If you’re a sports enthusiast, you know that becoming a Formula 1 driver is no easy feat. In fact, there is a high chance you can get into any other sport before qualifying for F1 racing. However, that does not mean you should give up.
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Although it takes a lot of work, car racing is one of the most fulfilling sports to get into. Besides, you cannot replace your love for cars and speed with a football and a pitch. So, you must be ready to put in hard work and commitment to be the next F1 racer.
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Since you’ve established that becoming a Formula 1 driver is no walk in the park, what are the next steps to ensuring you become a qualified driver? Here are some tips to push you closer to your dream career:
Ensure You’re Committed
If you have never taken part in an extremely competitive activity, F1 might not be for you. The Formula 1 world is highly aggressive, and a lack of preparedness will make your aspirations nothing more than a pipe dream.
As of 2019, there were only 20 known F1 drivers in the world. That low number is because of the years needed to complete training. Many people try but never go through with it because it’s demanding. Before qualifying as a driver, you must:
- Spend time away from your family
- Miss out on many things your peers enjoy
The most successful drivers practice daily for long periods. Moreover, you must sharpen your focus and stay fit at all times. All these need dedication.
Come Up with a Funding Plan
Unfortunately, the media coverage and sponsors in F1 races don’t support amateur drivers. You might think that you’ll automatically get a company or individual to sponsor you. However, becoming a racer will cost you a lot of money before you climb the ranks and get recognition.
Remember to start with lower formula races and work your way to the top. Thus, self-funding is inevitable. Since you’re still in college, get a part-time job and save money. Unless there’s a trust fund stashed for you somewhere, you have no choice but to work extremely hard.
Taking loans is an alternative, but you might be in serious debt if everything does not work out as expected.
Start With Karting
F1 cars cost a fortune. So, don’t expect to be offered a multi-million dollar car from the onset. But, again, working on getting a higher rank is your only chance to drive such cars. Now, I know you’re wondering how you’ll train.
Start with karts. They are the best and least expensive way to learn everything that F1 racing entails. After all, karts have single seats like Formula 1 cars. The only difference is in speed and strength, but most other aspects are similar.
In addition, karting is just as competitive and needs drivers to have special skills and techniques. It might seem like karting is easy and that anyone can do it. However, the best F1 racers started in the karting circuit.
Expect to spend approximately five to seven years kart racing. After that, you can move on to lower formula cars. So instead of travelling for summer break, keep practising to hone your skills. It’s just a matter of time before you join the big leagues.
Grow Your Racing Basics
Karting will help you become a successful racer. However, you must learn and maintain skills that propel you forward in your Formula 1 racing career. Racing is dangerous, and students must always remember to increase their knowledge through constant practice.
Even professional racers keep reminding themselves of the basics. Mastering the basics ensures racing skills become instinctive and come naturally while on track.
Build Relationships With Sponsors and Teams
Networking is crucial in all careers. So, when you are certain F1 racing is for you, build as many relationships with people in the racing sphere as possible. Also, do extensive research on the teams available around you.
Colleges and universities also have mentorship programs. Thus, you might be lucky enough to get a mentor from events organized by your university. Some seasoned racers are available for consultation, and monitoring them helps you learn vital racing techniques.
Moreover, make it a point to talk to race sponsors and show them your expertise on the track. When you make it to lower formulas, you must stand out by:
- Showing commitment
- Volunteering whenever necessary
- Working hard during practice
- Supporting other racers
Do Enough Body Training
If you’re not in good shape, change it. Although racing has you in a sitting position throughout, physical fitness is mandatory. Usually, racing cars go up to 200 MPH. Such speeds cause your body to experience G-force, especially when braking and cornering.
Therefore, overall body training is a must. However, focusing on the following areas also helps:
- Neck strength
- Physical strength
Races last 90 minutes and over. So, you can’t make a great racer if your body cannot withstand the pressure for that long. Experts recommend a range of motion exercises and strength training to help you avoid life-threatening injuries.
Train Your Brain
Formula 1 racing needs physical and mental fitness. A shift in focus has dire consequences for race drivers. It takes less than a second to lose control of the car and veer off-track. Moreover, what sets racers apart from other drivers is their ability to react quickly.
So, you must train your brain to process information and react fast. There are simple ways to do brain training, like using bouncing balls (because they are sporadic). However, if your finances allow, high-tech training measures include:
- Using training devices to trigger physical responses
- Utilizing training equipment to record your performance and spot weak areas
Both the simple and high-tech methods work. What matters is getting your brain trained to handle the fast pace on a racetrack.
Attend Formula 1 Races
Attend F1 races before getting to the level you want. Exposing yourself to such an environment gets you more excited about being a racer and puts things into perspective. Remember, you won’t be attending only as a fan, as your attention will be on the technical aspects.
Of course, you’ll have a favourite driver who you can cheer for. However, also monitor what procedures are followed and how drivers manoeuvre the track. Such events also have potential mentors and sponsors, so keep an eye out for them.
All successful Formula 1 racers were students at one point. So, you can become a racer too. It takes hard work, commitment and resilience to get to F1 races. However, with passion and zeal, it becomes easier.
The tips mentioned above are enough to help you get to where you want to be faster. So, if you feel that Formula 1 is where your passion lies, nothing can stop you!