Using its extensive range of racing cars, hiring in F1’s leading doctor Riccardo Ceccarelli and a host of F1 drivers, past present and future, the management at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi laid on a programme for media and a few fans designed to show what it takes to be an F1 driver. Among the guests were BBC’s Jake Humphrey and Fan Ambassador Neil Donnell.
The programme covered what is needed from a mental and physical point of view as well as out on the race track in driving challenges from karting to F3000 and a ride in the 2 seater F1 car.
In part two of this series we look at Dr Ceccarelli’s tests in more detail and the guests take to the kart track mentored by former kart champion and now Ferrari young driver star Jules Bianchi.
Ceccarelli’s tests are fascinating and revealed a side of the sport I never knew existed. The mental tests for concentration reveal just how quick a racing driver’s brain is at processing and retaining information.
Here in the video you will see that he strapped 5 kg weights to the side of helmets so our necks could feel simulated g forces. He made us hold steering wheel loaded with weights on full lock for six minutes at a time to give us an idea of how heavy the steering is when on the limit, and he tested upper body strength and stamina.
It was utterly exhausting and yet the tests were several degrees less taxing than the ones the drivers go through. Ceccarelli says that there is a misconception that because drivers sit down to compete and the effort is not obvious, therefore they are not athletes. He has been honing his research and training methods over 20 years working with F1 drivers from Jean Alesi, to Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso and Robert Kubica.