New F1 era, more pressure?
We all watch F1 and admire all the dedication that racing drivers put in. We can see through social media and sometimes on the telly, all of the hard work that goes into being the best. Most of the dedication we are shown, is through physical fitness and having strict regimes in place. Being at the peak of the racing drivers’ physical health is paramount, due to all of the things that their bodies go through. With G forces of up to 5g, over 50 laps to complete, hot temperatures and high concentration; it can take a lot out of any human being. All drivers usually have a PT alongside them to help them follow and undergo intense training regimes to prepare for the 23 gruelling race weekends on the F1 calendar. During a race weekend you tend to see lots of racing drivers having their PT accompany them, to help pre race, to get ready and geared up and then to relax the body post race.
With the new F1 era, does this mean more pressure?
Absolutely! With regulation changes meaning closer - wheel to wheel racing, the racing drivers will need to be even more on it than ever before and have rapid reactions. Some of the drivers have recorded some quick clips of the training that they go through which is mostly shared on Instagram and Twitter by Formula 1 and the drivers themselves, it gives you an insight to the sorts of things they experience which is definitely not just ‘driving in circles’ there is much more to it than that. It is very clear by the expression on their face just how challenging it is. With the new 2022 regulation changes, success will solely rely on the drivers talent and ability. Now with a level playing field, there will be even more pressure on the F1 racing drivers to be the best version of themselves. It isn’t just the drivers who are becoming the best versions of themselves, it’s the actual cars as well. The new cars have been put through a simulator 7,500 times with lots of added testing and research. So if that doesn’t tell you that this car is at the top of its game, I don’t know what will.
The cars will feel very different with the new wheel to wheel racing concept, it was bye bye to the barge board and hello to all of the close action. The cars have a lot more downforce and if you are unsure of what this means, let me tell you. It has a slight clue in the word, that the cars are much lower to the ground and are sucked down onto the tarmac. Recently the drivers have had a snippet of what is to come with the pre season shakedown in Spain, the trend seems to be that there is lots of porpoising (which means the car is hitting the floor). The new cars seem to have some weight to them and with the new 18 inch tyres and different design, this doesn’t surprise me. A few of the racing drivers have passed comments about how weighty the car is compared to previous designs, this sounds like it will be more hard work and it must put more pressure on the individuals physical health.
Racing drivers don’t just have high fitness levels to contend with, they also have high levels of stress and pressure which takes mental strength. This is a subject that not many are open to commenting on. Although with the likes of Lando Norris who has a big fan following, he has spoken openly about how his experience in F1 has taken its toll. The extremely talented racing driver who kickstarted his F1 career at a young age of 19, has spoken on This Morning and said “when you just watch TV, you don’t realise many things that a driver goes through”. Alongside Lando; Roman Grosjean, Lewis Hamilton and Damon Hill have also spoken out about personal experiences that they have gone through and how the sport affected them which is a stepping stone towards a more open conversation being had about the nature of the sport, the high pressures involved and the effects it can have.
So, next time you watch F1 or any other motorsports for that matter and think what an easy life the drivers have and all they do is drive in circles, I urge you to think again. It isn’t everyday that you put yourself in danger for a sport that you love and have lots of eyes and pressure on you…unless you are a racing driver of course.
Article written by Amy Campbell