Are you a young driver? Great, this one is most definitely for you. If not, put yourself back in the mind of 17/18 year old you that is about to take their driving test. That is probably not a long time for many of you (it definitely isn’t for me), so this is easy enough. Now imagine…
What are you doing at the moment? Are you a student? Are you in one of your first full-time jobs? Or first two or three jobs simultaneously? All of these things are stressful, time-consuming and life feels expensive to enjoy with the people you love. Passing your driving test would help get to work more easily/on time and perhaps make you a little more money, allow you to spend more time with friends and family and just generally get on a bit with life. No pressure then.
“A cut throat path to the top of motorsport”
This March an 18-year-old Canadian called Lance Stroll is going to achieve his childhood dream of racing in Formula 1 when the season begins in Australia. And not just for any team – after guiding him through the junior categories, Williams has decided to give the young driver a shot alongside experienced teammate Felipe Massa (who is 35). Stroll will be up against the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, who are all at least 11 years older and have 9 titles between them. And he’s not alone in the ‘Drivers who can’t grow any facial hair and drive the fastest cars in the world’ category: Dutch sensation Max Verstappen, 19, already has two seasons under his belt and could be in a position to fight for the championship this year with Red Bull. Esteban Ocon, a Mercedes development driver currently at Force India, is just 20. Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein is practically middle-aged at 22.
These drivers aren’t slouches either, sharing 8 junior titles between them through what is a demanding, cutthroat path to the top of motorsport. They have all been trusted with racing millions of pounds worth of engineering excellence wheel-to-wheel at speeds in excess of 220mph, under the scrutiny of hundreds of millions of people and heavily-investing sponsors. Contracts aren’t really a thing in F1 either – if they don’t perform they generally get booted out at the end of the year. No pressure there then…
The relief of passing the driving test
They have the glamorous lifestyle and earn more money in a year than you or I might earn in a lifetime. Yet I guarantee that all of these guys feel the same pressure that you do when it comes to driving (albeit in different circumstances), especially at the age they are. Funnily enough, it is because they are some of the best drivers in the world that I bet taking their driving test must’ve been extremely nerve-wracking. Any of your friends pass their test on their 18th birthday? Verstappen did, describing it as “a relief” to complete it. This coming from one of the biggest prospects in the sport for a long time. Imagine if he failed it?! Stroll doesn’t even have a road license and he had an extra year to learn over us lot in the UK.
So if you are feeling a little nervous for your upcoming test, just remember that everyone who has gone before you has felt exactly the same way and come out alive (and with a license) – including the future greats of motorsport.