Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, Melbourne, 2011

Ten reasons why you don’t want to be an F1 driver

Top TensPosted on | Author Ben Evans

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, Melbourne, 2011
They look really happy to be there

Being an F1 driver is a dream job.

But the 99.9% of us who don’t make it can comfort ourselves with the knowledge that there are downsides to it.

Here are ten reasons why you don’t really want to be an F1 driver.

Training

The importance of fitness in motor racing has never been greater. Ever noticed how often drivers on Twitter tell us they’ve just been training?

Most former drivers will tell you laps in the car and not cross country skiing to the Arctic is the key to race fitness. But modern testing restrictions mean drivers just don’t get the cockpit time they used to.

Jet lag

Australia, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, India, Bahrain (maybe), China, Canada and Brazil are a long way from home in Switzerland or Monaco. At least they can stay in touch with new film releases.

Team speak

It must be so frustrating to have to describe youy ??good working relationship? with your team mate who you really wish was on holiday in Tripoli.

That said, some drivers are happy to buck the PR trend – take a bow, Mark Webber, who’s not afraid to tell it like it is.

Fans

Adrian Sutil, Force India, Hungaroring, 2010
Just 1,000 more to go...

Who wouldn’t want to bask in the loyal support of thousands?

The problem is, there’s never enough time to meet and sign caps for all of them. Eventually, some of those who’ve been waiting hours to see you have to go home disappointed.

Sponsors’ stunts

Lewis Hamilton has done some particularly excruciating appearances for McLaren – who can forget him being dangled above a stage playing the part of the Greek God Apollo in some ill-conceived stunt for Vodafone?

But some of them can be fun. Hamilton would be forgiven for feeling somewhat miffed that the same company that put him through that nonsense four years ago had Jenson Button lapping Bathurst in an F1 car last week.

Actually, F1 drivers have to spend far less time with sponsors than drivers in most other categories, but it can be a pain trying to explain to the daughter of Spain?s largest shoe manufacturer why cars are better than ponies five minutes before the start of the race.

The press

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Hungaroring, 2010
'Was it a good race for you?'

“So Mark your treatment by Red Bull reminds me of the Kennedy assassination, what do you feel about that?” “My sources in the paddock tell me you support Partick Thistle, is that true?” and other such gems are likely to come your way.

Shopping trollies

Jenson Button had it in 2007. Fernando Alonso had it in 2009. And Timo Glock’s going through it right now.

That sinking feeling when you turn the first few laps in a new car and realise it’s trying to go in three directions at once, the engine’s got no power, and it’s going to be a long, point-less season.

Pasta and vitamin drinks

A healthy diet is fine and important, but they must be craving a takeaway by mid-season.

While the motorhome is filled with the delicious aroma of bacon rolls in the morning, it’s porridge for the drivers.

No ??out of hours? fun

Following Robert Kubica’s rally crash, Juan Pablo Montoya’s ??tennis? accident, and Alexandre Premat?s dismissal from Audi for running a marathon, drivers may be allowed no further than their couch or gym in the near future.

If you race in F1 you are more than likely an adrenaline or fitness junkie. So spending the off-season watching Glee re-runs doesn?t come naturally.

Crashes

Not something to be taken for granted even in these days when every corner is bordered by acres of tarmac, and helmets are so strong you can park a 55-tonne tank on them.

Even if you don’t get hurt, a crash is not a pleasant thing. What must have been going through Sebastien Buemi’s mind when both his front wheels came off at 200mph during practice at Shanghai last year?

This is a guest article by Ben Evans. If you want to write a guest article for F1 Fanatic you can find all the information you need here.

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177 comments on “Ten reasons why you don’t want to be an F1 driver”

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  1. “Even if you don’t get hurt, a crash is not a pleasant thing. What must have been going through Sebastien Buemi’s mind when both his front wheels came off”

    1) Steer into the skid (*****)
    2) Empty bowels

    1. “oooh i did tat in burnout once!” the driver who thinks that while crashing must be like the awesomest or the stupidest driver.

      anyway, nice article Ben.

