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Can F1 Drivers Wear Glasses? (The Truth)

Formula 1 cars are the fastest cars around a track. Drivers need to have cat-like reflexes and vision plays a significant role in this department. With the limited space inside their helmets, and sharp vision being key, you might wonder if Formula 1 drivers can wear glasses.

F1 drivers can wear glasses if they need to. Some drivers in the past, such as Sébastien Bourdais, chose to wear glasses while they were in the cockpit of the car. The driver’s helmet protects their glasses in the event of a crash, so wearing them in F1 is completely safe.

Formula 1 drivers need to have impeccable vision if they are going to perform in the most demanding form of motorsport. Below, we discuss in detail why F1 drivers need to have such good vision, and we talk about how wearing glasses would affect driving an F1 car.

Why F1 Drivers Need 20/20 Vision

With Formula 1 being the pinnacle of motorsport, the drivers need to be able to perform at their best at all times. If a driver does not perform well, there’s always a talented standby ready to take their place. 

One of the most important factors in achieving this incredibly high level of performance in Formula 1 is vision. It’s so important because vision is the first point of reference that the body has when it comes to controlling where the car is going.

Driver Vision

Drivers will be looking ahead of them to identify their braking points, apexes they need to hit, and to choose where they are going to accelerate – not to mention navigating their way around other cars and avoiding contact with their rivals while they are out on track.

Formula 1 drivers have incredible precision when it comes to placing their cars in the perfect spot. One of the best examples of this is when they race in Monaco. In the narrow Monégasque streets, placing the car as close to the barriers is the fastest way to get around the track. One of the most important factors in doing so is 20/20 vision.

Looking Further Ahead

Moreover, Formula 1 drivers need to have excellent vision to see further down the road. From their karting days, drivers are taught to look as far down the track as possible. Unlike in road cars, Formula 1 drivers don’t look a couple of meters in front of them, but instead, they look into the upcoming corner, sometimes even past it. 

Do Any F1 Drivers Wear Glasses? 

No current F1 drivers wear glasses while racing, although some may wear glasses when they’re not on the track. Many drivers prefer to use contact lenses rather than glasses while driving, even when they are seen in public. Sébastien Bourdais, who raced in 2008 and 2009 for SRT, wore glasses.

It’s difficult to say whether a driver needs glasses or does use glasses away from the track, as they may simply wear contact lenses instead. Aside from sunglasses and fashionable glasses (not prescription ones) there is no evidence of any current F1 drivers wearing glasses.

Most Recent F1 Drivers To Wear Glasses

The most recent driver to drive in Formula 1 that wears glasses is Nico Hulkenberg. Hulkenberg has worn glasses from a young age, and is currently the Aston Martin reserve driver. However, he does not wear his glasses while driving the car, and it’s unclear whether he wears contact lenses or not while driving the car.

Another driver who wears glasses is Marcus Ericsson. Ericsson had a short stint in Formula 1, but he was not wearing glasses at the time. Ericsson is currently in IndyCar where he sometimes wears his glasses while racing.

The last driver to wear glasses while driving a Formula 1 car is Esteban Gutiérrez between 2013 and 2016. Beforehand, Sébastien Bourdais was racing for Scuderia Toro Rosso (or SRT, although now branded as AlphaTauri) while wearing glasses during the 2008 and 2009 Formula 1 seasons. 

KEY POINTS

• Having sharp vision is key for Formula 1 drivers

• They need to be able to react to everything on track in the blink of an eye

• Some F1 drivers have worn glasses in the past, but it’s usually rare

Can Formula 1 Drivers Wear Glasses When They Race?

Formula 1 drivers can wear glasses while they race. Several drivers have worn glasses while racing in the sport in the past, and there are also many other drivers who race with their glasses on in other branches of motorsport such as IndyCar, Formula E, WRC, and DTM.

The helmets that the drivers wear in Formula 1 are fitted to their facial structure, and they are fitted tightly which means that their glasses will remain in place even through all the head movements that the drivers experience.

FIA Rules Surrounding Glasses

There are no rules made by the FIA that state that drivers are not allowed to wear glasses while racing in Formula 1. If drivers have impaired vision, glasses must be worn while driving the car as it would create a safety risk to prevent the drivers from wearing their glasses while racing.

Formula 1 drivers need to be able to react to anything that happens out on track in the shortest possible time. This requires the drivers to have perfect vision. Drivers also need to be able to see further down the road in order to anticipate what is happening in front of them and react in time. If a driver has impaired vision, they may have no choice but to wear glasses while they drive the car.

Is It Comfortable To Wear Glasses In F1?

