Formula 1 drivers aren't known for listening to tunes while driving at 200mph in their day jobs. Yet, there's some surprisingly musical side hustles going on.
For years, a Formula One driver has been suggesting a side-career in music. Motorsports’ most successful driver Lewis Hamilton has routinely mentioned his musical side-projects, such as a collaboration last year with electronic trio Major Lazer and a guest appearance on Christina Aguilera’s song ‘Pipe’.
But while the handsome Brit has made many statements about a transition into music when his racing days are behind him, another driver on the current grid has beaten him to releasing his own hit track.
Formula One driver Charles Leclerc has released a song and it’s… decent. Ferrari’s resident Monegasque Twink has released a four minute piano piece called ‘AUS23 (1:1)’.
Reminiscent of a Ludovico Einaudi piece, Leclerc arpeggios over layers of evocative strings. It’s not exactly groundbreaking stuff, but it is an earnest and pleasant modern classical piece.
“I dare not define myself as an artist in any way. At the time, as you know, I really like playing the piano. This is how my first song was born,” Leclerc said. “I’m excited to share with you a piece made on the piano. It’s a project I was working on, born out of a passion for music and the desire to get away from the races or between one GP and another. I created this piece on the Australian GP and that’s why it’s called AUS23 (1:1). A denomination adopted with my team. I thought it was a nice connection to the world of racing.”
Leclerc has regularly shown his piano prowess on his Instagram account, but the song’s release is remarkable in that it has risen quickly to the top 10 of multiple iTunes charts.
And while other sports stars have had various stabs at the music industry, it’s rarely in as sincere method as a relatively bare instrumental piece.
Hamilton, who is far more outspoken about his interests in music, made his first big entry into the arena with his guest star on Aguilera’s 2018 track ‘Pipe’ under the pseudonym XNDA. Slightly less subtle than Leclerc’s debut, ‘Pipe’ is Aguilera’s celebration of how much she enjoys it when “you put that pipe down” and features some eye-opening lyrics from Hamilton’s verse:
Spread it on the bed like a patient (yeah)
I'm about to show you domination (yeah, oh)
Got, that nana dripping like a waterfall (drip drip)
Oh na na na good, I could eat it all (eat it up)
While the Major Lazer song with Hamilton is yet to be released, he’s teased a solo project might be in the works, so keep watching this space.
While Leclerc is a multi-race winner and Hamilton is arguably the sport’s most successful driver in history, it takes a deeper look through the record books to find the next musical star in a fast car...
Spanish driver Jaime Alguersuari competed in F1 between the years 2009 and 2011. In those three years, he didn’t exactly make much of a dent on the sport. Despite breaking a record in 2009 as the youngest driver ever in the top tier of motorsports, his two and a half seasons in the Scuderia Toro Rosso team included just a handful of points finishes and a highest placement of 7th in the Italian and Korean grand prix in 2011.
He was dropped before the 2012 season and aside from a season in the electric series Formula E in 2014, that largely spelled the end of his driving career. But it did open the Spaniard to his next best interest: DJing.
Alguersuari’s debut album ‘Organic Life’ was released in 2011 under his stage name Squire and went straight to the top of the iTunes chart. He’s since released ‘The Leftovers of Stars Collide’ in 2019 and ‘STOP’ in 2021.
Aside from these three, Formula One stars have largely stayed away from the music industry. It makes some sense. If you’re driving around Monaco’s streets at 200mph, having the radio on might be a tad distracting.