    2. What a joke… Yeah real hard life. Id give up both my testicles to to even have one days private test in the car let alone a full racing career. Harden up!

    3. My dad raced for 25 years or so – not at a pro level (though sometimes in pro races) but in everything from Formula Ford to GT1 / Trans Am.

      In his experience, the things going through a driver’s head as a crash unfolds (and this includes the incident in which he had time to consider things as his Formula Ford sailed twenty feet into the air) are:

      a) This is going to be f**king expensive.
      b) My race is shot.
      c) It’s going to take a long time to fix the car.
      d) This is going to be f**king expensive.

      If you’re a driver, you’re not considering danger in the first place – if you are, you shouldn’t be (and probably won’t be, or won’t be for long) a driver.

      In the absence of concern for your personal fate, the obvious remaining factor is how this turn of events will affect your current and future race results.

      There are likely some exceptions, however.

      Herr Schumacher probably thinks, “Honestly, with more weight to the rear and more wing on the front, I think this could have been avoided.”

      And Raikkonen probably thinks, “Think so race is over. F**king car. Wine or liquor? Think so both.” Then he takes a nap while he waits for the crash to finish.

      1. RacingForIndia
        1st April 2011, 6:58

        Good one mate!
        The only road accident I had, I saw my life flash in front of my eyes, and the impact came sooner than expected. All thoughts vanish once the pain hits :-)

      2. In 2008 I won a contest and drove both a formula Renault, and a F1 car (Prost) on Magny Cours (Small track next to M-C.) I am a complete amateur. I crashed the renault car as I missed the braking point on the hair pin and went sideways on the grass for about 100 meters. Million thoughts went trough my head, one was, this is expensive, other was, You idiot! I let everything go and I was just waiting for the thing to start rolling. By the grace of God it hasn’t. But I know how the driver feels when he makes a mistake. ( the tires were cold. LOL) F1 car is something crazy, with so much G force that I was having trouble breathing after 5 laps. It is so fast, brakes so fast that from then in I admire every driver for his courage, even if he’s the worst of the lot.

    4. He actually couldn’t steer into the slide, he had no front wheels ha

  2. very funny! especially the shopping trollie part.. never thought of it that way!

    1. “Shopping trolley” will now be my new synonym for “dog of a car”.

      Hilarious article at the same time as making a good point.

      1. Have you ever tried speeding out of the Drinks aisle with 2 litre bottles of Pepsi at the front end of the Shopping trolley? The understeer is unbearable….

        1. i do enjoy drifting through the freezer aisle

          1. Aren’t your tryes cold? How do you get the grip?

          2. studded tyres, obviously! ;)

        2. *tyres….

        3. I always find myself racing through the supermarket when I have a shopping trolley on my hands. Always trying to take the ideal line through all corners whilst have to overtake slower trolleys etc.

          1. I tend to do rallying with trolleys, flicking the back end out whilst pivoting around the front. On my bicycle I behave more like a circuit racer ;)

          2. Aha Icythes, Scandinavian flick mastered in vegetable section huh?

    2. If this year’s Virgin car is a shopping trolley then the HRT must be the one with the wonky wheel that pulls to one side no matter what you do.

      1. You also need to put £1 in the HRT.

        1. UKfanatic (@)
          31st March 2011, 12:13

          nice one

        2. Can’t I get away with one of those £1 shaped coins so it saves me that extra quid I will need to buy some pasta?

        3. Waste of money, it only lasts 2 minutes and then it stops!

    3. Yes, that is so funny ! I loved it.

      1. @Riise

        You think that’s bad? I keep getting pay drivers coming to get my seat, while I’m in the stationary F1 car outside of Sainsbury…

        No respect for the older drivers anymore, having these kids bring all their mums and loose change…

        1. Haha, so glad to know I’m not the only one who goes shopping cart racing. In fact I like to get a good push start once I’m out the store and headed to my car, I pretend I am pushing a bobsled like in Cool Runnings :)

          1. I like to spread my shopping-slash-ballast evenly around the trolley for even weight distribution. But it sure plays havoc with my lap times…

  3. “My sources in the paddock tell me you support Partick Thistle, is that true?”

