Is it Correct to Refer to F1 Drivers as Sportsmen?

I’m not sure how many times any of my readers get the opportunity to rub shoulders with famous sports stars, but something rather intriguing came to my attention with the very few famous sports stars I’ve had the honour of working with. I understand nobody likes a name-dropper, so I’m not going to drop any names, but what intrigued me was how much respect they all seem to have for golfers and Formula One drivers!

They respect them as fellow sportspersons – something which baffled me for quite some time because let’s be honest, I’m not the only one who harboured the belief that the likes of golf and the Grand Prix were “real” sports, so to say. If a professional footballer playing in the Premier League sees an F1 driver as a fellow professional athlete then why on earth were the rest of us seeing things differently?

I mean you don’t hear any official complaints filed by the so-called “real” athletes in the minds of many of us against those infamous lists which do the rounds, such as a round-up of the top-earning sports stars of the years featuring golfers and F1 drivers. Dare I say, I would soon find out in the uncanniest of ways as I was invited to a closed-invitation charity event of which one of the sponsors was the online vehicles trading portal, Cars.com.

So what made it all uncanny was the fact that both the “sporting codes” in question were on the agenda for the day, with a bit of shooting to top it all off, but yeah, we were treated to (or subjected to, depending on how you look at it) an advanced driving course after which time we would hit the race tracks in some of the fastest street-legal cars, and then we had a four-hole round of golf before going in for the tactical shooting show-down.

Let’s just say I have newfound respect for both golfers and race car drivers – this coming from someone for whom exercise and fitness is a what I do for a living!

Your body aches in all sorts of places after playing only a few rounds of competitive golf, so just imagine what it must be like for professional golfers who regularly complete 18-hole courses! I suppose they get used to it and that’s why they go through some surprisingly rigorous training, but yeah, I now consider golfers to be the true sportspersons they are.

The same applies to race car drivers. They most definitely deserve to be referred to as sportspersons because I’ll tell you, you have to be in great physical and mental shape to drive at the high speeds they’re intermittently driving at and when you slam the brakes of a car that has the horsepower of a mid-sized boat, your face literally feels like its skin is coming off!

Imagine having to endure that much G-force at the constant stop-start, stop-start intervals F1 drivers do, while at the same time you must maintain full concentration to navigate the sharp bends and to make sure you don’t endanger the other drivers…

So yes, race car drivers, particularly F1 drivers should definitely be referred to as sportsmen!