F1 under the microscope: What’s happening to young drivers?

Written by By Andrew Toth, CNN The term “what, me worry?” has never been more relevant than in Formula 1, where a cacophony of noise and technological innovation has created a relentlessly challenging environment…

F1 under the microscope: What's happening to young drivers?

Written by By Andrew Toth, CNN

The term “what, me worry?” has never been more relevant than in Formula 1, where a cacophony of noise and technological innovation has created a relentlessly challenging environment for drivers.

Formula 1 is nothing if not demanding. The rules are complex, the technology is high-tech and the environment is unforgiving. Drivers have to deliver an aggressive racing style, despite the most advanced chassis in motorsport.

Their peril, therefore, is not caused solely by the cars themselves, but by the competing and unending demands the sport places on them as team-mates.

There are 51 drivers in Formula 1. Tied for 11th spot in the pecking order is Max Verstappen. He’s 18 years old, barely five feet tall, and you’d be hard pressed to call him a threat.

As a youngest driver, he brings no title credibility to the sport. Not that this stops him.

The Dutchman’s day job is in club football. One of his rivals is Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, another of the sport’s historic greats. Another is Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes. And, of course, there’s Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes.

This stacked field makes Verstappen’s driver’s seat not just at the back, but behind the sofa in the living room.

After losing his first grand prix this season at Silverstone, Verstappen has quickly changed his tactics. Instead of identifying with the egos of his rivals, he’s aggressively blasting them in the media.

Why?

“Because you’ve got to,” he told CNN.

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