The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Forum rules
Please read the forum rules
Post Reply
raceman
Posts: 508
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:00 am

The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by raceman »

Extending from previous topics regarding driver fitness (esp. regarding Susie Wolff's comments that F1 drivers don't need to be muscular), I came across this video that I thought be relevant. If not, I at least found it pretty humorous:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LB0-X3o_no0

Crash happy as he is, there's no denying that he's quick. So if Grosjean doesn't even hit the gym regularly and he's very quick, does this dispel the whole notion that drivers need to be incredibly fit to be quick in F1? (Operative word is need - we all know most drivers are extremely fit, exercise regularly, and have their own physios.) This would also mean physical fitness is not a barrier to entry for women, as Susie Wolff has pointed out.

User avatar
specdecible
Posts: 2904
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:06 am

Re: The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by specdecible »

raceman wrote:Extending from previous topics regarding driver fitness (esp. regarding Susie Wolff's comments that F1 drivers don't need to be muscular), I came across this video that I thought be relevant. If not, I at least found it pretty humorous:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LB0-X3o_no0

Crash happy as he is, there's no denying that he's quick. So if Grosjean doesn't even hit the gym regularly and he's very quick, does this dispel the whole notion that drivers need to be incredibly fit to be quick in F1? (Operative word is need - we all know most drivers are extremely fit, exercise regularly, and have their own physios.) This would also mean physical fitness is not a barrier to entry for women, as Susie Wolff has pointed out.

Maybe Grosjean would be better off hitting the Gym instead of other cars.
Danger is real, fear is choice.
PF1 Pick 10 Competition
Best Round Result: 1st (Monaco '12 & '15, Silverstone '14, Austria '15, Mexico '15, China '16)
Podiums: 11
2018 Championship Standing: oh jeez...

User avatar
Toby.
Posts: 2834
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 5:09 am
Location: Perth, Australia

Re: The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by Toby. »

Muscles probably aren't a huge necessity in modern F1, but stamina definitely is. Drivers don't need to wrestle cars anymore. Driver workouts are more for core body strength rather than all-out muscle gain. Too much muscle is just going to be unnecessary weight and potentially damage their competitiveness. You're much more likely to see an F1 driver competing in a marathon than in a bodybuilding competition because drivers need to be fit and lean and not bulked up.
Image

User avatar
FerrariItalia
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:55 pm

Re: The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by FerrariItalia »

specdecible wrote:
raceman wrote:Extending from previous topics regarding driver fitness (esp. regarding Susie Wolff's comments that F1 drivers don't need to be muscular), I came across this video that I thought be relevant. If not, I at least found it pretty humorous:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LB0-X3o_no0

Crash happy as he is, there's no denying that he's quick. So if Grosjean doesn't even hit the gym regularly and he's very quick, does this dispel the whole notion that drivers need to be incredibly fit to be quick in F1? (Operative word is need - we all know most drivers are extremely fit, exercise regularly, and have their own physios.) This would also mean physical fitness is not a barrier to entry for women, as Susie Wolff has pointed out.

Maybe Grosjean would be better off hitting the Gym instead of other cars.

Haha! Damn, you're funny mate!
Image
If you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver.

- Ayrton Senna

User avatar
moby
Posts: 8072
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2008 9:22 pm

Re: The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by moby »

I dont consider myself to be a wimp. I have 'sizable' forearms and am often asked by others to do things they cant. However, after 10 or so laps in a simulator my forearms are burning and my shoulders burn. It is considerably more effort than lower formula's cars.

Never been a gym monkey but cover reasonable distances each month on a large road motorcycle and often take my enduro out, but have no idea of mileage (as much of it is vertical :D )

A simulator can reproduce the feel and feedback of a F1 car but it is almost sure to be losing out in the cornering 'G' so kinder than the real thing.

Having said that, I think I would consider a race distance in a sim more than the equivalent time of gym work on the muscles used so they would automatically be fit just by testing

User avatar
Balibari
Posts: 3226
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2006 9:53 am
Location: Somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert

Re: The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by Balibari »

Look at the state of a driver after a grueling race or check out the figures on fluid loss. As already said, it's not about outright strength. But a driver must spend up to two hours doing something very strenuous in a horribly hot, violently shaking cockpit. Your body has to be in excellent shape to avoid fatigue and maintain concentration. If you can finish a race and still have energy to run down the Monaco straight, for example, your last few laps will have been driven more optimally than someone who needs help getting out of the car.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

-Epicurus

User avatar
dizlexik
Posts: 7796
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 4:07 pm

Re: The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by dizlexik »

They are not muscular, because they can't be too heavy! They just need certain level of fitness to comfortably drive F1 car. Beside that it's all about mental abilities. Maybe 20 years ago it was still rare to see F1 driver working on his fitness, but nowadays every driver has just good enough fitness.
eeee

User avatar
minchy
Posts: 5304
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2011 1:59 pm

Re: The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by minchy »

Regarding muscle, they don't need it! They need fitness rather than power, compare sprinters to distance runners, they have a completely different body shape and neither could do what the other does to the same level.

