|Formula One Drivers Fitness|
Saturday, 30 December 2006 16:00
Aiming for the top in Formula One does not only mean spending time and effort on making a car go quicker. In the last few years, F1 teams have become more and more aware of the importance of keeping drivers in top physical and mental condition in order to enhance the global team performance.
Alike most of its competitors, Panasonic Toyota Racing has totally integrated this aspect as a priority and puts a premium on making sure its drivers are given the best possible training and medical care:
- Panasonic Toyota Racing is the first Formula One team with full-time medical doctor
A round-the-clock programme for body and mind
A driver's fitness programme is based on the definition of a profile that combines the human factor with the athletic abilities. Everyone responds differently to the various trainings and therapy methods and it is important to find the best possible formula.
- Drivers undergo an initial complete checks including food intolerance test and personality questionnaire
All these elements are planned to form a round-the clock programme for body and mind, adjusted to the drivers' schedule: it has to fit in between racing, testing and fulfilling PR duties, which has become so important nowadays. Over winter it is easier to carry out fitness development programmes over several days or weeks while during the racing season, work is focused on maintaining the level of fitness through short training sessions.
As for Panasonic Toyota Racing, the huge task of planning and following-up drivers fitness is left to the highly experienced Dr Ceccarelli:
"I give the drivers a full training", says the doctor, "starting with a full medical check-up and physical analysis conducted in the gym by collecting various data. From these information I can draw conclusions on the driver's body fluid level, stress level, muscular mass but also on his physical and mental energy: some drivers are like engines they consume a lot of "fuel" during a race, others less. Then I design the appropriate fitness programme - including nutrition - to help the driver to use all of his potential for an entire race."
Drivers' fitness is tailored-made to offer the best possible answers to these facts:
Improving a F1 driver's muscular mass and endurance implies a very localised bodybuilding: any car designer will indeed tell you that the thinner, the lighter, the better to fit in the tiny F1 car cockpit. It is then important to develop strength without increasing volume and weight too much. Some specific muscles groups particularly need to be developed, one of the most important being without doubt the driver's neck.
Some activities are commonly integrated to all drivers fitness programme:
- indoor activities: running and cycling on machines, weight-lifting as well as training on special equipment designed to reproduce F1 racing conditions.
Most of the time, the programme has to be completed with the drivers' favourite activities. As they have to train so long hours, it is important that they do not get bored too quickly...
Drinking and eating
- F1 Drivers loose approx. 2-3 litres of water during a race
A typical regime is a balanced diet of carbohydrates, protein and various vitamins and minerals, if necessary through a complement aside of meals.
A typical race day menu
07:30 Breakfast: milk and/or yoghurt, cereals, fresh fruits...
Throughout the day, drivers drink carbohydrated drinks, which are an excellent way to hydrate the body and provide him with energy without hampering digestion
10:00/11:30 Warm-up technical debrief followed by PR activities
Ideally lunch should take place about 4 hours prior to the start of the race but it is generally very difficult to fit this in the race day schedule. Therefore drivers usually do as follow:
11:30 Very light portion of pasta, vegetable soup
The sensitivity of a top-line Formula 1 driver is so finely developed that he can feel a change as tiny as 0.5% in front-rear aerodynamic balance. He can sense a difference in the car's behaviour if its front ride height is altered by as little as 1mm.
Panasonic Toyota Racing, since starting from a clean sheet of paper just about three years ago, has always put a premium on motivating its staff and helping him to perform well.
By entering into co-operation with Dr Ceccarelli, the Panasonic Toyota Racing team has become a sort of full-size laboratory for medical research on the drivers and F1 team members. Looking after drivers training programme has now fully become a science as developed as the one applied to enhance the car's performance. Dr Ceccarelli collaborate on pioneering research like:
- Development of a telemetric system to monitor drivers during the races
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 May 2008 20:32|