Making a stand on driver weights

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    I wrote a comment after J. Button’s injury article, which was probably slightly out of place. I try to put it here to see if it can gather more people to its cause (it got some positive feedback already, by @palle, @irejag and Dex; but it was maybe overlooked). Here comes the copy/paste of that comment. I’ll just add that I’m soon off to the Catalunya GP, where I’ll be away from the internet (see you there if you come!); and that we so much enjoy seeing those drivers going to the limit that we should not hesitate to defend them and to stand for their health and security whenever it is needed.


    I’m not sure it’s the right place to post this, but let me try… since I remember J. Button said it trained hard to loose muscles this Winter so as to decrease his weight (saying, as far as I remember, that “it is much harder to lose muscles than to gain them”).

    I think that the fan-base of F1 (and I mean here passionated people as can be found on this great website) should really make a stand against the current situation regarding weight limits. I don’t claim the solution is easy from an engineering point of view, but I do state that it is unacceptable and shameful to see F1 drivers going to qualifications sessions dehydrated and without eating to gain milliseconds. Then some of them just collapse after the qualifications, or you see them craving for foods and rushing to McD!!! Is that what we want to see? I’d like to see fit drivers, in good health. Even from a purely cynical point of view, is exhibiting dehydrated drivers in McD good for the image of F1? (Since it’s seems it’s the only thing that matters these days, anyway).

    Another thing, while I’m at it. I remember the overwhelming outcome of the poll regarding the doubling points issue. I think there could be a clear way to make a stand, more than just clicking ‘yes’ or ‘no’: if we think it’s bad, then we just boycott the TV retransmission of the last GP of the season. Hopefully, we’re enough to make this clear in audience scores. This would really show a strong determination from fans and an implication into what we want to see and what we are ready to accept. What do you think of it? We have here a vast community so we could organise things. Somehow it’s too easy to protest without engaging for our opinions.
    [I remember reading FIA official saying the doubling point thing was to increase TV scores, so that’s why it would make sense to make this a failure too.]

    Thanks for reading, sorry for the long (and sort of unrelated) post. Definitely, the first point is more important in my opinion (we should help the drivers here, strongly; the situation is, let me say it again, ridiculous). Still, the second point is somehow related; the general guideline being: let’s try to stand for F1 as we like it, with the motorsport / racing passion on the first line (even if there are, of course, multiple ways of living this passion, and it’s good passionated people have different opinions and don’t agree on everything!).

    And see you in Catalunya soon, for those who’ll be at the first race in Europe!


    @JS – just the opposite mate, its MUCH easier to loose muscle than to gain it, and F1 drivers do not put their bodies in an anabolic state due to their training/sets/reps/rest time/exercise type & calorie intake.

    F1 drivers need strength (arms and neck) and no bulk, need to stay very lean.

    With your comment above they are looking to keep carbs lower now compared to a few years back, and carbs help body function and also mental awareness- required at F1 level of course. So the new weight limits are not real good IMO, a lean, strong and fit F1 driver for sure, but current weight levels are way too low and needs to be looked at!!

    I saw most of the drivers in Melbourne and Malaysia this year and all had arms the size of my wrist/mid forearm (not good)- if they cold all carry 4-5 kg more it would be better for their health IMO.


    You need to check and understand how TV ratings are calculated in your country. I can’t be bothered to go into it again, but in the UK unless you have a recording device (which you would know about), 4,999 out of every 5,000 households are unmonitored- switching off your TV would probably affect the ratings less than some kind of rain dance.

    Ivan Vinitskyy

    Strongly disagree with raising weight limit to allow drivers to stay at their comfortable weight.
    F1 is a sport of speed and weight proportionally counteracts speed.

    1. Let the teams design cars as fast as they can make them. Too much effort was spent making racing appealing to general public instead of concentrating on ensuring F1 is still a pinnacle of motor sport which it is losing slowly.
    Safety keeps getting better and yet cars get slower.
    2. Driver is part of the team, if team tries to save weight with car why shouldn’t driver contribute to overall package.
    3. Driver is an athlete of sort and just as in any other sport you need to push your body to get result. You don’t see fat runners or short basketball players. Some body types are just not suited to certain sports and so in F1 you need to be small to go quicker. If you’re not then you don’t belong in F1.


    Driver is part of the team, if team tries to save weight with car why shouldn’t driver contribute to overall package.

    Because that means that tall drivers are for some reason discriminated against in F1 more than any other racing series, whereas being short for some reason is rewarded. That happening partly depends on the arbitrary weight limit, so saying being small is inherent to F1 is fictitious, as well as ignorant of the history of the F1. F1 is indeed a sport, so all the drivers should be expected to be fit, which they will be anyway so as to perform best in races. Nobody’s asking for drivers to be allowed to be fat, or saying that they don’t need to be athletic. You’ve completely failed to understand the argument unfortunately.


    would there be a problem with making the weight limit of the car its own thing then the weight limit for the driver is that of the heaviest and the other lighter driver have extra weight added to their car to bring it to the same?