As for Grosjean not hitting the gym, first off, if he has a healthy lifestyle and does exercise such as running or cycling then he may not need to go the gym as much anyway. Also, I do remember seeing a VT of Rosberg's training once and he was doing mental agility tests at the same time as exercise (the bit I saw he was dong a memory card game whilst doing push ups) maybe this is something that Grosjean is missing? Training his mind to be active whilst under physical exertion.
There is no theory of evolution, just a list of animals that Chuck Norris allows to live.

User avatar
cm97
Posts: 761
Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:45 am
Location: Australia

Re: The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by cm97 »

If you look at Schumacher on his comeback, that would be around the most amount of muscle a driver would want to have to fit in the car. Obviously fitness is important and this fitness needs to come from strength, endurance, stamina and thinking clearly under pressure which comes from having a low heart rate (like Minchy said, this could possibly be Grosjean's problem). Schumacher was good at this. When he won his first race he saw Brundles rear tyres were training and pitted. This simple idea can escape drivers under pressure. I believe that a driver should be gyming occasionally but lifting heavy amounts of iron is pretty pointless. Cycling, swimming and other triathlon like activities that are using the bodies energy for an extended period of time will be much better then using machines and dumbbells in the gym with large/considerable amounts of rest in between each set.
#Keep Fighting Michael

Blinky McSquinty

Re: The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by Blinky McSquinty »

One reason for Fangio's success was that he (like most of his contemporaries) was a bear of a man, big and strong. Back then they had to wrestle with clutches, non-assisted brakes and steering, and the races were many hours in duration. Obviously the landscape has changed, but a Formula One driver still needs to be strong and fit. The weakest part is the neck, they all have to build up very strong neck muscles. Their overall conditioning and fitness has to be at the level of a marathon runner. It is comparable, the duration is approximately the same, their workload and heartrate is also similar.

One very important reason for this level of fitness is to maintian concentration. I don't know how many of you ski, but most bad accidents happen at the end of the day. It is very simple, people have been exerting themselves all day, and they are then tired and fatigued. Their mental processes are sluggish, and their reflexes and ability to react are also diminished.

And in a Formula One race, they must be on top of their game every second, every lap, every corner. One second of inattention could result in disaster.

So they have to be strong enough to keep their heads from flopping about, and fit enough to be sharp and not fatigued after almost two hours of intense activity.

User avatar
minchy
Posts: 5304
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2011 1:59 pm

Re: The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by minchy »

Blinky McSquinty wrote:One reason for Fangio's success was that he (like most of his contemporaries) was a bear of a man, big and strong. Back then they had to wrestle with clutches, non-assisted brakes and steering, and the races were many hours in duration. Obviously the landscape has changed, but a Formula One driver still needs to be strong and fit. The weakest part is the neck, they all have to build up very strong neck muscles. Their overall conditioning and fitness has to be at the level of a marathon runner. It is comparable, the duration is approximately the same, their workload and heartrate is also similar.

One very important reason for this level of fitness is to maintian concentration. I don't know how many of you ski, but most bad accidents happen at the end of the day. It is very simple, people have been exerting themselves all day, and they are then tired and fatigued. Their mental processes are sluggish, and their reflexes and ability to react are also diminished.

And in a Formula One race, they must be on top of their game every second, every lap, every corner. One second of inattention could result in disaster.

So they have to be strong enough to keep their heads from flopping about, and fit enough to be sharp and not fatigued after almost two hours of intense activity.

That's why I find it best to have a couple of hours off in the bar after lunch, schnapps really helps you relax for the afternoon session :D
There is no theory of evolution, just a list of animals that Chuck Norris allows to live.

painless
Posts: 365
Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:03 pm

Re: The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by painless »

Blinky McSquinty wrote:I don't know how many of you ski, but most bad accidents happen at the end of the day. It is very simple, people have been exerting themselves all day, and they are then tired and fatigued.


...and the light can get crappy.

ColdWinter
Posts: 958
Joined: Sun May 05, 2013 5:23 pm

Re: The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by ColdWinter »

raceman wrote:Extending from previous topics regarding driver fitness (esp. regarding Susie Wolff's comments that F1 drivers don't need to be muscular), I came across this video that I thought be relevant. If not, I at least found it pretty humorous:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LB0-X3o_no0

Crash happy as he is, there's no denying that he's quick. So if Grosjean doesn't even hit the gym regularly and he's very quick, does this dispel the whole notion that drivers need to be incredibly fit to be quick in F1? (Operative word is need - we all know most drivers are extremely fit, exercise regularly, and have their own physios.) This would also mean physical fitness is not a barrier to entry for women, as Susie Wolff has pointed out.


