It would have been ironic in any case for Michael to blame David considering the move he had used on him a few races earlier during the Argentinian Grand Prix and, indeed, on Hakkinen at Spa itself. To make the Spa debacle even worse for Michael, the race was eventually won by old rival Damon Hill's Jordan with Ralf, now his teammate and under orders not to overtake, second.
The real significance of the events at Spa became apparent in its aftermath. As with all Formula One disagreements, the PR machine intervened, and Michael and David met in the neutral territory of the Williams motorhome a few days later to discuss the incident and were photographed shaking hands (see picture right). However, Michael refused to apologise even after this truce: "He screwed up and he knows it" (5). This is the crucial point: stray punches thrown in the heat of the moment are not unusual in F1 (great drivers such as Senna, Mansell, Prost and Piquet all had regular tussles with each other in their day), but tensions are usually resolved by the next race. Michael, though, has continued to believe that Coulthard, who is considered to be one of the fairest and most honest drivers in Formula One, deliberately tried to kill him as part of a conspiracy to let Hakkinen win the World Championship. This is a very paranoid viewpoint, as David duly noted (6) - only a seriously disturbed person could think that anyone would risk their life for someone else's championship. Michael and David's continued animosity is particularly ironic as before this incident the Scot was one of Michael's very few friends in F1; Michael used to cite him to prove that he could get along with British drivers! Coulthard says that he has now lost a lot of respect for Michael as a person. He talks about his disappointment with him in his book about the 1998 season (David's Diary), which reveals that he is clearly still very angry at Michael's continued refusal to take responsibility for the incident (7).
For this despicable behaviour, Michael was berated by the world's press (even in Germany and Italy) who realised how close he was to the edge (my favourite comment - "It's a wonder Schumacher can sleep at night with a persecution complex as big as his trophy cabinet" (8)). The Daily Mail's Ray Matts gave a particularly worrying appraisal:
"The Ferrari driver is suffering from an acute case of megalomania.....just like Senna,
he seems to have acquired a dangerous belief that he can do no wrong. His verbal assault
on Coulthard, which would have become physical had he not been restrained by an assortment
of McLaren and Ferrari minders, was the latest evidence of a man whose ambition has
made him lose touch with reality.....One is bound to question the dark inner thoughts
of a man who can seriously believe a fellow competitor could be guilty of the callous
premeditation he erroneously ascribed to Coulthard"
"He who is like God" never lived up to his name more strikingly than here! (10). In sum, then, the Spa incident clearly demonstrated that Michael is moving closer towards a neurotic state, which is not pathological yet but may soon be as he is alienating himself from the other drivers even more than previously. How long will it be before his paranoid obsessions start affecting his relationship with his wife and children? He is losing his grip on reality, which leads to the infantile realm of the Imaginary Order. Coulthard's description of Schumacher as "living in a fantasy world on Planet Michael" (11) perfectly illustrates this.
As a final irony, it was later clear that this incident with Coulthard replaced the one with Ralf at the Nurburgring the previous year as the event that ruined Michael's championship hopes (12). Michael's attitude to the Nurburgring crash was vastly different to the Spa one; despite his obvious anger, he dismissed it as "a racing accident": "It is a shame that the incident happened with my brother, but I don't think anyone is to blame for what happened as it was not a deliberate move" (13). Michael clearly regards only family members as above suspicion of "attempted murder" charges!
Whilst the 1998 season was clearly a very damaging one for Michael's reputation, he did manage to atone for his previous misdemeanours somewhat at the last race in Japan, despite his jibe at Hill. He retained his composure when a puncture ended his race (and the chance of winning the Championship) on lap 31, consenting to interviews with the world's press. He was also the first to congratulate Hakkinen as a "worthy champion" as the Finn pulled into the parc ferme after the race (see picture left). Hakkinen's triumph here can be seen as a symbolic (and Symbolic) victory as he finally got his revenge on Michael for making him cry after their collision at Macau in 1990, which put him in the Imaginary Order as crying is an infantile phenomenon. Michael's dignified performance here may have won him back some of the respect from the F1 fraternity that he lost after Spa, though he can hardly be said to have found "redemption" to the stage James Allen seems to suggest in his recent biography (14).