    Because that means that tall drivers are for some reason discriminated against in F1 more than any other racing series, whereas being short for some reason is rewarded.

    As someone who will literally never have a shot at F1 because I am 6’7” I have little sympathy for the Sutils of this world. The only thing I would agree on as far as this issue is concerned is that they can’t have stuff like drivers being dehydrated during the race, that’s something that should be changed. That, however, doesn’t need something like the minimum weight being raised (and not that that would do something, since the bigger guys still would need to be extremely thin in order to be competitive) which would give Sauber and other teams with overweight cars a bail-out but merely a rule saying something like each car must carry, I dunno, 3 or 4 litres of liquid for the driver.


    @klon – so if you were not 6’7″ mate would you be world champ??:)

    I am short, 5ft 9 on a good day, but wide, shoulders like Arnold (same size when he was not on juice) but its genetics. I sat in an Tyrell at 16 and was too big! I am short but could never do F1! (beside no talent lol)

    I was in KL a few months ago and Sutil looked too thin, so did all of them. We met Dan in RBR on Sunday morning and he said he was 68KG!! Must have cut his leg off !!! Its gone way too far and that Nico, who is a gun, cant get a top drive is not real good for F1- The Horse needs to pick him up, Kimi has not done enough, much to my disappointment!


    @Garns – well, I probably would not. :D
    My point is mainly that there will always be a certain amount of the population that will be excluded from motorsport and many other things in life because inherent factors preventing it. I mean, a 5’7” guy will be extremely unlikely to ever play as a professional basketball center.

    Even though I don’t really buy into the story of Hülkenberg merely not having a top drive because of his size (me being a cynic that notices team’s focus on positive PR and Hülkenberg’s popularity with F1 fandom and drawing conclusions), I see where you are coming from.

    In the end, there indeed needs to be a solution that helps the drivers staying healthy whilst not giving teams screwing up a bailout or merely providing a superficial solution – since there is no reason to assume the drivers won’t be told to still lose weight even with the higher minimum weight to allow more flexible ballast placement. unfortunately I cannot think of anything good.

    Andre Furtado

    Should basketball hoops not be as tall as to not discriminate against midgets?
    Should football fields be shorter as not to discriminate against people with short legs?
    Should jockeys have a minimum weight requirements so that they are not discriminating against tall people?
    Should baseball balls be bigger as not to discriminate against people who wear glasses?
    Should the soccer net (pardon me for not knowing the correct word) be smaller so not to discriminate against small people?

    My point here is that you can’t change the requirements of a sport just because you are a fan of someone who is doing something stupid, we are all ultimately responsible for our own health.

    Do I go to work if the work is bad for my health, I would not.
    Would I go to work if I had to starve myself, I would not.

    These drivers have more than enough money to make good decisions, if they are starving themselves, maybe they should use one or two brain cells and quit and take care of their own health.

    No one in this world will take of you as good as you will take care of yourself.



    I think you slightly miss the point at the beginning: your analogy is fallacious. Your questions should be, for instance, about whether one should doping in sport (by doping I mean put your health at risk by some training method that clearly endanger your health and, potentially, that of other players too). But that is debatable and I don’t want to point this out.

    Rather, you’re saying: why do we need laws? If my job jeopardizes my health, I quit. Good for you: you can materially do that or, in any case, you feel confident enough and are strong enough to do so. Excellent. But let me answer: regulations are here to protect people.
    What about all these people out there without your strength? Shouldn’t law be here to protect them? Should we keep allowing people to smell and eat asbestos just because they are informed enough?

    Do you keep the same reasoning talking about drugs? What prevents you from saying that heroin could very well be sold in the street: people are informed enough about the risk. I would not take it. You maybe would not either. What about all the others? My kids if I had some, for instance?

    Laws are here to protect people in a weaker position to be abused, be it from character and just from material point of view (I need to eat, I want to work, until which point can an employer push on me because of that? Forcing me to work in unsafety conditions?).

    All this is just a game and there’s really no way that having dehydrated pilots make the game better. Come on, who needs that?


    Hi Matt90,

    Sure, tv audiences work qs you describe, but if we can still create a strong movement and hit some headlines (of some specialized sites, say) with something like ‘core F1 fans promise to boycott tv retransmissions of the last gp if double points are maintained’, then surely we will be heard and noticed. Nevermind if the 1% poll from which tv audiences are extrapolated remains unchanged…


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