Lifestyle Physio Cronulla Blog

Could you drive the F1?

Do you have what it takes to be an F1 driver?

Not how quick you can race down the straights of Kurnell here in the Sutherland Shire… the physical requirements placed on the body by racing an F1 car at speeds over 350km/h (!). 

Lewis Hamilton averaged 264km/h, that’s right averaged, over a whole lap in Qualifying at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix. 

The demands of driving a car at these speeds can be broke down to 4 main things:


Gravity-Force describes the amount of gravity placed on the body. On Earth we experience 1G, otherwise known as 9.8m/s of force. Braking and cornering during F1 can result in 6G! That’s 6 X the amount of force. Interestingly most people pass out above 5G’s and astronauts only experience around 3G of force during acceleration into space!

In order to cope with some of these forces, drivers regularly report holding their breath during periods of high force, ensuring blood stays in their brain. Drivers often report hazy eyesight and reduced peripheral vision during periods of acceleration when forces can be above 3G. 

Could you cope with these forces for 1-2 hours?

Heat Stress

The cockpit of an F1 car can exceed temperatures of 50 degree celsius. Our infrared sauna here at Lifestyle (nice plug!) can get up to 60 degrees- and without moving a muscle makes you sweat!

Drivers can lose up to 5% of their body weight due to sweat loss. 70kg driver? 3.5kg of liquid. 

Read on to see the physical demands required at these temperatures. 

Muscular Strength

A driver has to apply approximately 60-80kg of force on the brake pedal to keep the car under control during a race. Keeping in mind that over the course of a 100-minute race, this will equate to 250 repetitions. Yep that’s right… 70kg x 250 = 17,500kg of total load. Couple that with the steering wheel requires 15kg of force to turn, over 1000 times every race! 

No wonder drivers heart rates are up at, or over 190bpm, every, single, race. 

Finally, the muscular impact of the G forces?

The average human head weighs 25kg + 7kg helmet = 32kg. 

While you may be able to sit with 32kg on your shoulders, now lets add back in the G force.

5G = 5 x 32kg = 160kg!

Could your neck withstand 160kg of force? No matter how short a time period, this is extreme!

Reaction Time 

Lewis Hamilton has a reaction speed of less than 200milliseconds (one fifth of a second!) while us average humans are more around the 300ms mark.

While superior reflexes are necessary to react to changing environments, avoiding crashes, debris, twists and turns etc accuracy is also paramount.

Drivers train with reaction speed games, light reactions, and accuracy practice.

Got what it takes? Check out our instagram post and test yourself!

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