Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Bottas says black overalls are “way too hot” after losing 3kg during race

2020 Spanish Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas says he is getting too hot in the cockpit of his Mercedes since the team changed the colour of its drivers’ overalls from white to black.

During yesterday’s race at the Circuit de Catalunya, where air temperatures reached 30C, Bottas was heard telling his team on the radio “these black overalls are fucking hot”.

Mercedes originally produced its usual white overalls for the 2020 season. It changed the colour when it introduced a new black ‘end racism’ livery for its cars.

However Bottas believes the colour change means the overalls now absorb more heat, leading to his discomfort in the race. “It was really hot in the car and I felt that since this year it’s been even hotter in the car,” he said.

“Obviously, we have changed the colour of the overalls and it’s known that black colour takes more of the heat, especially when there’s direct sun. I don’t know any numbers or facts how much it is actually black versus white in terms of temperature difference. But this year it’s been really hot in the car.

“Also there’s a new homologation this year for the overalls so they are thicker and the underwear is thicker. So I don’t know how much affect that has. But it was just so hot. So I said, guys, these overalls are way too hot. For sure white would be cooler in terms of temperature.”

Drivers typically lose body weight during races due to fluid loss. Bottas said he “lost three kilos in the race, which is quite a lot,” in Spain. “So that already can start to affect performance.

“I know that from the all the drivers I’m one of the fittest, so I can take it. But it’s never comfortable and there’s always things that we can improve.”

Mercedes has previously said their car is not running any hotter as a result of the livery change.

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51 comments on “Bottas says black overalls are “way too hot” after losing 3kg during race”

  1. “I know that from the all the drivers I’m one of the fittest, so I can take it.” Yes you’re also fastest and best overtaker….
    Seriously how does he know that?

    1. I believe Hintsa Performance works with a decent chunk of the grid, so maybe word gets around?

      1. I bet they tell all their clients that they are one of the fittest. Doing anything else would result in the client looking for a new coaching company.

        1. @aapje :o) Nicely reasoned.

  2. Maybe they can change the colour, but I’d be interested to know how Verstappen, Albon, thé Haas guys manage.

    1. And Hamilton… That’s a lot of fit guys there

    2. well, they can obviously manage it easily on most circuits, not so easy on hotter temps. Remember Lotus changing it from black to gold/yellow on the 2011 malaysian grand prix because of the heat. If it was a minor issue, i doubt they would’ve changed it.

      Mercedes should’ve thought of that as well.

    3. The renault guys also have largely black overalls @tango. True enough we did see pictures of Ricciardo completely overheated during the weekend.

    4. To be far, Bottas hales for a much cooler part of the world and so he would prefer cooler conditions.

      It would be interesting for someone to do the science on this. There must be an impact on driver performance ‘if’ their suits are absorbing more direct sunlight. That said, how much of that direct sunlight are they actually exposed to in that cockpit?

      Would their darker suites absorb more ambient heat, infrared energy?

      1. The short answer is “Yes”.
        The question is how much and is any too much.?

    5. @tango the haas uniforms are copied from ferrari, they look black but are actually red.

  3. Except Lewis to kneel before Bottas at the next race and pull a body snatchers face and finger point. Just after he’s tweeted how raycist Bottas is and he should give up his seat to Albon!

    1. Jesus wept who let their toddler on here.

      1. Lighten up, its just some dark humour in a sterile pc world…

        1. its not funny, so stop it.

        2. Montréalais (@)
          17th August 2020, 14:44

          Your attempt at humour stinks. This forum does not need you.

    2. Yeah, if it’s an attempt at humor, it failed miserably regardless.

    3. Your parents must be embarrassed. I’m embarrassed and I, very thankfully, don’t know you. You need putting out with the trash.

    4. Hehe you poor NPC soulless voids…

      1. They all claim to have a sense of humour too, Fred. Strange.

    5. Yep! That’s waycist from Bottas. Maybe because he’s a cisgendered hetero-normative toxic white male.

      Black overalls matter too!

