With his amazing sunglasses, beard and tousled hair, Nick certainly stands out in the paddock. But it's no big deal as far as he is concerned that he doesn't seem to conform to the stereotype. "Absolutely not,” he stresses. Because he doesn't deliberately set out to be different from the rest: "I find it much cooler to be so independent that it doesn't matter whether I follow mainstream fashion or not.”
As a Formula 1 driver, Nick is restricted in what he can wear, at least for official functions and when he is working at the track. "Sunglasses are one of the few things I can actually choose for myself,” he says. He makes good use of this freedom, though he doesn't follow any particular fashion trends. "Sure I put on a pair of glasses, but there's nothing calculating about it. I am not trying to send out any kind of message; I simply like sunglasses.”
He is also spontaneous when it comes to purchasing them: "If I happen to be passing a glasses shop, for instance at the airport when I am flying home, and I see a pair of shades that I like, then I buy them. But it's not planned.” Nick owns between 20 and 25 pairs of sunglasses. "I recently had a good clearout, because over time you just seem to accumulate things.”
And not just sunglasses. "Perhaps we'll have to get a new extra large wardrobe made, because we've accumulated rather a lot of items over the years,” says Nick with a smile. For the flyaway races, he usually plans his arrival a few days early so that he has a bit of time to go shopping: "Especially in Australia and in the large malls in places like Malaysia.” Patricia is even more delighted about the opportunities on offer. Like women the world over, she is an avid shopper. "Especially for handbags and shoes,” adds Nick. "Fortunately, I'm quite a shopper in my own right so I don't crash out as early as most men when we are both out trawling the malls and boutiques.”
Occasionally, Nick gets the opportunity to combine his sense of fashion, his love of sunglasses and his passion for art when he stands in front of the camera for a photo shoot. "I have already taken part in some pretty unusual photo shoots which had their own rather special vibe.” What particularly interests Nick is the enthusiasm and passion that the photographers bring to their work.
"I put myself in their hands and find it exciting to feel the artists' energy and see how they operate,” says Nick. "I really enjoy watching a photographer who works himself up into a state of ecstasy, puts on a huge performance and manages to turn the photo shoot into a real experience."
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