To most people, driving is fun and effortless, but for Formula One drivers, it’s so much more. All the great drivers in history have always been physically fit. The likes of Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel are more athletic than many footballers.
At the core of their jobs, Formula 1 drivers drive and maneuver cars weighing up to 1800 lbs at maximum speeds of 230 mph for hours all while trying to out-speed their competitors. By the end of one race, an average racer burns 1500 calories. Now picture this. The drivers race at least 19 times every two years.
There are more reasons why Formula 1 drivers must always stay fit. Below are some of these reasons and what the drivers do to achieve desired fitness levels.
To Meet F1 Weight Limits
Formula One Cars are not designed for comfort, meaning it’s up to the drivers to cut weight if they want to fit in there. Again, weight is highly important when it comes to determining the speed of Formula One cars.
Because the league sets the minimum weight levels for cars, drivers and their managers have to do all they can do minimize weight. As a result, many elite Formula drivers featured regularly by bookies like Betway weighs about 155 lbs.
Of course, there is no short cut to losing weight. Drivers must hit the gym, eat healthy meals and drink lots of water. Speaking of healthy meals, Formula One drivers are fed diets rich in fiber and non-processed carbohydrates.
Instead of fatty carbs, they feed on sweet potatoes, nuts, and vegetables. They also consume high-protein diets albeit while balancing with vegetables and fruit.
To Gain Energy
To prepare for races, drivers consume lots of energy giving foods. The meals are carefully picked by dieticians. From breakfast to supper, drivers are usually feeding on high-protein, high-carb diets, lots of vegetables and fruits.
For breakfast, a driver may consume eggs with mushroom and peppers. To add onto this; they consume tea, berries, nuts and also add yogurt. During lunch, the driver is given proteins like steak and fish followed by vegetables and fruits.
A Formula One driver’s supper diet is also healthy. They may consume chicken, sweet potatoes, vegetables, rice, and other high-fiber carbohydrate meals. The meals are altered on a weekly basis depending on the driver’s preferences and what their bodies need the most. But regardless, the meals must always be healthy and suitable for an athlete.
To Gain Strength
A good Formula One driver is not only physically fit but must also be conditioned to handle the physical demands of the sport. The neck, for example, should be strong if they’re to be able to endure the physical force needed to control the cars while maneuvering corners.
While driving at top speeds, a helmet’s weight feels five times stronger than it usually is. If the driver’s neck isn’t strong enough, they may give in, losing control of the car in the process. Apart from strong neck muscles, Formula One drivers must be enduring all-round.
An average race takes 90 minutes to complete. But with all the maneuvers they must make, engineering cutting-edge turns to overtake competitors and the racing itself, a Formula One race feels as demanding as a marathon.
Many Formula One drivers are also good cyclists, they can run like marathoners and swim like professionals. Drivers choose which sport they prefer to strengthen their endurance and practice as if they were professionally in that area.
Ideally, a Formula One driver is like any other athlete. They are supposed to stay fit and not slim. In fact, there is a minimum weight requirement for drivers. If they go below that limit, they’re disqualified. As such, good drivers stay fit but strive to be strong and enduring.
Strength in the necks, shoulders, legs and their backs is highly important for drivers. Remember that every maneuver they make, braking at top speeds and dragging forces drivers to handle forces much higher than cyclists endure.
A Formula One training session resembles a body builder’s session. In some cases, the drivers deal with more intense training. They’re constantly running, cycling and swimming to achieve ideal fitness levels. When it comes to food, the athletes eat dietician-picked meals rich in healthy carbs, proteins, and fiber.