F1 is all about emotion, passion, and drama, but it is also full of strange, unexpected, and, why not, fun moments. Throughout the history of this sport, we have seen it all, battles, rivalries, moments of victory, and adversity.
Drivers, team members, and commentators provide quotes that can produce laughter as easily as they motivate.
Below we’ve compiled some of our favorite quotes from F1 personalities that thankfully inspire you, make you think, and some of them can make you laugh too. You may have even heard or said some before in your everyday life and don’t know who said them first.
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Ayrton Senna has many of the greatest F1 quotes, but perhaps this is his most famous. The Brazilian legend spoke these words during a tense interview with Jackie Stewart, referring to the accident he had with his greatest rival, Alain Prost, in the first corner of the 1990 Japanese GP. It was the last race of the season, and both were competing for the world championship.
Senna started from pole position, and at that time, the pole sitter always chose which side of the track to have the pole position. But Jean-Marie Balestre, the then president of the FIA and a good friend of Prost, refused Senna the right to choose.
Senna, unhappy with this political interference to put pole position on the “clean” side of the track, refused to yield at the first corner to Prost. The two collided, handing over the title to the Brazilian.
Here is the video of the crash:
2. “I’ve always believed that you should never, ever give up and you should always keep fighting even when there’s only a slightest chance.” – Michael Schumacher
That is the key in racing and life. Michael could not have won all seven of his F1 world titles without this philosophy. Always hungry to win, Michael gave everything to beat his rivals, whatever car he was driving. Therefore, this quote can define his sports career and his world titles, not always in the best car, which inspired millions of people worldwide.
Due to his skiing accident in 2013, his family created the non-profit organization to “spread the positive energy that supporters of Michael have expressed to him over the years.”
3. “Really, you should always discuss the defeats because you can learn much more from failure than from success.” – Niki Lauda
Very certain words of the three-times world champion in 1975, 1977, and 1984, Niki Lauda, who during his life went through very sweet but also very bad moments. And it is that failure is necessary in life because we learn from them, and in this way, we can grow as people.
Without failures, we would believe that we are doing everything well, so we would not improve in any way. Analyzing defeats and failures is a good way to achieve success.
4. “We have to remember these days. There is no guarantee they will last forever. Enjoy them as long as they last.” – Sebastian Vettel
These were the words that Sebastian Vettel said to his team as they won their fourth consecutive title in 2013. Not only had they reached the top, but since 2010 they had remained there, marking one of the most dominating and successful stages of a driver and an F1 team together.
But like everything in life, nothing is eternal, and as they say, everything that goes up must come down. Vettel knew it, and that’s why he wanted to enjoy those moments to the fullest while they were there, before they became memories.
5. “I have no idols. I admire work, dedication and competence.” – Ayrton Senna
On his way to becoming the best, Ayrton knew very well what the key to success was. Hard work, dedication, and competence, more than anything else. When you have a goal, consistent hard work and discipline will get you there. You don’t need the motivation to get started, and it will come once you make progress.
Having idols is fine, as long as they represent values like these and make you strive to improve.
6. “When you give up your hunger for success you are not racing full heartedly anymore. Just to be there, that is not my style.” – Felipe Massa
In the same way as the previous sentence, Felipe Massa points out that dedication is key to success. Doing things without passion is not his style, and we do not recommend that it be yours either, since otherwise, everything would be very boring and monotonous.
The Brazilian failed to get the world title during his career, which he lost by just one point in 2008, but his passion never faded, which made him enjoy racing.
Put all your heart into what you do, and not only will you get better results, but the process will also be more enjoyable.
7. “In racing there are always things you can learn, every single day. There is always space for improvement, and I think that applies to everything in life.” – Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton, the statistically best driver in F1 history, is not wrong with these words. He would not have achieved his seven world championships if he had not grown as a driver and person from his early years.
During his first seasons, he was already one of the best, getting his first title just in his second year in F1 in 2008, but the driver that he is now is much better and complete, thanks to his experience and all that he has lived through. Learning has been the key during these years.
8. “You don’t expect to be at the top of the mountain the day you start climbing.” – Ron Dennis
This is how Ron Dennis describes the road to success. The McLaren CEO from 1981 to 2016 was a keystone in transforming the team to become a world championship contender regularly. With him, McLaren became one of the most successful and iconic teams in the history of F1, achieving multiple victories and championships, and where some of the best drivers in history have raced.
