When they retire, pro race car drivers are typically set for life.
But at least one former Formula One driver not only is still racing, he’s also driving dead bodies to their final resting place.
Heinz-Harald Frentzen was a decent enough F1 driver. From 1994 through 2003, driving for Sauber, Williams, Jordan (which he had the most success with) and Prost, he made 155 starts in F1 and recorded three wins (Imola, Magny-Cours and Monza), 18 podium finishes and had a decent starting average of 8.9 and finishing average of 10.9.
Back in his hometown of Monchengladbach, Germany, the now 47-year-old Frentzen has tried to stay busy. Most recently, he’s been racing a Mercedes in Germany’s GT Masters Series.
But according to the Kolner Express newspaper, Frentzen will likely be sidelined much of the 2015 season recovering from extensive knee surgery that he underwent recently.
The original injury to his knee actually occurred while racing on the F1 circuit in 1999 when, while driving for Team Jordan, he wrecked in a race in Canada.
After 15 years of living with the pain, he finally decided to undergo surgery to repair it, even if it means not racing for up to a full year.
“My knee is still swollen and tender and I have to be careful,” Frentzen told Kolner Express. “It’s my braking leg and in GT Masters you need to brake very hard.”
So, looking for something new to do, he’s gone back to one of the odd jobs he’s had over the years – driving a funeral hearse for and helping out in other ways for his family’s mortuary.
“It’s true,” Frentzen said. “Even in my Formula One career, from time to time I helped my father with the business and now I’m helping my sister Nadine-Nicole.”
Frentzen’s father, Harald, died earlier this year and Nadine-Nicole has assumed control over the funeral home.
But you have to give a lot of credit to both Frentzen and his sister. When they take the recently departed to their final resting place, they go in style: a converted E-Class Mercedes hearse.
(Somehow, we just have to figure Heinz-Harald has done a little tweaking to the powerful motor.)
Whether that means Frentzen likes to give his “riders” one last high-speed ride isn’t clear, but he is taking his new role in stride.
“I’m actually retired and at the moment I don’t mind not racing in 2015,” Frentzen said. “But one should never say never.”
I guess that applies for both racing and funeral processions.
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