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Starving Drivers in Formula One Sparks a Quiet (?) Debate

SwedishAdvocate

Active Member
Jul 26, 2012
1,801
246
Sweden, Earth
While the new cars have smaller engines, other changes to the formula (like larger batteries) mean that the cars are heavier overall. Yet the minimum weight limit has apparently not been adjusted proportionately, forcing teams to look even harder to trim excess weight. And when everything's already made of carbon fiber, there's not much more weight to cut, so the onus falls on the drivers.

F1 drivers dangerously losing weight to improve performance - Autoblog

How hard can it be to foresee this outcome? Seems like a piece of cake to mandate a ballast system to counter any advantages from weight and center of gravity because of differences in physique.

Just absurd.


Additional sources:

Adrian Sutil: lighter Formula 1 drivers blocking weight rule change - F1 news - AUTOSPORT.com

F1 ace Jean-Eric Vergne hospitalised after Australian Grand Prix due to weight loss | Mail Online
 
Last edited:

NigelM

Recovering Member
Apr 3, 2011
13,386
560
Northern Virginia
The discussion is going away already (it's last years news) as the actual races are showing that there's no correlation between driver weight and real results. The two drivers making the most noise again now (Adrian Sutil and Jean-Eric Vergne) happen to be being outperformed by their (smaller) stable-mates right now.

Lewis Hamilton, who is the outstanding driver of the moment, had this to say previously:
Lewis Hamilton produced an amusing aside to the issue by suggesting only drastic action could enable him to reach Webber’s ideal driver weight. He said: “I weigh about 71kg. I was never 65kg. I was 68kg last year but I have put on three kilos since then. The guys have not told me to do that [lose weight].

"I actually want to put on another kilo of muscle! I think Michael [Schumacher] was 78kg with all his kit and Adrian Sutil was 82kg. I am not going to be 65kg unless I cut my nuts off.”
 

lolachampcar

Well-Known Member
Nov 26, 2012
5,980
6,915
WPB Florida
Love seeing him and Nico go at it but I wonder how much more of this abuse Nico is going to put up with before he punts Lewis. You can tell Nico was raised a good polite person but that is going to wear off at this rate.
 

NigelM

Recovering Member
Apr 3, 2011
13,386
560
Northern Virginia
Merc have made it pretty clear that the guys can race, but they better bring the cars home. For now Ham is undoubtedly doing that bit better than Nico, but Nico knows that crossing the line with (too) aggressive driving will just get the team bosses raining blows on his head; I think he's smart enough, and more importantly patient enough, not to do anything stupid.

Fascinating intra-team rivalries all over F1 this year.
 

lolachampcar

Well-Known Member
Nov 26, 2012
5,980
6,915
WPB Florida
I just fear Nico's lack of a "take it at all costs" attitude may cost him the best chance he may ever have at a championship. NOTHING gets in the way of what Hammy wants and I believe Nico will have to take that same approach if he is going to maintain the lead that was gifted to him in the first race (by Lewis' mechanical problems).
 

NigelM

Recovering Member
Apr 3, 2011
13,386
560
Northern Virginia
China will be interesting; Ham has a better track record there than Ros does and if Lewis finishes ahead of Nico that's going to have a big effect on Nico's confidence/motivation.
 

gg_got_a_tesla

Model S: VIN 65513, Model 3: VIN 1913
Jan 29, 2010
6,534
788
Redwood Shores, CA
Nigel (oh, the horror, a mod no less!) and Bill, you have your own parallel track going here :)

On topic, Schumi (speedy recovery, champ!) was extraordinarily fit and I'm not surprised at him clocking in at nearly 80 kilos. Race cars are not thoroughbred horses to merit a short/malnourished jockey. This is all rather silly.
 

SwedishAdvocate

Active Member
Jul 26, 2012
1,801
246
Sweden, Earth
Nigel (oh, the horror, a mod no less!) and Bill, you have your own parallel track going here :) /...
If it matters, the OP doesn’t mind. Feel free to steer completely off the circuit :wink:


- - - Updated - - -

The discussion is going away already (it's last years news) as the actual races are showing that there's no correlation between driver weight and real results. The two drivers making the most noise again now (Adrian Sutil and Jean-Eric Vergne) happen to be being outperformed by their (smaller) stable-mates right now.

Lewis Hamilton, who is the outstanding driver of the moment, had this to say previously:

Lewis Hamilton produced an amusing aside to the issue by suggesting only drastic action could enable him to reach Webber’s ideal driver weight. He said: “I weigh about 71kg. I was never 65kg. I was 68kg last year but I have put on three kilos since then. The guys have not told me to do that [lose weight].

