McLaren driver Carlos Sainz became the person who ended the Woking team’s podium drought after five long years, all while consistently recording excellent performances during the 2019 season. Another thing that he has become famous for is singing the 1984 song, ‘Smooth Operator’ by the singer Sade (pronounced: shaa-day).
Recently, in a conversation with Motorsport.com, the Spaniard explained why he often belts out the song on the radio.
With regard to the song itself, Carlos heard the song often on the radio during the British GP weekend. The song hooked the 25-year old driver.
At the Hungarian Grand Prix, he heard it again on the radio. But he didn’t know the meaning of the words ‘smooth operator’. Once his radio engineer enlightened him on the meaning of ‘smooth operator’, he decided to call himself that. It created a running joke around him.
“But uh, I didn’t sing it because I considered myself a smooth operator, because I didn’t know what a Smooth Operator was.”
Every Formula One fan was first treated to Sainz’s crooning at the conclusion of the Hungarian GP. After asking his radio engineer, he proceeded to exercise his vocal chops.
Since that day at the Hungarian GP, it became a running joke between him and the McLaren team in the 2019 Formula 1 season. The Spaniard also revealed that there were numerous comments mentioning his name on the song’s official video.
He sang the song over the McLaren radio a few more times. Sainz last sang it when he finished 4th at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Afterward, the McLaren team was delighted when the stewards penalized Lews Hamilton for punting Alex Albon. This raised Carlos Sainz to third place on the podium and came as a pleasant surprise for the team.
Obviously, some people might try to correlate this surprising rise to the eventual podium to Carlos’s strange habit.
This was how a 1984 song made an F1 driver, born a decade after its release, famous! It defines the very purpose of music – it doesn’t know any geographical boundaries, languages, or even age!