    :D

    1. No, Stenhousemuir.

      1. I had to ‘Google’ Patrick Thistle to understand the joke; I thought Patrick Thistle would be a person! :P OK, now can someone explain the joke?

        1. LOL, I suppose its something you have to regularly watch BBC for your entertainment.

          Not sure though, I only just put it through the search engine!

          Very nice acticle by Ben though.

        2. When I was a kid I thought they were called ‘Partick Thistle Nil’ .. or how was that line? :-P

          1. Partick Thistle is a Scottish First Division league team from Glasgow, If you’re going to support a Scottish team it has to be Dundee United! ;)

      2. Queen of the South, surely?

    2. On the subject of Scottish lower league teams, this is perhaps the only time I will ever get the chance to point out the amazing (but sadly fictional) scoreline:

      East Fife 4 – Forfar 5

      :D

      1. If only it was
        East Fife 5 – Forfar 4 :P

  4. I guess driving the fastest cars in the world, and getting paid millions for it, more than makes up for those 10 reasons.

    Although the ‘jet lag’ and no ‘out of hours’ fun sounds kind of painful.

    1. Training at least 4 hours a day or so sounds even more painful…

      1. Eh I used to train a lot like that for cross country and track, once you get used to it it’s not that bad, I already have the build of a driver as well.

        I’d just need to get training and learn to give up all my favorite foods :(

        1. I’ve got the build of a driver as well.
          A lorry driver that is.

          1. Should be fit enough for NASCAR then :)

      2. At least you don’t have to fit it around a full-time job.

        I was going to train for a 10k and then half-marathon this year, until I tried to work out a training plan and just couldn’t fit it around my other commitments.

    2. And the diet and presumably ban on too big amounts of red wine… No, I’m not really interested ;)

      1. dyslexicbunny
        31st March 2011, 17:51

        You’re doing it wrong. Pound the booze and simply train harder.

        1. Worked for Kimi…

  5. Who the hell wants Sutil’s signature? =P

    1. Who the hell wants Sutil’s signature?

      The insurance underwriter.

      1. Actually, it reminds me of an exchange between James Bond and Q in Tomorrow Never Dies. I envision it would go something like this:

        VIJAY MALLYA: If you’ll just sign here, Mr. Sutil?
        ADRIAN SUTIL: What’s this?
        MALLYA: It’s the insurance waiver for your beautiful new car. Will you need collison coverage?
        SUTIL: Yes.
        MALLYA: Fire?
        SUTIL: Probably.
        MALLYA: Property destruction?
        SUTIL: Definately.
        MALLYA: Personal injury?
        SUTIL: I hope not, but accidents do happen.
        MALLYA: They frequently do with you!

        It was probably the best exchange in a rather mediocre film.

        1. Hahaha nice one. made me laugh… :)funny sutil thing…

        2. hahaha! It’s funny cuss it’s true! ;)

        3. Great you recalled that :) I love it.

        4. COTD!!! And thought it wasn’t another Goldeneye, it was an alright film :)

      2. Lolz PM, your sarcasm brightens my day ;)

    2. That’s why there are so many of them left over…

    3. I quite like having a driver called Adrian in F1…

      …not sure I’d want his autograph though…

  6. The PR stuff I think is the worst part.
    Hats of to the drivers who speak multiple languages, it is very impressive

    1. Couldn’t agree more on the languages thing.

      1. It would be interesting to have a collaborative subject on who can speak wich language

        1. Well I know my copy of F1 2010 can speak German! My room mate is taking German so he changed the language setting to it on his Xbox, we didn’t think it would work on any of the games, but I cranked up F1 last night and sure enough it was in German!

