The season finale of the F1 Championship was grand and spectacular. It had so much drama that it seemed like something out of Succession, the HBO drama series. Full of emotional and unexpected turn of events up to the very last lap. And not only the finale but the whole season was something else; tension, fights, intrigues and controversies filled the entire calendar. And what had us at Notorious wondering as well was; what do Formula-1 drivers wear when they’re not wearing their team overalls.
Once upon a time, F1 drivers were crazy, cool and stylish.
Many F1 drivers were unredeemable playboys and daredevils, mainly in the old days, when safety wasn’t so much of a concern and the death toll was still considerably high, or as F1 legend Jacky Stewart once famously said, “from the time when sex was safe and racing dangerous “. From these crazy days, James Hunt, Peter Revson and François Cevert immediately come to mind. Not only were they successful and outrageously good-looking SOB’s, but style icons as well. Their looks were immediately copied by a large fellowship of men aspiring to dress as if in this world. From the long hairs and large sideburns to the unbuttoned shirts and low cut jeans with leather jackets, F1 drivers showed us how to look like testosterone-filled engines about to explode.
But before having a close look at what Formula-1 drivers wear when off-duty, let us check their predecessors’ style.
Peter Revson, Shadow F1 team.
He was heir to the Revlon cosmetics fortune (his father, Martin Revson, was the founder). A young, handsome bachelor described as a “free spirit”, Peter passed up an easy life for one of competition and danger. Off the track, he lived at the same accelerated pace courting some of the most beautiful women in the world. At the time of his death, he was engaged to the 1973 Miss World.
François Cevert, Tyrrell team.
He was not only fast but devilish good-looking; this explosive mixture made him quickly the top playboy in the 70s circuit. His most notorious affair was with french star Brigitte Bardot.
James Hunt, McLaren and later Wolf team.
Despite his reputation for putting more effort into drinking champagne than he did out on the track and for dating fast girls, he drove fast, very fast. Playing hard and working hard got him the world championship in 1976 but ultimately cost him his health and wealth as well. James Hunt’s fashion style is relevant until today; his typical 70s slogan t-shirt is still available in the market.
Behind all the technology and performance there still is a sense of fashion.
Nowadays, drivers are high-performance athletes driving in technologically advanced and safe cars with little room left for playing around or being a party animal (except for Kimmi Raikkonen- no one knows how that works, not even Kimmi). But some do still ooze style and coolness. However, in the age of the institutionalised t-shirt and sneakers, which levelled down fashion, it isn’t as easy to differentiate. Still, there are recognisable and distinctive styles out there.
Here are some very cool dudes in distinctive styles, showing us what Formula-1 drivers wear when they are not wearing helmets.
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari.
The son of twice rally wolrd champion, Carlos Sainz, belongs to a large family with traditional values and strong ties to Spanisch high-society. His style can most definitely be described as classic and timeless. Sainz daily uniform consists in jeans and polo shirt, and with suits he wears a classic cut and shirts with widespread Italian collar.
Lando Norris, McLaren.
We can describe Lando Norris’ fashion style with a hashtag #Richkidofinstagram. Loud t-shirts, ripped jeans, baseball caps (but all from top designer brands) and always flexing indecently expensive timepieces from Richard Mille.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull.
The reigning F1 world champion has the reputation of being a brat and something of a troublemaker, but his style says otherwise. Toned-down and classic, it most certainly has an understated and effortless coolness.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes.
Hip-Hop meets the Kardashians. Seven times world F1 champion, Lewis Hamilton seems to feel most comfortable in the more extravagant and risky end of the fashion spectrum. Hamilton’s fashion style signature is his braided hair style and bold accessories like diamond necklaces and earrings.
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari.
Well Monaco, what can you say, even if you are not rich you are rich. And F1 driver, Leclerc looks the part. Wearing high-end fashion and making it look so easy. His collaboration with Giorgio Armani is just classy.
George Russell, Williams.
On her Majesty’s service…literally. Saville Row when you must, T-Shirt when you can, and both look great. British as it gets.