Tallest F1 Driver: How Tall is Too Tall?

Who is the tallest F1 driver? Esteban Ocon and Alex Albon hold the record for the tallest drivers on the grid currently.

The height of a driver can greatly affect a car’s performance, particularly for taller drivers who must concentrate on staying light to maintain optimal balance.

In Formula 1, a driver’s height and weight play a crucial role in determining the modifications made by the team to optimize the car’s performance.

These factors influence the amount and placement of ballast added to the car to achieve optimal weight distribution.

An image of the tallest F1 Drivers
Formula 1 Drivers 2024.
Getty Images

Who is the tallest F1 driver?

In the 2024 season grid, the tallest Formula 1 driver position is held by Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Williams’ Alex Albon.

The teammates are both 1.86 metres tall.

Esteban Ocon, the Alpine’s driver admitted that being tall is a drawback in their sport, saying:

“In F1, being taller only slows you down. These cars are made to be as small as possible. The cars are not meant for 6ft 2in athletes. They are meant for 5ft 7in, 5ft 8in ideally. [Those drivers] have a better fit in the car right now.

“[Taller drivers are] somewhat bent over. Your knees are hitting the top of the car. Your hands are blocking your feet. So, it’s all complicated. You get placed in a position that’s, honestly, very unpleasant.”

Ocon also said that the lower racing levels and his debut in F1 were “hard” because of his height, disclosing that his practice time in the Lotus made for Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado was a struggle, saying:

“I was very high in the car. That was barely legal, but tricky. The centre of gravity makes you high. You are not at ease with your knees when you turn.”

Mercedes’ George Russell currently holds the second tallest F1 driver at 1.85 metres tall.

Both Ocon and Albon are about an inch taller than George Russell.

Does height have an impact on F1 Drivers?

The FIA and the taller drivers have been collaborating to adjust the rules on car sizes to avoid giving an edge to the shorter drivers.

This is because teams can shrink the cockpit area if their driver is shorter, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of 850mm in length and 450mm in width.

The FIA has also taken steps to level the playing field by making sure that heavier drivers are not at a disadvantage because of their natural weight.

This happened in 2019, when F1 set a 80kg minimum weight standard for drivers, which covers their helmet, race suit and shoes.

Before this regulation’s implementation, each team could dictate the weight their driver had to be. This however often resulted in drivers being underweight and unhealthy.

Who is the tallest F1 driver in History?

Hans-Joachim Stuck takes that title for the tallest ever, standing at 1.94m (6ft 4in).

He raced from 1974 to 1979 with teams like March, Brabham, Shadows, and ATS.

Because he was so tall, fitting into the F1 cars of the late 1970s was tricky. Cockpits were moved forward for aerodynamics, making it uncomfortable for him.

Stuck left F1 in 1979, possibly avoiding serious leg injuries like other tall drivers. Even though he kept racing in other car competitions, winning Le Mans twice with a Porsche 962.

Dan Gurney was the second tallest driver in history, at 1.93m (6ft 4inches). His height caused problems during his 10-year F1 career.

He thought it made him less aerodynamic, especially in slower cars.

Who’s Currently the Shortest F1 Driver?

Yuki Tsunoda claims that spot, standing at 1.59 meters (5ft 2inches).

Since his debut in 2021, he’s been the shortest driver on the grid, although he’s mentioned that his height doesn’t give him any significant advantage.

In 2021, Tsunoda revealed the adjustments made by AlphaTauri, now RB, to accommodate his height in the AT02.

He explained:

“First, I have to put a lot of foam inside the monocoque to raise my seat position for a clearer view. Additionally, we designed a specialized pedal case to ensure I could reach the pedals comfortably.”

Who is the Shortest F1 in History?

Andrea Montermini is the shortest driver of all time, standing at 1.57m (5ft 1in) tall.

The Italian driver is slightly shorter than Yuki Tsunoda, who currently holds the title of the shortest driver on the grid.

Montermini’s F1 career began in 1994, during which he participated in 15 races for Pacific and four for Forti until the latter ceased operations in 1996.

Following this, he transitioned to sportscar racing, competing in prestigious events like the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Additionally, he achieved success by securing titles in the Italian GT Championship and the International GT Open Series.

Formula 1 Driver heights on the 2024 Grid

Driver Height (metres) Height (feet) Weight (kilos)
Alex Albon 1.86m 6ft 1in 66kg
Esteban Ocon 1.86m 6ft 1in 73kg
George Russell 1.85m 6ft 0in 70kg
Nico Hulkenberg 1.84m 6ft 0in 78kg
Lance Stroll 1.84m 6ft 0in 79kg
Max Verstappen 1.81m 5ft 11in 72kg
Logan Sargeant 1.81m 5ft 11in 71kg
Charles Leclerc 1.80m 5ft 10in 68kg
Daniel Ricciardo 1.79m 5ft 10in 66kg
Oscar Piastri 1.78m 5ft 10in 68kg
Carlos Sainz 1.77m 5ft 9in 66kg
Pierre Gasly 1.77m 5ft 9in 70kg
Zhou Guanyu 1.75m 5ft 8in 63kg
Kevin Magnussen 1.74m 5ft 8in 68kg
Lewis Hamilton 1.74m 5ft 8in 73kg
Valtteri Bottas 1.73m 5ft 8in 69kg
Sergio Perez 1.73m 5ft 8in 63kg
Fernando Alonso 1.71m 5ft 7in 68kg
Lando Norris 1.70m 5ft 6in 68kg
Yuki Tsunoda 1.59m 5ft 2in 54kg

Conclusion

In conclusion, being the tallest F1 driver presents numerous hurdles and drawbacks.

Yet, drivers like Hans-Joachim Stuck and Dan Gurney have demonstrated resilience, achieving success despite these challenges.

Currently, Esteban Ocon and Alex Albon, the tallest drivers, showcase their skills with their teams, proving that height isn’t a barrier to excelling in F1.

While not ideal, being tall doesn’t preclude excellence in the sport.

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