You will have heard the expression “seat fitting” in connection with F1. Well this is what it looks like.
This is a behind the scenes video I shot a little while ago at McLaren which provides a fascinating insight into the detail a team will go into to get the driver comfortable in the car. They have a perfect mock up of the chassis and all the components in it, like the steering wheel, headrest, seat padding and so on. You can see Lewis Hamilton working on the fine detail of the steering wheel movement and his seat padding.
It is timely because we are now in the design phase for next season’s cars and this process is exactly what teams will be doing, working with a chassis mock-up so that when the 2011 chassis are built for real, all the driver-influenced details are in there and there are no nasty surprises.
At McLaren, design engineer Scott Bain is in charge of everything the driver comes into contact with and this extends from the back of the seat to the pedal box, as well as all his clothing and helmet.
When Jenson Button joined the team relatively late in the day for the 2010 season, he had problems getting his lanky frame comfortable in a cockpit designed for Lewis Hamilton. It was Scott who oversaw the work of adapting the cockpit to suit Button. Next year’s McLaren will be designed with Button’s requirements in mind, using the process shown in this video.