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

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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.


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.


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.


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

  1. Stefanauss (@stefanauss) said on 31st March 2011, 11:30

    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!

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

    • Stefanauss (@stefanauss) said on 31st March 2011, 11:37

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

      • Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 31st March 2011, 11:39

        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.

      • Stefanauss (@stefanauss) said on 31st March 2011, 11:44

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

        • RBAlonso said on 31st March 2011, 13:50

          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

          • 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.

          • DaveW said on 31st March 2011, 15:51

            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.

          • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 31st March 2011, 18:02

            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.

          • RBAlonso said on 31st March 2011, 23:42

            I agree Adam and for some part at least Newey!

  2. box this lap (@sebashuis) said on 31st March 2011, 11:45

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

  3. “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 ?”

  4. Klon (@klon) said on 31st March 2011, 12:06

    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.

  5. semirossi (@semirossi) said on 31st March 2011, 12:14

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

  6. alonsodz said on 31st March 2011, 13:13

    F1 driver :idea

  7. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 31st March 2011, 13:24

    A holiday in Triploi? Nice ;)

    Good article! Night and light-hearted. I did wonder what Vettel was up to last week when he was sheering Sheep. I would imagine the millions of $ you’re paid more than makes up for looking a complete idiot.

  8. Alex Bkk said on 31st March 2011, 13:24

    My Top Ten

    1. Can’t drink and drive.
    2. Press conferences where I can’t tell the media
    what I really think.
    3. Don’t want to exercise for 3 hours a day.
    4. Weekend work.
    5. Constant telephone calls from people who want to
    know me or suck up to me..
    6. Politics and back stabbing are things I’m used
    too, but would rather avoid.
    7. Some bank’s or insurance company’s logo on the side
    of my car.
    8. That driving over Joe Seward’s toes would been viewed
    seen as a bad thing.
    9. Steve Slater commenting on anything I do.
    10. Not being able to read Hare’s comments during
    a race.

  9. Brilliant, brilliant article. I think all the PR days would kill my soul and would by far be the worst part of the job. Horrible PR stunts, the same old questions day after day and the fear that saying one wrong thing could end up with awful headlines everywhere and your boss having a go. That would be torture.

    I couldn’t cope with an F1 driver’s diet either they’re pretty much skin and bones or having a fat neck because of all the G-forces. I read an article where Barrichello had stacks of telemetry to go through from previous years so he could try to get his laps and set up perfect too. Actually, I feel really lucky I’m talentless behind the wheel. As much fun as driving an F1 car for a weekend would be the amount of commitment and work away from the track would be mind numbing. Thanks Ben!

  10. Alex Bkk said on 31st March 2011, 13:34

    Thanks Ben!

  11. JamoduF1 said on 31st March 2011, 13:43

    Haha! Brilliant article. More from Ben Evans please :)

  12. djdaveyp85 (@djdaveyp87) said on 31st March 2011, 13:44

    Nice light-hearted article! Cheers Ben!

  13. BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st March 2011, 13:46

    I just read one of the comments on Kimi going Nascar as it has less of pretty much every negative point you mention here Ben, except for the weekend working hours and the crazy sponsorship acts, I suppose.

    You might be onto something there.

  14. a4p (@a4p) said on 31st March 2011, 14:00

    I think that the toughest thing of all is DRIVING A BAD CAR. Every F1 driver has won something in his past career and yet most of them drivers have to struggle for years, before having a winning car (see Raikkonen or Button).

    It must be even more frustrating when you are aware that you are a great champion (Alonso driving for Renault in 2008-2009).

    • PeriSoft said on 1st April 2011, 2:26

      Every F1 driver is aware that he either has been or will be a great champion. You don’t get to that level without believing it.

  15. Chalky (@chalky) said on 31st March 2011, 14:21

    I think you should say “Modern” F1 driver.
    My dreams of making it always had me as James Hunt. :)

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