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.


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”

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  1. F1 driver :idea

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. Where country you are from as you are getting Steve Slater Feed?

      1. Thailand

        1. For someone who is commentating in a different continent to where most of the races are happening I think he does a pretty good job

    2. Please tell me you did not just list your top reason for not being in an F1 driver is because you couldn’t drink and drive.

      That’s horrible man.

      1. Meaning you have to be sober to do it… then again, there was James Hunt.

        Personally, I prefer to spend my Sundays having a pint.

        I hope that clears things up :)

  4. 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!

    1. I’m with ya on that!

  5. Thanks Ben!

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

  7. Nice light-hearted article! Cheers Ben!

  8. 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.

  9. 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).

    1. 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.

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

    1. You’re a man after my own heart Chalky. :)

  11. A great read. Thanks, Ben.
    Personally, I think that fighting off all the girls would be my major problem . . . the boredom of it!

    1. Agreed,fighting off the girls would be my biggest problem;my heart wouldn’t be in it, I’d just be doing it to satisfy the sponsors and well,the wife.

  12. wearing a base ball cap 90% of the time

    1. Indoors even, such bad manners.

  13. I think we forgot reason number 11; your name currently is Felipe Massa. ;)

  14. to have to describe your ‘good working relationship’ with your team mate who you really wish was on holiday in Tripoli.


    Great article. I was going to write one of these and then got distracted… may have to dig it out.

  15. Great article this, and some of the responses very funny!

    On the subject of fans, what about the ones that won’t leave you alone and ask you for autographs in the toilet, as I believe happened to Lewis Hamilton. If you’re one of the backmarkers you probably don’t get recognised that much, but if you achieve a high level of celebrity it must be a nightmare.

    And not being able to make any sort of public appearance without being covered in sponsors’ logos.

  16. The photo of Vettel in the post-race press conference of Hungary 2010 and the Question below was outrageous… did someone really asked that to him on that press-conference?

    I wonder what his answer would have been… how about “not really, why don’t you ask him (referring Weber)”?

  17. -You can’t watch the Grand Prix. And you have to work on Sunday.

    Training might not be so bad when it’s part of the job. It seems crap for the rest of us because we’ve got to use our spare time.

    For me the biggest thing would be lack of privacy and ending up in The Sun for getting a speeding ticket. And the pressure of saying the wrong thing in a press conference and seeing “X Slams Y” in the papers the next day. Being the race engineer or mechanic gets you many of the advantages (travel, etc) without that pressure.

  18. Nice work Ben Evans.I would love to become Bernie or a commentator in F1 where you get to talk about it other then work on it. But the best job in F1 have to be being a die hard F1 fan,as once pointed out by someone in the forum

    “I rather die than change my life style with F1”

    1. Once more thing if you are a driver you won’t be able to watch the race,until you are brave enough to look at the giant screen at 300 km/h.

  19. I’m sure some of them glance up at the screen as the whistle on by :)

  20. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPYcStboHgE

    gotta love this just look at the confusion on his face LOL!

    Nice article though and i have to say i think the most anoying thing from my perspective would be having to give interviews seperatly to all the different tv companys. Saying the same thing for 5 different media outlets would just be infuriating in that respect i’d probably be a bit like mika. “Mika you made that win look incredibly easy was it?” “yeah it was sooooooooo easy…..kidding”

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