George Russell, Williams, Albert Park, 2019

Russell wants F1 to introduce standard cockpit sizes

2019 F1 season

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George Russell has praised the introduction of a minimum weight limit for drivers in the 2019 F1 season and called on the sport to go further by setting a standard cockpit size.

At 1.85 metres tall, the rookie driver is one of the taller racers on the F1 grid. A new rule introduced this year set a minimum weight of 80 kg to reduce the performance disadvantage taller drivers face and prevent them having to slim down to unhealthily low weights.

Russell said the regulation is a “massive” change for the better, and urged the sport to go further by copying the minimum cockpit dimensions seen in other championships.

“I’ve always been on the lighter side and over Christmas I put on about six kilos,” said Russell. “Not just from the turkey! But also from the gym. I just feel much healthier for it.

“I’m a normal size, normal shape. I’m almost six [foot] two and last year I was 66 kilos. So I’m now 72, 73 kilos and I just feel I’ve got more energy, I feel better. I’m sure my girlfriend would argue I look better as well! So very beneficial in more ways than not.

“F1 really needed that and I think probably the next step is to make the cockpits a standard size across all cars because still there is benefits if you’re a smaller driver [to] cram everything tighter so you’ve got more room to do whatever you want. You can bring the radiators closer in… it’s a never-ending story.

“I know in Formula Two and [Formula Three] they’ve just got a standard size to fit a driver of 192 centimetres. At the end of the day you guys probably won’t notice, the fans won’t notice, but it’s definitely going in the right direction.”

Before the minimum weight was introduced the Mercedes junior driver had to keep his weight low to ensure he was competitive.

“In F2 there wasn’t a limitation but I knew that if I jumped in the Mercedes last year if I was heavier than Lewis Hamilton and [Valtteri] [Bottas] I would just be slower on the stopwatch. I wanted to show what I can do and I don’t want any additional limitations. [It’s] free lap time.”

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32 comments on “Russell wants F1 to introduce standard cockpit sizes”

  1. Have to say, why not, he makes a good point that it’s not something that would be a big problem to either the sporting or show part of f1.

    1. ColdFly (@)
      5th April 2019, 8:45

      But what is the standard size? 186? 192? Even at 200 you ‘discriminate’ against some potential drivers.

      PS and how much chest room now we know that psychologically women are as prepared as men to race?

      1. Something reasonable 195cm/90kg. 80 is still too low for the like of Hülkenberg, Ocon and Russel. They all look gangly and emaciated.

        PS and how much chest room now we know that psychologically women are as prepared as men to race?

        Shouldn’t give a damn. And what women are prepared for are irrelevent. Even F2/F3 they reach with the PR/affirmitive-action train. (Which means they don’t earn any position they just weasel themselves in.)

        1. 170 cm / 65 kg person will feel very unconformable in a space made for 195 cm person.

          So what he want is to legally set advantage onto his own side. That’s probably how he won F2.

      2. @coldfly

        PS and how much chest room now we know that psychologically women are as prepared as men to race?

        Lol what?

  2. That’s interesting. Till date, we’ve only heard of drivers having to hit a target weight, not a target dimension. Also, since people cannot change their height, shoulder width, or hip width willy nilly, there isn’t the sort of risk there was with weight, is there? So, while an interesting point, I’m not sure I see the benefit.

    If a team decides to select a slimmer driver due to packaging constraints, and if that in turn means they lose out on a more talented but broader-shouldered driver, well, that’s on them, isn’t it?

    The one area I think it makes sense to support standardization around the cockpit is if the FIA standardizes the tub the driver sits in, along with the halo, and treats them as an integrated safety structure. A standardized tub+halo will make it easier to make a car pass a crash test, since that will be a known and common quantity.

    1. … there isn’t the sort of health risk…

    2. It’s about levelling the playing field for drivers, that’s “the point”

    3. @phylyp

      Also, since people cannot change their height

      Zanardi disagrees

      and yes, I will see myself out

      1. I really shouldn’t laugh…

      2. @johnmilk – I laughed. I’m off to hell. See you there.

      3. Just spit my coffee…

      4. Yes sir? 3 tickets to hell? here you go.

        Anyone else? Tickets to hell, come closer, tickets to hell! unbaptized kids don’t pay! Tickets to hell!

  3. i agree with russel the cockpit including the driver should be a set weight and dimension(standard). the rest of the car well thay should be in the constructors domain. this will negate ” unfair” advantages teams may have beyween smaller or taller drivers

  4. This would also be good for young drivers. With standard cockpits you’d never run into an issue where a driver you’d want to drive can not fit into the cockpit because your race drivers are the size of 12 year olds and the car designed to barely fit. those

    1. ColdFly (@)
      5th April 2019, 10:06

      The proposed sizes will probably fit the young drivers when still in diapers, or with their cradle.

