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Formula 1 race rules and regulations for Drivers

formula one drive with car at racing track
Formula one driver giving victory pose

Driving an F1 car is no child’s play. It requires extreme agility and strength, both physical and mental. From a layman's point of view, the high-octane thrill of driving an F1 comes across as a simple sport of racing from the start to the finish line. But what lies beneath the surface is a complex system of strict rules and racing regulations that every participant must adhere to.

The requirements for becoming an F1 driver are varied and challenging. Mind you! It’s one thing to get your driving license and a complete ball game altogether to get your super licence. Above all, the drivers themselves are bound by many rigorous Formula 1 rules and regulations that must be followed before they even think about stepping into their cars.

One could say there are rules for every aspect of an F1 racer’s existence. Right from the Pitt lanes to the car, their social media presence, and how they eat. Everything comes under the strict radar of scrutiny by the F1 governing body FIA. In this blog post, we will walk you through some fascinating yet crucial rules and regulations that Formula One drivers must observe.


Obtaining an F1 Super Licence:

Skill, timing, and luck play a significant role in making an F1 driver. The FIA's Super Licence points system has become the norm for drivers looking to reach the top. The system ensures that talent is crucial in joining the F1 grid. Drivers must meet a few basic requirements to get the FIA Super Licence needed to compete in F1. The rules of Formula one state that they need to have a current FIA International Grade A licence, a valid driving licence and be at least 18 years old when they compete in their first F1 race.

The F1 Super Licence is a highly coveted licence granted only to those who have demonstrated exceptional driving skills and have undergone a rigorous written test. The license is a testament to the driver's expertise and experience in the sport that surpasses the standard driver's license.

The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) is responsible for issuing this license, which has the European spelling of "licence." According to Formula 1 rules, those with dual citizenship may drive under the nationality of their choice, as many other Formula 1 drivers have previously done. For instance, the London-born and raised Williams Racing driver Alex Albon, races under a Thai licence due to his Thai mother.

Minimum weight Requirement:

Formula 1 has also imposed a minimum weight requirement as a safety precaution in Formula 1. Though this Formula 1 rule may appear stringent at first glance, it serves a vital purpose in ensuring safety and fair competition in racing. To achieve a level playing field, the combined weight of the car and driver must be no less than 1,759 lbs (798 kg). If the combined weight of the car and the driver do not meet the minimum limit, extra weight is added to the chassis in order to reach the prescribed weight limit.

F1 Driver Age Limit

The minimum age requirement for drivers participating in Formula 1 races is 18. This rule is relatively new and was first implemented after Max Verstappen debuted in 2015 at the age of 17. This F1 driver age limit rule , is implemented to uphold the sport's "elitist nature" so that only the most skilled and experienced drivers compete at the highest level. While it is contested that this rule limits young drivers' opportunities, it has also helped ensure drivers' safety and maintain the sport's integrity.

Changing the Racing Car Number:

Formula 1 rules require drivers to select a permanent racing number at the beginning of their career. This number often holds personal significance for the driver. Should they wish to change their number, there is only one way. The reigning world champion can switch to the number one for the impending season that follows his victory. This system began in the 1970s, and ever since then, it has been the rarest of rare honours for the world champion to adorn their car with the number one as a symbol of their victory in the previous season.


Fitness is just as crucial as skill and strategy in Formula 1. Formula 1 rules state that Drivers must gain specific fitness levels to endure the intense G-forces they experience while driving an F1 car. These forces can be experienced while braking and going through corners, where drivers may experience up to 6G's of force. Without that extreme level of fitness and endurance, drivers could not withstand these unfathomable forces and could potentially face severe injuries or even blackouts. F1 cars reach unimaginable speeds, and the pressure drivers experience while racing can be over a thousand times more intense than they would feel while driving a standard car. Therefore, F1 drivers need to maintain their physical fitness and endurance to give their best performances.

Another critical aspect of the fitness criteria for driving an F1 is their need to engage in specific neck training exercises to strengthen their muscles to withstand high G-forces experienced during races. The G-forces exert a pressure of approximately 55 pounds on their bodies, which can be physically demanding. Therefore, F1 athletes must train their necks to endure the added stress and prevent injuries.

Training to race on a rainy day:

The real test of the mettle of any Formula One driver is driving their car on a rainy day. With low visibility and slippery roads, succeeding in these conditions requires the drivers to prepare thoroughly and give it their all. Even the most experienced racers can have accidents in the rain, so it's essential to understand the risks involved. The rules of formula 1 require Training and preparing for races in all weather conditions is necessary for every driver. They must know the dangers and make intelligent choices while on the track.

It is mandatory to wear complete gear while operating an F1 car:

Before driving an F1 car, the drivers must be suited up from head to toe, even for practice runs. The mandatory gear includes - a fireproof suit, long underwear, a helmet, neck protection, racing boots, and a balaclava. But that's not all! They must also wear high-tech gloves with a biometric sensor on their fingertip. These gloves track drivers' vital signs in real time, like their heart rate and oxygen levels. According to racing regulations, the team needs to watch their racers to ensure they're not pushing themselves too hard. So if you want to be an F1 driver, you've got to be ready to gear up and go!

Drivers have to break with their left foot:

A unique feature that sets apart F1 drivers from the rest is their practice of using their left foot to brake. This driving technique is mandatory due to the limited space in the car's footwell. The compact design of the F1 car leaves no room for a traditional right-foot brake, making left-foot braking a non-negotiable requirement of driving an F1 car. Interestingly, most F1 cars don't even have a footrest on the left side, further emphasizing the significance of this particular Formula 1 rule. The drivers must master using their left foot to brake accurately and efficiently, allowing them to maintain control of the car and achieve optimal performance.

It is indeed a long list of rules and racing regulations that F1 drivers need to follow. It is needless to say that Formula One is much more than a simple sport of racing from start to finish. It is a rather complex world of dos and don'ts that every participant must follow. A lot goes on behind the scenes, from the requirements for becoming an F1 driver to the rigorous racing regulations that drivers must adhere to. This blog post explored some fascinating and crucial Formula 1 rules and regulations that Formula One drivers must observe. As fans, it's essential to appreciate the depth and complexity of this sport and the incredible athleticism and dedication shown by its participants.

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