Go Kart racing might be a pastime activity for most folks but for any aspiring Formula One driver, this is where skills are honed. It is an exciting sport for a weekend but for F1 champions this is a serious theatre where driving expertise is sharpened over the years. If you are an avid kart racer, you need to start taking the action more seriously because you might just land yourself a coveted seat in the top F1 teams.
To appreciate why Go karting is so highly appreciated within the F1 paddock, take a look at some of the famous drivers who made it from this level:
1. Ayrton Senna
The Brazilian is still considered one of the greatest racers to ever get behind the wheel of an F1 car, and for many good reasons. Senna was a remarkable driver and throughout his F1 career, he still expressed his admiration of kart racing. In fact, he still participated in the sport despite his high standing within the F1 family. At the age of 13, Senna was already racing and he contested the Karting World Championship from 1978 to 1982, finishing runners up in two years.
2. Michael Schumacher
Michael Schumacher is still considered one of the most successful F1 drivers in the modern era with 7 world championship tiles under his belt. The mercurial German started his remarkable racing journey in Go Kart racing with his first kart built by his father at the age of four years and his thirst for racing saw him take a driving license at the age of 12. He won the German Junior Kart Championship in 1982 and other numerous German and European kart championships in his early racing years.
3. Fernando Alonso
He is the most experienced F1 driver in the 2016 grid and the Spaniard has said he still has many years left to race. He is a 2-time F1 champion and his journey to stardom started way back with karting at the age of 3 years. He won four karting Spanish championships back to back with the support of his father between 1993 and 1996. He also won the Inter-A title in 1997 and 1998 and also performed well in the European Kart championship before moving to the bigger stage.
4. Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton is one of the greatest drivers in the Formula One grid but his prowess in kart racing is also legendary. His story is one of determination and raw power which saw him beat all odds starting with karting at the age of 8 years. He is a legend at the Rye House Kart Circuit where he started racing and has won numerous British Companionships together with Super One series. His karting success saw him join the elite British Racing Drivers’ Club as a rising star in 2000. He raced against Schumacher in 2001 and earned the praise of the high-performing F1 driver.
5. Nico Rosberg
The current Mercedes driver rivalry between Nico Rosberg and Hamilton started way back when the two were kart racing. He started Go Kart racing at the age of 6 years and was later to team up with Hamilton in 2000.
Of course there are more kart champions who have gone ahead to dazzle in Formula One, including Sebastian Vettel, the late Jules Bianchi, Mark Webber, Max Verstappen, Kimi Raikkonen and Daniil Kvyat, all who started kart racing below the age of 10 years.