  4. That’s why I prefer wearing white or predominantly white T-shirts over black/dark ones.

    1. Actually, I believe that science still hasn’t settled this issue; some say white, some say white, some say it doesn’t matter. Obviously white clothing absorbs less solar radiation but, provided the clothing is sufficiently loose-fitting to allow air through, black will leach more of your own body heat. Then you have Bedouin tribes who wear thick black robes, so the extra solar radiation is dissipated before it reaches their body, supposedly. It’s a whole can of worms ;)

      1. *others say black (I promise that wasn’t a racist Freudian slip BTW :D)

      2. Nope, it’s actually fairly clear science. Incoming sunlight overwhelms the impact of body heat quite easily in a sunny clear day. White always beats black when it comes to keep your temperature down.

        Bedouin tribes use heavy clothing for religious, not climatic reasons. People seem to think warm desert means a lot of clothes work the best against the sun but looking at native Australians, the Khoisan, ancient Egyptians, ancient Arabs themselves etc. and the opposite was true. Humans are just too big to not rely on evaporative cooling. Thus, clothing for warm weather need to be designed to improve air circulation and not absorb heat.

        1. Actually wearing white outside and black inside helps more because darker colours absorb heat whilst the white radiates it away from the body. The reason why in tropical and sunny countries you see people wearing black, long loose fitting robes is because when there is any kind of wind, the loose fitting clothes can dissipate the heat more easily then tight fitting ones

        2. almost….

          It seems likely that the present inhabitants of the Sinai, the Bedouins, would have optimised their solutions for desert survival during their long tenure in this desert Yet, one may have doubts on first encountering Bedouins wearing black robes and herding black goats. We have therefore investigated whether black robes help the Bedouins to minimise solar heat loads in a hot desert. This seemed possible because experiments have shown that white hair on cattle1,2 and white feathers on pigeons3 permit greater penetration of short-wave radiation to the skin than black. In fact, more heat flowed inward through white pigeon plumage than through black when both were exposed to simulated solar radiation at wind speeds greater than 3 m s−1 (ref. 3). We report here that the amount of heat gained by a Bedouin exposed to the hot desert is the same whether he wears a black or a white robe. The additional heat absorbed by the black robe was lost before it reached the skin.

          souce: Nature 1980.

          1. Meanwhile, in the more mpdern world and crucially an automotive experiment, mythbusters confirmed what Bottas suspects


  5. I know that from the all the drivers I’m one of the fittest, so I can take it.

    That’s news. Cocky Bottas is Bottas 3.1.

    I just hope F1 could lead garment technology on crea

    1. … I just hope F1 could lead garment technology on creating thicker but cooler underwear.

      1. @ruliemaulana it’s Bottas Rev 746.32.BZ that will compete for the title

  6. Joe Pineapples
    17th August 2020, 12:31

    Well at least it wasn’t ‘something with the car’ this time. ;)

  7. Bottas drives naked and max will still beat him.
    Get your racing act together, and stop blaming everything else but yourself.

  8. “Also there’s a new homologation this year for the overalls so they are thicker and the underwear is thicker.” that is the actual reason it was hotter. the driver is in a dark cockpit hidden away from most light.

    1. Thank you +1

  9. the colour black is the worst colour as it absorbs all the heat so it would be very uncomfortable to wear in a hot race. white is the best colour as it reflects heat. that’s why in Dubai white is probably the most common colour in cars and clothing.

  10. Black clothing is much hotter in direct sunlight than white clothing. Mercedes should give the drivers of the traditional white overalls for hot races.

    1. Yeah I don’t understand what the big deal is. if Bottas feels the black overalls are a problem in hot races let him wear the white ones.

      1. They probably will, and it’s not exactly a big deal – it’s just that scientifically, he’s wrong – and yes I know you are cooler on a hot day in a white T-shirt than a black one, and that’s where his misconceptions are coming from as well, but when you start adding layers and fireproofing materials, absorbed solar heat is negligible compared to the overwhelming need to radiate the exponential buildup of body/car heat in a greenhouse like environment. This by the way is why we won’t be able to hop onto a spaceship to mars in our lifetime, in space, you can’t get rid of the heat without dumping it physically – I.e pumping it into a material and ejecting it – which makes the fuel usage to drag all that mass astronomical. Back on subject, in that layered and insulated suit, the absorbed solar radiation is quickly overwhelmed and you stay cooler with increased radiation, dumping heat into the air by conduction and convecting the heat to vents.

