When you drive a Formula One car for a living, most road cars must seem pretty tame in comparison. Still, F1 drivers have to get about between tracks somehow–and being petrolheads themselves, they aren’t about to be driven everywhere by a chauffeur. They like to have a car they can really get their teeth into, and that often means something pretty impressive.
Updated March 2022: New F1 drivers begin their careers every year. Some young drivers break records in place for years, while others still drive sensible cars. We've updated this list to include some new drivers and their vehicles, even if they're a bit different from everyone else!
With the amount of money they're paid, F1 drivers–well, certainly, the successful ones–can get their hands on pretty much any road car they like, no matter how limited it may be. Some manufacturers even offer them cars for free as part of sponsorship deals. It’s definitely alright for some. But this means that when you look at the parking area behind any given grid, you're likely to see some pretty impressive vehicles just begging to be taken for a ride.
Sadly, we’ll never be a passenger in one of these supercars. The next best thing is to share with you everything we could find out about what they drive and why. At least then, we can dream about them in as much detail as possible. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of supercar fantasy, right?
So, what kind of ride does an F1 driver like to drive around on his days off? Stay tuned—you're about to find out the answer to that question.
23 Charles Leclerc's Ferrari 488 Pista Spider
Ever the fan of Ferrari, Charles Leclerc cruises around in a custom 488 Pista Spider. The driver for Ferrari certainly has his own styling as his 488 Pista is fully customized, including the paint job. Hiding under the elegant bodywork and paint sits a beast of an engine.
That engine is a 3.9L twin-turbocharged V8 capable of 710 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque. It's good that Leclerc knows how to handle something with a top speed of over 200 MPH, as the 488 Pista Spider can hit 212!
22 Mick Schumacher's Ferrari F8 Tributo
Mick Schumacher is the son of the world-famous Michael Schumacher, and racing is in his blood. Although he doesn't personally own a Ferrari F8 Tributo, he had the opportunity to test drive one with the pony-house themselves. Though he personally drives an Alfa, he's mentioned that he would drive a Ferrari all the time if he had one.
Professionally, Schumacher drives for Haas, but we can't help but feel that he may change alliances after driving such a stunning vehicle like the F8.
21 Carlos Sainz Jr.'s Volkswagen Golf
Not all F1 drivers get around in expensive luxury vehicles, and Carlos Sainz is proof! To be fair, he is trading in his econo-car for a prancing pony, but only because he's finally making some ground in his career.
The Golf that Sainz had was a gift from his parents. He kept it for almost a decade before deciding something sportier was needed. While we're sure Sainz now owns a Ferrari, the Golf will undoubtedly remain a soft spot for the Spanish driver throughout his entire career!
20 Lewis Hamilton’s Pagani Zonda
You won’t be getting your hands on a car like Lewis Hamilton’s Pagani Zonda 760LH anytime soon. Why? Because, as the last two letters of the name may give away, it was designed specifically for him as a one-off version of the supercar. Lewis isn’t one to hold back on sharing his car collection and often posts images like this one on Instagram for his fans to enjoy (though he lately seems to have developed a habit of archiving everything). He uses the tag #batmobile for this one in particular.
With 760 hp and a manual gearbox, this is definitely the kind of supercar that a real driver can appreciate–and it goes from 0 to 62mph in less than 3 seconds. We’d say Lewis has probably tested that out if we had to bet.
19 Fernando Alonso’s Maserati Gran Cabrio
Fernando has been through his fair share of teams, from Renault to McLaren to Ferrari and back again once or twice. Each time he joins a new team, he seems to negotiate an upgrade for his road car. For example, while he was at Renault, he used to drive a Megane–just like the rest of us schmucks. Then, he started driving for Ferrari and got his hands on a Maserati Gran Cabrio instead. Can anyone say "upgrade"?
He chose an excellent finish with pearl beige and Bordeaux for the interior if you were wondering. The soft-top roof is the icing on the cake. It wasn’t quite Ferrari colors or even the right brand, but it was technically within the rules of his contract since Ferrari and Maserati are both owned by Fiat.
18 Valtteri Bottas’s Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 d Coupe
Valtteri Bottas may be one of the quieter drivers on the grid–someone you could overlook if you weren’t paying attention–but he's been known to make a statement from time to time. While he was driving for Williams, he chose a Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 d Coupe for his winter car.
Since Mercedes engines powered the team at the time, it made sense for him to make this choice. Maybe it’s not as impressive as the supercars that Lewis Hamilton is often seen driving, but it’s more of a sensible choice for tackling the winter roads in Finland. Since Lewis is single and Valtteri isn’t, perhaps this is a result of preferring to take the safer route now that he has someone to drive around.
