• Behind the Visor: A Qualitative Exploration of the Psychological Skills of Formula One Race Car Drivers

      Sachs, Michael L.; Butcher-Poffley, Lois A.; Schifter, Catherine (Temple University. Libraries, 2015)
      This qualitative study examined the psychological demands of Formula One Racing, and the psychological skills former Formula One drivers utilized to meet those demands. The participants were nine former drivers, from six different countries, who have competed in at least one Formula One World Drivers Championship grand prix. The qualitative data were gathered using a semi-structured interview framework, developed by the researcher, to explore the psychological skills established from other validated psychological skills questionnaires, such as the Test of Performance Strategies, (Thomas, Murphy, & Hardy, 1999). Eight of the interviews were done via Skype, and one interview was performed in person. The interviews were transcribed verbatim, and then sent to the participants to make any edits or corrections. Once the transcriptions were approved, the data were coded by the researcher using constant comparative methods as described in Charmaz (2006). Three phases of coding resulted in four themes and 14 sub-themes. The themes that emerged include: (1) Applied Sport Psychology in Formula One, (2) Psychological Skills, (3) Uncontrollable Aspects of Competition, (4) Career Components. Drivers used various psychological skills in a focused effort to aid their performance. Drivers discussed the important role psychology plays in their sport, and the psychological resources available to them during their career. Drivers discussed the danger element of their competition, and how they and their competitors managed the fear associated with racing. The drivers in this study competed in an era that was much more dangerous than the current era of Formula One racing (Barnes, 2013). The drivers' use of psychological skills, and perceptions of sport psychology, may guide consultants working with race car drivers and those working with other populations that have similar psychological and physical demands.