How to become an F1 driver

Updated March 23, 2017

For many aspiring drivers, Formula 1 represents the pinnacle of auto racing. But long before drivers even get close the cockpit of an F1 car, they have probably logged hundreds of hours in the cars of feeder series, Formula Ford, Formula Renault, Formula 3 and GP2 series. And even before drivers get to this level, many Formula 1 drivers started their racing careers in karting.

Start with karting. Find a local track or club close to home that is associated with the World Karting Association, and follow the steps they have to start racing karts.

Attend a racing school. There are a number of racing schools in the UK that will help you develop the skills you need to be successful.

Race hard with the goal of signing to a karting team. Just like Formula 1 teams, there are teams at all levels of racing. Signing with a team will increase your exposure to scouts from the upper series, as well. Many teams have a team manager who will mentor you through your karting career.

Start fundraising. Throughout your racing career, you increase your marketability for some smaller teams if you are carrying your own sponsors.

Sign with a Formula Ford or equivalent series team. Continue to work on your skills and advance from test driver to regular starter for the team. Race hard to gain the attention of Formula 1 team scouts who look for the next drivers.

Sign with a Formula 1 team as a test driver. The ultimate goal is to be a regular starter. However, many drivers spend time as test drivers until team management feels they are ready for the starting grid.


Depending on the amount of racing you do during a season, you many need to spend upwards of £6,500 a year to run a kart competitively.

Things You'll Need

  • Kart & engine (having backup chassis and engines is also a good idea)
  • Racing Suit
  • Helmet
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About the Author

Since 2002 Mark Spowart has been working as a freelance writer and photographer in London, Canada. He has publication credits for writing and/or photography in Canada, The United States, Europe and Norway, with such titles as "The Globe & Mail," "The National Post," Canada News Wire, Sun Media and "Business Edge" magazine.