With a couple of races left in the 2022 calendar, we’re celebrating the finest timepieces worn by these notable F1 drivers, from Max Verstappen to Charles Leclerc.
Before we get into all the details of the watches, catch up on some of the latest scoops on Formula One. As the young races up to challenge Lewis Hamilton at his own game, these are the seven drivers to watch this season.
And in case you missed it, earlier this year, Ferrari launched the F1-75. Named in honour of the Italian constructor’s first production car, the car is designed with the latest technical regulations in mind — with a central focus on the machine’s power unit.
At the end of August 2022, the racing world was shocked by the news of eight-time Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo’s departure from McLaren by the end of this year. He was expected to race under McLaren’s banner until the year 2023. At this point, he has hinted at taking a break from motorsport in 2023 and plans to make his return to the track in 2024.
Now that you’re caught up with some of the latest news and events regarding Formula One, it’s time to make acquaintances with these faces and dials beloved by your favourite F1 racers.
Max Verstappen and his TAG Heuer
Securing his first World Drivers’ Championship last year was epic, but Red Bull Racing’s boy wonder also enjoyed a red-letter day two years prior when TAG Heuer unveiled the Max Verstappen Special Edition 2019, the first mechanical timepiece to bear his name.
The 44mm automatic chronograph in steel is based on the brand’s existing chronograph collection dedicated to Grand Prix racing – the Formula 1 Calibre 16. It sports a black dial with the words “Formula 1 Calibre 16” flanking the date aperture at three o’clock and racy red details ringed by a bezel emblazoned with the bold red engraving: “Max Verstappen”. A dressier TAG Heuer model gifted to the Dutchman, the Monaco Titan Titanium, has also frequented his wrist in a timely reminder of his triumph on that track.
Charles Leclerc and his Richard Mille
Charles Leclerc is the youngest driver to win a race with Scuderia Ferrari, the oldest surviving Formula One team. He is also a Richard Mille brand ambassador. In the three years since his debut win at the Belgian Grand Prix, Leclerc has been pictured with the avant-garde watchmaker’s skeletonised sports models, including the RM 35-01 Rafael Nadal and a RM 67-02 wrapped in red and white, the colours of his home country of Monaco.
This Automatic Winding Extra Flat watch is regaled for its thin, light, colourful and athletic appearance; engineered from TPT composite materials, with a titanium baseplate and bridges, and an elastic wristband, it is Richard Mille’s lightest automatic timepiece.
Sergio Perez and his TAG Heuer
Verstappen’s Red Bull Racing fellow pilot Sergio Pérez, whose first Formula One victory at Sakhir, Bahrain, in 2020 saw him bag the dubious record of the race starts before securing a Grand Prix win, has a special connection to the TAG Heuer Connected smartwatch.
The titanium timepiece, one of the most luxurious smartwatches on the market, symbolises the pursuit of excellence and dedication to chasing perfection – qualities that fit the veteran Mexican driver to a tee. Based on TAG’s classic auto-racing model, the Carrera, the Connected links wearers with the world of high tech through a partnership with Google and Intel. This 45 mm timepiece has a superior LCD screen, an excellent battery life and is packed with features including GPS, heart-rate sensor, compass, accelerometer and gyroscope.
Daniel Ricciardo and his Richard Mille
Six years into a 10-year partnership with Swiss haute-horlogerie brand Richard Mille, the McLaren F1 team is led by Daniel Ricciardo, who has flashed the RM 50-03 Tourbillon Split-Seconds Chronograph worth more than US$1.2 million (RM5.6 million approx.) in photo shoots.
Constructed from graphene – a revolutionary composite dubbed “Graph TPT” by the watch innovator – the world’s lightest mechanical chronograph upon its creation in 2017 weighs less than 40 grams including the strap. Graphene is 200 times stronger than steel, yet six times lighter – a bonus when making precise twists of the wrist at super speed.
Lewis Hamilton and his IWC Pilots
The most successful racer of the past 15-plus years is known for his skill in the cockpit and his stance on social issues off the track. Hamilton clearly appreciates his IWC watches, having worn, from time to time, an awesome threesome: the Big Pilot’s Watch, Big Pilot’s Watch Top Gun Mojave Desert and Pilot’s Chronograph 41.
Fittingly, though, it was the new IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Edition “Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team” that the Brit proudly displayed whilst protesting the threatened strict enforcement this spring of F1’s no-jewellery-while-driving rule. Bedecked with luminous Arabic numeral hour markers, indices, hands, and date window as well as a rubber strap in the signature green racing colours of the Petronas team, the sporty chronograph symbolises the bond between Mercedes F1 and the Swiss watchmaker, its official engineering partner since 2013 – also the year Hamilton signed on.
The case is crafted from lightweight, grade-five titanium, which has the highest strength-to-density ratio of any metal, and with a quick flip onto its transparent back, all the action of the Calibre 69385 movement with 231 parts and a 46-hour power reserve is visible.
Zhou Guanyu and his Hublots
The first Chinese Formula One driver, Zhou Guanyu, joined a new-look Alfa Romeo racing team for the 2022 season. He embodies the spirit of daring and individuality required of a pioneer, which coincides with the ethos of Swiss luxury watchmaker Hublot, where he is a brand ambassador.
Zhou celebrated Chinese New Year with the Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Carbon Gold Tiger, a striking fusion of frosted carbon and gold. He also showed his unique fashion flair by favouring red over the original strap colour for the Big Bang Unico Integrated Black Magic watch.
Driven by the Unico 2 calibre movement with a power reserve of 72 hours, and forged from polished and satin black ceramic, the new timepiece has a sleeker profile after reducing its thickness by 1.3mm, making it a perfect fit for sportsmen like Zhou who live for speed.
Featured and hero images credit: Charles LeClerc/Instagram