Being a Formula One driver is anything but an easy task. It depends on the season, but approximately, every year they are only 20 seats free. There are two ways to reach it…
The Easy Way
You pay for your seat. If available around 20 million dollars per season, there will probably be no problems. You just need (yet) a FIAt license and the seat is more or less yours. It’s just that a super license has been harder to get lately. So every year in Formula One, we look at drivers who pay for their seats.
The Hard Way
Choose your seat. It’s probably not particularly difficult to find that if available 15 or 13 seats, and your competition is the entire racing world, you have little chance of getting a seat. However, the seats need to be filled and someone has to drive the race cars. Let’s see who or what drives a racer into the world of Formula 1:
- entry into the lower categories, starting in the some karting series
- the title of champion of any of the GP2 / F2, GP3 / F3 series, or at least Formula Renault, Mazda, Formula 4 or, say, Super Formula,
- an excellent agent who will put you to the test of a Formula One racer at the right moment, where you will have to wait for the failure of the racer to be replaced when you drive perfectly.
It is becoming increasingly clear that this is a highly competitive environment that is a favorable polygon for big money and intrigue, and an environment where every racer also needs a fortune. It should be noted that, over the years, all of the Formula One sports worldwide have changed the most. Of course, it all comes at the expense of technology. If decades ago racers were dying at every race and respected each other on the track and never drove too much on a knife, as almost every collision was fatal for spectators and drivers alike, in today’s Formula One, everything is different, as championships are decided inside seconds. Formula One racers have also evolved (and changed) with technology.
Ayrton Senna da Silva is in the opinion to most people the best racer in the history of the sport. In an absolute (technical) sense, this is certainly not true because Senna was under-educated compared to today’s drivers. Today, racers are coming into the world of Formula One already thoroughly prepared. In highly advanced simulators, they have hundreds of hours to go and when they first step into a real race car, they are ready for it. GP3 / F3, GP2 / F2 racing series prepare them very well for the cruelty of Formula 1 racing. Race mentors monitor them every step of the way, and each race track error is analyzed to the smallest detail. Physical fitness analysis is the best in the history of our species. All this greatly improves the speed of racers, who show greater competitiveness from year to year. Senna did not have all this available at his time, so any comparisons in absolute terms are also unnecessary and misleading.
So Senna represents the dividing line in sports. Before him, the racers were usually headless consumers who did not know before the race if they would finish it alive. Here and there in the image of Nicki Lauda, Jackie Stewart, Alain Prost and the like found someone who devoted a little more time to Formula 1 driving than the other racers, but no one got into Formula 1 as brutally and decisively, with a great deal of professionalism as Senna did. No one in his generation has set the batting so high. He trained a lot in the rain, he worked a lot on physical fitness, but more on psychic. The difference was visible at the racetrack, where other racers acted like schoolgirls along the well-trailed Senna lap. Driving in the rain, however, was his backyard. In addition, he has been helped by the global development of the sport, and Senna will be forever recorded, quite rightly, as the greatest.
He laid the foundations of a modern racer, fully professionalized him, and instilled in him the respect of the whole world. It has forced future generations of drivers to warrant 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365days of the year. Today’s Formula One champions, among whom there is no room for racing mercenaries or bad guys, enjoy the status of top racers because of Senna.
Mika Häkkinen vs Michael Schumacher vs. Aki Hintsa vs Balbir Singh
When Senna tragically passed away in 1994 and left the world of Formula 1, his legacy began to be embedded in sports. It didn’t take us long before racers started hiring experts in physical and psychological fitness and healthy eating for their better results, and the era of computers and simulators began to get involved in sports. Balbir Singh and Aki Hintsa were among the first publicly known personalities/doctors to directly elevate the abilities at the physical and psychological levels of the racer. While Balbir never talked much about working with Schumacher, Hintsa was more on the lookout at McLaren. If Balbir was brought to Formula One by his uncle Michael Schumacher, Aki would put Hakkinen in the sport. The latter, under pressure from Schumacher, needed a little more, since bare speed was no longer sufficient. All of that deserves its record, and at this point, just knowing who makes up the team around the best racers in the world is enough.
A modern Formula 1 racer
Formula 1 today does not allow for coincidences in the field of drivers. They are there because of money or knowledge. That’s how racers face:
- having been away from home and your social circle since you were young (about 260 days a year the racer is absent until at home, assuming it is at home between the end of the season and the beginning of a new one),
- with global exposure and potential criticism 450 millions of people who regularly watch Formula 1,
- pressing results, success (a lot of good (young) racers are waiting for their
opportunity, and besides them, every seat in a Formula One underdog is threatened by the drivers who pay for the seat),
- with different cultures and at a fast pace of life, as racers also drive away annually
- More than 20 races per season, which also indicates that today’s Formula One is purely commercial-oriented,
- with media exposure 24 hours a day,
- with the constant pursuit of improving the quality of your driving,
- by constantly maintaining the fitness of a top athlete,
- with constant control of psychological strength and many others.
Max Verstappen embodies all this desire to make the team the best possible driver through systematic work development. If Lewis Hamilton was able to compete with the best driver of the last decade, Fernando Alonso, in the first season under the auspices of Aki Machinery, leaving his mouth open to any fan of the sport, Max went a step up. Not only did he enter the Formula One world at 15 practically without a driving test, but he also achieved his first victory with a racing car, which he tested for the first time in the simulator for a good week before replacing the ousted Daniil Kvjat in Red Bull. At the time, headed by Lewis Hamilton, all racers remained open.
Whenever things go too far, the FIA must intervene. It is quite clear that it is not realistic to expect that such young boys, in addition to renouncing and subduing the result throughout their childhood, possibly from the age of four, will also be able to cope with the psychological pressures that await them in the future. Even with his bold runs, Max does not always evoke positive feelings for racers and spectators alike. It even went so far as to endanger his existence on Red Bull this season due to constant mistakes and accidents. In order to counteract this insanity, the FIA has complicated the super-license that racers need in order to drive Formula One.
Whenever things go too far, the FIA must intervene. It is quite clear that it is not realistic to expect that such young boys, in addition to renouncing and subduing the result throughout their childhood, possibly from the age of four, will also be able to cope with the psychological pressures that await them in the future. Even with his bold runs, Max does not always evoke positive feelings for racers and spectators alike. It even went so far that last year, due to constant mistakes and accidents, he was directly threatened by his existence on the Red Bull team. In order to counteract this insanity, the FIA has complicated the super-license that racers need in order to drive Formula One.
There is also a super free practice license. This license is a little easier to get than a real super license. You need 6 races in F2 Series or 21 points to get your pass to F1 practice.