It comes down to personal preference in terms of wearing glasses while driving a Formula 1 car. Some drivers may find that it becomes uncomfortable after a while. With the helmet being an extremely tight fit, glasses can become uncomfortable for a driver throughout the course of a 1.5+ hour Grand Prix.

Can F1 Drivers Wear Contact Lenses?

F1 drivers can wear contact lenses. Many people prefer to wear contact lenses over glasses, especially while driving. Not only can they be more comfortable to wear, but they may be safer as they shouldn’t move around while driving, while glasses potentially could.

For many, contact lenses are more comfortable to wear than glasses. Wearing glasses can cause discomfort, especially after a couple of hours of wearing them. Contact lenses can feel much more natural to wear, especially when participating in an activity such as driving.

The Risks Of Contact Lenses

While contact lenses might seem like an excellent solution, they’re not perfect. The hot and humid conditions inside the cockpit of a Formula 1 car can cause the contact lenses to become dry, causing irritation in the eyes, blurry vision, and therefore a safety risk. 

Contact lenses could also move around or fall out while the driver is out on track, which also creates discomfort and distortion in vision. The driver can’t simply stop their car out on track to fix the issue either, making contact lenses just as risky to wear in a Formula 1 car as glasses, although that risk is small.

Is It Dangerous For F1 Drivers To Wear Glasses?

It is not dangerous for F1 drivers to wear glasses while racing, as they would be fitted securely inside their helmet and be unable to move around very much. Even in the event of a crash, the strength of an F1 driver’s helmet would ensure that the glasses would remain intact, keeping them safe.

Many people believe that it’s risky for drivers to wear their glasses while racing in Formula 1. There’s always the possibility of a crash or an impact while they are out on track, and in theory the glasses could break inside the driver’s helmet.

However, it’s completely safe for Formula 1 drivers to wear glasses while racing. Modern Formula 1 cars are incredibly safe, and there are lots of strict tests that the helmets need to pass. The chances of a pair of glasses breaking inside the helmet are very slim.

The HANS Device

The first reason for this is because of the HANS device. The Head and Neck Support system prevents the driver’s head from moving excessively when the car suffers an impact. This will prevent their glasses from moving around inside their helmet as well, reducing the chances of them breaking.

Secondly, the driver’s helmets are incredibly strong and are thoroughly tested to ensure that the drivers are safe under all circumstances. The FIA conducts strict tests and would not allow drivers to race with their glasses if it was unsafe for them to do so.

Drivers who wear glasses in Formula 1 also secure them well inside their helmets to prevent them from moving around. If a driver’s glasses shift while they are driving, not only will they experience some discomfort, but they also won’t be able to see properly, so it’s crucial that they are fastened securely inside the helmet.

KEY POINTS

• Some F1 drivers may choose to use contact lenses instead of wearing glasses

• Both are entirely safe for the driver to use when racing

• This is because their head is secured by the HANS device, and their helmets are extremely strong

Can F1 Drivers Wear Sunglasses When They Race?

With many races taking place during the late afternoon, F1 drivers need to withstand bright sunlight. We’ve all been on the road when the sun is incredibly bright, and it’s only natural to reach for a pair of sunglasses to help you focus better on the road ahead of you, especially when there’s glare coming off other cars and even the road if it’s wet.

But in Formula 1, drivers cannot race with sunglasses. The FIA won’t allow drivers to wear sunglasses because it would put them at risk. The difference between sunglasses and prescription glasses is that sunglasses are not a necessity that will improve a driver’s general vision.

Tinted Visors

However, it’s still important to take the strain off of the drivers’ eyes while they race. This is why many drivers will use tinted visors. Tinted visors are fitted to the helmet instead of a clear visor, and they act much the same as sunglasses would

These tinted visors are simply bolted onto the helmet, and they come in a wide range of colors. Drivers can use these visors to coordinate their color scheme with that of their team or their helmet designs. Tinted visors are incredibly important in races that take place during the late afternoon and early evening, when the sun is low in the sky.

Clear Visors

However, these tinted visors can’t be used during night races, or when it’s raining. During these races the drivers are required to use clear visors in order to improve their vision and get the clearest possible view of the track.

Drivers will often bolt their clear visors onto their spare helmets and have them ready in the garage. If the weather conditions change during a session they can simply swap their helmets to have a clear visor. Drivers can only swap their helmets during a red flag in a Grand Prix but can swap any time they’re in the garage during practice or qualifying sessions.

Final Thoughts

Formula 1 drivers can wear glasses if they need to, and several drivers have worn glasses in the past. The most recent drivers to wear glasses in Formula 1 are Esteban Gutiérrez and Sébastien Bourdais. Some F1 drivers may instead use contact lenses while racing.