And what of the younger Schumacher? As we have seen, in the 1997 season Ralf showed promise in his early races, though his performances later declined sharply. This was reversed in 1998, however, as this time he made a bad start to the season but had improved dramatically by the middle. Abandoning the impetuousness of youth that had proved his undoing the previous year, Ralf gradually learned to drive on (rather than over!) the limit and thus keep the car on the road. Despite having to start from the back of the grid, he gained the crucial first point for the Jordan team with a stunning wet weather drive to sixth place at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
The Austrian Grand Prix revealed that Ralf was not going to do Michael any favours on the racetrack. On lap 50 the elder Schumacher came up behind his younger brother, then in fourth place, and Ralf held him off successfully (in his less powerful Jordan) for four laps. At one point Michael locked up his brakes and almost spun off the track as he fought to get past (something that was duly noted by the press - see Autosport cartoon right). "He was there to race, not give me any presents....he fought all the way to the end" (15), noted the chastened elder brother. Ralf also outqualified Michael at the German Grand Prix, thus outshining him on home territory. Michael managed to salvage something in the race by pipping Ralf to fifth position - but the damage had been done.
Ralf, then, is clearly beginning to challenge Michael's superiority. As a result, the press are beginning to project a more favourable view of him. Autocourse's response is fairly representative of the press' views. Editor Alan Henry dismissed Ralf's 1997 performance thus: "Ralf Schumacher was a disappointment. The more experience he gained, the more he over-drove and the less effective he became. By the end of the season his driving style seemed to verge on panic-stricken" (16). In 1998 his opinions were much more positive: "By the middle of 1998 [Ralf] was maturing fast. By the end of the year he was driving really well and taking full advantages of any imaginative strategies the team might offer him" (17). Ralf was considered by many to be the season's "most improved driver" (18) and was placed at number six or seven in "top ten" driver lists, which he did not feature in at all the year before (see below.) We can conclude that this "butcher" has learned to be a hunter.
Sadly, this maturer outlook was not reflected in his personality, despite visits to a sports psychologist (!). Jordan's commercial director Ian Phillips complained that Ralf's "tantrums" made him difficult to work with. These mood swings, as Phillips suggested, may have been caused by Ralf's desire - obsession? - to prove that he can beat his elder brother:
"His biggest problem is that he wants to get there too soon. That's the problem with
being Michael's brother. He wants everything that Michael's had. He believes he is
equally talented if not better. And who knows? He's certainly very fast"
Several incidents provide evidence of Ralf's immature behaviour in relation to the other drivers. He deliberately blocked Frentzen in qualifying during the Japanese Grand Prix as he felt that Frentzen had got in his way on an earlier run, an Imaginary act that recalls Freud's infantile defence for hitting John - "I hit him 'cos he hit me" (20). Formula One is far too dangerous for this sort of juvenile behaviour: Frentzen ran off the track at over 100 mph and was lucky not to be injured. Ralf may be too young to remember that Gilles Villeneuve was killed in a similar incident during qualifying for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix as he swerved to avoid a slower car (Jochen Mass's March) that had moved across in front of him. It is unbelievable that someone would set out to cause such an accident deliberately, but this is clearly what Ralf was doing. In addition, Ralf was involved in a road collision with a small boy during the Spa weekend and left the scene without ascertaining whether or not the child was injured - hardly a mature (or indeed ethical) response. Ralf spent most of the 1998 season doing National Service (in the Luftwaffe!), but this does not appear to have helped him to become a more agreeable person.
Ralf also demonstrated this immature attitude after being beaten by Damon Hill at the Belgian Grand Prix. Damon jumped on the podium like Michael usually does whilst Ralf stood beside him sulking as he was annoyed at being told not to overtake the man who, in contrast to Fisichella the year before, he had otherwise been outshining all season (see Fig 3.5). He had not cheered up by the press conference either (see picture left). As Eric Silbermann of F1 News noted: "He was ungracious and showed a total lack of team spirit" (21). Team spirit is not something that Michael has much of either: his insistence on number one status effectively stymies any chance of a championship challenge from his unfortunate teammates. Ralf seemed somewhat happier when he joined his brother on the podium for the first time with a third place in the Italian Grand Prix two weeks later, even though this did entail symbolic castration for two races running.
The Spa incident, however, proved to be the only real dark point in Damon and Ralf's relationship - the two appeared to get on well despite Damon's former history with Michael (22). Ralf, though, did side with his brother in any confrontations. He told reporters after the Japanese Grand Prix that Damon had refused a request from Eddie Jordan to let Michael pass him, a claim that was dismissed by Ian Phillips in no uncertain terms as "rubbish" (23). It certainly seems very unlikely that Eddie would try to help Michael after the Benetton debacle, which he still remembers with bitterness. For his part, Damon did a fine job of oppressing Ralf to the Imaginary, at one point describing him as "just a kid" which seems an odd thing to say about a twenty-three year old (24). No other young driver gets patronised as much as Ralf does!
