Ever wondered why Formula 1 drivers hop onto a weighing scale at the end of a race, looking more like they’re participating in a fitness challenge rather than a car race? Well, let’s demystify this unique aspect of the world’s fastest motorsport.
Why do F1 drivers get weighed?
Two reasons: health and rules.
Racing is intense. Drivers can lose 2-4kg in a race, mainly from sweating. This weight check helps adjust their upcoming training.
On the technical side, the combined weight of the driver and the car matters. An F1 car with a driver needs to be at least 798kg. A lighter car is faster, but safety can’t be compromised.
Since 2019, there’s a catch: a driver and their seat must weigh 80kg. If a driver is under, the car gets added weight. This rule levels the playing field, so taller and heavier drivers aren’t at a disadvantage.
How much do F1 drivers weigh?
While taller drivers usually weigh more than their shorter counterparts, everyone tries to stay under the 80kg mark.
Why does this matter: Any weight over that, combined with their seat and gear, slows the car down.
Here is the 2023 Formula 1 drivers’ height and weight according to PlanetF1:
The post-race weighing procedure in F1
⚖️ Immediate Weigh-in: Drivers are weighed immediately after they get out of their cars. This is to ensure that the weight recorded is as accurate as possible, reflecting the driver’s weight during the race without any post-race hydration or food.
🧐Combined Weight Check: The driver’s weight is combined with the car’s weight. For the 2023 season, the minimum combined weight has been set at 798 kg.
📜Documentation: All the weights are documented. This information becomes essential in case there are disputes or questions about fairness later.
What happens when teams don’t follow the weight rules?
What’s at stake for teams?
If teams don’t stick to the weight rules, they could get hit with penalties. This could mean paying fines or even losing points in the F1 championship.
Who keeps an eye on things?
That’s where the stewards come in. They’re the ones making sure teams follow the weight rules by checking weights and ensuring everyone’s playing fair. They help keep the sport honest and competitive.
👎🏻 Examples of F1 teams dodging the weight rule
- Turbocharged engines were leading in F1. 🚀
- FOCA teams, using naturally aspirated engines, felt left behind 🐢
- Their solution? ‘Water-cooled brakes’. 💦 In reality:
- Added water tanks to hit the 580kg weight limit at race start. 🥤
- Water evaporated during the race, making cars lighter. 💨
- Trick got exposed: Racers Nelson Piquet and Keke Rosberg were disqualified after the Brazil race. 🚫
- Result: Many non-turbo teams skipped the San Marino Grand Prix. 🛑 FISA started post-race weighing. ⚖️
- Used water spray to boost engine power. 💦🔧
- Secret trick: Added lead to the water during pitstops to increase weight. 🤫
- Got caught due to lead in rivals’ pits and performance-boosting chemicals in their water. 🕵️♂️
- Penalty: Banned for three races and lost all 1984 results. ❌
- Designed car with a secondary fuel tank. ⛽
- Officials’ discovery after the San Marino Grand Prix led to a dispute. 🔍
- FIA’s stance: BAR was using it as illegal ballast. 🚫
- Penalty: Disqualified from the Imola race and banned from two subsequent races. 🚫🏁