You won’t believe how Formula 1 drivers stay fit
Are you ready to handle the G-forces? Formula 1 drivers certainly are. As drivers start to prepare themselves for the 2017 season, with new regulations ruling wider tyres and more downforce, drivers will find the new Formula 1 cars to be much faster and physically challenging due to the increased G-forces. A Formula 1 driver experiences 2-G as they accelerate, 5-G when they brake and anywhere between 4- to 6-G when they attack corners. That means they are experiencing forces a few times more that gravity for hours at a stretch, and this is extremely draining.
On an average, a driver feels 4.44-G under braking per corner according to research from Brembo, which was calculated from data from cars at the Australian Grand prix held in March 2014. It isn’t normal to put yourself through such punishment and doing so consistently over a race weekend means you’ve got to be in top fitness form to take the beating.
This year, the G forces are going to be higher and that means drivers have to tweak their training programmes to deal with the changing regulations. All these years, drivers would focus on losing weight and gaining endurance. But this year, Daniel Ricciardo is focussing on gaining weight and putting on muscle.
The Navy Seals use TRX Suspension training helps in developing strength, balance, more flexibility and core stability. This leverages the driver’s stability during huge G force and bumps on tracks. Similarly, Williams rookie Lance Stroll has been using the same tools to get in shape for the upcoming season.
Ex Force India Team driver Nico Hulkenberg (officially now the Renault driver for 2017), has been endurance training in the hills, and this gives you cardio-vascular fitness which is very important for the drivers to maintain their heart rate which shoots up during the race.
Filling up the big shoes of 2016 Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg, the new Mercedes recruit Valtteri Bottas is high on his training regime with exercises to strengthen core, arms, chest and shoulders. To be able to drive the entire Gran Prix distance at full effectiveness, a tremendous amount of upper body strength is required.
Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson neck training is essential to deal with the G forces experienced by drivers while driving their cars full pelt. The stress on the neck is immense due to the weight of the head combined with the helmets they wear and these exercises ensure they are up to the challenge.
Working out in freezing conditions is a regular activity carried out by the drivers for the past several years. Be it Force India’s Esteban Ocon snowshoeing or the three time formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton surfing in the snow – the point isn’t to sweat, but to have the most effective workout you can get.
The Formula One drivers have been doing their bit to stay fit in the new year for the upcoming season. Have you?