How Do You Become A Formula 1 Driver?

How Do You Become A Formula 1 Driver

Becoming a Formula 1 driver is a very enviable position, and each race seat is highly sought after by some of the best drivers in the world. While there’s no set-in-stone path that drivers take to set themselves up for Formula 1, many drivers have much in common regarding their training and racing history. Three of the most important pillars of a Formula 1 career are karting, networking often, and constant training. With these things, among others, one can boost their odds of making it to Formula 1.


Many Formula 1 drivers got their start in racing with karting. Go-karts, as they’re often called, are smaller vehicles that are low to the ground and great for racing. There are countless karting leagues worldwide, and many of the world’s best Formula 1 drivers started their careers karting. Charles Leclerc, a driver for the Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 team and one of the most exciting young talents in the sport, began karting when he was just eight years old. 

There are karting leagues for just about any age group and skill level. As drivers get older and more skilled, they’ll often move up to more competitive leagues where the karts are capable of much higher speeds. Karting is where drivers learn the most important parts of racing and often where they develop their competitive spirit. It’s also the proving ground that allows them to move into more competitive racing leagues.

After karting, most drivers compete in lower-level formula racing before they race in Formula 1. These series, known as feeder series, are open-wheeled championships structured in four tiers, with Formula 2 and World Series V8 at the top. On the bottom tier are Formula Ford, Formula Renault, and Formula 4. Drivers progress up the tiers, using success in one series to attract attention and advance to the next highest one.

Building Relationships

Believe it or not, networking is one of the most important parts when developing a career in motorsport. Drivers are not isolated entities. Rather, they rely on the support of sponsors, teams, and mentors to progress in the sport. Racing is a costly endeavor, and drivers almost always need financial support. Seeing as Formula 1 is the most expensive motorsport, a driver must have a healthy supporting cast which ideally consists of sponsors, mentors, and important figures in the world of motorsport. These people will be important when vouching for your skill and commitment, and they might be able to secure opportunities for you that you wouldn’t receive otherwise. This is why networking is an absolute must in the racing world; drivers can’t succeed all on their own. 

Constant Training

Racing is an incredibly demanding sport. Drivers are required to be in peak physical condition. During a race, their strength and stamina are tested to an extreme degree, and they must be able to withstand and react to the ever-changing conditions on the track. To do so, professional drivers put in countless hours of physical training throughout their careers. This includes building strength and stamina, but mental training as well.

Drivers rely on simulators that mimic racing conditions, all from the comfort of an office, or in some cases, one’s living room. The simulator is able to better prepare drivers for races, as well as train their reaction time. Some of the most successful drivers also train their brains to stay calm and focused during intense moments mid-race. Whether it’s physical or mental, constant training is essential to a career in professional motorsport.