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

Top Tens

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.

F1 top tens

Read more top tens

Image ?? Sauber F1 Team, Force India F1 Team, Red Bull/Getty images

Advert | Go Ad-free


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

  1. HounslowBusGarage (@hounslowbusgarage) said on 31st March 2011, 14:51

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

    • 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.

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

  3. Theo said on 31st March 2011, 16:00

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

  4. topdowntoedown (@topdowntoedown) said on 31st March 2011, 16:57

    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.

  5. Don Mateo said on 31st March 2011, 17:11

    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.

  6. mani said on 31st March 2011, 17:11

    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)”?

  7. -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.

  8. wasiF1 said on 31st March 2011, 17:40

    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″

    • wasiF1 said on 31st March 2011, 17:45

      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.

  9. Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 31st March 2011, 18:06

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

  10. pete said on 31st March 2011, 18:32


    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”

  11. The edge said on 31st March 2011, 19:03

    I recon i could live with that…er…STUFF

  12. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 31st March 2011, 20:30

    I enjoyed that – thanks!

  13. briank said on 1st April 2011, 1:52

    I find the very premise of this article insulting.

  14. t3x (@t3x) said on 1st April 2011, 2:42

    None of these are actually bad, i mean you travel the world, get paid a fortune, your famous, you get given everything, your fit and healthy, doesn’t sound so bad :)

  15. The Limit said on 1st April 2011, 3:42

    There is really eleven reasons Keith. One good one would be ‘Felipe, Fernando is faster than you.’

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.