When you think of Formula 1 drivers, you may, as we do, picture a bygone era where daring men with intense gazes did combat not only on track but also in the style stakes. In fact, a friend of mine remembers being in Monaco as a teenager and seeing the great Ayrton Senna pull up outside the principality’s famous nightclub, Jimmy’z, on a motorbike on the evening of the Grand Prix he’d just raced in. She can’t recall whether he’d won or not, but seeing as this was the circuit where he clocked up more victories – six! – than on any other in his career, we’re guessing he just might have. And yes, he did have a woman riding pillion.
Today, some of the drivers still have the panache of their precursors, though there are fewer sideburns on show and the professionalisation of the sport has, as a rule, rendered them less flamboyant. Hard to imagine any of today’s crop sporting a badge reading “Sex Breakfast of Champions”, as was displayed on the race suit of one James Simon Wallis Hunt.
Of course, drivers past and present lead a pretty peripatetic life during the racing season, jetting all over the world. And the question we have is this: what luggage do they use? Now, one team is laying bare its secret: Scuderia AlphaTauri has announced Anglo-Swedish luggage-maker Carl Friedrik as its official luggage supplier. And it has launched a limited-edition carry-on case as a partnership project.
Known for its design and quality, Carl Friedrik took a brief from Pierre Gasly, Scuderia AlphaTauri driver, who explained the need for ‘practicality in the things you carry when you travel’. The response from the luggage designer has been to take Carl Friedrik’s tried-and-tested signature The Carry-on suitcase and update it. It now boasts a navy chrome shell and dark navy leather handles and trim, and is badged with discreet white joint branding.
‘Scuderia AlphaTauri represents elegance and lifestyle in the F1 paddock, that’s why a premium and fashionable brand like Carl Friedrik is a great fit for our team,’ says Franz Tost, Scuderia AlphaTauri team principal. But beyond the aesthetic, the case has to perform, and it was put through its paces by both the team and its engineers throughout last year’s F1 season. It came through admirably – the technical aspects ensuring it delivers on function as well as style. Witness a tough aluminium lock frame, durable telescopic handle and silent 360-degree spinner wheels.
Niklas Oppermann, Carl Friedrik co-founder says: ‘Having listened to driver Pierre Gasly, it’s clear how intense the F1 travel schedule is. The Scuderia AlphaTauri team requires high-performance luggage to ease the burden of near-constant travel. In our limited-edition Carry-on, they will find a suitcase with the right combination of durability and functionality to keep up.’
And what works for the professionals will do just fine for the rest of us, too.
The Scuderia AlphaTauri Carry-on, £365; carlfriedrik.com
By Peter Howarth, the editorial director of Secret Trips. You can follow him on Instagram at @petershowmedia