Great projects are achieved little by little, day by day, with patience and perseverance, and not overnight.
9. “On a given day, a given circumstance, you think you have a limit. And you then go for this limit and you touch this limit, and you think, ‘Okay, this is the limit.’ And so you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high.”- Ayrton Senna
This is one of the most beautiful quotes by Ayrton Senna. F1 is all about finding the limits of your car and the track and harnessing them to be the fastest, saving time where no one else does, and squeezing more out of your car than anyone else.
But this also applies to life in general, as there is always room for improvement, and constantly exceeding those limits will allow you to achieve great things.
10. “The moment money becomes your motivation, you are immediately not as good as someone who is stimulated by passion and internal will.” – Sebastian Vettel
Just like Ayrton Senna, Vettel points out that the most important thing is the passion and commitment you put into something.
The German, four times world champion, would not have been able to win his titles without passion and will, let alone continue racing today if it weren’t for something he likes and is passionate about. We are delighted to continue watching him race.
Never do things simply for the money, but because you really enjoy them.
11. “To do something well is so worthwhile that to die trying to do it better cannot be foolhardy. It would be a waste of life to do nothing with one’s ability, for I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone.” – Bruce McLaren
Almost like something out of a prophecy, the McLaren founder lived as he preached. He achieved 4 victories and 27 podiums in F1 and founded one of the most legendary teams in F1 history. He died at the age of 32 in a testing accident at Goodwood, but the legacy he left behind was enormous and continues with his F1 team and the supercars that bear his name.
12. “We win and lose together.” – Lewis Hamilton
Formula 1 is a team sport. What would the driver be without his engineers and mechanics? Success is achieved with good teamwork, in which both the driver and the rest of the team are fully focused, and there is a good atmosphere. When victory is achieved, everything is beautiful, and there are good vibes, but when you lose, you also have to unite as a team and learn to become stronger.
There have been more successes than failures in recent years for Lewis Hamilton, but this attitude has made him reach the top so many times together with Mercedes and become an idol for millions of people around the world.
13. “F1 needs Ferrari much more than Ferrari needs F1.” – Toto Wolff
This was what Mercedes chief Toto Wolff said in light of Ferrari’s threats to F1 about leaving the category over disagreements with Liberty Media a few years ago. And he is right.
Ferrari has been in F1 since the earliest races in its history and is an indispensable part of the sport. F1 would not be what it is today without Ferrari. The Maranello-based Italian team is the most famous team and car brand globally. To think of F1 is to think of Ferrari and vice versa.
If Ferrari ever left F1, the sport would lose a part of its essence, and it could have devastating effects.
14. “Just leave me alone, I know what to do.” – Kimi Räikkönen
Kimi Räikkönen’s most famous quote and one of the most iconic moments in recent times. The Finn, a man of few words, said this to his engineer when he was leading the 2012 Abu Dhabi GP race because he was giving him too many updates.
The Iceman ended up winning the race, so he was right when he said that he knew what he was doing. Here below, we leave the best moments of that epic race:
15. “F1 is about the best drivers competing against each other for the best teams producing the best cars they can.” – Lewis Hamilton
Formula 1 is the most prestigious and important category of motorsport. It’s where all drivers dream of racing and where the best mechanics and engineers want to be. It is not only a fight of drivers but of teams and brands to innovate more and take engineering one step further than the rivals.
The driver, the team, and the car are equally important; if one of them does not perform well, the rest cannot achieve anything.
16. “I am an artist, the track is my canvas and the car is my brush.” – Graham Hill
As if it were poetry, these are the words of Graham Hill, the “Gentleman race.”. The two-time world champion in 1962 and 1968 was known for his elegance both on and off the track. He was one of the fastest of his time and achieved 14 victories and 36 podiums.
Also known as “Mr. Monaco,” his most successful canvas was the Circuit of Monaco, where he won five times, in 1963, 1964, 1965, 1968, and 1969.
17. “Race cars are neither ugly nor beautiful. They become beautiful when they win.” – Enzo Ferrari
The founder of the most successful team in Formula 1 history was right. Think of all the successful F1 cars you can – they are all pretty! And is that the winning cars are the sexiest, not only because they are the fastest, but because everyone wants to be like them.