Ralf was beginning to assert himself on the legal front too. Eddie was left wishing that he had never asked "who the hell is Schumacher?" when "little Schumi" proved that he could be as fussy about contracts as Michael had been seven years earlier. After an unproductive first half of the season with Jordan, Ralf decided (after much discussion with Michael) to move to Williams. Eddie Jordan believed that he had him under contract for the 1999 season, but Ralf denied this and promptly issued a legal writ against the team claiming that he was free to leave. Eddie fumed for a while then agreed to settle out of court, charging Ralf an undisclosed sum of money to be released from the team. This prompted an angry outburst from Michael, who allegedly told the press that: "Williams is the best for Ralf because they will do everything to get back on top again, whereas Jordan is known to always be thinking about money" (25). This was greeted with disbelief by most of the F1 fraternity: what right did Europe's highest paid sportsman (who netted £75 million from all sources of revenue in 1998) have to accuse anyone else of being greedy? A cartoon in F1 Racing (see right) that depicted this conflict portrayed Ralf as a tiny baby - even though the press are regarding him more favourably now, he is still in the Imaginary as far as they are concerned.
Eddie eventually decided on a straight swap between Ralf and Williams driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Everyone concerned was said to be "happy" with this arrangement (except Damon Hill, who never forgave Frentzen for taking his seat at Williams). Michael, however, spoilt the mood by attacking Eddie a few weeks later for not letting Ralf challenge for the lead at Spa - how ironic is this, coming as it does from the supremo of team orders? Of course, Michael would not really have wanted Ralf to win, but it was easy for him to say that he did in retrospect when the race was over. This shows that Michael is protective over Ralf to the point of being interfering - as Eddie perceptively noted: "I'm not sure what's going to become of [Ralf] if Michael is going to be forever whispering in his ear" (26). Surely Ralf must resent this, as it must be very embarrassing to have your big brother show up every time you get into in trouble. However, this also has its advantages as Michael saved Ralf from a night in jail after the hit-and-run incident at Spa by placating the (fortunately uninjured) boy with an autograph.
At the same time, Michael is beginning to recognise what a threat his younger brother has come to represent. The illusion of a harmonious relationship between the two is once again beginning to show itself to be false, this time under pressure from Michael himself, as he feels the need to oppress Ralf directly now. This was made very clear in an interview in the Sunday Times "Relative Values" series in which both brothers participated. Michael adopted an extremely patronising attitude towards his younger brother, stating that he is "not ready" for a serious relationship with the opposite sex and that his relationships with women never last (27). Michael was thus oppressing Ralf to the Imaginary Order here by suggesting that he is sexually immature. It is hardly Michael's place to talk about Ralf's sexual habits, especially since Ralf himself did not mention them in the interview. Ralf is clearly aware that he is competing with Michael on the sexual plane as well as on the race track - he stated in a later interview (in which Michael did not participate!), that one of his ambitions was "to marry and have children" (28). He knows that he needs to marry and reproduce to prove his sexual maturity, especially since his brother has a wife and children already.
However, Ralf has become known for being shy around women and often gets defensive if asked questions about his "girlfriend" as he likes to keep his personal life out of the public eye. It is not hard to see why - the only event in his private life that was picked up on by the (British) media was his brief love tryst with "glamour" (read: topless) model Jordan, over which the gutter press were less than complimentary about his sexual prowess (or lack of it, as it turned out). As Keith Oswin of Autosport remarked, if they are to be believed "Ralf isn't as hot between the sheets as he is on the race track" (29). These derogatory articles will have served to give Ralf further proof of his castrated condition and could perhaps have even more serious effects. Freud believed that disappointment or frustration in the heterosexual sphere was bound to drive a person in the opposite direction (i.e. towards homosexuality) (30), and Ralf's first experience with Jordan certainly constitutes an example of this type of heterosexual failure.
Ralf tried his best to "keep it up" for Jordan...
...but at times she seemed more interested in Damon Hill!
