Con­cern mounts over driv­ers’ ex­treme di­ets

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

Jean-Eric Vergne is hos­pi­talised and Adrian Su­til races with­out drinks bot­tle in at­tempts to meet weight lim­its

The difculty in en­gi­neer­ing the new gen­er­a­tion of cars to hit the min­i­mum weight limit has forced many driv­ers to shed ki­los to re­main com­pet­i­tive. But how much is too much?

Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne re­vealed he was hos­pi­talised be­tween the Aus­tralian and Malaysian GPs, say­ing: “The weight dif­fer­ence be­tween me and my team-mate was mak­ing me lose four tenths [per lap]. I di­eted this win­ter, but you get to cer­tain lim­its that the body can no longer take. I got down to 67kg, which was a bit too low, and I lost en­ergy.”

Adrian Su­til, al­ready one of the heav­ier driv­ers in the eld at a quoted 75kg, and rac­ing a Sauber that is thought to be around 20kg over­weight, said at the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend that he was rac­ing with­out a drinks bot­tle in his car when pos­si­ble. Driv­ers can lose up to 4kg of uid in sweat dur­ing a hot race and rely on the con­tents of the bot­tle, usu­ally a car­bo­hy­drate­based drink, both to re­hy­drate and to main­tain en­ergy lev­els.

“It’s like you go for a run for an hour-and-a-half and you don’t eat enough be­fore,” said Su­til, “then you have a su­gar hole where you are al­most get­ting into an area where you don’t work well.”

One se­nior team gure told F1 Rac­ing: “We had a sit­u­a­tion last year where one of our driv­ers came close to what any doc­tor would tell you was an un­healthily low BMI [Body Mass In­dex], and this year we have a driver who is ap­proach­ing that area – and he has not been on any­thing like as ex­treme a diet as some.”

The min­i­mum car weight, pre­vi­ously 642kg, was re­vised to 691kg for 2014 to ac­count for the heav­ier hy­brid power units. As the chal­lenges of meet­ing that tar­get be­came clear, teams agreed to raise it to 701kg – but not un­til 2015.

FIA pres­i­dent Jean Todt has played down health con­cerns. “I don’t think you go to hospi­tal be­cause you are on a diet,” he said.

At 1.84m, Adrian Su­til is one of F1’s taller driv­ers, mak­ing it harder for him to lose weight to meet re­stric­tions

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