The CAR Top 10: post-F1 career occupations

Published: 16 September 2015

Our Nige playing a spot of golf. One of many pasttimes

What do F1 drivers do when the suit no longer fits? Anything they can, it seems. From pasta to politics, here's CAR's Top 10 post-F1 occupations.

1) Bernie Ecclestone: Formula 1

Bernie Ecclestone

Although his career was one of the shortest of any driver (just two entries in 1958, no starts), it was a career all the same - and as post-career stories go, this one deserves a mention. After realising he wasn't destined for success in driving, Ecclestone has since owned multiple teams, formed associations, bought a majority stake in the sport and today, at the age of 84, he’s the chief, still, of a multi-billion-dollar company. Bernie, despite the scandals, sexism allegations, dropped bribery charges and more brushes with controversy, we salute you. 

2) Michael Schumacher: rodeo 

Michael Schumacher

Following the announcement of his second retirement, Schumacher was quoted as saying that any other racing would not give him ‘the same feelings’ as F1, and so his attention turned to a different type of horsepower: wild west-style rodeo competitions. Yep, Schumi traded his perfectly moulded, carbon race seat for a dusty saddle, riding an animal even more dangerous than his Merc W03. Any good? Well this is a sport based around hanging onto your career for as long as possible until it flips you off in embarrassing style, so he’d already had some practice. 

3) Jacques Villeneuve: rock star

Jacques Villeneuve

When going through a midlife crisis, some men like to buy a Triumph Spitfire, some like to have an affair and a few, just a few, produce poor-quality studio albums in which they pour out their hearts. As you might expect, Jacques Villeneuve can be filed under the latter. His 2007 release of Private Paradise wasn't entirely well received. By the end of the year it was claimed the record had sold just 836 copies in the whole of North America. Look up the single Accepterais-tu if you want a sample. Next time Jacques, just buy the sports car…

4) Alex Ribeiro: preacher

Alex Ribeiro

It's well known that Alex Ribeiro was a devout Christian - the slogan ‘Jesus Saves’ on all his race cars gave that one away. He subsequently went on to become driver of the medical car and perform chaplaincy at the F1 events he attended. In 1994 he joined the Brazilian football team as pastor, accompanying them to the United States World Cup. Ribeiro would lead bible studies and prayer meetings held by the squad’s Christian players in the Brazil camp, preparing them for each match. Be as sceptical as you wish, but he must have been doing something right - the team won the whole damn tournament. 

5) Jody Scheckter: Farmula One's sparkling wine producer

Jody Scheckter

After 10 wins and 33 podiums during his career, Scheckter must have gained a taste for quality podium champagne. So much so, in fact, that in 2009 he had a crack at making it himself. On his Hampshire winery, the '79 world champion has been producing 'biodynamic' bubbly since 2012. With Scheckter’s homemade beer winning awards, who knows, the next bottle Hamilton empties might just be one of Jody’s.

6) Paolo Barilla: pasta tycoon

Barillo pasta

Despite being the son of a pasta magnate, and winning the 1985 24 Hours of Le Mans, Paolo Barilla’s F1 career was, well, abysmal. Of the 15 races entered, he only qualified for nine of them, and before the end of the season was replaced at Minardi by Gianni Morbidelli. After that, Barilla retired from racing altogether, began the long journey home to his pasta empire, the bittersweet scent of a good spag-bol filling his nostrils for the last couple of miles.

7) David Coulthard: portable hotels

David Coulthard

Although he had a long and relatively successful career, most people these days know David Coulthard as a BBC F1 presenter, the one who stands next to the small, loud man that won’t let anyone else get a word in edgeways. What you may not know is that as well as his BBC work, he is the former owner of the Columbus hotel in Monaco, and president of the portable hotel firm ‘Snoozebox’, the guys behind the pop-up accommodation at the Silverstone Grand Prix, among other events. Coulthard’s latest plan is to take the Snoozebox formula and convert a number of shipping containers into hotel rooms up in Aberdeen. It seems him and the people at Yotel will soon be battling it out for who can offer the trendiest, most compact place to spend the night. Personally, we’d take the Columbus. 

8) Niki Lauda: airline owner

Niki Lauda (photo: Getty Images)

In 1979 Niki Lauda retired from Grand Prix racing and set up his own airline, Lauda Air.  In his own inimitable style he then returned to F1 and went on to win his third championship, while now simultaneously overseeing the development of his new company. In 1985, after Lauda’s second retirement, Lauda Air became operational, continuing until 2013 when the brand finally retired and was replaced by Austrian myHoliday. But not before Lauda had set up a new airline, simply named ‘Niki’. It is known that from time to time he has acted as a captain on certain flights, making him the world’s second busiest geriatric - bested only by a wealthy blonde Brit.

9) Nigel Mansell: pie fingerer 

Nigel Mansell

To say Nigel Mansell keeps himself busy is something of an understatement. In the last 20 years this driver has endorsed three video games, appeared as the ‘Face of Euronics’, paired with Iranian-British comic Omid Djalili for an advertising campaign, is the current president of the UK Youth charity and owner of the UK Youth cycling team, become a member of the magic circle, been wheeled out at Lotus events during the Dany Bahar era, participated in the Australian Open golf tournament (and soon the British), has opened a Mitsubishi franchise in Jersey and is an ambassador for Sunseeker Powerboats. His racing career wasn't bad either. His greatest honour? Being the last driver to be hand-picked by Enzo Ferrari himself. 

10) Carlos Reutemann: politician

Carlos Reutemann (left) and Bernie Ecclestone (photo: Getty Images)

Imagine you are a resident of Reigate, Surrey, and at the next UK general election Max Chilton, former Marussia F1 driver, is elected as your MP. Would you feel comfortable? Well for the residents of Santa Fe, Argentina, something very similar was a reality; in 1991 Carlos Reutemenn was elected governor of the region. Though Reutemann (on the left in the pic above, with Bernie) enjoyed a rather more successful F1 stint than Chilton (he missed out on the '81 title by a solitary point), his political career was arguably even more impressive than his racing. After being elected twice as governor between 1991 and 2003, and the resignation of Fernando de la Rúa in 2001, Reutemann was approached several times to run for president, although to the disappointment of many Argentines, he declined each time. He did, however, run in the 2003 general election and won a seat in the national senate, which he still holds.