Due to his unusual upbringing, Ralf may also have developed the strong mother fixation that Freudians see as an important factor in the development of homosexual tendencies. The boy who is too strongly attached to his mother is unable to leave his Oedipal attachments behind as he reaches maturity. All women eventually become identified with her: hence all are forbidden by the incest taboo and resulting fear of castration. He is incapable of indulging in a normal sexual relationship, turning his attention to males instead as they appear less threatening. In a mother fixated son aware that she wanted girls, this attachment to males could alternatively be seen as an example of "deferred obedience", in which the man attempts to fulfil his mother's wish for a daughter by playing the feminine role and adopting the love object of a woman (i.e. a man). Ralf certainly identifies with women - the wish to "marry and have children" is usually considered to be the classic feminine one (31).
Ralf's egoism can also be attributed in part to repressed homosexual tendencies. As Freud stated in his Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, egoism has narcissism as its "libidinal complement" (32), and narcissism is closely associated with homosexuality as both are experienced in infancy when the baby assumes that everyone has genitals like its own and loves men and women indiscriminately. An adult (male) homosexual is often said to have taken himself as a love object, seeking out members of the same sex to love as they resemble him anatomically, possessing the prized genital organ that he cannot be without in his partner (33). In sum, then, Ralf can be said to be susceptible to (repressed) homosexual feelings from three major sources: his disappointing prior relationships with women, his mother fixation and his egoism.
It is also worth noting that certain of Michael's traits link him to the homosexual sphere: firstly, like Ralf, through his unshakeable egoism and the fact that he was also feminised by his mother (though to a less extreme degree) but also by his tendency towards paranoia. Freud's description of the paranoid ego as "egoistic and megalomanic" certainly appears to fit Michael! (34). He believed that paranoia (which is also closely allied with narcissism) was often precipitated by repressed homosexual phantasies. Fearing that his affection for another of the same sex is becoming too strong, the paranoiac inverts these feelings of love, leading to delusions of persecution in which the once loved one becomes his own worst enemy, often possessing diabolical powers with which to harm him (35).
This theory provides us with another means of understanding Michael's intense antagonism towards Damon Hill. It is caused by persecution anxiety generated partly (as we have seen), by the 1918 complex and his own inferiority complex, but also, we might add, by repressed homosexual feelings that he has built up in his unconscious toward this attractive but dangerous opponent, which he fears could be discovered and used against him. If Damon has a "Schumacher complex" then Michael certainly has a "Hill complex"! However, so far, Michael, having got married and produced two children, appears to have been fairly successful at repressing these inclinations. Except in cases where paranoia has triumphed, he has managed to sublimate his secret desires for other men into harmless channels - for example, in the enthusiastic embraces he gives to everyone around him after a victory. Michael is the most affectionate of all the drivers (36).
Sleeping with the enemy? Michael and Damon in happier times.
Freud linked his homosexual feelings for Fliess and Jung to his death wishes against Julius as he saw his "little victories" over them (which precipitated his fainting attacks) as repeats of his first "little victory" over his hated younger brother. Therefore, Michael and Ralf's latent homosexuality may perhaps also conceal their true feelings for one another (37). Neither would ever acknowledge these sublimated homosexual tendencies - Formula One is such an aggressively heterosexual environment that such feelings are invariably repressed far into the unconscious, and those who cultivate them openly are barred (38). Michael finds the need to oppress his brother growing ever stronger so pushed him to join Williams, a team that everyone thought would not be capable of challenging for the World Championship for another four years.
1)See Schumacher, Michael, quoted in Autosport, June 1 1998.
2) See Schumacher, Michael, quoted in Autosport, November 5 1998. For further discussion about Michael's feelings towards Damon, see the end of this section.
3) See Coulthard, David, quoted in Autosport, September 3 1998.
4) See Coulthard, David (with Gerald Donaldson) (1998) David's Diary: The Quest for the Formula 1 1998 World Championship, Simon & Schuster Ltd, London, p.229.
5) See Schumacher, Michael, quoted in Autosport, October 22 1998.
6) See Coulthard, David, quoted in Autosport, September 3 1998.
7) Even over a year later, Michael showed that he had not forgotten Spa - see the next section.
8) See Skewis, Mark "Counting the cost", in Autosport, September 3 1998.
9) See Matts, Ray "Schu owes us all an apology" in The Daily Mail, September 1 1998.
10) This being the Hebrew meaning of the name "Michael".
11) See Coulthard, David, quoted in Motoring News, September 9 1998.
12) Even though Hakkinen eventually finished 14 points ahead of Michael, surely the German would not have pushed so hard if he had had more points at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix.
