How dating an F1 driver differs from dating a regular person
With 20 Grand Prix taking place each year, right across the globe, before an enthusiastic TV audience of half a billion, and generating upwards of $2 billion in income, to describe F1 as massive would be an understatement. Given the popularity of this sport, and the fact that unlike that other massively popular sport – football – F1 is focused on individuals not teams of 11, the top drivers can readily become iconic figures.
Where their social lives are concerned, their lifestyle has far more in common with Hollywood actors or popstars than the rest of us (the people actress Liz Hurley disparagingly refers to as ‘civilians’!). Because they are the subject of such intense interest, and at the center of a sport with such a high financial turnover, F1 drivers move in vastly different circles. That’s not to say one of these sportsmen might not be attracted to someone from a regular background, but the social events and the people they might be introduced to by their PR team are far more likely to be models, stars of girl bands or A-list actresses, than females working in shops or offices.
Playboys or family men?
For a terrific example of this disparity in social behavior, look no further than two of the world’s top F1 drivers, Englishman Lewis Hamilton and German Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton doesn’t just drive exceptionally fast cars. According to his biography, he is also a fashion designer and a musician. He has shared videos of his piano-playing prowess on YouTube and was revealed as the mystery guest vocalist on Christina Aguilera’s song ‘Pipe.’ Where his F1 accomplishments are concerned, Hamilton has won a joint-record seven World Drivers’ Championship titles (tying with Michael Schumacher), as well as holding the top spot for 95 wins.
He lives his life like so many celebrities in the public eye, accepting the full glare of publicity isn’t just something that goes with the territory, it’s the oxygen that is vital for maintaining his celebrity status: his incredibly lucrative celebrity status. When it comes to keeping his profile ‘on trend,’ Hamilton easily wins the F1 leader board, with 20 million Instagram followers – practically the same figure as the other nine drivers listed in the top 10 added together. In stark contrast, Vettel’s followers amount to zero (as someone who cherishes the privacy of his family life, he doesn’t partake in social media.)
Hamilton has been linked with a string of beautiful celebrity girlfriends, including Rita Ora and Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger. Heavily-tattooed and always ‘blinged-up,’ his social life revolves around his playboy bachelor pad, while he relishes a whirlwind of music parties and late-night clubs.
Vettel couldn’t be more opposite. Known to be a family man, he has won four World Drivers’ Championships, and currently holds the third-place position for race victories. But away from the circuit, he retreats to his home in the tranquil Zurich countryside. He is far cagier about his love life. There are rumors he has two daughters by childhood sweetheart Hanna Prater, but journalists will find him reticent about admitting to as much. When asked what he thought of Hamilton’s body art, his only remark was, “You learn things from people who are different.”
It should be noted that famous playboys from sports don’t have to use a naughty dating site to find a one-night stand or put any effort into finding an irresistible partner as they tend to be the centers of attraction themselves. However, sportsmen used to spending so much of their time under the spotlight of publicity might feel a hint of jealousy at the rest of us who live our lives without our every move being scrutinized. Especially where our love lives are concerned!
Perhaps the notion of logging into a digital dating outlet from the comfort of home, then browsing through the personal profiles of a diverse cross-section of eligible females might sound appealing. You can imagine exchanging intimate messages and planning discreet liaisons being infinitely more preferable than meeting in some crowded nightclub, with paparazzi training their lenses on you and your latest ‘squeeze,’ ready to plaster your romantic clinches all over the tabloids!
Three famous Ferrari champions and their romantic life
– Niki Lauda
Three-times World Drivers’ Champion Niki Lauda, born in Austria, was the sports star driver of the 1970s, although a terrible crash during the 1976 German Grand Prix saw him suffering severe burns, as well as the after-effects of breathing toxic fumes. He did make a valiant comeback after a short period. He had two children from his first marriage to Chilean/Austrian Marlene Knaus, one of whom, Lukas, became his manager. His second wife was Birgit, a flight attendant on his own airline.
– Kimi Raikkonen
Known as ‘The Iceman,’ Finnish F1 driver Raikkonen won the 2007 World Championship. He married Jenni Dahlman, a former Miss Scandinavia, in 2004, although they divorced 10 years later. He married model Minna-Mari Virtanen in 2016.
– Michael Schumacher
German F1 driving ace Schumacher retired from the sport in 2006, returning briefly in 2010. He has won numerous trophies and holds the joint World Championship record with Hamilton. He married German animal rights activist Corinna Betsch in 1995, and like his countryman Vettel, guards his family life. He is recuperating from a brain injury incurred during a skiing accident.