It would be easy to mistake Formula 1 drivers get to sit on their backside in the name of their work. But no. Today’s racing drivers are highly-conditioned athletes. Their bodies are carefully conditioned for the gruelling physical stresses of their sport.
Since its foundation in 1963, McLaren has been pioneering and innovating in the competitive world of Formula 1, forging a formidable reputation which has seen the racing team win 20 World Championships and over 180 races. As a result, Technogym has a long-term strategic partnership with McLaren.
As with all their partnerships, they do not simply provide fitness equipment to the Fitness & Wellbeing Centre at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, Surrey, but also content, services and solutions. Working closely with McLaren’s Head of Human Performance, they have advised on suitable equipment for the gym and have created dedicated training programmes in collaboration with them. Periodic high-level meetings between explore new opportunities for innovation and collaboration.
Simon Reynolds, McLaren’s Human Performance Manager, certainly knows how to put drivers through their paces to get them fit like a top F1 driver needs to at Technogym’s UK headquarters using world class cardio and strength equipment.
Fitness and weight are extremely important for F1 drivers, Simon informs Luxurious Magazine. “A lot of the importance of weight is to do with the environment in which the drivers are competing. Car space is very small: the cars aren’t designed for the comfort of the driver. They are essentially designed to go as fast as possible. As a result, drivers are squeezed into a tiny space.”
Drivers have to perform regular endurance training such as running, swimming, cycling, or cross-country skiing to help lose the pounds and build cardiovascular fitness. Simon adds the drivers need to have a very good cardiovascular base so that their heart rates can cope with running at an average of 80 per cent of their maximum heart rate for between 90 minutes to two hours. Their lean-muscled bodies need to be robust to cope with g-forces.
As well as cardio training, McLaren drivers must perform squats, lunges, shoulder presses, pull ups and v-sits to build strength endurance in their neck, core and legs. In fact McLaren place so much emphasis on sports science and training for their drivers, Technogym were only too pleased to build a special F1 training machine which helps recreate the g-force on the shoulders and neck.
Along with general fitness, nutrition is key too. The drivers eat a relatively high protein diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Their carbs are kept low and their diets involve the use the low glycemic index foods during the day and higher glycaemic foods to recover from post activity. Fitness and nutrition really does come hand-in-hand and that is when you know you’re building a good solid human machine to handle a racing one.