You’d think the thrills and spills of Formula One racing would translate to a life of fast-living and excess for a driver but, for born-and-bred Reigatian Max Chilton, nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, he’s never happier than when he’s pottering in his garden – “I’ve always been a bit of an old man” – which can be traced back through his family to his grandfather and uncle. They clocked up seven Chelsea Golds between them, leaving Max with sufficiently green fingers to create his own show-worthy haven at home.
That said, the house itself was acquired in true Grand Prix style. After an event in Geneva (of course!) for the luxury Swiss watch company Patek Philippe, Max found himself chatting to a man on the airport shuttle who just happened to be building some houses in Reigate. They swapped numbers and, once back in England, Max was fortunate enough to get his pick of the crop, eyeing up – you’ve guessed it – the garden.
Moving in day was just one week before Max’s wedding in 2017, when he married his childhood sweetheart Chloe. It’s a true fairytale romance as well, with their first meeting when he was 6 and she was 4: Chloe’s dad owned an art gallery in Bletchingley at the time and was friends with Max’s parents. Later on, during their teenage years, friends provided a constant connection – Chloe’s best pal is the sister of one of Max’s best mates – and the pair kept meeting each other at various parties. In his own words: “we knew we were made for each other.”
Over the last 5 years, Max has been commuting to the USA every couple of weeks during Formula One season, clocking up around 140 transatlantic trips – helped in no small measure by having Gatwick and Heathrow airports so easy to get to. All that travelling has put having a family on hold, but when it all dies down Max is definitely up for having… a dog! (Which seems kinda perfect given that Chloe is an artist who makes watercolour and pencil portraits of people’s pets.)
So will the international jetset lifestyle lure the Chiltons away from the neighbourhood? Absolutely not. “I’ve lived in Reigate all my life, and I plan to stay. I loved growing up in a house in the countryside where I could mess about, and then as a teenager hanging out at JJ Whispers. It’s a pretty town and getting down to the coast on Saturday is only a short drive, but mainly I like it that everyone knows everyone a little bit.”