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.