Formula 1 is an interesting world where honestly nothing is 100% clear, from the races themselves to the ways new drivers get onto the grid. Some of the really talented ones might be staying out of the world championship for many years, not having a good manager or enough money to pay for the seat and being forced to wait until someone retires. That sounds unfair but that is how it is.
In the meantime, the more romantic Formula 1 fans still believe that real talent always finds the way to one of the teams. Fortunately, the last few years proved that it is actually possible to make it. Such names as Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly, Charles Leclerc are the best evidence of that. However, these are not the only youngsters on the grid for now. By “young” I mean those under 20 or in their early 20s, who made it recently or surprisingly are making it for a few years already like Max Verstappen. Lance Stroll must be mentioned here as well although his story is slightly different.
It’s peculiar how each driver has made it onto the grid, but when it comes to the race, it just doesn’t matter. Unless he doesn’t have a talent for it and motivation, he is most definitely going to lose. So the named ones totally deserve to be where they are now and their young age proves it even more.
As young men they differ from mature drives in some ways. But let’s have a look at how these youngsters influence Formula 1 image worldwide and in their own countries.
Social media: making Formula 1 big
When it comes to social media, young drivers are of course different from older ones. Younger generations are used to receiving information, watching news stories and following the ones they adore online. That is how Ocon, Gasly, Verstappen and others are different. It is clear that these drivers are more fluent in using Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.
Of course, social media is an important tool in creating each driver’s image. But youngsters appear more natural and alive through their social accounts than others. They post pictures and stories in Instagram, like and reply to tweets on Twitter and put their lives online making fans more of friends for them. They are more consistent and they use such things as “going live” where they just chat with the followers. Have you ever watched any of these lives from Esteban Ocon from his training camp? If not, you are definitely missing out.
Looking at the four-time world champion, a real star going to fashion shows and making paid partnerships is different from looking at a boy who is just like many others.
You might say that Lewis Hamilton does the same on his social media, but looking at the four-time world champion, a real star going to fashion shows and making paid partnerships is different from looking at a boy who is just like many others. It’s pure inspiration. I am sure that many years ago even Hamilton and other stars were probably looking at their idols this way.
Impact on the country: become a national hero
Honestly, it doesn’t matter if a driver has not become a world champion yet but if he represents his country in Formula 1 he is already a national hero. Especially if he is the only one from that country for many years.
Max Verstappen and his orange army are probably the brightest example. Remember that we only see those people who travel to the circuits. What if we held a race in the Netherlands? French GP of 2018 is probably going to be an amazing one with two young French drivers on the grid.
There is no doubt that when a youngster from any country comes to Formula 1, the interest back home grows. Being one of twenty chosen drivers is a great honour and a big responsibility. The driver’s determination, hard work and lifestyle become the objects of much higher attention. Everyone in the country starts following the youngster no matter if they actually are into Formula 1 or not in the first place.
Impossible is nothing?
Many people say that Formula 1 is a very corrupt sport where everything is defined by money. In fact, it is true and not true at the same time. Of course, some teams charge the drivers for the seat and this is not a big secret. But the statement that the team would rather take a pilot paying for his seat than a talent is not how it works all the time.
Unfortunately, Formula 1 keeps struggling in terms of sponsorships and proper promotion, so sometimes it makes the teams sacrifice talent in favour of money, but, surely, it’s not the main priority. Jolyon Palmer and the loss of his seat could be a great example.
The more talented young drivers come to Formula 1, the more we can see the proof that it is often possible to make it without money here. This fact definitely provokes more excitement from loyal fans because now they can see how the future champions grow, how those young drivers improve and become more and more mature from race to race.