We hear you like to cook. What is your favorite dish to prepare?
RG: Well… How much time do we have? There are plenty of things I like to cook. My wife loves chocolates for dessert. When it comes to desserts, it has to be chocolates. I’m a French driver born in Switzerland, so I like to mix the two cultures. Whenever I cook, I cook more French than Swiss, but I like to incorporate some Swiss ingredients. I like to cook fish, homemade raviolis, plenty of things. Right now I would probably cook a foie gras and then I would go for some sort of fish or lobster.
On the flip side of that, we know you must train pretty hard to stay in shape. What’s your workout regimen like?
RG: In the summer I really like to cycle a lot. It’s long outings and good for my heart rate. In Formula One you really have to get your cardiovascular system up to a good level, so running and cycling are the two things I do the most. Then I incorporate some strength training sessions to reinforce the core and neck in case you have a crash. With the Gs (force), the neck needs to be a strong part of your body. I also need to keep my waist down because in Formula One that’s most important – to stay as light as possible. It’s not an easy job.
Being an athlete in a global sport gives you the chance to visit some really cool destinations. What’s your favorite stop on the Formula One calendar?
RG: Unfortunately, most of the time you see the airports, you see the hotel and you see the track unless it’s an area where we race back-to-back, like Singapore and Japan where you can spend a couple of days in Tokyo. Otherwise you never really get a chance to explore. I love Mauritius. I’ve been there a few times and it’d be nice to have a grand prix there. I think I’d go two weeks ahead.
What about young Romain? What were your childhood ambitions?
RG: I actually wanted to be a gold finder in the desert. I wanted to drive a 4x4 in the desert. I didn’t care about the gold, I just wanted to drive in the desert. I also loved skiing, cycling and cars in general. I started skiing, went to cycling and then eventually racing.
Did you have a favorite superhero growing up?
RG: I didn’t. I just like people who give 100 percent and are committed to what they do.
Do you have any pre-race rituals? Are there certain foods or activities you have before the race begins?
RG: It’s usually always the same – meetings, the paddock club appearance, eat and then the driver’s parade, get ready and jump in the car. I usually eat the same thing and at the same time – pasta, ham and a little bit of salad. It’s nothing too sexy, but it’s just good to have it in your body.
What about superstitions?
RG: I used to have a superstition about bringing the same underwear I wear for the race. I had a pair for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Then one time I forgot it and I won the race, so I said that’s useless.
What would be your sales pitch to a non-F1 fan?
RG: I think just to watch the race. The racing is pretty cool these days and I think we are driving the fastest car in the world right now. The technology and what we’re doing on the track is quite amazing. I would tell them to race a go-kart and then watch Formula One and ask what the difference is.