"I actually want to put on another kilo of muscle! I think Michael [Schumacher] was 78kg with all his kit and Adrian Sutil was 82kg. I am not going to be 65kg unless I cut my nuts off.”
…/ On topic, Schumi (speedy recovery, champ!) was extraordinarily fit and I'm not surprised at him clocking in at nearly 80 kilos. Race cars are not thoroughbred horses to merit a short/malnourished jockey. This is all rather silly.
So why are they loosing weight and opting to race without on-board water supply? And one of them to such an extent that he ends up in a hospital... :eek:

I guess that’s yet another shortcoming of not being that proficient in science and math. It makes it a bit more difficult to approach this from a quick napkin calculation point of view… :redface:
 

NigelM

Recovering Member
Apr 3, 2011
13,386
560
Northern Virginia
So why are they loosing weight and opting to race without on-board water supply? And one of them to such an extent that he ends up in a hospital... :eek:

Adrian Sutil was the only driver who said he was going to drive without a water bottle, interestingly he's being out-performed by Esteban Guttierez who is his diminutive teammate. It's not a great stretch of the imagination that Sutil is looking for reasons to blame for his own performance.

The exact same thing is occurring with Jean-Eric Vergne (he of the hospital stay); JEV is not a bad driver but he's being severly outperformed by his new (and smaller) stablemate Daniil Kvyat.

- - - Updated - - -

Nigel (oh, the horror, a mod no less!) and Bill, you have your own parallel track going here

BTW, in a loose attempt to make this conversation relevant, did anyone else know that Juan Pablo Montoya now owns a Model S?

Juan-Pablo-Montoya-Tesla-600x602.jpg


Really nice guy, I met him when he was driving for McLaren in '06.
 
Apr 11, 2012
375
283
Potsdam, New York
Anyone who thinks the driver's aren't under pressure to reduce weight (whether its from the team or just themselves) doesn't follow the technical side of F1. There's not a team in the league that wouldn't pay a million dollars per pound to remove weight from the car itself, dropping 5-10 from the driver is a no brainer.

Arguably weight is more important now than its been in years. The teams are having to reduce power during much of the race to stay within the allowed fuel consumption rates, have reduced power, reduced downforce, and the potential to reduce total weight (in recent years shedding weight just helped you move your weight balance). Reducing total weight means lower fuel consumption, faster acceleration, faster cornering, and later braking. Its the only thing you can do to a race car that makes it better in every way. If they have a way to reduce their total weight by 0.7% they're going to do it.
 

physicsfita

Member
Jan 20, 2014
467
223
Ann Arbor, MI
It's a little more subtle than that. F1 has a minimum car-plus-driver weight, but the engineers want it as low to the ground as possible. When they shave some weight off a component (or the driver), they can put it on some tungsten ballast on the bottom of the car.
 

NigelM

Recovering Member
Apr 3, 2011
13,386
560
Northern Virginia
Anyone who thinks the driver's aren't under pressure to reduce weight (whether its from the team or just themselves) doesn't follow the technical side of F1.

I'm not going to bite. The reality of this season is that what was perceived as a potential major issue has really turned out to be secondary. Drivers weight hardly comes into play when rival teams have a 40bhp power advantage.

There's a great article by Andrew Benson of BBC Sport out today which explains the power issue.
 
Apr 11, 2012
375
283
Potsdam, New York
It's a little more subtle than that. F1 has a minimum car-plus-driver weight, but the engineers want it as low to the ground as possible. When they shave some weight off a component (or the driver), they can put it on some tungsten ballast on the bottom of the car.

That was the case in recent seasons, but when changing the regulations for this season, they underestimated the weight of the new powerplants, and I believe all the cars are above the minimum weight this year. So if they can save a pound somewhere, they're reducing the total weight of the car.

I'm not going to bite. The reality of this season is that what was perceived as a potential major issue has really turned out to be secondary. Drivers weight hardly comes into play when rival teams have a 40bhp power advantage.

There's a great article by Andrew Benson of BBC Sport out today which explains the power issue.

You're right, the power plants are by far the most important factor this season. I'm guilty of speaking imprecisely; I was trying to make the point that weight is more important this year than it has been in previous years, not that its the most important factor this year. Losing a couple pounds alone isn't going to make the other teams competitive with Mercedes this season. Teammates are still driving otherwise identical cars though, and the other teams are still racing against each other, so weight still plays an important role. Compared to the money and effort F1 team put into taking pounds and ounces out of a car's weight, driver weight is low hanging fruit.
 

lolachampcar

Well-Known Member
Nov 26, 2012
5,980
6,915
WPB Florida
This reminds me of the whining Paul Tracy did in ChampCar but, in that case, it was obvious that Paul needed to go on a diet. It is equally obvious here that F1 drivers do not and to do so creates an unsafe condition. F1 is more than willing to operate in an unsafe condition for a competitive advantage so the governing body is going to have to step in on this one.
 

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