Friday March 22, 2013
SIC Ė Toughest track in F1 calendar
IT IS no joke when Michael Schu-macher and the experienced drivers say the Petronas Malaysia Formula One Grand Prix is one of the hardest race on the calendar.
It does not look obvious to those watching on television but now in its 15th year on the F1 calendar, Sepang has always been considered one of the toughest races for the drivers.
With temperatures of 32 degrees and high humidity, the drivers can lose around three litres of body fluid from sweating.
Some drivers resorts to lifting their visor up slightly but that will expose them to dust particles, especially as they are going at high speeds.
To avoid visors misting up, these days drivers are known to have an electrical element in the visor for wet or humid conditions. When the visor begins to steam up, the driver pushes a button on the steering wheel and it de-mists the visor.
But still the main concern for most is hydration. They have a drink bottle in the car, but it contains only a litre of fluid and in any case the drink gets so hot after a few laps its not drinkable.
The risk is that they get fatigued in the closing stages and lose focus. The five race rookies who gathered for the pre-event press conference yesterday – Esteban Guttierez of Sauber, Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi of Marussia, Caterham’s Diego van der Garde and Williams’s Valtteri Botta, concurs on this.
“It was easier previously when we were competing in other championships and the races do not last longer than 40 minutes. But this is different and the race is 90 minutes long.
“Physically, we have to be ready and we work hard during the winter to prepare for the season. We have to make sure our body stays hydrated,” said Chilton.
Van der Garde said it is important to prepare well for a race running under hot conditions.
“We came early to get used to the weather. I can expect to be drinking five to six litres of water but I kind of like the heat in a way. I have been walking outside here to get used to it,” said Van der Garde.