2019 to see minimum driver weight

21/01/2018
NEWS STORY

For many years, such were the weight limit rules that most drivers resembled jockeys, while taller, heavier drivers were clearly compromised.

While this effectively disappeared with the introduction of the hybrid formula in 2014, in the last couple of seasons it has once again become an issue.

With the changes to the regulations last year, which meant wider cars and heavier wheels and tyres, the overall minimum weight limit was increased from 702kg to 728kg, while the introduction of the Halo device this season has seen a further increase to 734kg.

However, while the weight limit has been increased by 6kgs this year in order to accommodate the Halo, the required mountings, not to mention modifications in order that the device passes the mandatory load test, are said to have added as much as 14kgs.

As a result, some teams, already concerned that the use of ballast will become a thing of the past, were looking to the other component where some unnecessary weight might be shed... the driver.

"My car is already very much on the limit if not overweight this year," said Romain Grosjean last year. "If the Halo is really that heavy, it's going to be a problem.

"I'll have to lose a bone!" he added. "Honestly, I'm underweight, and I would be heavier if I had the choice. There are proposals in the pipeline in the future to solve the problem."

"It's a huge challenge. It's massive," admitted Force India's Andy Green. "It's a big headache at the moment, trying to design a car that hits the weight limit and weight distribution target."

Following the previous meeting of the Strategy Group, the Technical Working Group subsequently discussed raising the weight limit to 740kg which would include a minimum weight of 80kg for the driver and his seat. This was put to the Strategy Group at this week's meeting and will now head back to the TWG for final approval.

Setting a minimum driver (and seat) limit of 80kg, would mean that the likes of Valtteri Bottas - at around 70kg - would require an additional 10kg of ballast, and Stoffel Vandoorne - at around 65 kg - an additional 15kg. The ballast, where needed, would be placed within the seat template.

Whilst allowing the likes of Grosjean free to sample some of the delights from his prizewinning cookbook, the engineers will now know the overall weight they must target for the car (660kg) without needing to second guess the weight of the prospective driver.

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Published: 21/01/2018
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