Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Bottas says he’s falling ill less often thanks to new F1 weight rule

2019 F1 season

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Valtteri Bottas says he’s avoided being ill over the winter for the first time since he came into F1 thanks to a new rule on driver weight.

F1 has established a new minimum weight limit for drivers for the 2019 season. Each driver plus their seat and other driver equipment must weight at least 80 kilograms. Those weighing less must add ballast in specific areas around the seat to reach the minimum.

The rule has been brought in to reduce the pressure on drivers to lower the body weights to aid car performance. Bottas says the rule has allowed him to eat more which has had a beneficial effect on his health.

“I’ve been able to actually eat last winter which can be quite nice being able to gain a kilo or two!” he told media including RaceFans at the Circuit de Catalunya.

“I think [I’m] getting to pretty close to my kind of natural weight, so I feel very good. I think the regulation was very good and especially obviously for the taller drivers it makes life a bit easier.

“Many drivers for a long time, you’ve had to be below your natural weight and then it’s very easy to get ill or sick. Honestly the last six years every winter I’ve had quite a long period of being ill. It was the the first winter for many, many years that I didn’t have any flu or any sickness.

“I really think what changed is that is that actually that I could eat more and make sure when I do training that I get all the nutrients and recover well. So I feel good.”

Bottas’s team mate Lewis Hamilton says he feels the healthiest he has been since coming into F1 because he is now able to eat more.

“In the past 12 years we’ve had to be a certain weight each of us drivers and… it’s not particularly great, you’re missing meals and all these different things to make sure you hit the right weight limit. Not necessarily always having the maximum energy.

“But it’s great with the rule change. I think it’s better for the drivers, you can be in a healthier state and I do feel in the healthiest state that I’ve been in for years simply because you can eat more and then you sleep better, you have more energy. So I’m definitely happier.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “Bottas says he’s falling ill less often thanks to new F1 weight rule”

  1. Good to hear of the positive effect of this rule, just not on racing but basic health as well.

    1. And I just need to lose the equivalent of a race suit+helmet+hans device+seat and a 1kg and I’m good to go

      1. @johnmilk – eh, right now, it feels like the car weight is closer for me than the driver weight ;)

        1. @phylyp that’s because of the cookies we have here this side of the force

  2. Yeah, its a really good rule to keep the field even for all kind of drivers. Big drivers like ericsson had a weight penalty that was hard to get around. Read about it in an article today about his coming indy career, 180cm and 68kg and constant fight against weight/starving was not a healthy situation, dont know how tall bottas is but obviously he was in a similar situation..

    1. It’s a bit ironic this rule comes in the year after two of the taller drivers, Ocon and Ericsson, lose their seats.

      1. Hehe, yeah, but at least they put more focus on the problem so it will be better for future drivers, more drivers will have the chance. When sauber was poor and couldn’t get the car down to the weight limit it was really bad, i think it was something like 0.2s penalty compared to wehrlein just from the extra weight.

      2. @keithcollantine, surely that should be three of the tallest drivers losing their seats – wasn’t Sirotkin supposed to be taller than Ericsson (I’ve seen his height listed as 1.84m, against 1.80m for Ericsson)?

        Maisch, I believe that Wehrlein was reckoned to have a weight advantage of 8-10kg over Ericsson, which might be in the order of 0.2s per lap – it was reckoned to have been enough to tip the qualifying balance in Wehrlein’s favour over the season.

      3. True, @keithcollantine, but maybe Nigel can make a comeback now.

        1. Nigel racing in F1 would be awesome! I’d like to see Prost, Piquet and Hakkinen back too!

      4. Hulk is also tall, so it will help him too! So the rule isn’t for nothing after all!

  3. It’s good to see the changing rule having a positive effect already. Kinda ironic that it comes after the 2 tallest drivers (Ericsson and Ocon) lose their seats but this was a much needed change. It reminded me of a less extreme version of weight cutting in MMA where you’d see fighters try to shed 15 pounds or more in a matter of a week before the official weigh-in.

    What really tipped me off that this rule needed to change ASAP was a comment Nico Rosberg made before the Japanese GP in 2016(?) when he said that he lost 1 kilo over the summer and that was the difference between him and Hamilton in qualifying. That comment irked me in a few ways but it was clear to me that drivers clearly aren’t able to live as healthy as they should if they were that concerned with their weight.

  4. I’ve been whinging about this rule for 25 years. About bloody time. I often wondered when a driver pips his teammate in qauly by less than a tenth however he ways 15 kg’s less what would the real result be. Lighter drivers had the freedom to place ballast wherever the design fits which I am sure has some advantage on aero balance & tyres.

  5. That’s great to hear that it’s not just making the sport fairer, but also the competitors stopping taking health risks to get a competitive advantage!

  6. Glad it is having a positive effect on drivers.

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