LONDON, March fifteen (Reuters) – Carlos Sainz is a glad eater again and the Spanish Formula One driver’s mother is delighted.
Stronger, quicker and more physical, the two thousand seventeen cars are subjecting drivers like the Toro Rosso youngster to far greater G-forces through corners that can now be taken vapid out on fatter tyres.
As a result, Sainz and others have been putting on muscle over the winter to build up upper bod strength. Previously they were more preoccupied with losing weight in a sport where the lightest studs have loved an advantage.
Sainz, whose father and namesake was a world rally champ, was vocal last year about the dangers of shedding too much but he told Reuters during testing in Barcelona that the situation was now much healthier.
“This year I have had diets but diets to be fit, not diets to be as slender and as skinny as possible. and because of that, I am a much more satisfied person,” said the 21-year-old.
“At the end of two thousand sixteen my mum could tell me, every time I was coming home: ‘You look like you are not yourself, you look very skinny, you can see your bones here.’ It’s not normal.
“She’s utterly blessed and she now sees a smile on my face when I eat her food, while before I was sitting there sad with a lump of chicken and I was fully annoyed about it.”
A year ago, Sainz and other drivers such as Crimson Bull’s Australian Daniel Ricciardo were being shoved to shed kilos to build up spectacle.
Formula One cars have a minimum weight limit, minus fuel but with driver included, and designers aim to get it down as far as possible so that extra ballast can be distributed around the car to improve treating.
In 2014, the very first year of the V6 turbo hybrid era, the limit did not compensate reasonably for the stronger engines and drivers had to lose weight – in some cases an unhealthy amount.
Now, it is significant to be strong enough to get to the finish.
“I think this year they will be decent gladiators out there, you know,” commented Mercedes’s reigning but retired champ Nico Rosberg.
“The cars will take them to their physical thresholds and we might even see drivers losing race wins because of just being ‘game over’ physically.”
Pit crews have also been busy in the gym to practise manhandling the stronger and larger Pirelli tyres.
If there are any complaints, they come from drivers like Force India’s gangly Frenchman Esteban Ocon who has had to eat more than he would wish.
“I had to eat so much food,” the 20-year-old said of winter training that has seen him add five kg. “I was force-feeding, because you can’t take on weight if you don’t do that. It’s been very hard from all aspects but I’ve been progressing so much.”
Britain’s Jolyon Palmer, preparing for his 2nd year with Renault, has put on three to four kg.
“I had the utter works at Christmas (dinner),” he said. “Christmas was anything goes.” (Editing by Ed Osmond)