Sainz lap­ping up mother’s food

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LON­DON: Car­los Sainz is a happy eater again and the Span­ish For­mula One driver’s mother is de­lighted.

Heav­ier, faster and more phys­i­cal, the 2017 cars are sub­ject­ing driv­ers like the Toro Rosso young­ster to far greater Gforces through cor­ners that can now be taken flat out on fat­ter tyres.

As a re­sult, Sainz and oth­ers have been putting on mus­cle over the win­ter to gain up­per body strength. Pre­vi­ously they were more pre­oc­cu­pied with los­ing weight in a sport where the light­est men have en­joyed an ad­van­tage.

Sainz, whose fa­ther and name­sake was a world rally cham­pion, was vo­cal last year about the dan­gers of shed­ding too much but he tsaid 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 slim and as skinny as pos­si­ble...and be­cause of that, I am a much hap­pier per­son,” said the 21-year-old.

“At the end of 2016 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 ex­tremely happy and she now sees a smile on my face when I eat her food, while be­fore I was sit­ting there sad with a piece of chicken and I was com­pletely an­noyed about it.”

A year ago, Sainz and other driv­ers such as Red Bull’s Aus­tralian Daniel Ric­cia­rdo were be­ing pushed to shed ki­los to gain per­for­mance.

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 ad­di­tional bal­last can be dis­trib­uted around the car to im­prove han­dling.

In 2014, the first year of the V6 turbo hy­brid era, the limit did not com­pen­sate suf­fi­ciently for the heav­ier en­gines and driv­ers had to lose weight — in some cases an un­healthy amount.

Now, it is im­por­tant to be strong enough to get to the fin­ish.

“I think this year they will be proper glad­i­a­tors out there, you know,” com­mented Mercedes’s reign­ing but re­tired cham­pion Nico Ros­berg.

“The cars will take them to their phys­i­cal lim­its 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 heav­ier and larger Pirelli tyres.

If there are any com­plaints, they come from driv­ers like Force In­dia’s lanky 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 sec­ond year with Re­nault, has put on three to four kg.

“I had the full works at Christ­mas (din­ner),” he said. “Christ­mas was any­thing goes.” Reuters

She’s ex­tremely happy and she now sees a smile on my face when I eat her food.”


Span­ish driver

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