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How Fit Do Formula One Drivers Need To Be?

by Louise W. Rice

Formula One drivers are some of the fittest athletes in the world of sports. For those outsides of the sport, it’s easy to dismiss that statement. After all, surely all they do is sit in one place and steer? But the truth is that driving an F1 car is one of the most physically demanding challenges in any sporting code. Why? Well, the answer is more complicated than you might have ever imagined.

Undergoes huge loads at high speed

To begin with, an F1 driver’s body is regularly put through bursts of 6G loading whilst they hurtle around the track. At this point, it’s worth keeping in mind that sustained forces of G-Force of 6G can, in some cases, be fatal, which goes to show how much effort is required to keep the car on the track, let alone win.

Ultimately, this is why the drivers have to spend long hours in the gym between races to make sure that their bodies are capable of meeting the demands of putting the pedal to the floor.

Extreme load when applying the brakes on curves

But it is not only accelerating that tests a driver, given that breaking requires just as much effort. For instance, if we were to focus on the Italian Grand Prix at Imola and the infamous “Rivazza” corner, we would see that it takes just over 140kg of pressure to apply the brake in order to slow down to a speed where the drivers can safely negotiate this bend. Now, on top of that, consider that drivers have to complete 63 laps around this circuit. Are you all of a sudden beginning to feel a bit lazy despite previously being confident that you lived an active life? Fear not, you’re not alone. 

Who will be the winner of 2022?

In reality, the fact of the matter is that drivers have to go to back-breaking lengths to quite literally stay alive in the car. With this in mind, perhaps we can infer that Netflix got it to spot on when they called their hit F1 series ‘Drive to Survive.’

Although, as we know, there are a number of drivers on the grid who don’t just survive, but also thrive. Indeed, it is no coincidence that the drivers competing to win the 2022 championship are the fittest on the grid and a look at the latest odds on the possible title winner, supplied by popular bookmaker Bodog provides safe and secure online betting in Canada, show Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc as the two outright contenders. The Dutchman is, of course, the favorite at odds of -10000 but tellingly, both drivers put their personal fitness at the top of their priority lists, with the pair traveling the globe with personal trainers.

For the duo, this is a decision that is non-negotiable given that they have, so far, worked their entire lives to sit at the summit of the sport. Essentially, this is why they are the two best drivers in the paddock as they make extraordinary physical sacrifices to stay ahead, which will undoubtedly carry on in the future.

In summary

Of course, there will be 18 other drivers also trying to find marginal gains in the gym as the race to be the best reaches new heights over the coming years. That is the nature of F1, it is a ruthless environment that only rewards the fittest athletes.

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