Not everyone can hop in a Formula 1 car and drive it. It takes an exceptional person to drive a Formula 1 car competently. There are a number of core characteristics a driver must have to stay one step ahead in this extreme sport of Formula 1 Motorsport.
- Formula One drivers must be physically strong. They require massive upper body strength. They must have the capacity to handle the massive G-forces and heat experienced in the cockpit as well as have the stamina to survive a two hour race.
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- Formula One drivers must remain mentally alert. Imagine the concentration required for a two hour race when a driver not only has to keep the car on the track at these incredible speeds but pay attention to other variables such as the feel of the car, changing track conditions, warning flags, depot stop signals and of course other drivers.
- Formula One drivers must be able to react quickly. There is some time to react at 200 mph. What can happen in a Formula 1 race is unpredictable. It could be rubbish on the track or another car spinning out. It takes super fast reflexes to avoid problems and keep the car on the track to be able to finish a race.
- Perseverance is the key. Drivers are under enormous pressure for the entire race. There is little time for them to catch their breath except during a depot stop. The rest of the time they have to deal with the heat in the cockpit, stay alert to the racing team strategy, avoid accidents and finish the race.
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- Formula 1 drivers cannot afford to make careless mistakes and must be sure that every time they make a move they are doing it at exactly the right moment. They have to be constantly on top of their game while driving at these incredible speeds. Making mistakes can result in a crash that can put them and the car out of the race. Remember, it’s not just the driver to consider but the whole team that depends on the driver to take the race home. A lot of time and money goes into preparing a car for the race and the team and sponsors expect the driver to keep his part of the deal.
- Formula One drivers are extremely competitive. They must be able to drive their car with cold-blooded aggression in order to compete at the top level. They have an appreciation for the “need for speed” and love the excitement of racing. Basically, you will find that they are ‘adrenaline junkies’ who love adventure.
- Formula One drivers are some of the bravest athletes in the world. Imagine the courage required to race around these tracks as close as they do at these incredible speeds understanding that a mistake can result in a crash that can damage if not kill them. It’s definitely not a sport for the coward, that’s for sure.
- Formula One drivers have the talent to be able to drive at incredible speeds and not have to focus all their attention on simply keeping the car on the track. There are so many other varying conditions that they also need to pay attention to. These tasks may include knowing where your competitors are or listening to the depot crew on team strategy.
Being a Formula 1 driver can seem like a glamorous lifestyle. Makes lots of money, with admiring fans and running some of the finest machines in the world. In reality, it is a full-time job that requires commitment and dedication to prepare the mind and body to always perform in top condition.