F1 set to introduce minimum driver weight in 2019

The FIA is finalising plans for a minimum Formula 1 driver weight in 2019 to ensure that heavier drivers are no longer penalised.

F1 set to introduce minimum driver weight in 2019
Listen to this article

A minimum of 80kg will be established for the driver and his seat, including specially marked ballast that will sit under it, while the overall car/driver weight will rise a further 6kg to 740kg.

When considered on its own, the car will have to weigh 660kg.

The idea emerged from the last F1 Strategy Group meeting, and after discussions at the Technical Working Group, the Strategy Group was updated on progress at last week’s gathering.

After more discussions at the next TWG, a detailed proposal will be drawn up for final approval.

Driver weight became a major issue in the V8 era when cars were right on the limit and heavier drivers were encouraged to slim down by teams, leading to fears about their health. 

It was less of a problem in the early days of the V6 hybrid, although heavier drivers could still have a disadvantage as they had less scope for adjusting ballast.

Cars became heavier last year with the new wider track and bigger wheels and tyres, so the car/driver limit was raised from 702kg to 728kg for 2017.

For 2018 it has been further increased to 734kg, to allow for the introduction of the Halo.

However, teams have found that the Halo and its mountings can weigh up to 15kg, and in some cases that will take away any leeway they previously had to run ballast – and potentially put the cars of taller and heavier drivers over the limit. 

As teams learned more about what was required to mount the Halo, some drivers were told late last season that body weight would be an issue once again, again leading to fears about their health and general fitness.

In essence, the new 80kg limit will mean that a 70kg driver will require 10kg of “seat ballast”, while a 75kg driver will need 5kg, and so on. The plan is that this ballast will have to be located within the regular FIA seat template, as seen from above.

The Strategy Group has agreed that 80kg is a realistic upper limit for a modern F1 driver – and anyone who weighs more than that will potentially still be at a disadvantage.

Aside from the health issues and the levelling of the playing field for heavier drivers, the move makes life much easier for engineers as they know that they have to target 660kg for the 2019 car weight, irrespective of the driver/seat allowance.

This will be particularly useful if a team heads into the winter having not finalised its line-up; in addition, that target will be the same for both drivers in a team, which hasn’t been the case up to now. 

“It's been a common topic over many years, actually, it's not a fresh point,” Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe told Motorsport.com.

“If you go back, many years, actually, the driver weight was not in the car weight at all. And then it became added somewhere in the mid-90s to the total weight.

"But it's still left, as some perceive – including many of the drivers – a problem around their management of weight, sometimes that can affect them personally in quite a big way.

“I think particularly with younger drivers it can even lead to health problems, because of this constant drive to lower the weight, to possibly unhealthy levels.

"Personally I think it'd be a good thing for the sport, something that many drivers have been asking for for many years, to take that element away, within reason.”

 
shares
comments
Bottas altered Mercedes view of intra-team rivalries
Previous article

Bottas altered Mercedes view of intra-team rivalries

Next article

Williams expects to keep Sirotkin for "many years ahead"

Williams expects to keep Sirotkin for "many years ahead"
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Prime

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2022 Formula 1 season came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the battle for second in the standings was decided, the wins in a season record extended and a retiring four-time world champion bowed out on a high. Here's how we rated the drivers

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022
The factors that stopped Perez catching Leclerc in Verstappen's Abu Dhabi triumph Prime

The factors that stopped Perez catching Leclerc in Verstappen's Abu Dhabi triumph

Max Verstappen ended the 2022 Formula 1 season in fitting fashion with a dominant drive to victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. But behind him, early season rival Charles Leclerc achieved his target of securing the runner-up spot with a well-executed a one-stop strategy to beat Sergio Perez, whose pursuit on a two-stop strategy was hampered by several critical factors

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022
Why the impact of FIA’s anti-bouncing metric is hard to judge Prime

Why the impact of FIA’s anti-bouncing metric is hard to judge

Faced with drivers complaining about the long-term health effects of car ‘bouncing’, the FIA stepped in to deal with it. JAKE BOXALL-LEGGE explains how the so-called ‘Aerodynamic Oscillation Metric’ works, and asks if it is fit for purpose?

Formula 1
Nov 20, 2022
Where Vettel stands in the list of the greatest F1 drivers Prime

Where Vettel stands in the list of the greatest F1 drivers

As Sebastian Vettel’s Formula 1 career draws to a close, figuring out where he fits into the greatest of all time order is a tough and subjective call. With the aid of statistics, attributes and history, here’s how the four-time world champion stacks up in the debate

Formula 1
Nov 19, 2022
The omen Ferrari hopes to continue by ending its Abu Dhabi jinx Prime

The omen Ferrari hopes to continue by ending its Abu Dhabi jinx

It’s been an unlucky 13 for Ferrari in Abu Dhabi since the first Formula 1 race was held there in 2009. But if the Scuderia can finally win at the Yas Marina Circuit in 2022, then BEN EDWARDS feels this could bode well for even greater success in 2023

Formula 1
Nov 17, 2022