Fitness
© Foto: Wolfgang Wilhelm
© Foto: Wolfgang Wilhelm

Laufer GrafikThere's a reason why drivers have personal trainers and spend a lot of time exercising before and during the season. Here's what we need to work on...

 

 

1 Head

It is essential to concentrate and keep focused when you're spending up to 90 minutes racing at speeds approaching 300 kph. The temperature in the cockpit can reach up to 60°C so physical fitness is essential for the driver to maintain his mental capacity.

 

2 Eyes

When a 5m error in choosing the braking point from 320kph can mean the difference between overtaking or being overtaken, visual performance is critical for the F1 driver. As well as needing good eyesight, the drivers need to practise their visual processing skills There are also the physical effects of braking at 5g which can shoot the fluid out of a driver's tear ducts on to his visor!


2 Neck

The tremendous g-forces in braking and cornering means that the driver’s neck needs to resist loads from his head and helmet of nearly 50kg sideways or forwards many times a lap. This needs special exercises to build up strength not used in everyday life.

 

2 Full Body

The driver is held in his specially shaped seat by his six point seat belts so he can resist the braking and cornering forces. These forces make breathing very difficult so the driver has to wait for the straights to catch his breath. Resisting this and the heat while keeping up the physical effort means that extreme fitness is essential

 

2 Arms

Although the cars have power assisted steering, the steering loads are still high and the drivers need to resist the cornering forces on their arms while controlling the wheel with fingertip precision. Add to that the need to take one hand off the wheel at 300kph to adjust one of the many switches or dials on the steering wheel and you can see that strength and precision are essential

 

2 Lower Thorax

You need a strong core to control the car, especially through high-speed corners. That sense of balance comes from lower spine, it really is 'driving by the seat of your pants’.


2 Legs

There are no power brakes in an F1 car and there can be more than 200 full brake applications during a race, each requiring a force of 80kg, which is more than the weight of the driver. Imagine lighting your whole weight up on one foot every 15s for and hour and a half.

Foto: © getty images

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