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Left-handed drivers


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#1 my_own_shadow

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Posted 03 July 2004 - 14:49

When I watched today's qualification at Magny-Cours I noticed that Paul Stoddart is a left-hander. And it became intersting which drivers are/were left-handed? Will be nice if you have any pictures to illustrate it.

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#2 maxie

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Posted 03 July 2004 - 15:32

Well, I'm a lefty and it really doesn't affect my driving at all ...

#3 LittleChris

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Posted 03 July 2004 - 15:35

There's a advertising pull out in this weeks Autosport which shows Jensen Button signing something with his left hand.

#4 Geza Sury

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Posted 03 July 2004 - 16:34

We had a one, although rather short thread about this topic a while ago. It was mentioned, that Ayrton Senna used to give autographs with his left hand. (I also recall having seen such a picture in of Rainer Schlegelmilch's photo books.) What more interesting, it doesn't necessarily mean he was left handed in general! The perfect example is me: I write with my left hand and wear the watch on my right, but I do everything else "normally", e.g. I hold the spoon in my right hand and I have a "right-handed" guitar unlike Paul McCarthney ;)

#5 D-Type

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Posted 03 July 2004 - 17:01

My father was right handed in everything: writing, handling a hammer and other tools, golf, etc, but he batted left-handed when playing cricket.

I don't know about racing drivers though - I'll have a look at photos in my books.

#6 D-Type

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Posted 03 July 2004 - 18:16

I had a quick look through various books. I have

Putting their right thumb over the champagbe bottle - Nigel Mansell, Nelson Piquet, Denny Hulme, John Watson, Alain Prost, Niki Lauda, Jean Alesi, J-P Jabouille, Jody Scheckter
Ditto but left thumb - only Ayrton Senna, who is accepted to be left-handed

Definitely right-handed
Signing things right handed - Mike Hawthorn and John Surtees
Holding a spade at the age of four - Damon Hill

Probably right-handed
Holding something else like a bottle or a glass in the right hand - Fangio, Ascari, Rindt, Stewart

So I think the theory that a disproportionate number of drivers are left-handed may be wrong

#7 my_own_shadow

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Posted 04 July 2004 - 17:40

Thanks, LittleChris, Geza, D-Type!

#8 David Hyland

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Posted 05 July 2004 - 01:24

Originally posted by D-Type
My father was right handed in everything: writing, handling a hammer and other tools, golf, etc, but he batted left-handed when playing cricket.

I don't know about racing drivers though - I'll have a look at photos in my books.

I once had a school-teacher who wrote right-handed when sitting at a desk, but wrote left-handed on the blackboard! She explained that she was naturally left-handed but that, as a child, had been forced to write "correctly", i.e. with her right hand. But writing on the blackboard was something she had learned as a young adult (i.e. when training to become a teacher), so her natural left-handedness prevailed.

#9 stuartbrs

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Posted 05 July 2004 - 01:38

Left handed people are 89% more likely to die in a work related injury than right handed people...

the only consolation being that 73.45% of all statistics are made up on the spot..

#10 Frank S

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Posted 05 July 2004 - 05:57

I write, throw, bat, trackball right-handed. Mouse left-handed. Ambidextrous in other useful endeavors.

#11 Megatron

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Posted 05 July 2004 - 10:50

No driver but I feel for anyone who is . I am a lefty, people think its cool, its odd but girls are attracted to it because they say your smater (I deny that) or more creative, at least thats what I have always heard.

The problem is getting ink all over your hands, moving a mouse on a PC with your right because it's always on the right for the rest of the population, etc.

#12 Rob Ryder

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Posted 05 July 2004 - 10:54

Originally posted by Frank S
Ambidextrous in other useful endeavors.


I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous ... ;)

#13 Lotus23

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Posted 05 July 2004 - 17:28

Raced a couple of cars (incl the 23) which were RHD with a LH gearshift. Initially it seemed a bit awkward to shift left-handed, but like anything else one really wants to do, it became habit before long.

I had a math teacher in high school who'd been in the Navy in WWII. His duty had entailed posting information on some sort of Plexiglas board which was then read by the decision-makers on the other side of the Plexiglas. Therefore, he'd learned to write in "mirror writing". He used to amuse us on occasion by doing so on the chalkboard.

Several years ago, I taught a student who could write "mirror writing" with her L hand while simultaneously writing the same info normally with her R hand. She said it just came naturally to her.

There have been cases of Multiple Personality Disorder (now called Dissociative Identity Disorder) where one personality was R-handed and another L-handed, both inhabiting the same body.

There's a lot about the human brain we don't yet understand.

#14 fingers

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Posted 05 July 2004 - 17:39

I have always said that it makes a difference in the lower formulae being left handed, it is far easier for a left-hander to cope with a right-hand bend especially track like Monaco. Since most tracks are clockwise that would definitely suit a left handed driver. I first noticed this when I was 13 in 1985 having observed Senna's onboard Lotus footage. IIRC Senna was left handed Jensons Button, Mansell ? I can't remember now but it is quite an interesting proportion.
I should image its something to do with helping the drivers keep control by having their dominant raised and straight powering the car into a right hander. A right handed driver will thus have their stronger arm and hand buried down by their stomachs. I think you would get different results if you reversed the tracks, ultimately though a talent like Schumachers comes from more than handedness.

#15 Lotus23

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Posted 05 July 2004 - 21:54

I had forgotten this 'til now, but in my 2-wheeled (Honda) days, I always found L-hand turns more "comfortable" to negotiate than R-handers. Especially if one were approaching ten-tenths. Dunno why; maybe it was some sort of subliminal fear of falling onto one's dominant side.

But many of my riding buddies felt the same way.

Never had that problem on 4 wheels (either RHD or LHD).

#16 onepablo

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Posted 06 July 2004 - 01:51

That's odd, because I always felt more comfortable when karting on clockwise tracks, and I'm right handed. We actually had a conversation about this topic at the local indoor track, as the decision had not yet been made as to which direction the race was to be held. The concensus (and most of the drivers were righties) was that left-hand corners were more "difficult" to make.

#17 vivafroilan!

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Posted 06 July 2004 - 20:50

I can't say for race cars, but for road cars, and especially when racing motocross, I've always been way more comfortable with left turns than right (I'm right-handed). I always assumed that had to do with growing up in the U.S., where all the ovals (and thus littlekid "Indy 500" bicycle races, etc.) were counterclockwise. Also, sitting on the left side when driving a road car, I just always felt less vulnerable when pushing it in a left hand turn because of being on the inside...

#18 subh

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Posted 06 July 2004 - 23:05

I got the autographs of several of the CART drivers at Rockingham in 2001, and I remember that an unusually high proportion of them were left-handed. I cannot remember exactly who was right and who left, but I feel sure that Oriol Serviá, Memo Gidley and at least two others were lefties. I also believe Valentino Rossi is another guy who is left-handed, and I would be interested to know how many racers at the top are lefties - I suspect a high proportion of lefties are particularly gifted (I’m not one, by the way), but have no tangible data to back me up.

#19 stylus

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Posted 31 October 2004 - 14:59

Fisi's signing the Donkey with his left hand (as is Button, already mentioned above). Everyone else is using their right hand.

Quite a few rally co-drivers appear to be left-handed, but I always forget to note which. Is there a practical advantage in it?

(BTW, I didn't realise it was a TNF thread when I first posted)

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#20 Alan Lewis

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Posted 02 November 2004 - 20:43

Originally posted by stylus
(BTW, I didn't realise it was a TNF thread when I first posted)


Does it make a difference?

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