          I had no idea what my race engineer was saying to me!

        2. Yeah, I’d love to see a breakdown of languages. I’m pretty sure Nico is fluent in quite a few, the obvious ones being German, Finnish, and English, but I thought I remembered reading that he speaks French, and maybe Italian or Spanish?

          1. He speaks good French. (really good actually). And so do quite a lot of drivers up and down the pit lane (admittedly, less and less so)

    2. Apparently Nico ‘Britney’ Rosberg speaks about 5 languages well enough to get by in PR situations. (German, English, Spanish, French, can’t remember the last one…bloody impressive.)

      1. Finnish, man, Finnish. You’re forgetting his father Keke. =)

        1. nope he can’t actually speak finnish! i read it somewhere recently.

          1. Yes. me too read it somewhere he can’t speak finnish.

          2. Yes. me too read it somewhere he can’t speak finnish.

            As far as I can tell, neither can Finns.

        2. It has only just occurred to me that his father is Finnish, but Nico races as a German…

          1. Because he is German. Born in Wiesbaden (thats around the corner from my place .. its funny, Glock lives in my city, Vettel comes from a small town nearby and Rosberg was born 30km from here and there is a policeman here with the name Michael Schumacher :-P)

          2. But hasn’t he lived most of his life in Monaco?

          3. Can I move in with you, bananarama?

          4. Sure, the more the merrier :-P

      2. erm… finnish?

        1. Strange as he on occassion does not seem to know the word “Finish” like in Melbourne or Korea

      3. Italian I believe. The five big western European languages (in terms of speakers in Europe anyway).

      4. The other one he speaks is Italian. Apart from Spanish, he uses all the languages he’s fluent in communicating in Monaco, so he also gets lots of practise to keep his vocabulary broad.

      5. I guess the Finnish gets overlooked sometimes. I think he gets by on Italian pretty fine as well.

        1. In a recent issue of F1Racing magazine, he said he cannot speak Finnish! :P

  7. Ten reasons why I don’t? 100 million reasons I want to! ( no 100 million doesn’t refer to the money ;) the money is not even half a reason )

    1. I agree, in fact I’d quite happily be a racing driver in return for a salary £30k salary + guaranteed pension once I retire from the sport and all my travel expenses paid for me.

      I’d also be an MP for the same conditions – though of course there’s less work but more PR as an MP!!

  8. And not forgetting the years of dedication before getting to F1. Karting, lower formulae, living out of a van/tent/caravan/motorhome – depending on your budget – come rain or shine. It’s something that must take over their lives from a very early age.

    1. I think for all sportsmen there is that sense of dedication of their lives from an early age to one path…and of course if you make it fo F1 you have made it, great. But just take a minute to think about the hundreds of damn fast drivers who only make it to GP2, or Formula 3…or not even that far. Imagine the fear of failure: from the age of 10 to 21 dedicated to racing, aiming for F1, then get there, get handed a ‘trolly’ instead of a car, get chucked out…

      I want to see Grosjean given a second chance. (completely off topic, but I thought he deserved better.

      1. yep, off topic, but i agree. His recent foray into GT1 (winning his first race) and subsequently GP2 (winning races after joining mid-season) surely shows he is worth another shot and Briatore was wrong.
        come to think of it, briatore is wrong about lots of things. Didn’t he say yesterday that after just one race of the new season, Ferrari should forget about 2011 and concentrate on 2012? This is coming from a man who thought it was a good idea to cheat to win races. his view surely counts for nothing at all and Grosjean should be given another shot.

        1. Briatore is the biggest idiot F1 has seen in years. He thought he could run a team like a decadent mob boss and he finally got his comeuppance for it.