They are the role models, and although they may not seem the prettiest at first, the fact that they are the fastest and the most desired makes them beautiful. On the other hand, backmarkers tend to give the impression of being uglier because they are slow and, generally, being teams with less budget, their cars are roughly shaped.
18. “Being an F1 driver is a crazy job but not what everyone expects. My year consists of 20% driving and 80% media, marketing and travel.” – Daniel Ricciardo
We all tend to idealize what we like, like F1 or another elite sport. But the reality is that nothing is what it seems from our sofa at home, as we only see the action, that is, the results. Racing is only a small part of a driver’s life, and there is much more behind it. Drivers’ weekend is full of events, interviews, and sponsoring events that no one is excited to do.
And during the week they have to train very hard and follow a strict diet to perform, so not everything is pink. Being an F1 driver or an athlete of any sport is the dream of many, but you have to consider all the other responsibilities they have apart from competing.
19. “Equalising performance between teams runs completely counter to the idea of F1 and would be very unfair for us.” – Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton has been criticized many times for winning with the best car, but wasn’t Schumacher doing the same with Ferrari or Vettel with Red Bull?
After all, as we said previously, F1 is a team sport. It is not only a fight between drivers but also between engineers and mechanics. Everything has to be in harmony to win. That is the essence of F1, innovation, and evolution through different brands fighting each other to have the fastest car.
20. “The rule of thumb in F1 is to beat your teammate.” – Nico Hülkenberg
In Formula 1, your biggest rival is your teammate. He is the only one with the same car as you, so he is the only one you can compare yourself to the same conditions. Even if your car is not competitive and you do not achieve great results, beating your teammate is always a guarantee to continue in F1.
And if you have the best car, your teammate will be the toughest opponent, as he has it too. In F1 history, we have seen great rivalries between teammates like Senna and Prost or Hamilton and Rosberg, which have ended with significant tensions between the drivers.
21. “To achieve anything in this game, you must be prepared to dabble in the boundary of disaster.” – Stirling Moss
Stirling Moss is considered the best driver in F1 history who has not won a world championship. His statistics are incredible, with 16 wins, 24 podiums, and 16 poles in 67 races between 1951 and 1961, but fate did not earn him the title.
Stirling Moss raced in an era where there weren’t as many safety measures as there are today, with multiple drivers dying each season, but he survived to tell the tale. Even though safety is much higher today, the risk is always there, and the drivers know it very well.
22. “Aerodynamics are for people who can’t build engines.” – Enzo Ferrari
Enzo Ferrari said this famous quote in 1960 as a response to driver Paul Frére about why his 250 TR at Le Mans had an ungainly-looking windshield on his car. Ferrari was someone who had something to say about anything. With this answer, he meant that if the engine is good, you do not need aerodynamics.
Perhaps this was true in its day, but F1 and racing, in general, have evolved a lot, and today aerodynamics is a critical factor in building a car. In Red Bull’s dominant era (2010-2013), the key to its success was not the engine but the aerodynamics. In the same way, in 2019, Ferrari had the most powerful engine (it is not known if it was entirely legal) but lost the battle with Mercedes.
23. “When I do retire, I know for a fact that I’ll never be able to replace the incredible feeling I get when I’m driving an F1 car.” – Jenson Button
Driving an F1 car at such speed and feeling the G-forces moving your whole body must be an incredible thing, and Jenson Button, one of the most experienced drivers in F1 history, knows this well.
When retiring from F1, many drivers feel that emptiness to feel that adrenaline again, so they look for alternatives such as extreme sports or compete in other racing categories. It is normal to see drivers skiing, rallying, or riding jet skis on vacation or when they retire.
24. “If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.” – Mario Andretti
Slower means safer, and therefore you have everything under control, but squeezing the car to the fullest and pushing to be the fastest not only requires great talent and skill but you are exposed to risks.
But that is the essence of F1, to go to the limit, and the risks will always be present. No matter how much time passes and how much safety improves, crazy people driving so fast will always have risks.
That’s all for today. I hope you liked these quotes and learned something more about F1 and why not, life in general, as many things we have seen apply to your daily life. What was your favorite?
- Racing Quotes (43 quotes) (goodreads.com)
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- “Aerodynamics are for people who can’t build engines.” (by Enzo Ferrari) | Formula Group T Aerodynamics (wordpress.com)