17 Jenson Button’s Super Collection
Jenson Button had a lot of fun during his time as a Formula One driver before retiring a couple of years ago. He managed to make it to a single championship in 2009, and the British racer was known for his dry wit when interviewed. He spent a lot of time behind the wheel of slower cars, which is probably why he prefers opting for faster ones on the road.
He's owned, variously, a Ferrari 355 and other Ferraris, a McLaren P1, a Mercedes C63 AMG, a 1956 Volkswagen Campervan, a Honda S600, a 1973 Porsche 911, a Bugatti Veyron, a Honda NSX Type R, and a Ferrari Enzo, which was notable for being sold off at auction. It seems like he can’t settle on a single marque, much less a single car for his garage.
16 Nico Hulkenberg’s Porsche
Nico Hulkenberg says that his father and grandfather informed him it was essential to keep your car clean ready for the weekend. So, he did what any good boy would do and followed their advice, getting his hands wet to wash his beloved Porsche himself. Of course, there wasn’t anyone forcing him to do it without a shirt on, nor was anyone forcing him to pose for photos he could later post on Twitter.
It’s a hard life being a Formula One driver and Le Mans winner, but we guess someone has to do it. Needless to say, this shot provoked quite a stir amongst his followers. Opinion was split between those who wanted to see more of his body and those who wanted to see more of the car.
15 Jolyon Palmer’s Renault Megane GT
Though he may not have spent long in Formula One, Jolyon Palmer has a solid claim to fame as a member of a minimal club: F1 drivers whose fathers were also F1 drivers. Being the son of Dr. Jonathan Palmer, a man who now owns most of the big circuits in the UK and a few lower-tier racing formulas didn’t mean he was driving supercars for his whole life, however.
Sadly, his car ownership history is a little boring, especially given that it seems Renault is still only allowing their drivers to take home Meganes. He also claimed a Megane Cup S and a Twizy while racing for them–what a lucky guy! His dream car, he says, is a Ferrari F40. "Good luck" is all we can say.
14 David Coulthard’s Mercedes Collection
David Coulthard is a man who came close to winning a Formula One championship but never quite made it. Instead, he spent most of his career watching teammate Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher fight over the titles. He claims he was never consistent enough to make it–but he's undoubtedly consistent off-track, preferring to buy Mercedes cars.
He bought a 1971 Mercedes 280 SL, enchanted with it because it was made in the year he was born, and also owns a Mercedes GLS-class, amongst others. He has a Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar on order, and he says that his dream car is a Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing coupe. Interestingly, the first car he was ever given as a driver was a Ford, back when he was racing in Formula Three.
13 Lewis Hamilton’s 427 Cobra
Does Lewis Hamilton really drive cars, or does he just buy them to pose next to them? A question for our times. This is his 427 Cobra, just one of many American-made classic cars he likes to drive (he's also been spotted with a GT500 Eleanor clone, amongst others).
This vehicle dates back to 1966 and is all original—quite a prize for his collection. He took the car out for a spin in LA with his younger brother Nicholas and later posted that he was driving it to Santa Monica. He spends his time in LA now between races, posting these photos to his Instagram and Facebook pages before the Spanish Grand Prix. If only we could enjoy such things on our weekends off.
12 Mark Webber’s Porsche 911 Turbo S
Mark Webber partnered with Sebastian Vettel during his meteoric rise to becoming a multiple world champion, but since losing his driving seat, he's still kept himself involved in the F1 paddock. He now works as a commentator and pundit, offering his insight into the inner workings of the racing world.
He has several impressive cars in his garage, from his Jaguar XK8 to his Porsche 911 Turbo S, but he isn’t satisfied with those. He says that his dream car would be a Porsche 550 Spyder. He also owns both a BMW M3 and an M5; we guess he’s greedy. In his youth, however, he never drove anything with power, sticking to pick-up trucks and Land Rovers on his parents’ farm.
11 Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes
Nico Rosberg shocked the F1 community by retiring immediately after winning his first championship in 2016, but he’s still a car man. He says he still watches every race on TV and can be seen attending many of them as a member of the public, too. But what does he drive? The answer is Mercedes—and lots of them.
He owns, variously, a Mercedes SLS AMG, a Mercedes G 63 AMG, a Mercedes GLE, and a 1970 Mercedes 280 SL, which he often poses for pictures with. What he dreams of owning, however, is a Ferrari 250 GT California Spider SWB. It’s a bit off-brand, but now that he’s no longer a Formula One driver for Mercedes, perhaps he’s allowed to change it up a bit.
