Go to contents

Formula 1 Driving Is Endurance Test

Posted September. 26, 2006 07:02,   


“How hard is sitting and driving?”

If you think car racing is not a sport, then you are mistaken. Car racers often test the limit of their physical strength during the race.

Driving up to 300 km/h, Formula 1, or F1, drivers experience gravity that is four times greater than normal. They have large necks because they must endure the weight of their heads, which become heavier during the race due to the higher gravity.

Racers have to concentrate while driving 305 km at an average speed of 220 km/h. The temperature in the driver’s seat exceeds 50 degrees Celsius because of the heated engine.

On Sunday, I had an opportunity to experience the world of car racing, sitting right next to Fernando Alonso (Spain) on the Fuji Speedway near Tokyo. Alonso, a major driver of the Mild Seven Renault F1 Team, is nicknamed the “successor to racing king Michael Schumacher (Germany, Ferrari).” He demonstrated his slalom skills by driving in and out of 30 cone-shaped obstacles on a 100m-long, 50m-wide course.

He drove a sports car with a displacement of 3,000 cc. Since he drove in a confined place, it was hard for him to drive faster than 50 km/h. And yet, he drove and turned so fast that I was dizzy. Alonso was dexterous. As he continuously shifted the speed, his throwing in the clutch and pushing the lever were almost invisible.

In reality, when they drive on a winding course, racers have to go up to 200 km/h while changing speed several thousands of times. Alonso was not exaggerating when he said he spent six hours a day on physical training.