The Road To Becoming an F1 Driver
Right now it’s peak season to be a motorsport fan. A whole host of races and shows are being staged, taking advantage of the summer climate, and the Formula 1 Grand Prix is in full swing. A packed calendar is certain to be inspiring the next generation of star drivers (and many more will be dreaming of what could have been). With this in mind, this week we’re looking at what it actually takes to become a F1 driver and if you’re up for it, how you can get involved with the action!
So. What’s step 1? The short answer is; ‘Be Young’. We’re sorry to potentially throw a spanner in the works so early on, but the vast majority of current F1 drivers got their start in go-karting championships and leagues when they were very young. Within the UK, kids as young as four can begin their career on the track with fellow young karters.
Karting isn’t just available to kids though – all ages can get involved, with different strengths of engines, sizes and track variations becoming available as the years pass. There are all kinds of associations, clubs and guides available to help any who want to get involved with karting. Don’t be shy about contacting your local body if you, your child or a young person you know are interested!
If you feel too old, or have moved to the top of the karting world though, it’s time to step up what is called the ‘Racing Ladder’. It works exactly as you may suspect, with each level of the ladder involving more powerful engines, longer and more complex circuits, and a better calibre of racer.
For youngsters around the age of 15 it can be (relatively) straightforward to enter the new Formula 4 league. One of the precursors to Formula 1, Formula 4 (as you may expect) makes use of smaller engines (namely the 1.6L ford ecoboost engine), and has been proven as an effective launching pad to many racers, hailed as a brilliant stepping stone between carting and Formula 3.
There are other pools young drivers can enter to make a name for themselves (the GP series a worthy contender), but Formula 3 is the next big step towards the drivers seat on a Formula 1 grid. With less technical restrictions than Formula 4, Formula 3 cars are a lot more powerful, scaling up alongside the age of the drivers – with more teams and an international presence to boot.
Stepping up again means entry to the more exclusive Formula 2. With V8 engines, the cars are a cut above the likes of any below them on the racing ladder, and it is from these ranks that most of the famed and admired Formula 1 drivers are selected. Each step on this ladder offers its own thrills, with opportunities for younger drivers (or even budding support engineers) offered to those who can gain entry to them.
The unfortunate fact is that if you’re reading this article, the chances are you’re that bit too old to begin a full-blown F1 career. That’s not to say all hope is lost however. There are always support roles to be filled if you want to work more closely with the cars – but what options are there for those who want to race?
You could always look into an experience day, getting taught how to drive a professional level racing car, or even participate in a track day with your own vehicle. Alternatively, you could look into local racing leagues and clubs, with many options available for budget, or hobbyist racing. Satisfy your craving to race by supporting your local tracks, clubs and meet ups, and who knows where you could find yourself if your racing skills put you ahead of the competition.
If you do decide to take part in some racing for yourself, and are worried about tool control and precise maintenance, Flightcase Warehouse can help you out. With an incredible selection of products aimed at the motorsport industries, our protective solutions have been used by some of the biggest brands in the sector to keep gear completely safe and uncontaminated. Visit our website to view our motorsport flight case selection, or for a bespoke solution call + 44 01827 60009, or email us directly.