Despite multi-million dollar contracts, the globetrotting in their private jets and driving the world’s most expensive cars and bikes around the world’s most famous circuits, race drivers are human too. From odd numbers to lucky colors, drivers too are superstitious, and have their own unique rituals.
Formula 1™’s most successful driver of all-time, Michael Schumacher, was incredibly superstitious. From an early age, the German only raced in odd-numbered cars. This came to the fore in 2010 when Schumacher, returning after a three-year hiatus, signed with the Mercedes team. Upon signing, the seven-time world champion requested he swap numbers with teammate Nico Rosberg for superstitious reasons. The team duly obliged.
Odd numbers are not Schumacher's only foible. The German always wore a ceramic amulet, given to him by his wife and with the initials of his family members, during his time at Ferrari.
In 2004, he left it in his hotel in Bahrain and a team member had to rush and collect it before the race, which Schumacher then won. The German said later that the amulet had made "perhaps the decisive difference."
Furthermore, he raced with a toy hairbrush given to him by his daughter in his overalls pocket. Seven world titles later, his intricacies seemed to do the job.
From the Left, Right?
Schumacher’s compatriot Adrian Sutil had a set routine. The former Force India driver always had to put his right glove and right boot on before stepping into the car from the right side. “The whole race weekend is a routine. Same schedule, same program, same questions. First I’ll wear the top and then the lowers. It’s a sequence. I always step into the car from the right side. I wear the right glove first and wear the right boot first. All the preparation has to be the same,” he said back in 2009. Current Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg only gets into the car from the left side. Whatever floats your boats, guys.
Former Formula 1 driver and two-time winner of 24 Hours of Le Mans Alexander Wurz had the tendency to wear two different colored shoes in the race. Current FIA WEC driver Nick Heidfeld chooses to wear two wrist watches while racing. His timing wasn’t always on point, as Heidfeld holds the unenviable record of most podium finishes without a victory (13) in F1 history.
Perhaps the oddest of all superstitions lies solely in the lap of Scottish driver David Coutlhard. The now-retired F1™ pilot, who experienced a great deal of success at the turn of the century with the McLaren team, had a pair of lucky underpants. The pair were apparently so ‘lucky’ that Coulthard frequented these lucky pants until they actually wore out.
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