There’s no question that Formula One drivers know how to drive.
Granted, they’re driving cars that are more sophisticated than the ones we take to the road, and they’re pushing them to speeds that are more than double any legal limit in Australia. But if there’s one thing we can say about them for certain, it’s that they’ve got skills when it comes to sitting behind a wheel.
Naturally, when we sat down with Australia’s Formula One golden boy, Daniel Ricciardo, we had to ask: “What are your tips for driving like a boss?”
Swapping between his infectious smile and down-to-business focus, Ricciardo, who claims he’s never had an accident on road or track, said the key to driving well is planning ahead.
“On the racetrack, we’re constantly looking ahead… not five metres in front of us; we’re looking 50 metres in front of us and spotting the next corner, where to brake, where to turn… that’s probably the biggest thing that helps on the road,” he said.
He also said driving smoothly is as important on the racetrack as it is on the road, and easing through the pedal changes.
In a Formula One car, brakes are ultra-efficient, managing to stop a car from high speeds are a shorter distance, thanks also in part to its weight and tyres. In our everyday-cars, however, this ‘smoothness’ helps with fuel efficiency, and gives more control preventing any jerky reactions to obstacles ahead.
Of course, to drive like the charming Ricciardo, it takes focus, intensity, training and to some degree, a willingness to put your life on the line. In our everyday driving, however, we’re far more cautious and battle obstacles that don’t come in to play on the grid, like pedestrians and cyclists.
At speeds of more than 300km/h, there’s a lot more strength and fitness involved in driving an F1 car and a lot more on the line.
But while Ricciardo is all about safety on the road, the dangers of his job don’t weigh too heavily on his mind.
On the night we spoke to the Red Bull Racer, he was interviewed by Australian cricketer, Adam Gilchrist, at the launch of Quintis Sandalwood, where he told his fellow ambassador “the sport has come a long way with safety. It’s still dangerous but… I think as a kid that was part of the attraction.”
“There’s no point taking these risks if you’re only doing it half-heartedly,” he said.
That’s not to say he thinks we should do the same, offering a third tip for being a good driver: “Don’t text on the road.”