          I am so glad he is gone. Though it makes me sad he still manages Webber and Webber is loyal to him, I would think an outspoken, awesome guy like Webber would ditch that old creep.

  9. Ever noticed how often drivers on Twitter tell us they’ve just been training?

    Yes, I do… so much so that I’ve unfollowed many F1 drivers, most notable Janson Button, because all they ever tweet is how far they’ve (and their girlfriend, and best mate) just run. Well done.

    1. *Jenson Button, too.

      1. eternalsunshine
        31st March 2011, 12:12

        I thought of them as motivators. And if his lanky girlfriend can do a marathon, so could I. Haha.

    2. Not true at all. Jenson keeps doing cycling lately :p

    3. Lol I can barely be bothered to read their tweets either nevermind do even a fifth of the training they do.

    4. Maybe that’s the idea – in a year hardly anyone will be following him and he can just write whatever he wants!

  10. Top 3 reasons you want to be an F1 driver:

    – Women

    – Money

    – Women

    1. And women! Don’t forget women!

      1. I think its funny becuase you can’t get the the women, without the training and the PR stunts.

        1. James Hunt did!

        2. Depends on what kind of woman you want – there are plenty who would simply flock to the money…

  11. Surely the worst thing about the press is (a) having to say the same thing one hundred times to endless different national media companies about how you won the race (the guys at the factory did a great job) or why you didn’t win the race (Couldn’t get enough heat into the tyres) and (b) being misquoted so the media can find something exciting to write about and having your words twisted out of all recognition. Recent examples: Hamilton: Red Bull is just a drinks company and I am like Senna.

    1. Or doing the premiership footballer thing of giving a candid interview to the foreign press and then saying you’ve been misquoted in the translation

    2. Always reminds me of the beginning of this interview. Wise words indeed!

    3. What F1 needs is a real comedian. Someone who will ham it up and poke fun at all the silly and endless Sponsor and Media stuff. I think the fans would love it, and the paddock, especially the drivers embrace it as it would lighten the usually serious and somber mood.
      :)

      Sometimes I feel all of us can use a reminder that this is all originally about having fun, about that primal, indispensable joy of going fast.

      1. dyslexicbunny
        31st March 2011, 18:30

        Sorry. Chad Johnson is currently on the reserve team for Sporting Kansas City in MLS.

        For those that aren’t in the States, he’s an American football player that pokes fun at all sorts of things. He tried to bribe an official with $1 to change a call. He has been fined for excessive touchdown celebrations as well. He changed his name to “Ocho Cinco”.

        As for why he’s on a soccer team, the NFL is likely not happening in 2011. They actually say he’s got good potential as a soccer player because of his athleticism and ease to coach. But I don’t know if he’d be a good enough driver for F1. I think it’s the attitude you want though.

      2. I thought Seb showed signs of this at first, but once he got a taste of success (& a few mechanical failures) he went from jovial to super serious.

  12. I can sacrifice those 10 against for the millions reason for :) Being participant of a crash is not a good feeling, I agree.

    1. love Webber’s comment after his mid-air flip last year – ‘this is Formula one, these things happen!’ So casual about flipping a car at 200mph!

  13. I’d just hate the media, probably give a few Kimi inspired answers. Plus the fact that I like a drink, a smoke and a take away and my neck would snap after one lap- I don’t think its the career for me.

    1. I like a drink, a smoke and a take away and my neck would snap after one lap

      looooooool

  14. What must have been going through Sebastien Buemi’s mind when both his front wheels came off at 200mph during practice at Shanghai last year?

    I have no idea.

    But I like to think it was this.

    1. my braaaain

      1. Actually I think Buemi was thinking “I can counter steer this”.

    2. Surely it was more like this?

      Or perhaps “Weeeeeeeeeeeeee!”

      1. Surely it was more like this?

        Good lord..