13) See Nottage, Jane (1998) Ferrari: The Passion and the Pain (revised edition), CollinsWillow, London, p.170.
14) See Allen, James (1999) Michael Schumacher: The Quest For Redemption, Partridge, London.
15)See Schumacher, Michael, quoted in Autosport, July 30 1998.
16) See Henry, Alan (ed.) (1997) Autocourse 1997-8, Hazleton Publishing, Surrey, p.27.
17) See Henry, Alan (ed.) (1998) Autocourse 1998-9, Hazleton Publishing, Surrey, p.21.
18) See, for example Arron, Simon (ed.) (1998) Grand Prix Year 1998, Hazleton Publishing, Surrey; Penfold, Chuck (1998) Formula One The 1998 Season: The Showdown, Michael O Mara Books Ltd, London.
19) See Phillips, Ian, quoted in Motoring News, January 27 1999.
20) See The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), Standard Edition V, p.484.
21) See Silbermann, Eric "Grand Prixview", in F1 News, September 5 1998.
22) It is of course possible that Damon's prior relationship with Michael was precisely what made his friendship seem attractive to Ralf, since joining forces with this "enemy" served to defy the oppressive authority of his elder brother.
23) See Phillips, Ian, quoted in F1 Racing, December 1998.
24) See Hill, Damon, quoted in Autosport, September 17 1998.
25) See Schumacher, Michael, quoted in Autosport, September 3 1998.
26) See Nicholson, Jon and Maurice Hamilton (1999) Against the Odds: Jordan's Drive to Win, Macmillan, London, p.229.
27) See Schumacher, Michael, quoted in The Sunday Times Magazine, July 5 1998.
28) See Schumacher, Ralf, quoted in GPX, August 20 1998.
29) See Oswin, Keith "What the papers say" in Autosport, May 13 1999. Ralf's sexual prowess, then, has clearly not improved the way his racecraft has. It is possible that guilty feelings generated by his superego contributed to his failure to perform - good Catholics, after all, are supposed to remain celibate until their wedding night. Despite this rather unfortunate initial experience, Ralf and Jordan have managed to maintain a relationship of some kind, a "special friendship" as Jordan has described it. See "Jordan" [Katie Price], quoted in F1 Racing, September 1999.
30) See Case History of Schreber (1911), Standard Edition XII, p.46.
31) Although many men desire marriage and children as much as women do, it is unusual to find them expressing this consciously, especially at such a young age. It may perhaps be relevant to note that Michael started dating Corinna at the age of twenty-two and married her when he was twenty-five, and Ralf is already twenty-four....
32) See Introductory Lectures in Psychoanalysis (1915-17), Standard Edition XVI, p.418.
33) See On Narcissism (1914), Standard Edition XIV. There is in fact no contradiction for the male homosexual between identifying all women with his mother, wanting to play the part of a female and taking himself as a love object since all three have the same ultimate result, that of making all women inaccessible and leading to same sex love.
34) See Freud, Sigmund and Carl Gustav Jung (ed. William McGuire; trans. Ralph Manheim and R. F. C. Hull) ([various dates] 1974) The Freud/Jung Letters, Hogarth Press and Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, London, p.39. Adler's work on the paranoid character also provides a good description of Michael: "The [paranoiac] blames others for the lack of success in his exaggerated plans, and his active striving for complete superiority results in an attitude of hostility towards others". See Adler, Alfred (ed. Heinz L. and Rowena R. Ansbacher) ([various dates] 1956) The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler, George Allen & Unwin Ltd, London, p.317.
35) See Case History of Schreber (1911), Standard Edition XII.
36) Sport itself can serve as an outlet for such impulses, as George A. Miller notes in his study of a thirty-five year old hyper-masculine but heterosexually inexperienced male athlete: "Perhaps the athletic activity conceals, yet simultaneously indulges, some deeply disturbing impulses he does not dare to admit consciously." See Miller, George A. ( 1966) Psychology: the science of mental life, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, p.298.
37) More information about Ralf and Michael's childhood relationship would be necessary if this argument was to be developed further: unfortunately, it has not yet been forthcoming.
38) Thus openly gay racing drivers exist only in the minds of sport fiction writers. One example is Mario Rodriguez, the brash young South American wannabe hero of Sally Armstrong's novel Racers ( 1999, Pan Books, London). He meets the fate of most fictitious young gay male characters: death.
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