Over-heating disorder The one word every journalist uses when describing Malaysia is hot. But how much do the drivers have to cope with in Sepang? We made an unwilling volunteer run the start-finish straight in race overalls to find ...
The one word every journalist uses when describing Malaysia is hot. But how much do the drivers have to cope with in Sepang? We made an unwilling volunteer run the start-finish straight in race overalls to find out...
People often ask drivers what it feels like to race in the Malaysian heat. "Well, you know when you've had enough of sitting in a sauna," said Mark Webber. "Well that's about lap 2."
F1 drivers wear fire-proof underwear, boots, socks, a racesuit, balaclava, gloves and a helmet and then race for nearly two hours in cockpit temperatures of up to 60 degrees.
To show what this would feel like, we took an ordinary man, got him fully kitted out and told him to run 437 metres along the start-finish straight.
Under the watchful eye of Webber's trainer Roger Cleary, we took our man's heart rate and temperature before and after to see how three minutes of light jogging (he said he was running, but we have yet to find any credible witnesses) affected him in terms of heart rate, temperature and how red his face went.
And what were Mr Cleary's conclusions? "The body will always try to keep its temperature below 37.5 degrees through methods such as sweating. If core temp goes above that, performance drops dramatically.
"For the driver, the air inside a cockpit is much hotter than the average air temperature and they have additional pressures, such as the actual race conditions.
"Our guy was feeling the effects after a short jog, but F1 drivers wouldn't have even broken into a sweat. Their hard work starts in the car. On lap 2."
Date: Thursday, 2 April
Track temp: 28 degrees
Air temp: 30 degrees
Conditions: Wet after torrential downpour
Human Telemetry: What heat does to the (average) body
Heart rate: 75bpm (average 60-80bpm)
Temperature: 35.8 degrees
Heart rate: 175bpm
Temperature 37.1 degrees
-credit: red bull