Professional F1 drivers sit and drive a car that is basically going around 360 km/h. Sounds easy, right? But have you wondered why they are required to be fit?
A Formula 1 fanboy would argue that the sport, like any other sport, needs its athletes to be physically and mentally ready. Do they really need it?
We will answer that question for this blog post, but first, a little background.
A dangerous sport, F1 racing has been around since the 1920s. OKBET players, if you didn’t know, compared to the present, the cars and the technologies used in the early days are much more improved. Why? Because car manufacturers try to avoid accidents that were very common more than 100 years ago.
In 1904, an association of national motor clubs was formed. It was named the Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus (AIACR). But after World War II, it became Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).
As the one responsible for overseeing Formula 1, 2, and 3, FIA created the rules and regulations that F1 drivers and their respective teams should adhere to. Part of the policy is that the cars and the racers should be fit.
Because of this requirement, the world has witnessed the best car makers like Ferrari and Mercedes. Fans also saw the making of F1 greats like Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, and Lewis Hamilton.
These names have shown that apart from extreme driving skills, they must be ultra-focused on the track while their body and mind are constantly pressured.
The Answer to Your Question
During the 1950s, F1 cars could reach a 100 km/hr speed in four seconds. The cars of old have a maximum speed of 290 km/hr.
But because of the evolution of technology and cars, race cars can easily hit the 100 km/hr mark in just 2.9 seconds. Their max speed also increased, hitting a 360 km/hr cap.
Driving and reaching the speeds mentioned above need capable F1 drivers. But no one can complete such a feat without proper training unless they are a genius.
According to Playo, going 360 km/hr has certain effects on the body, making Formula 1 one of the most mentally and physically demanding sports. Apart from the tremendous strain, an aspiring driver also needs deep pockets ($190,000 just to enter an F1 race!).
According to One Stop Racing, the elements that prompt F1 drivers to have proper training and body condition are:
Imagine a car going over 300 km/hr, with the driver’s seat near the engine, almost over 60 degrees Celsius. The heat emitting from that engine, paired with a sunny day and a tracksuit, can easily make any inexperienced driver suffer a heat stroke. Moreover, professionals have been doing races for an hour or more. Can you stay inside a sauna-like cockpit for hours?
To explain, G force is the measure of acceleration. The force that keeps inhabitants of Earth from floating is gravity having 1G.
1G means you are just carrying your weight and nothing more. But in the case of Formula 1 driver, they experience up to 6Gs during a race. In Layman’s terms, an average driver weighing around 80kg will carry his weight six times, or 480kg.
Also, the intense G force prevents drivers from generally breathing due to elevated heart rates of 40 BPM to 170 BPM.
Physical and Mental Fatigue
Every race, F1 drivers lose up to four kilograms because of sweat. Body nutrients are excreted through sweat glands and are followed by extreme dehydration.
But since drivers are driving a car going at least 300km/hr, they must have a clear head. A single mistake on the track may cost millions and even lives. Hence, they have a massive responsibility while trying to complete the track.
I Want to Be an F1 Driver. How Should I Train?
G Force is the factor that requires physical fitness vital whenever an F1 driver is on a track. The body and the mind must be prepared to carry an imaginary weight of at least 400kg.
Professional F1 drivers train their strength and endurance, focusing on body parts like the neck, torso, and legs.
Training the neck is critical for drivers to counter the G force. Without a muscular nape, severe neck fatigue will be experienced in just a couple of laps. Hence the racer can’t complete the race.
The upper body of a driver should be strengthened because they frequently cut corners while being at high speeds. A Formula 1 driver will have better stability and control of the wheel by having a solid torso.
Training the legs is as important as training the neck and torso. Why? Because professional drivers hit the brakes at least 1200 times during a race.
Furthermore, it is not your average car brake. A race car requires a lot of force to decelerate or put the vehicle to a complete stop.
Becoming an F1 driver is not easy and not for the faint-hearted. To be one requires extreme discipline, both of the body and the mind.