Driver’s Superstitions

20th March 2019
Motor sports is a very competitive and often lonely world. Sometimes drivers turn to less tangible factors to boost their confidence and attract good luck. Learn about the odd superstitions that drivers apply to their discipline.

We’re going to review the superstitions of the most well-known drivers. From a simple gesture to a set of rituals, going through the most extravagant obsessions. It’s amazing that while we live in the 21st century, where hundreds of engineers make sure that all systems work to perfection, drivers still believe in and rely on superstitions.

Athletes usually have a series of superstitions and odd habits that they repeat throughout their career. Either to avoid bad luck or to attract good luck, there are superstitions of all sorts.

Drivers aren’t the exception to this, and we may say they are among the most superstitious athletes. Maybe it’s because of the life-threatening risks they face that they feel the need to place trust on something beyond reason.

Jorge Lorenzo

The MotoGP world champion changes his helmet’s color depending on the results of the last race. He changes certain trims to red or gold so that luck will be with him in the next race.

jorge lorenzana
Another of his obsessions is to watch a part of a movie of the Rocky Balboa saga. In this, he finds the necessary motivation to beat his rivals.

Fernando Alonso

This Spanish driver is one of the most obsessive. His odd habits have been increasing to the point of becoming a mandatory ritual.

Putting on his right boot first or carrying (at all times) a deck of cards in his luggage are only a few examples. He’s also obsessive about numbers, mostly with hotel room numbers. Even though it may not be a superstition “in use”, the driver from Spain is an avid fan of Japanese culture.

Fernando Alonso

In a recent interview, Alonso declared that if he wins a race, during the following year when he arrives at the racetrack he tries to repeat last’s year routine. On the contrary, if things went wrong, during the next race he tries to avoid the mechanics he greeted before getting in his car.

Michael Schumacher

This German driver is another driver surrounded by superstition. He couldn’t even get in his car without wearing a gold, horn-shaped pendant. It was a gift from his wife and children that he never leaves behind.

During his time with Ferrari, and in one race, he forgot the pendant and a mechanic had to go back to the hotel for it. Without it, Michael couldn’t race. This goes to show how important this amulet is for him.

David Coulthard

Throughout his entire career and during each race, David Coulthard always wore the same blue underpants. They were his amulet and he could not compete without wearing them.

In a race the driver suffered a terrible accident and had to be taken to the emergency room. The doctors (to be able to treat him as quickly as possible) had to cut his clothes. The blue underpants were cut too. Since then they travel in his suitcase with four-leaf clovers and religious pictures.

Valentino Rossi

Valentino Rossi is beyond superstition, turning to a series of rituals that increase every passing year. Always in the same order and moments before the race, the Italian rider wets his eyes and puts on his ears plugs. Afterward, he touches his pendant, approaches his motorcycle and bends down next to it.

Valentino Rossi
Once he is on the motorcycle and before he leaves the pit-lane, he stands on his bike and puts on his under clothes. Once on the starting grid, he bends down next to the bike once more.

Robert Kubica

What started out as a mania for the driver could have ended up being a miracle. The Polish driver raced with a picture of Pope John Paul II in the interior of his single seater.

Robert KubicaShortly after the near-death accident in the Canadian Grand Prix, the Vatican investigated the possible miracle that the Pope had performed in order to save his life.

Marc Marquez

The Spanish rider, similar to David Coulthard is superstitious with underwear. In an interview he revealed that during training sessions he always wears blue underpants. However for race day they must be red!

Marc Marquez

Marquez himself has admitted he would probably feel sick if he didn’t have them. His underpants are the first items that he puts in his suitcase. We don’t want to imagine what would happen if he forgot them!

 

  • Dömötör, Z., Ruíz-Barquín, R., & Szabo, A. (2016). Superstitious behavior in sport: A literature review. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1111/sjop.12301
  • Maranise, A. M. J. (2016). Superstition & Religious Ritual: An Examination of Their Effects and Utilization in Sport. The Sport Psychologist. https://doi.org/10.1123/tsp.27.1.83
  • Brevers, D., Dan, B., Noel, X., & Nils, F. (2011). Sport Superstition: Mediation of Psychological Tension on Non-Professional Sportsmen’s Superstitious Rituals. Journal of Sport Behavior.
  • Gregory, C. J., & Petrie, B. M. (1972). Superstition in Sport. 4th Canadian Psychomotor Learning and Sports Psychology Symposium.