F1 drivers need to have exact reactions, and they need to be at precisely the right moment.

As they tire, those reactions are going to be less exact, and the accuracy of the timing is going to less precise.

So fitness and stamina are very important. IMO MS proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Last edited by ColdWinter on Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ColdWinter
Posts: 958
Joined: Sun May 05, 2013 5:23 pm

Re: The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by ColdWinter »

Blinky McSquinty wrote:...
I don't know how many of you ski, but most bad accidents happen at the end of the day. It is very simple, people have been exerting themselves all day, and they are then tired and fatigued. Their mental processes are sluggish, and their reflexes and ability to react are also diminished.
...


Great example. It took a few bad wipeouts before I learned to ease up at the end of the day.

User avatar
hittheapex
Posts: 2304
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:32 am

Re: The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by hittheapex »

There are many more individuals than race in F1 today who could probably get those cars around the circuit at a competitive pace, but as others have written, stamina is essential for the race distance.

Amon spoke of how he thought fatigue contributed to Bandini's fatal accident at Monaco in that he was starting to make more mistakes.

More recently, I remember Justin Wilson having to retire early from a race when he was at Minardi, and Raikkonen in one of the earlier McLaren seasons, at the Brazilian GP, with his head lolling around in the last dozen laps because his neck was struggling with the anti-clockwise circuit. He didn't have that problem in subsequent seasons. He is certainly fitter now than he was then.

Not to mention the mental capacity the best drivers have, I think stamina contributes to that as well. Ross Brawn did speak of Schumacher's ability to think about the race and make the driving almost effortless. Try thinking about anything beyond the exercise when your heart is doing 180 and you are panting for air and sweating away. If you can you're better than me!
"Jean Alesi is using the Maginot Line policy-You shall not pass!"-Murray Walker

User avatar
Guia
Posts: 2825
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:59 pm
Location: Round the Bend

Re: The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by Guia »

What's all this 'myth' business? Whether or not it makes a jot of difference (and plainly it does), Formula 1 drivers are, in effect, athletes. That Grosjean is a lazy ducky, as well prone to crashing, only makes him an athlete with a questionable work ethic.

Beyond that, it's just another reason to wonder why Enstone insist on employing him.

FormulaFun
Posts: 2763
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:21 pm

Re: The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by FormulaFun »

driver fitness is almost completely redundant with the current tyres s they never push during the race

Blinky McSquinty

Re: The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by Blinky McSquinty »

ColdWinter wrote:
Blinky McSquinty wrote:...
I don't know how many of you ski, but most bad accidents happen at the end of the day. It is very simple, people have been exerting themselves all day, and they are then tired and fatigued. Their mental processes are sluggish, and their reflexes and ability to react are also diminished.
...


Great example. It took a few bad wipeouts before I learned to ease up at the end of the day.


Agreed, and look at football, the managers try to keep three players ready to replace those who tire and could make mistakes. And it happens a lot, a defender drops his concentration at the 85th minute, and bang, a goal. And most of the time, it's not a physical mistake, but a mental mistake caused by fatigue.

LukeMallory
Posts: 179
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2013 4:25 pm

Re: The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by LukeMallory »

I've flown a plane a couple of time, but that does not make me a pilot. Susy Wolff is not a Formula 1 driver.

Anyway, of course you need to be fit. Hugely fit - especially in some of the temperatures they race in. Grosjean, however, is a wiry and gangly fellow and, I suspect, is one of those 'naturally fit' guys you come across from time to time. I could (and did) train for months at a time at running, yet I could never keep up with a friend of mine over 5km...despite the fact that he never trained. Ever.

raceman
Posts: 508
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:00 am

Re: The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by raceman »

FormulaFun wrote:driver fitness is almost completely redundant with the current tyres s they never push during the race


This is actually a really good point. Drivers don't even complain about Singapore anymore. Remember how exhausted Raikkonen looked in 2008 when he crashed out in the final stages of the race? While undoubtedly still important, I don't think fitness is as much as a factor as it used to be.

RichflysVs82
Posts: 132
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by RichflysVs82 »

I found an interesting article on Mark Webber's fitness regime:

http://www.menshealth.co.uk/living/men/mark-webber-interview-formula-one

raceman
Posts: 508
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:00 am

Re: The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by raceman »

RichflysVs82 wrote:I found an interesting article on Mark Webber's fitness regime:

http://www.menshealth.co.uk/living/men/mark-webber-interview-formula-one

Great article :thumbup:

oz_karter
Posts: 307
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:29 am

Re: The Myth of Driver-Athletes?

Post by oz_karter »

Anyone who doubts the strength and fitness required should try endurance karting. A couple of hours behind the wheel will have you feeling like you got hit by a truck the next day.

Post Reply