The 2022 F1 Season is upon us and while some are questioning the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and how it might affect this year’s racing, more casual fans are more interested in a simple question. Does an F1 driver pee in his suit? Can they pee during the race? And who has actually done that?
Well, we’re going to answer those questions. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s answer the big question.
Does an F1 driver pee in his suit?
Usually, an F1 race comes to around 90 minutes in total. Sometimes they can be longer, but 2 hours is the cut-off time because of driver safety. This means that sometimes a driver will find themselves in an unexpected situation and will be forced to pee in their own suits. We have a few quotes from F1 drivers like Lewis Hamilton on the subject, but before we get to that, let’s talk about what happens if they do this.
What happens when an F1 driver pees in their suit?
Unlike when a driver can just press a button for water to be passed through their helmets via a pipe to have a drink, they haven’t got a system that does the opposite for when they need to pee. That would be highly uncomfortable, to say the least, and rather intrusive. So, instead, a racing driver would just go in their suits.
It’s not like they can pull over for a quick one on the roadside, or ask the team to take a few minutes’ break while they pop out at a pitstop. When the time comes, they have to go in their suit, but this doesn’t mean they sit in it for the rest of the race.
An F1 car is seriously hot
Formula 1 racing drivers have to not only compete against every other car on the field, but they also have to compete with dehydration. Being so close to a hot engine and wearing a full fire-retardant racing suit in the hot sun means drivers lose a lot of fluid through sweat. So drinking throughout the race is incredibly important.
This also means that any pee dries up fast, so by the time a driver has finished a race and gotten out of the car, there would be very little evidence of anything.
Lewis Hamilton’s view on peeing during an F1 race
7-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has given his perspective on the subject, admitting that while he hadn’t done it before, he does know of someone who has:
“You’re supposed to go in your suit, but I can’t do it. I’ve never done it. But there are drivers that do,” Hamilton told the press.
“The driver that used to drive for the team, was Michael Schumacher, I don’t know if anyone’s heard of him, but legend racing driver, but my mechanics told me he peed every single time he was in the car.”
David Coulthard’s views on peeing during a race
David Coulthard told the On the Marbles Podcast the following:
“Well, never number two has ever crossed my mind because it’s part of your race preparation to make sure that you’re making the race weight.
So you don’t want to be carrying anything around. Certainly from my point of view, adrenaline and fear is a great laxative. So we never have a problem to empty one’s bowels.
“I only ever peed once in the car. And that was the year Panis broke his leg in Montreal. Montreal was a surprisingly difficult race for dehydration when it was hot. And so you really took on a lot of, you know, I would take like five litres of fluid from waking up until the race start. And under the safety car, I was bursting for a pee and I just had to let go, but it’s much more difficult than you imagined.
“Because even driving slowly, a Grand Prix car is still a hostile environment. So, you know, let’s put it this way: It’s very difficult to pass wind in a race car because that involves relaxing one’s sphincter. And to do that whilst you’re trying to push the pedals and pull G… Really difficult.”
Mark Webber’s views on peeing during a race
Mark Webber also admitted to peeing in his F1 car in the same podcast, admitting that it took a lot longer than he expected and had to pause while he focussed on cornering after starting on the straight of the circuit. He admits it felt “so wrong”.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do F1 drivers wear diapers?
F1 drivers wear a racing suit and overalls. These are fire retardant and will reduce the likelihood of injury if they’re involved in a crash. While most F1 drivers will wear normal underwear, some have admitted to wearing diapers so they can focus on the race instead of needing to pee.
Webber, who has driven for both Red Bull and Porsche in the past, admitted that wearing a diaper is “the safest thing to do”. Rubens Barrichello has also admitted to sometimes wearing one so he doesn’t need to worry about drinking too much water before and during the race.
Do F1 drivers pee in the cockpit?
As discussed above, sometimes F1 drivers will need to pee in the cockpit of their F1 cars. The heat from the engine and locations of the F1 calendar means this usually dries before the race comes to an end, but engineers have noticed in the past.
Do F1 drivers poop during a race?
F1 drivers’ diets are well designed and tailored to their racing schedule. This means that their bowels will be empty during a race, not only so they don’t need to poop, but to keep weight to a minimum!
Yes, F1 drivers do pee in their suits while racing. And while we don’t have a list of who does and who doesn’t, we’re sure they’ve all at least thought about doing it at some point.