Odd Box Question: Why No Seats for Formula1 Drivers on the Grid?

What Happens When Wishing for a F1 Race Weekend

11:35pm EST — With the Formula1 season winding down, most fans and devotees are either looking to the 2010 season, or reviewing the happenings of a long and exciting 2009 season.  Thinking about those races already and to be run, and the preparations therein, have brought forth a question, not an important question but fascinating, about F1 teams, their budgets, the perks for drivers, and the mount of money spent each season.  Why, with the hoards of mechanics, engineers, PR people, doctors, lawyers, characters, good luck charms, helmet-holders, lollipop men, umbrella girls, and extraneous hangers-on, do the drivers end up squatting in the grass or next to a barrier while waiting on the grid before the race starts?  One does wonder.

Granted, this is a late-night question coming from an internal place where the F1 season never stops, not in Brazil, nor Abu Dhabi, and decidedly not at the end of this month, but it does make the wheels begin to turn in one’s head.  All told, between all the teams and promotions and salaries and sponsors and everything else, well over a billion dollars must float around the F1 circus each season, at least in recent years.  The drivers have people who carry their helmets around for them, tell them when and what to eat and sleep, pick out their clothes, offer them drinks, even hold umbrellas for them when it is hot on the grid.  Yet, every time an on-grid journalist goes to interview a driver (from the back to front of the grid, Adrian Sutil and Jaime Alguersuari to Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button), that driver is either sitting in the grass, or squatting next to the fence on the grid, with a person from the team handing him a drink and holding an umbrella over his head.  Why is there no seat for the driver to sit on?

Camping supply stores sell tiny folding canvas stools that are quite comfortable and light for a very small amount of money, particularly when compared to the amount an F1-driver’s drink-bottle must cost.  There are multitudes of chairs available.  Also, always an important factor when considering anything to do with F1, having a chair or seat for the driver is yet another place to put sponsorship.  Most drivers, as mentioned earlier, are interviewed on the grid.  The cameras would be certain to catch whatever sponsorship logo would be on the seat vacated by Rubens Barrichello when interviewed on the gird before the final championship-deciding race.  To be frank, it would also be more comfortable for drivers to have something to sit upon instead of the ground before being cramped into a small space for two hours.

So, why are there no seats for the drivers?  Did someone forget?  Has no one thought of it before (highly unlikely)?  Do the drivers not want one?  Explanations, theories, and wild speculations are encouraged.  Think now, and pay attention to the lack of seats on the grid in Brazil in one week.



  1. Would you want to sit down before sitting in a car for 2 hours? And that’s not a nice drive in the country either.

    • I would completely agree with you, Terry, except the drivers are always sitting on the grass or squatting next to the fence, so they obviously want to sit down.

  2. Brilliant! It’s all cost-cutting.

    Or perhaps it’s to make sure the drivers get in the car in time! Did you see how late Alonso was getting into his car last week?

    I remember the BBC footage of the 1992 Spa race showed home hero Thierry Boutsen (or was his name T. Hairy Boot Son?) having a wee right near his car on the grid! Lovely.

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