10 Susie Wolff’s Mercedes
What is it with F1 drivers and being fans of Mercedes? Maybe it’s something to do with the fact that they're the biggest team on the grid right now and that everyone associated with them suddenly has a lot more money to spend. Susie Wolff is married to Mercedes’s Toto Wolff, but it wasn’t that connection that made her the woman who got closest to an F1 seat in modern history.
She test-drove for Williams and was even the first woman in 22 years to drive on a race weekend, albeit in the practice runs. Her favorite car is her 1970s Mercedes Pagoda, but she also owns a Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S, a Mercedes-Benz G-class, and a Mercedes-Benz C-class. Her dream car is the ever-gorgeous Aston Martin DB4.
9 James Hunt’s Road Cars
James Hunt is likely to go down in history as the most reckless and popular driver of all time, particularly when it comes to partying and ladies. He was a controversial figure both on and off the track and would probably make today’s drivers look like lightweights with his credentials for partying even right before a race.
His choices of road cars, however, were somehow less impressive. He actually chose an Austin A35 van for most of his transportation needs, and that van now travels around on display at various motorsport events. He did have a bright yellow Porsche 911 3.0 RS to go with it just to prove he was a racing driver, but then, he also had a Mercedes 450 SEL 6.9 saloon and a Mini, which he attempted (unsuccessfully) to soup up for racing in 1967.
8 Daniel Ricciardo’s Aston Martin
Who doesn’t love to see Danny Ric grinning his head off? The man doesn’t seem to have any other facial expressions, which is part of his charm. It’s also fun to see him cruising around in fast cars off the track, like here in this Aston Martin. Daniel was given the car courtesy of Aston Martin Beverly Hills to get him around the US last August.
With the top-down and the sun shining, this looks like a car's natural beauty to be driving around LA and surrounding areas. It’s a bit of a shame that he couldn’t find anyone to fill the other seats, to be honest. Any volunteers? It’s probably safer if he can find someone else to snap the selfies on his behalf while he’s behind the wheel, at any rate.
7 Fernando Alonso’s McLaren
Well, there have to be a few perks of the job, right? Particularly, when you’ve had a few seasons that are as boring and humiliating as those which Fernando Alonso has been experiencing, you can at least expect to get a nice car out of it. Here’s Nando proving that he does get a reason to smile every now and then (even if he’s too much of a poser to actually smile).
Here he is about to get into his car at an angle that really makes no sense unless you’ve asked a friend to take a quick picture for Instagram. He’s got his work cut out for the 2018 season, as he competes in two different formulas at once, and as one of the highest-earning drivers out there, he probably won’t mind the expenditure of all that driving and flying.
6 Ayrton Senna’s Honda Acura NSX
Ayrton Senna made his mark on-road cars, not just the world of F1 racing, when he was invited to take a look at the Honda Acura NSX. It was 1989, and Honda thought they’d come up with something pretty special. However, Ayrton took it for a drive and deemed it “fragile.” Thus, they had to go back to the drawing boards, and what they finished up with was a spectacular car.
Ayrton got one for his trouble, of course. Here he is giving it a wash himself, in a grand tradition later to be followed by Nico Hulkenberg. Ayrton, however, keeps things classy by keeping his shirt on and at least trying to pretend he doesn’t know his picture is being taken. This image would’ve been an Instagram hit if Instagram were around back then.
5 Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus Evora
Heikki Kovalainen made a bit of a show of things on the day that he picked up his custom-built Lotus Evora. He had chosen a left-hand-drive build and a white bodywork with a blue stripe across the bonnet and the roof—in other words, quite a Finnish design. Quite reasonably, he was expected to drive it around a track a few times and do some interviews about how great it was in exchange for the car.
We see what he did there. He looks a bit too smug in this photo, but we’ll have to cut him some slack–after all, he just got handed the keys to a brand-new car for free. And it was all because he was driving a Lotus around the track for a living. It almost doesn’t seem like anyone could have this kind of lifestyle, but there it is—those who enjoy racing cars get them for free.
4 Adrian Sutil’s Porsche Panamera
It seems that former F1 driver Adrian Sutil has a penchant for Porsches, having owned a few of them in his time. Not only that, but he likes to have them modified. A Carrera that he owned at one point was then sold for $780,000 more than the base price–probably to help ease his funding situation after he found himself without a seat, thanks to some legal issues.
Here he is showing off his custom Porsche Panamera, which is described as ‘improved.’ He bought this one himself and had it modified using his own money, unlike many of our F1 stars who were given the cars as part of a racing contract. However, he might not have much money floating around anymore since he glassed someone in a nightclub.