Back in the day, did F1 drivers party a night before the race?

Back in the day, did F1 drivers party a night before the race?


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Pretty sure this is a yes. Source: James Hunt Honestly driver fitness has improved greatly in part by Schuey and in part by physios. Schumacher would leave no stone unturned in search of greatness, and fitness was one of those stones. Sport fitness in general have also improved during that time, so there’s more awareness. Last, theres TONS more money in the sport so there’s much more motivation. Schumacher seemed to be the first to adapt that training and lifestyle, but scientific progress in the field plus monetary motivation have made this very much a different game than Hunt. I will give a shout out to Senna - in his book he talked about nutrition and fitness to be an F1 driver, but it was closer to what my Doc would tell me I should do versus top class athlete nutrition and fitness for the time.


I recently re-watched a lot of old races and season reviews. You can really see how, as the aero development comes in, how drivers need to up their physical game to counteract the increasing g-forces in cornering. Aero leaps in the 70s really forced driver fitness. As much as Hunt partied, he was a pretty fit guy when he was racing. I wonder how long a career Nigel would have had if his idea of a workout wasn't eating a bowl of sausage rolls.


You jest, but Mansell had a long career as a top tier driver. 15 years in F1 less one year dominating CART/IndyCar. Not too bad...


I know it's a meme, but Nigel was always at least relatively fit and never let himself go during his F1 career. The "he didn't fit in the McLaren" is because he drove with his elbows out and that didn't work in a narrow cockpit. Now, Alan Jones on the other hand...


Yeah, I took a bit of a cheap shot at Nigel, but I also recall how he always looked completely knocked out after races - moreso than other drivers (ignoring Dallas '84, but Detroit '87 is a good example). I have always wondered how Nigel's career could have faired with his immense natural talent if he had a Schumacher-esque approach to fitness and being an athlete. It wouldn't have helped his poor luck, but could he have shown through even more? Could he have nabbed '86 or '87 championships?


> James Hunt Harvey Postlethwaite said that it wasn't uncommon for Hunt to get laid and smoke a joint an hour before the start of a race. And that wasn't always the first time he fucked that day. I can't imagine what the night before looked like. It says enough that his ex-wife left him for Richard Burton because he partied too hard. When Richard fucking Burton comes across as a faithful husband compared to you, you've gone way too far.


The dude used to wear a "Sex, breakfast of champions" badge on his kit.


He allegedly crashed out on lap 1 of the 78 British GP because he was still hyped up from the lines of coke he'd been doing the night before in London.


I think I just discovered my new favorite former-driver


If you haven't, watch the movie Rush. I believe it's on US Netflix at least


Just added to my list lol.


Welcome to the club. Hunt is how I fell in love with McLaren.


who started the fitness thing in F1 was Senna


Stewart was paying attention to his physical conditions too, also Willy Dungl was really the fitness guru who was helping first Lauda and then whole McLaren team.


I heard the same about Nikki Lauda.




Michael Schumacher? Most of the world calls him Schumi, the brits call him Schuey.


Depends on the Era, like other people have said. But doubt DC personally frequently partied the day before a race. If I remember correctly he told on the beyond the grid podcast he had a pretty methodical approach to race weekends.


Yes, I remember DC suggesting his partying was pretty moderate compared with some other drivers.


Well, on the podcast he also was talking about a flight home after a race where both DC and Weber got absolutely hammered and were being cunts in business class. So if that's how he behaved after a race, i doubt it was all tame and calm before.


*James Hunt has entered the chat*




Kimi buys him a drink


Same as any sport really. Yes, footballers used to get pissed the night before a game. Some were notorious for it, like George Best. So did F1 drivers, some were notorious for it, like James Hunt. That's changed for F1 and for any sport really. Drinking, smoking and drugs are big no-nos.


I mean drugs are definitely not a no-no. Drinking sure, very bad for fitness, smoking is terrible for your lungs so that that makes sense. Drugs? Depending on the drug, you can bet your ass they’d use it. Probably not the night before though.


I highly doubt any of the current drivers would use any drugs, at least in season. WADA has a long and nice list of prohibited substances which includes stuff like cannabis, cocaine, amfetamine, heroin, etc. In addition to the performance enhancing stuff. I'm not sure how often F1 drivers are tested, but I suspect they atleast have to assume that they can show up at any given race weekend.


Obviously drugs is a broad term, with Caffeine being a drug as well as various medicines. I meant more the mainstream recreational drugs - Cocaine, crack, meth etc...


I mean cocaine and meth are two very different ball games my dude. LSD and heroin are both “recreational drugs” but one would surprise me if drivers had taken it and one would surprise me if they hadn’t.


Load of footballers are notorious for doing drugs or drinks before games. Maradona and Gazza also two famous examples - Gazza for instance admitted that he was drunk when he scored his best goal for Lazio. Paul McGrath was another ones who admitted to playing games drunk.


Not the night before the race, but between Bahrain and Spain 2012, Kimi went on a nearly 3 week drinking spree. https://racer.com/2019/03/13/partying-made-me-drive-better-raikkonen/


Depends which era. If you go far enough back it was pretty common for drivers to be actually working on the car the night before. I don't doubt a few beverages were consumed however This is one of the reasons why I hate the GOAT topic, different eras were just so, so different in every single aspect


This is true. You can’t really compare drivers of different eras. What it took for Fangio to be successful is different than what it takes for Hamilton. You have to compare them to their direct peers, more than across generations.


Reading a few biography such as "The Mechanic" by Elvis Preistly it was very common to be absolutely plastered


Hamilton said in an interview he went out Saturday evening on the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend (2014 or 2016 I don't remember) and had therefore a very bad sleep which lead to a pretty poor performance on race sunday.


That would be 2015 IIRC. He did indeed have a horrible race that sunday


I wouldn't be able to stomach a kart with a hangover, let alone a fucking F1 car.


On that note, ~~Nico Rosberg~~ Sebastian Vettel once bought a squeaky toy for Hamilton's dog. Roscoe was playing with it all night which kept Lewis awake before a race.


It was Seb who did it!


My mistake, fixed!


F1 drivers are partying all the time


Amber lounge vibe nowadays


Kimi definitely xD


*stares blankly into space*


"smile if you want in 1...2...3!" *doesn't smile*


But does he have the drink?


Woah, Kimi... Chill, dude. Don't want to blow your load too early.


Kimi parties all the time




Ask Kimi, or read his biography. All day, all night.


Wasn't there a driver in the 90s/00 that showed up to the grid drunk/hungover? I remember watching a story on it before. Like he drank as he thought he couldn't race but suddenly he was allowed to... or I'm remembering it wrong


I remember some story about Jenson Button in his early days, he started Monaco GP(i think) absolutely hungover, but i can't remember specifics.


He didn't race drunk but he commentated the Monaco Grand Prix drunk! In 2005, he sat out the race because BAR were suspended for two races for running underweight cars. He did for commentary on ITV instead and got pissed before the race!


Oh yeah, now i remember, thanks for correction.


Maybe the drivers that didn't live up to their potential did, like Jos Verstappen. I doubt Michael Schumacher was out partying the night before a race. Sports history is littered with people that went off the rails just as they were on the cusp of making it big, so it wouldn't surprise me.


As a swimmer, I can’t imagine handicapping yourself by partying the night before an event. That definitely held drivers back from reaching their full potential on race day, which is surprising but then again how times have changed.


I wonder if there are team rules in place, like a curfew?


Mark Webber's episode of beyond the grid gives a fair but of insight around how crazy the parties got back then. From memory there was even a week long drinking binge before a race


Yes but not the greats.