Bottas vs the black overalls

2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Saturday - LAT Images

Training to be a Formula 1 driver is a very tough regimen and the top drivers all are in incredibly good condition. They train hard and it shows in their physique and their social media channels.

I said at the beginning of the season that Valtteri Bottas appeared to have been training very hard over the winter according to his social media posts. He looked like a man possessed with physical fitness and that’s why it is a bit of a surprise to hear that he lost three kilograms of weight during Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.

“It was really hot in the car,” Bottas said after the race. “This year, it’s been even hotter in the car. Obviously, we had to change the color of the overalls. And it’s known that black color takes more of the heat, especially when there’s direct sun.

“I don’t know any number or facts, how much actually black versus white is in terms of temperature difference, but this year, it’s been really hot in the car.

“And also there’s a new homologation this year for the overalls, so they are thicker, and the underwear is thicker, so I don’t know how much effect that has.

“It was just so hot so I said, ‘guys, you know that these overalls are way too hot.’ And for sure, white would be cooler in terms of temperature and today for example I lost three kilos in the race, which is quite a lot.

“And that’s where it can start to affect performance. I know that from all drivers I’m one of the fittest if not the fittest, so I can take it, but it’s never comfortable and there’s always things that we can improve.”

All the drivers looked overheated but the man from the north looked particularly the worse for wear. No mystery that dark colors, black in particular, absorbs for heat from sunlight and how the heat escapes clothing or race suits is a key issue.

There are other teams with dark race suits but the combination of black suits, black car and a newly homologated, thicker race suit all add to the discomfort. Losing that much weight is not healthy or safe to do in an hour and a half through sweating. Bottas has a point that should be discussed by the team.

It’s not easy being on message and in brand. Maybe that’s why Lewis Hamilton was in a “daze” out on track and wasn’t aware that the race had ended.

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Worthless Opinion

I honestly didn’t understand this move to black for Merc this year, considering everything’s on the limit and the season would be compressed into hotter months by the pandemic it really seemed illogical. I just waited a month for my new Beemer because all the in-stock interiors were black and it’s a massive difference to your comfort in the summer, it’s awful and I wanted something lighter. But I figured, these are the smartest engineers in the world and I’m just here with my worthless opinion, can’t be that simple. Guess it is that simple after all.

Xean Drury

To be fair though, considering that Ham is the golden boy, if he wanted them to mount a giant hood ornament on the cars, I’m sure they’d do it. And you know what? They’re so far ahead, that they’d still be winning races despite it.

Worthless Opinion

Okay so you’re saying Lewis requested the paint scheme? I’m not doubting you just wasn’t aware of that.

Xean Drury

No doubt it was a team decision, and a worthwhile cause, but it’s also obvious why they’re the only team on the grid taking it so far as to change colours for the season. And irregardless of made up words, they’d still win with a giant hood ornament XD

Worthless Opinion

ok so just to make sure we’re talking about the same thing, you’re saying you think the Mercs being black is about race, like it’s a Black Cars Matter sort of message, is that what you’re saying? I don’t doubt you, I’m probably just naive I didn’t realize that. It makes sense now you say it, although the Mercs have been black before I think, so I just figured they were making them look snazzy and not like last year (the more they look like last year’s Merc, the more you probably see the resemblance to the Racing Point :)… Read more »

Xean Drury

Ha! That they do :) Yes, it was a change to support Lewis’ support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Which I find to be impressive, given the whole fiasco in Germany last year, which Toto put squarely on the fact that they dressed up and tried to have fun. NO FUN ALLOWED! (I’m sure that’s a sign at their works factory right now).


A black surface will radiate heat more effectively than a white one. The difference Bottas is noticing is more likely to be related to the thickness of the race suit than the change in colour (both Hass and Renault drivers have had black race suits for several years).

Xean Drury

Could be worse. Could be white. On the podium, the Williams suits let you know what’s underneath, like a wet tee shirt contest.

Worthless Opinion

I disagree with, not exactly the words of your statement, but the meaning. It’s true to some extent that a black object will radiate more effectively, but the part you’re missing is how much it has to radiate in the first place. A black object will absorb light and turn it into heat. A white object will generally not do that. A black object is somewhat more efficient at releasing heat. But if the white object never converted the light into heat, and the black object did, the speed with which the black object can release heat that the white… Read more »

Xean Drury

Maybe they’re like shade balls?

Paul Kiefer

Y’know, there is a way to mitigate this heat issue. In NASCAR, the helmets are hooked up to a hose that brings in cooler air from a duct outside, and it also goes through a bag that’s built underneath the seat, ventilated to push the cooler air up from the bottom. It’s not A/C, but “A/C Two-by-Two-Hundred” takes on a new meaning.

Mind you, these guys are driving in cars where the cockpit is about 120ºF to 130ºF (and I’ve seen it get as hot as 145ºF in there).


Must drivers wear the same color suits? In the past, I remember teammates with overalls of different color.