Bailey Smith at the 2024 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. Image: Ralph Lauren Fragrance.

AFTER THE DRIVERS themselves, Bailey Smith might win the award for the most selfie and autograph requests at the 2024 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix. The Western Bulldogs star midfielder, who is at the GP as a guest of Ralph Lauren Fragrances, is stopped every few metres by a fan, and every time, he obliges with a polite smile. Sometimes even throwing up a backwards peace sign. He might be watching his beloved Doggies play from the sidelines this year – the midfielder tore his ACL while training back in September – but his popularity has never been stronger, and his outlook on the situation is admirably positive. 

“It’s a big change to your routine,” he acknowledges about the injury. “But it’s certainly made me not take my position for granted… you can get caught up in the stresses, the anxiety and the pressure of it all, but to be removed from it like I am now, I really do miss it. I’m grateful to be able to run out and play the game I love.” 

Today, though, he’s watching the Formula 1 drivers play the game they love. And that’s tearing around the grid around 220 miles per hour, overtaking their opponents, eyes on the podium. Smith is a big Lewis Hamilton fan. “I got a fist bump from him in 2022,” he says with a grin. “He also dresses sort of similar to me – just a bit more colourful. But it’s the oversized, baggy approach… I just love the way he goes about it.”

Those fans asking for autographs – they love the way Smith goes about it. While he’s entertaining to watch on the field, his blonde shock of hair cutting through packs at breakneck speed, his cheeky sense of humour, entrepreneurial spirit – he’s the founder of vodka ready-to-drink company Barry – and fresh personal style endear him to fans off the field, too. 

At the Grand Prix, Smith is wearing head-to-toe blue: a Nike turtleneck, a pair of relaxed Cotton On jeans he designed in collaboration with the Aussie brand, and his blue Adidas sneakers. “It was cold this morning, but now the sun has turned it on,” he says referring to his choice of shirt. He’s also wearing his go-to accessory – “my $3 earring.” His long, luscious mullet is looking especially long and luscious. 

He also smells good. This is because Smith is at the Grand Prix with Ralph Lauren Fragrance’s, and he so happens to be wearing a fresh spritz of Polo Blue. “It’s really clean, fresh, I also love blue – I’m wearing all blue today,” he says, gesturing towards his monochrome fit. “I think Polo Blue is perfect for every day, [just] doing my thing.” 

Smith inside Ralph Lauren Fragrances pop-up. Image: Ralph Lauren Fragrance.

Until he can ‘do his thing’ on the footy field once more, Smith is dedicating his time to training, of course, but also exploring various business endeavours, as well as other fields that interest him. And it doesn’t get much more interesting than Formula 1 racing, a sport that’s insanely competitive, incredibly fast and decently dangerous. Not that different to AFL, really.  


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