Gary Anderson: F1 can do more to solve driver weight issue

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Gary Anderson: F1 can do more to solve driver weight issue
Gary Anderson
By: Gary Anderson
Jan 21, 2018, 11:58 AM

The Formula 1 Strategy Group has at last come up with a sensible solution to the problem of a driver’s weight with a ballasted minimum weight of 80kg.

 Esteban Ocon, Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
 Carlos Sainz Jr., Renault Sport F1 Team RS17
 Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
 Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
 Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team VF-17
 Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13
 Lance Stroll, Williams FW40

This is something I have been advocating for years because it just isn’t correct for someone who would healthily weigh 75kg to go on a diet just because the car is overweight. 

In the 1980s and ‘90s, the weight of the driver was not part of the overall car weight and there were no minimum cockpit length dimensions, so small and light drivers were the order of the day.

But that all changed, and for the better, but there is still more that needs to be done.

If the planned changes are brought in for 2019 then I hope the rules take into account all the factors related to the driver fitment and weight. 

The cockpit length is still a little too short for drivers of the size of Nico Hulkenberg, and because normally the taller you are the heavier you are a small increase of, say, five centimetres, would make a big difference to how a tall driver sits in the car.

If they are going to use a driver weight of 80kg, than if you have a 65kg driver you will need 15kg of ballast.

If that can be mounted low down (i.e. below the seat) then there is still an advantage for the small, light driver as this will lower the centre of gravity.

This ballast needs to be mounted on the seat back bulkhead and spread out over a certain area that is relative to the centre of gravity of the driver. That way, smaller and lighter drivers will not get any advantage.

If the minimum cockpit dimensions for seat back to front bulkhead were increased by this 5cm, this could be checked before fitting any driver ballast.

The fact that lighter drivers are normally shorter means the seat back to seat bulkhead gap will increase, meaning there will be room for the extra ballast.

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Gary Anderson
Article type Analysis