Formula 1

Unlocking the Secrets: Haas’ Faith Atack-Martin Reveals Singapore Grand Prix Challenges

Managing Timezones and Humidity – The Hidden Hurdles of Marina Bay

As Formula 1 enthusiasts gear up for the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix, set to be the fifteenth race of the thrilling 2023 season, it’s easy to get lost in the excitement of the Marina Bay Circuit. With teams like Mercedes, Aston Martin, and Ferrari vying for supremacy on the challenging track, there’s no shortage of buzz about who might come out on top. However, amidst all the anticipation, one crucial aspect often flies under the radar: the intricate preparations that teams undertake behind the scenes.

Faith Atack-Martin, the Performance Coach and Team Physiotherapist for Haas, recently delved into the intriguing challenges that teams face when heading into the Singapore Grand Prix weekend. Her insights shed light on the Herculean efforts required to cope with the extreme humidity and ensure that the team remains unscathed by the unique timezone dynamics of this night race.

“The humidity poses an additional challenge and requires some careful management to ensure that the team members can regulate body temperature (thermoregulation), stay hydrated and perform at their best.

“Physical and mental conditioning in this environment consists of many considerations. Firstly, avoiding heat illness is our priority. This relies on maintaining equilibrium between salt and water balance in the body[…]

“Other strategies aim to facilitate thermoregulation. Cooling strategies include access to iced towels, sweat bands and the use of an air-conditioned break-out room in the garage where team members can go to take a break. Another adjunct we use is menthol mouthwash. Although using this does not affect core temperature, the perception of heat can be manipulated. Similarly, using cold sprays gives a temporary feeling of coolness that can help in addition to more robust methods.”

Atack-Martin revealed that dealing with the abrupt timezone change and the significantly later session timings due to the night race schedule are among the foremost concerns for teams as they prepare for the Marina Bay showdown. With the Italian Grand Prix taking place just a week and a half before this critical race, both teams and drivers have had limited time to adapt and strategize.

In her commentary, Atack-Martin stated:

“There is an assumption that Singapore is a difficult race for jet lag due to the time difference to Europe, however, this is not the case for the race team.

“As a night race, the working hours of the team change insignificantly from European times. In order to mitigate travel fatigue, which will be a factor after a long flight, the first day we arrive is an encouraged rest and specific sleep times are advised in order to avoid adaptation to Singapore time.

“Further mental considerations acknowledge that there is a risk of lower mood when daylight is limited. We therefore try to engage the team in a shared experience such as a football game or team meal. This is important for morale and a sense of perspective away from the track.”

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