In this post we are going to discuss some of the brain tricks that you can use to become a formula one champion.

Formula One (officially known as the FIA Formula One World Championship or simply F1) is the pinnacle of motor racing – a multi-billion-dollar industry with no more than 24 F1 drivers at any one time. Teams spend up to US$200 million dollars a season to compete, so what does it take to become the best of the elite?

Formula One cars are some of the most highly engineered vehicles in the world – only a jet aircraft can come close. With a bullet-shaped one-man cockpit disguised by spoilers that keep it on the tarmac, each car’s engine can run at up to 18,000 rpm, enabling it to reach speeds of 350 kilometres per hour (217 mph), and to exert a crushing five times the force of gravity when cornering. Unsurprisingly, then, this isn’t a job for your average Sunday motorist – an F1 driver must be physically strong, have remarkable stamina and concentration, quick reflexes, courage and an insatiable hunger to reach the chequered flag first.

Earning a place on an F1 team is a rare achievement. Each team runs only two principal drivers, with contenders often serving as test or reserve drivers before taking one of the main places in a team. For most, the call never comes. The lucky ones can expect salaries of seven and eight figures.

The average age of an F1 driver is in the late twenties, and most started in karting when they could still count their age on the fingers of two hands, then gradually progressed up the less powerful motor-racing classes. However, the need to gain experience of both these powerful machines and the globe spanning network of F1 circuits means that the leading drivers are usually in their thirties (although in recent times the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have shown that you can make it to world champion in your early twenties).

Being British could offer an advantage – Britain holds the record for both the number of championships won (14) and most individual champion drivers (10). Brazil and Finland, in joint second place, have produced three champions each. And being male certainly gives you an edge – only five women have raced in full competition during more than six decades of F1 history, compared to more than 800 men.

Driving the cars is uncomfortable and intensely physically demanding – for all their complex design features, driver comfort is not a high priority in Formula One cars. For instance, although the cockpit must meet certain minimum size requirements, each driver’s seat is manufactured to precisely fit their body shape, and as a result your range of mobility will be restricted only to the minimum necessary for driving. You don’t want to fall victim to an insatiable itch halfway through a race! In addition, you’ll be wearing an uncomfortably hot uniform of boots, overalls, gloves and helmet, all made from fire-resistant materials, and a bulky collar designed to protect your head and spinal column in the event of an accident.

As your body is subjected to extreme forces throughout the race, you’ll be taking quite a pummelling. The large G-forces experienced during cornering,\ for instance, means that you’ll need the strength to keep your head upright when it is some five times heavier than normal. No wonder drivers work hard on general physical fitness, spending an average of 20 hours per week on endurance training and muscle development. Drivers will also maintain a racing heart rate of between 150 and 190 beats per minute for the duration of a race, which can be up to two hours. It all adds up to a phenomenal exertion.

Yet despite the need for physical fitness, drivers acknowledge that the difference between winners and losers is all in the mind. You’ll need an ability to retain focus despite all the distractions around you, reacting to rapidly changing circumstances and dealing with high-speed corners, twists and turns while fending off competitors and the inevitable fatigue. For all the safeguards introduced to the sport in recent years, you must also deal with the fact that you run significant risk of death or serious injury every time you go to work.

Each race is preceded by two days of practice and qualification to decide the all-important starting order on the grid. On race day itself, the cars must be in position half an hour before the race start, and no one but the drivers can be on the grid for the final five minutes. During the race, you’ll need to observe all safety rules to avoid penalties or even disqualification.

Finally, if you’re determined to reach the top, make sure you have room at home for those unfeasibly big trophies.