        Ignore convection, it’s not a thing in a race suit, that leaves conduction and radiation – both of which are more efficient on dark materials. If you have a greenhouse you can test this by papering it in black and white on hot days and see which gives you the cooler temperatures, you’d be shocked at how quickly the crossover comes, in a small greenhouse, within an hour before black is cooler (remember, paper on outside!!!)

        But yep, not a big deal, but since the 80’s when this stuff became understood by science, we’re getting to a critical mass of public knowing this as mainstream, hence all the comments

        1. In space you prevent most of radiant solar heat entering with reflectors, the spacecraft itself will radiate any excess heat to the ‘cold’ side facing away from the sun.

          Your greenhouse experiment isn’t analogous to a person because the greenhouse isn’t generating any heat, it’s getting everything it has from the sun and trapping it, with a balance achieved by convection, conduction and radiation. As I commented earlier in thread, Mythbusters did the experiment on black and white cars, the black car stabilised at a significantly higher temperature.

          When the subject is generating a small amount of heat, about 100-200W for average human during exercise, it still needs to reject the heat and in an F1 car moving at speed convection from arms, shoulders and head is most likely the biggest component. Heat from the sun is however radiant, hence heat taken on will respond more to the nature of the absorbing surface, and the power of the sun, see and . This means the forward part of a black car is of course part of the problem, because it too absorbs solar radiation and re-radiates inside the car, to the black overalls that absorb that heat. The car will only lose heat by convection when it gets warmer than the surrounding air. The engine area and rearwards is of course much hotter and probably unaffected by colour.

          Hence Mercedes would be better off with mirrored silver like the mid noughties McLarens, looks rather nice too. It’s why airport firefighters often wear silver suits because the they reflect radiant heat from a high temperature source.

  11. Ok then let Ricciardo, Leclerc, or even vettel take your seat. Bottas is such a disappointment. And merc is soo much more fair to their drivers then red bull

    1. Even in a Merc piece you can vomit on RBR i see ;)

  12. I’m sorry but Red Bull has been running essentially black (navy blue) overalls for year. If this was a problem they would have changed it by now. That heat you are feeling Bottas is called a bad start and watching your championship hopes fade away.

  13. I thought it was really odd. You have on a huge closed face helmet and are crammed into a race seat with a massively hot power unit behind you and it’s the overalls? I feel like the color of the suit has to be way down on the list.

  14. Talk to Schoeller, or any other fabric mill that has IR-reflective surface treatments (similar to coldblack) for black fabrics.

  15. Says the man who decides to wear a black/dark coloured helmet. Or maybe Ham, Max, Albon and the two Haas guys are just fitter than him.

  16. Nearly all of those black overalls spend most of the time in the dark. And black actually dissipates heat (infrared) energy better. So I’m guessing this is 99.7% in Bottas’s head only. The thing is, why pick on the black overalls? Obviously because they’re connected to Lewis. I’m sure Bottas is genuinely committed to ending racism. But turning the cars and overalls black was the team backing Hamilton. So this complaint feels like an implicit or even unconscious complaint that the team favour Hamilton.

    1. Makes sense

    2. But the team does favor Hamilton. There is a lot of very obvious proof of that. Not sure if a far fetched story line about black is needed.
      “valtteri, this is James” “you have to keep on your overall to please Lewis”

      1. Far-fetched that he’s bothered about the overalls being associated with Lewis, but then you confirm it? I didn’t suggest the team don’t favour Lewis. Of course, they do ‘favour’ him in some ways, he’s the faster driver and has won them a heap of titles. So when he asked for a ‘return’ by the team getting behind BLM, they were persuaded. Does that mean they treat the drivers unequally by giving them an unequal car or unequal strategy (not based on actual qualifying and race performance)? No. Hence VB’s negativity about this Lewis identification is ultimately directed at himself, his failure to get close to a title over the past 3 seasons, which is pretty much what the recent interviews with him suggest.

  17. This could be an opportunity for Mercedes. Imagine ducted air into their helmets, which is directed through their helmets into their suits. Are there any rules against this? Chances are if they did come up with this, it would be banned by the other teams. :)

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