Why do F1 drivers get weighed after a race? 'Heavy' emphasis placed on fitness in the sport
The highest echelon of motorsport in the world involves not only being adept behind the wheel of an F1 car but also being on top of one's physical fitness. With the open-wheeled nature of the sport focusing solely on lap time and performance on the track, drivers are exerted with immense loads and stress during a Grand Prix weekend.
The newer generation of cars introduced this season might be slightly slower than the previous year's formula. They are, however, still capable of pulling upwards of 5Gs during cornering and braking.
Along with enduring more G force than the average joe, an F1 car also includes little to no thermal protection for the pilot, who is surrounded by electronics, an engine, and a hybrid system around his cockpit. All these various systems generate vast amounts of heat inside the car, felt by the driver. Combining the physical nature of the cars around corners with the heat means a driver loses 4-5 kilograms of weight in one race alone.
This brings the need to keep a check on drivers' health by weighing them before and after a race, ensuring that weight loss is within safe permissible limits. Another aspect that relies on the driver's weight comes in the form of the technical parameters a car has to adhere to. The 2022 specification car needs to carry a minimum weight of 795 kg, including the driver. This necessitates a post-race weight record for the driver to complete technical checks post the Grand Prix.
Before 2019, F1 teams could gain a performance advantage by having a lighter driver in the car
Before the FIA regulated the minimum weight of a driver and his seat as 80 kg in the sport, F1 teams could be seen gaining an advantage by putting a lighter driver into their car. Since the driver's weight was not included in the overall number, a driver who weighed 50 kg could have a competitive advantage over say a driver who weighed 80 kg.
Since the introduction of minimum weight regulation, this practice has been nullified by the governing body, encouraging drivers to maintain a healthy body mass index.
F1 goes live from the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace for the Brazillian Grand Prix next weekend after a weeklong break since doubleheaders in the United States of America and Mexico. With the championship already wrapped up by Max Verstappen, it remains to be seen who will claim the second spot on the list, with Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc both gunning for the same.