Sainz raises driver health concerns from new F1 rules

Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz has raised concerns about the ongoing impact the current generation of Formula 1 cars will have on drivers.

New aerodynamic regulations introduced this year in an effort to spice up the on-track action have seen teams run their cars lower and stiffer than in recent decades.

The knock-on is that much of the energy absorbed by the car is now transferred to the driver, with Sainz worried that it will have a lasting impact.

At the Miami Grand Prix last time out, the Spaniard crashed during Free Practice 2 leaving the 27-year-old with a sore neck for the balance of the weekend.

“I haven’t had expert advice,” he said when asked of the aftermath of the Miami weekend.

“I’ve done my usual checks on my back, neck tightness, and I see this year I’m tighter everywhere.

“I’m already feeling it. I don’t need expert advice to know that 10 years like this it’s going to be tough, and you’re going to need to work a lot in mobility, flexibility.

“I’m going to need to invest in health, overall body health.”

“It’s probably a question that I think as drivers we don’t like talking [about] much because we don’t like sounding, say, weak,” he added.

“I’m strong, I’m very fit, I consider myself one of the fittest drivers, and I’ve never struggled in an F1 race at all.

“But it’s more long-term and for the benefit of all of us that maybe we should put it out there to talk about and see what options do we have.”

He warned that the sport’s governing body may need to get involved if things carry on.

“It will get to a point that when, if we decide to go in certain directions, the FIA needs to get involved for sure. Let’s see in the future.”

With F1 set to head to Monaco next weekend, it’s therefore expected that drivers will suffer around the bumpy confines of the Principality.

“I think it’s going to be a big challenge,” Sainz admitted.

“I think already the kerbs in Miami felt proper aggressive in these cars. There’s been a few bumps in Imola that were quite hard on the body.

“More than Monaco, we need to think as drivers and F1 [about] how much of a toll a driver should be paying for his back and his health in an F1 career with this kind of car philosophy?

“I think we need to open the debate more than anything.

“I think the regulations are great, they’re doing exactly what we need it for racing, but do we need to run as stiff for our necks and back as we are having to run lately, with this car mass?

“For me it’s more a philosophical question that I put out there, maybe for F1 and everyone to rethink about how much the driver needs to actually pay a price in his career with his health, in order to combat this.

“Monaco will be tough and all that, but I’m thinking more long term.”

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