Driver weight loss becoming too much?

This topic contains 22 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  Iestyn Davies 3 years, 5 months ago.

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    Bradley Downton

    Obviously I know the driver’s have been trying to keep the weight down as much as possible to be as light as possible but I think, after what I saw today, it’s gone too far.

    I am referring to Kevin Magnussen, whom in his post-race Sky F1 interview looked as though he was about to collapse. He looked completely drained and almost gaunt and as I said, on the verge of collapse. Obviously this probably had a lot to do with the fact it was the first time he’d raced in Malaysia, but I can’t help but feel if they hadn’t been pushing so hard to lose so much weight he wouldn’t have looked as bad as he did.

    Did anyone else notice this? What are your thoughts?



    I remember DC admitting that he used to be bulimic at one point in his career (correct me if I’m wrong) and Brundle said that he’d spoken to a driver just before this weekend that passed out in a press event but he wouldn’t name said driver.
    But like he said, even if they raise the minimum weight the engineers might just want to use that extra weight and still limit the drivers.


    Could you not just raise the weight limit but mandate a maximum level of ballast allowed?



    But the weight could then be used for various parts of the car (in the power unit, suspension, chassis, etc.) and not just the ballast.



    How about a standard weight for driver+seat?



    @andae23 That’d be very hard to do, as there are limits to how heavy you can make a seat to accommodate to the rules. If Gutierrez and Sutil are 12 kilos apart like some say, I think it’d be mighty difficult to find a way to pack 12 kilograms onto a seat.

    Somebody elsewhere suggested a minimum weight for drivers, but that could still mean a 1.89m person would have to weigh the same as a 1.55m person, which might lead to some chubby drivers while others are still skipping breakfast.

    Personally I’m tinkering with ideas on a set weight for driver+monocoque, although teams might just start giving heavier drivers weaker monocoques.. Another idea I had was a minimum weight per length, say a driver can’t enter if he’s under 80 kilograms at 1.85m, or measured by BMI. That’d still leave teams with weight issues, though.


    Iestyn Davies

    I thought K-Mag just looked disappointed from what I saw, but I’ll admit I was a bit shocked in that he appeared to be in pain if anything else. Sutil is apparently giving away 0.5 seconds per lap to Gutierrez (whose car is already overweight – over 691 kg with him in it. Add Sutil’s extra 14kg and this leaves us with 705kg at least). 0.3 sec per 10kg is what I’ve heard (and it makes sense as to why Sauber are off the pace).

    As I say – increase the weight limit by 10kg this year and then reduce it back for next year – teams will have developed some weight saving by then. In this case, Esteban’s car may be now underweight, leaving him some ballast, and Sutil’s giving less time away on his pure body weight. Esteban can place the little ballast he then has to improve the balance and that may help him in dry running to still match Sutil’s times.

    Everyone else has more ballast to place, but if they are already underweight (e.g. the big teams) then it’s not much gain for them. So, they prefer to keep this advantage they now have over the smaller teams that couldn’t meet the original weight limit yet. Hence Mercedes or Ferrari veto’ing it. It’s about equalling the playing field a little – and driver health is enough of a valid concern for this to be forced through – and if the fuel sensors are still inaccurate (RIC’s failing mid-race), this shouldn’t be a penalising/determining factor is slowing up the top teams compared to the slower ones (they’d say they designed their car to the original weight).

    I’m sure Coulthard’s performance must have suffered at some point from being underprepared – 98-00 he was slower than Hakkinen where he was matching him beforehand. Similarly after Kimi arrived. This current weight limit could also work for the women in F1 as well – really this year is the year they could gain an advantage (like the smaller drivers like Massa) from having a smaller than average body weight. I’m thinking Susie.. Simona looks taller and hence 2015 is their aim.



    Maybe i’m a bit harsh now, but in my opinion drivers should just get on with it. Obviously it’s not fair, because of the height differences on the grid. But these are highly paid athletes. Just like a swimmer has ultra low body fat at the Olympics, a driver has the be slim for a Grand Prix. And since all drivers finish the race, it’s not too much of a problem yet. The smart ones like Rosberg go round eating potatoes before the race, it’s part of their job. What’s worst is that they need to face the media immediately after the race. They should get some time to recover first. But obviously, that can’t be done in show-biz, cause TV is live…



    The minimum seat+driver is similar to what indycar does, they allow for weight to be added to the back of the seat or surrounding area, hence the same weight is in the same area and doesn’t provide an advantage in ballasting.



    ME4ME I get your point, there have been times before where I’ve thought that too. But what I’m thinking is that even though there are other sports where athletes risk serious injury, they are ultimately performing at their personal best (or as close as possible).

    What if a driver blacks out during a high speed corner (worst case scenario) and the result involves another car. It’d be a different story if drivers are losing a lot of weight and struggle with endurance but aren’t malnourished let alone passing out at press events.


    Iestyn Davies

    I don’t know if you saw or not @me4me, but Mark Webber did a very interesting piece on driver fitness for the BBC program.. it showed the lengths he went to to be at peak performance for F1. He had 4% body fat, and even now in retirement is only up to 5% and he will still be competing in the WEC. So, if Webber is still ‘overweight’ with 4% body fat (losing a tenth or more per lap to Vettel through better ballast placement), how much more can he improve his fitness (or shed more weight) before he is causing himself long-term damage?

    That’s the main issue now, with drivers passing out at press events.. it looks like Piquet passing out on the podium in the 80s, which Webber uses as an example of how this area could be improved. He himself spun late on at Monaco in F3000 in 2000 when he wasn’t fully prepared, which opened his eyes to the issue. Arguably, his better preparation enabled him to have such a long F1 career and get to his peak performances in the Jaguar.



    Iestyn, was that for the BBC pre-race coverage at Malaysia? Might have to check that out.
    I wonder who it was that passed out at that press event? Sutil and Hulk are two main possibilities. It seems Sutil is 12kg heavier than Esteban and the Sauber is an overweight car as it is.

    I find it remarkable that Vettel might get in trouble for putting the sport in disrepute with his comment (which as the classic statement goes, I welcome rather than usual PR-brand speak) and yet an issue like this doesn’t do so; although the press haven’t been covering this much. Fans/drivers/teams would need to speak up unanimously for the FIA to take notice.


    Bradley Downton


    Fans/drivers/teams would need to speak up unanimously for the FIA to take notice.

    I’m not sure that would do any good, look at the double points.



    @Iestyn: Found it, Youtube
    I must say Webber is an exemplary driver. Sub 5% body-fat, well there is nothing more he can do. But as Webber mentions, not all of the current F1 drivers are that fit. I can very well imagine Sutil being way up in bodyfat compared to MW and JB. To me Webber shows that it’s doable to be successful and tall.


    Delta Golf Sierra

    I thought this was great – Hulk eats McDonald’s, isn’t obsessed with weight loss. Good for him.


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