  5. I don’t hear the NBA is mandating the nets to be lowered so as to not discriminate against players shorter than 2 m.

  6. I had a quick skim through the Technical Regulations and, as far as I can see, there are already some regulations around cockpit size in article 13.1. There is an FIA standard template that has to be able to fit in the survival cell, minimum extraction times for drivers etc. I suppose what Russell is calling for is even more detail round this (the FIA being a bit more draconian and imposing standard dimensions rather than just requiring the template to fit in the cockpit).

    1. ColdFly (@)
      5th April 2019, 10:08

      I suppose what Russell is calling for is even more detail round this

      What Russell is really calling for, @geemac, is for a standard size so if a smaller driver doesn’t driver (e.g. Bottas) he can step in in a wink.

      1. Point taken, but Bottas is probably the wrong example. Despite being short he is fairly stocky. Even he admitted that he is glad there is a minimum weight level now because he able to carry a bit more weight. He said this was the first winter in years he hasn’t gotten ill, and it is all down to being able to carry a bit more weight.

  7. Good points, @socksolid. But with Liberty desperate to attract younger fans, why not employ 12 year old drivers. Skip those expensive driver contracts, ease the budget cap crunch and let the karting kids pay to play with 1000 hp on a rainy track. ;-)

  8. for a 6ft 2″ person he is seriously underweight, this whole minimum weight of cars certainly is not good for drivers health.

    1. ColdFly (@)
      5th April 2019, 10:15

      Normal weight range is 69-85kg for a 6′ 2″ (188 cm) male; so his current weight is nothing special.
      He could opt though to grow into the 80kg FIA limit and give his girlfriend some love handles ;)

    2. Kubica is 184cm and weighs 69kg. He says he is fitter than ever, and weighs less than in first f1 stint. He does ALOT of cycling, and he says with the cycling he can eat whatever he wants. So I don’t know, its different for each person. I don’t see how it makes makes difference when you adjust the ballast anyway, directly under the driver.

  9. I quite like the idea of a standard driver tub. I’d rather see a driver picked for their talent, not their ability to fit in a small space.

    At the end of the day, it’s not something we see and it’s something the teams would quickly accommodate, even if they whinged a bit.

  10. Look to Massa he was so small he couldn’t lookout of his cockpit en his build made him fast because his light weight.

  11. @gardenfella72

    I quite like the idea of a standard driver tub. I’d rather see a driver picked for their talent, not their ability to fit in a small space.

    I can’t think of any short driver who’s challenged for a championship or even won races, who was picked for his size.

    Hamilton is short. Prost and Massa are tiny. Senna was small built. Alonso isn’t big nor was Schumacher.

    Perhaps Basketball and Rugby can make allowances for short people, when they don’t make it in F1.

  12. I don’t like the idea of F3 or F2 specs filtering up into F1.

  13. Gee I wonder how many people have googled a health site and checked the BMI index and then just repeated it here?
    BMI is a guide only it is not carved in stone, also it’s directed at average people living average lives.
    BMI does not take into account bone structure or muscle mass. F1 drivers are not athletes in the strict sense of the word but they follow a very athletic training regime.

  14. theres no push to lower the basketball net but how many basket ball players are on the court unhealthly under weight? and to go further all basjet ball players use the same ball….

  15. I may have been a little hasty with my previous comment. Perhaps a larger cockpit was just what Ricciardo needed in Australia to prevent him being squeezed in the ” orchestra stalls “.

  16. I’m sure George would be interested to know that there already is such a rule concerning cockpits in Formula 1: a car must be able to accommodate a driver of 1 metre 90 centimetres (6 feet 4 inches), which is only 2 cm (less than 1 inch) shorter than in F2. However, there is a caveat, because there is no rule requiring the teams to take into account such things as non-average knee locations or leg lengths; as long as a team can prove a hypothetical person of the requisite height could get in the cockpit, the regulatory bar is cleared. If, for example, a driver has knees that bend a couple of inches lower than the position the designer chose to assume due to having an above-average thigh length for their height, and that driver’s overall height is near/at the 190 centimetre level, then the driver won’t fit in the car and has no comeback under the regulations (assuming that someone, someowhere, is 190 cm/6 foot 4 inches and can get into the car).

    This is how come Justin Wilson (6 foot 3 inches) was told by Jordan in 2002 that he wasn’t getting a drive in 2003 because he was too tall, without the FIA coming down on Jordan like a ton of bricks. (We later learned the real reason was that Jordan needed substantial money from a pay driver simply to make the grid that year, but wasn’t in a position to admit this in fear of making the financial situation worse, so came up with that naff excuse instead).

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