In 2010, two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso accepted the challenge of life in red. A year later biking superstar Valentino Rossi waved goodbye to the Japanese machinery that had delivered his seven MotoGP titles (his two 'junior' crowns were won on Aprilias) to join Ducati.
So it was during the 21st edition of 'Wrooom', the annual media ski event sponsored by Philip Morris, the chief commercial partner of both Ferrari F1 and Ducati MotoGP (with additional support from Fiat, Shell and Puma) that the two champions met for the first time, and proceeded to, literally, paint the beautiful resort that familiar scarlet a year ago.
In celebration of the milestone event, ace snapper Ercole Colombo, one of the prime movers behind Wrooom - now as much part of the F1 calendar as a grand prix - collated a number of photographs into a superb 200-page softback book, with each chapter supplemented by interviews with the two champions during which they were asked identical questions, with the idea being to "conduct a parallel look at their lives in red and their encounter in Campiglio".
What follows are selected excerpts from the resulting publication Wrooom 2011. As could be expected from two highly individual sportsmen, in many instances their answers could not stand in greater contrast; equally, the book reveals a host of startling similarities. What follows is not a book review, but rather a dive into the fascinating mindsets of two of motorsport's greatest champions.
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South African-born Dieter trained as industrial engineer before holding down a variety of senior motor industry marketing and manufacturing positions. At the age of 40 he decided to follow his passion, and became the first and only South African journalist to cover Formula 1 regularly. Dieter joined AtlasF1 at the beginning of 2004 – a year prior to its merger with Autosport – and his regular column offers an intriguing analysis of F1’s politicking and commercial chicanery. Although now also proudly Belgian, he gives his domicile as "Wherever F1 duplicity lurks".@RacingLines More features by Dieter Rencken