      2. Please Icthyes, don’t ever do that again.

      3. I knew what that was going to be before I even clicked it. You’re a repeat offender :)

        1. Thanks for the ‘heads-up’ Ned. I now know not to click Icthyes’ links. :P

  15. Kennedy assassination! lol

  16. Could someone explain to me the whole Montoya tennis thing that keeps popping up in what i read from time to time?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Allegedly the ‘tennis’ incident occurred while he was riding a motocross bike. The truth has never been officially confirmed.

      1. That sounds like one hell of a sport!

        1. Hahaha lol. Motor Polo :D

    2. The problem in my case is that i don’t recall the background/context/time of the story, let alone separate rumours vs truth.

      1. Montoya missed two races near the start of 2005 due to injury. He claimed that he had hurt his shoulder playing tennis.

        However, rumours at the time circulated that he had actually fallen off a motocross bike, but withheld this information from McLaren because Ron Dennis wouldn’t have been best pleased at what JP had been up to in his spare time.

      2. It was when De La Rosa stepped in to race for McLaren for the first time, was it?
        Thanks a lot, i remember now.

        1. Great article Ben!

          Playing Devils advocate do you think Montoya could have stayed with McLaren had the injury not happened?

          Also, where would that leave Lewis?

          I know the reasons he left were because he was arguing with the team, but this really started it and was followed up by races in Turkey, Belgium and Japan which would not please Ron! lol

          Slightly off topic, but got me thinking

          1. I think its unlikely that JPM would have stayed with McLaren long, he was far better suited tempramentally to racing in the US. I met him a few times pre-F1 and he was a really nice guy, and you could see how much his temper shortened while he was in F1. Now in NASCAR he seems to have recovered some of his relaxed demenour.

            As for Lewis, I think it had been anticipated for a long, long time that he would graduate to F1 with McLaren. I remember his first F3 race at Brands in 2003, and that was a big story then, and that was coming off a lot of hype from two years in F Renault. The only real wobble was probably in 2004 when his first season in F3 Euroseries wasn’t as dominant as expected.

          2. The 05 car was not that great either. Further, it apparently had a very understeery basic character that favored Kimi. He was not disposed to developing a car designed for Raikkonen, and riding in the midfield in the process.

            But if you only saw Montoya literally drifting his car through the short-chute at Indy, you would know that one of the possibly greatest talents ever in a race car did not fulfill his potential.

          3. The loss of Montoya to Nascar is one of the worst things to happen to F1 in the past decade. In no way did he fulfill his potential and instead of trying to find a way to accommodate one of the most talented and exciting drivers in years Ron Dennis just argued him out of F1.

            When you look at all the drivers McLaren had around the middle of the decade you wonder how on earth they didn’t win more championships. I mean they had DC (in his good days) Kimi, Montoya, Alonso, Hamilton and all they had to show for it was a WDC with Hamilton.

          4. I agree Adam and for some part at least Newey!

  17. Imagine when you are Liuzzi. Last weekend he experienced everything in the article and wasn’t even allowed to race.

    1. LMAO :D

      Add to that being kicked out of your seat for a rookie to fill it!!

      Must be a hard life

    2. Just imagine bringing 10 Million EUr with you for the luxury of doing that as well (like his teammate Narain)!

  18. “What must have been going through Sebastien Buemi’s mind when both his front wheels came off at 200mph during practice at Shanghai last year?”

    “Why am I still trying to steer the car even though the wheels have come off ?”

  19. Had to check the address first – thought I was on cracked.com. :-D
    No, honestly, a very amusing article and shows everything in life has its disadvantages. Something else about the fans – if somebody of us would become a F1 driver we’d still visit fansites. Wouldn’t seem so nice if some posters would deride us at any given opportunity.

    Alexandre Premat’s dismissal from Audi for running a marathon

    Admittedly though, I would bet that was just an excuse to release him, Prémat was pretty bad in his DTM effort of 2010, (even) worse than Ralf Schumacher over the year.

  20. I’d take 100 more reasons to turn me off.

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