Formula 1

Lando Norris on F1’s Ground Effect Cars: A Call for Change to Reduce Physical Strain on Drivers

In a recent discussion, McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris emphasized the need for changes in the current ground effect cars to lessen their physical impact on drivers. His comments highlight the ongoing health concerns related to these vehicles since their introduction in 2022.

Key Takeaways:

  • Lando Norris, McLaren F1 driver, stresses the need for improvements in ground effect cars to mitigate their increased physical strain on drivers.
  • Health issues among drivers, such as Carlos Sainz missing the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix due to appendicitis, have sparked discussions about the potential impact of these cars.
  • Williams driver Alex Albon is considering a medical consultation to explore a possible link between his health issues and the car’s design.

The world of Formula 1 has been abuzz with discussions about the physical toll that the new ground effect cars, introduced in 2022, have on drivers. McLaren driver Lando Norris recently brought attention to this issue, calling for changes to reduce the physical impact on drivers. These vehicles, which are designed to run closer to the ground for improved aerodynamics, have evidently increased the physical strain on the drivers.

This discussion on driver health gained momentum during the early stages of the 2022 season when porpoising was at its peak. The issue came to the forefront again last weekend in Saudi Arabia when Carlos Sainz was forced to sit out of the Grand Prix due to appendicitis. Although there isn’t a direct link established between Sainz’s health condition and the ground effect car, similar health issues faced by Williams driver Alex Albon in 2022 have raised concerns. Albon is considering consulting a doctor to investigate any potential connection with the car’s design.

Norris, reflecting on the evolution of Formula 1 and the toll the new cars take on the body, advocated for improvements. He acknowledged that while some believe the situation is not as dire as in the past, it is essential to consider the safety and health of drivers. Norris was quoted saying, “There’s definitely certain people who think it’s not bad and it used to be worse many years ago and all of this stuff. But I think times have changed… There are areas to improve on, it does need to be improved a little bit because the teams just make the quickest cars, and then we drive them. But there are certain times when it starts to have a toll, it’s definitely not as bad as it was two years ago. Things have improved since then with the porpoising, but you still have to run the cars extremely low and stiff.”

In addition to the physical challenges, Norris elaborated on the impact of the ground effect cars on his personal health. He highlighted the importance of considering long-term improvements for the drivers’ well-being, particularly if they are to have prolonged careers in Formula 1. Norris added, “It takes a toll on you. I still struggle a lot with my body and back and all of these things. I have to do a lot now, which I didn’t have to do a few years ago. I wouldn’t say it’s directly because of the car. It’s just natural for me, I have to work on it. But I think things in the long term need to be improved, especially if I’m going to be here for many years. We wish to make it a bit better and a bit more in line with how it was a few years ago.”

The ongoing debate and Norris’s comments highlight a critical aspect of the sport – balancing performance with driver health and safety. As Formula 1 continues to evolve, the health and well-being of its drivers remain a paramount concern.

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