Racing drivers, like all sportsmen, are prone to superstition. From carrying lucky charms in their race suits to getting into a single-seat racer from the same side every time, there are stories of drivers believing in the little things that give them an edge.
Looking at the wrists of the drivers in the Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup, there seems to be a new craze — Power Balance wristbands. The nondescript bands can be seen on pretty much every driver on the grid including Aditya Patel's.
“I have no idea how it works,” said Patel. “All I know is it helps improve my performance in the car." Patel showed how the wristband seemed to improve his balance and core strength by asking the help of a bystander.
The volunteer was asked to stand on one leg with an arm held out sideways as Patel pushed down on the arm, causing him to lose his balance. This was repeated with the volunteer holding the band in his hand and he kept his balance.
Despite the sceptical grins, Patel insisted that the wristband was for real. “The driver who is leading the points' standings wears two on each arm so there must be something to it,” he said with a wry smile.
Judging by the athletes that Power Balance has on board, including NBA stars like Derrick Rose, there may actually be something to the silicone wristband that claims to use holographic technology that “enhances the wearer's natural energy field”.
In reality though, lawsuits against the company by the NBA's Shaquille O'Neal and Lamar Odom for fraud and false advertising paints a far more accurate picture.
The American company itself admitted that there is no credible scientific evidence to support their claims following pressure from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
One wonders how soon the penny will drop in the racing fraternity that believes in it, including, according to the company's official website, F1 driver Rubens Barrichello.
The writer's trip has been sponsored by Volkswagen