No idea where I read it, but I heard some drivers wear big, thick absorbent underwear to soak up wee if they do go – but many drivers simply don’t. After all, the longest they will spend in the car is two hours, and all of us can hold it in for that long. It could be worse – remember, Mark Webber vomited in his helmet at Fuji in 2007 after a nasty bout of food poisoning.
As far as number twos are concerned, there’s a special box under the seat which the driver can open on his steering wheel to jettison the contents onto the track into the path of a following car, and that’s why drivers need tear offs on their visors.
Apparently in the early part of his career, Button used to frequently wet himself on the grid because of the sheer adrenaline.
I’d imagine it’s a rare thing though, and when it does happen they’d just do it. I know in endurance racing drivers regularly wee themselves, but that’s over a 3-4 hour stint rather than just 90 minutes.
Someone will probably correct me for being very wrong on this but I think they just go. At the least it’s a distraction, but I think I remember reading that endurance drivers just go when they need to because if they crash a full bladder is likely to burst and if it does your chances of surviving are very slim.
I was a little curious about this over Le Mans, because I’d always heard faint whispering about endurance drivers going, but I wasn’t sure if this was a common occurrence or only in emergencies, and whether it applied to F1.
There’s a good scene in “Truth in 24” (the documentary following the Audi team at Le Mans). Alan McNish says to Tom Christensen something along the lines of “The seat is a little wet, do you do a little pee-pee?”
If the need arises, the drivers just go.
However, as part of the preparations before a race, a driver will empty themselves of waste products. That gives me an excuse to post this video. http://youtu.be/ILmODpW92r8
The drivers do lose a lot of water from sweat, so they generally don’t need to go. However, they do take a lot of fluids on to combat dehydration, so it can happen.
They wear several layers of quite thick clothing, which absorbs quite a lot of fluid.
@victor I’d be very surprised if a driver sneezed during a race, as the body will generally prevent a sneeze if it’s busy doing other things of higher priority. You can test it yourself – next time you feel a sneeze coming on, breathe in and out heavily and it should go away. This is because the lungs are more focused on getting oxygen in rather than a mass expulsion of air.