ًWhy age matters in the world of Formula 1 other than the other categories in the motorsport?
Last year, the average age of drivers in the 2019 F1 season was the 26, this is the youngest average since the modern era of the championship began in 1950 with three rookies (Russel, Albon, Norris) set to line-up on the grid in Melbourne with Latifi this season. we actually have the youngest grid ever lately.
However, in this season which is about to begin, we have the oldest driver and the youngest one in the 2020 grid, obviously, It's a matter of experience. Kimi Räikkönen from Finland has turned 40 a few months ago and it's not a strange number to see in F1. The Finn has started driving an F1 car since he was 22 just like today's drivers. the 2007 F1 champion is still in good shape and never moans about aging since the day he returned to Alfa Romeo from Ferrari.
Lately, the reigning champion and Six-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton told GQ Hype that he hopes he remains only the second-oldest driver in F1 for some time, he says while joking: “I need to start paying Kimi to stay so I’m not the oldest. Luckily, I think he’s going to keep going."
That was him joking but he claimed earlier that he doesn't feel of getting older: “I don’t feel old at all. I feel as young as ever. I feel fit, fitter than ever."
"Everything just works better now, with the experience I have,” Hamilton added.
In my opinion, the number of age is not something we should worry about but it is the main factor when it comes to your success when it comes to F1 drivers, veteran athletes like drivers continue their sportive career throughout life, often adhering to training regimes of 20 hours and more per week. As a consequence, age-related sedentarism should not contribute to age-related frailty in these athletes unless if they complaining of certain diseases that would affect the athletic performance will lead to a deterioration in results or even in discontinuing sportive activity. Therefore, veteran drivers provide a unique opportunity to study the question pointed out.
“I don’t even think it’s harder to stay physically in shape," said Hamilton who has been linked with a big potential move for 2021 to the Prancing Horse team, Ferrari although the latest reports tell he will instead extend with Mercedes until 2023.
If we go back to early F1 seasons in 1990's Damon Hill started driving an F1 car at age 32 (in 1992 at Brabham), and became world champion in 1996 at age 36, he gave his first victory to the Jordan team at 38 and ended his career at age 39. And, If we talk about the seven world titles holder, Michael Schumacher, won a pole position at age of 43 in the Grand Prix of Monaco in 2012, (before being downgraded to a differed penalty imposed on the previous GP in Spain.)
In 1950 the average age of drivers on the grid was around 53, a decade later that number has been dropping dramatically to around 34 years. If we keep those old drivers in the championship, we might see another dropping to the entries of the young drivers with time to reinforce the veteran driver's status and value in F1.
On 5th of January 2020, it was the start of the 2020 Dakar Rally as it was the first edition held in Saudi Arabia, this event which is the most dangerous and challengeable category in motorsport witnessed many well-known rally drivers entered this edition, including Dakar 2020 winner Carlos Sainz (age 57 years) 13-time winner Stephane Peterhansel (age 54 years), while the oldest contestant was 73 years old.
We've witnessed also, former Formula One champion Fernando Alonso (age 38 years) who made history as a debutant in the event in the car category and as the first F1 World Champion with two titles in his pocket to enter Dakar. However, Alonso is planning to be back behind the F1 wheels after 2020, who strives for more victories, titles, and new entries. meaning he will be at age of '40s just like Kimi now.
The 2020 Dakar Rally was the 42nd edition of the event and the first edition held in Saudi Arabia. The event started in Jeddah on 5 January and finished in Al-Qiddiya on 17 January after 12 stages of competition with a single Rest Day.
Down below, you can find some of the old F1 drivers who made it with the big number...
Oldest drivers to win a Grand Prix:
Luigi Fagioli, France 1951, 53 years & 22 days *shared drive
Nino Farina, Germany 1953, 46 years & 276 days
Juan Manuel Fangio, Germany 1957, 46 years & 41 days
Oldest drivers to become world champion:
Juan Manuel Fangio, 1957, 46 years & 41 days
Nino Farina, 1950, 43 years & 308 days
Jack Brabham, 1966, 40 years & 155 days
Oldest drivers to have set pole position:
Nino Farina, Argentina 1954, 47 years & 79 days
Juan Manuel Fangio, Argentina 1958, 46 years & 209 days
Jack Brabham, Spain 1970, 44 years & 17 days
Oldest drivers to have started a Grand Prix:
Louis Chiron, Monaco 1955, 55 years & 292 days
Philippe Etancelin, France 1952, 55 years & 191 days
Arthur Legat, Belgium 1953, 54 years & 232 days
Oldest drivers to have finished on the podium:
Luigi Fagioli, France 1951, 53 years & 22 days
Louis Chiron, Monaco 1950, 50 years & 291 days
Felice Bonetto, Netherlands 1953, 49 years & 363 days