The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team has been using its drivers to open up the dark world of F1, and in this video Nico Rosberg demonstrates what we've long suspected: the driving position in a Formula 1 car is outrageous, with drivers reclined on a carbon-fiber gynecologist's table pretending to be a seat.

Scroll down to watch Nico explain finding a balance between comfort and weight. And how it's kind of hard to see above the wheel.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      waetherman
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nobody gets paid as much or has as much fun working on their back (with their legs together).
      ssbjohn
      • 2 Years Ago
      its amazing that thay can drive in a position like that---i always knew that it was a 'lay down' position but not that extrem
      Stang70Fastback
      • 2 Years Ago
      People here are saying things like, "surely a tiny bit of foam won't make a difference," and more-or-less that is true. However, that's not the point. It's that weight-saving mentality applied to the ENTIRE CAR that makes a huge difference. You shave a gram off of one part of the car and you aren't doing much. You shave a gram off of EVERY part in the car, and suddenly you've saved a lot of weight.
        POV
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Stang70Fastback
        I guess it comes down to how much the team is willing to sacrifice weight for the driver to feel comfortable racing the car all out. It seems considering that the driver is generally considered the most important element, they can give up a pound or so. But yeah, what do I know, F1 engineers are some serious people who know what they are doing.
        Phil T
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Stang70Fastback
        It not just about saving weight as there is a minimum weight rule and most of the cars and drivers come in well under it. Its about being able to place the ballast where you want it for maximum effect for the given track. He said in the vid that his driving position is based on keeping a low centre of gravity and being able cut the weight up top allows a better spread of weight where it counts. At Red Bull, Webber is a much taller and heavier driver than Vettel and with last year's car being designed around Vettel it mean that Webber sat higher in the car and so lacked the fine ballast adjustment options that Vettel had available.
      POV
      • 2 Years Ago
      That's ridiculous. There's also no "breathing room" between the legs. I'm all for the pure technical aspects of F1 but I wonder if they had a rule to make the seating somewhat comfortable or practical, how different the cars would look. Anyways, they are getting paid millions so it's a minor inconvenience. :P
      JF GeSchmidtt
      • 2 Years Ago
      If they are willing to spend millions for a couple of tenths (and they are) yes foam is heavy...
        • 2 Years Ago
        @JF GeSchmidtt
        [blocked]
      James Lundström
      • 2 Years Ago
      As a participant in another weight weenie sport (cycling) you quickly learn that well sculpted carbon fiber is sometimes all you need (circumcised or not). A bicycle saddle with no foam but with the right shape can easily keep you comfortable for a 100 mile ride. Same thing goes here. It's not exactly a prius in rush hour they're pushing around.
      k_m94
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow, from that position, it is also a wonder he can see over his own feet. And since you dont exactly see a pair of racing shoes poking out into the airstream, the whole thing is covered in bodywork. It's all about keeping the weight low down and keeping that big round helmet out of the airstream. I am surprised nobody has tried wearing a long, beak like helmet that can reduce drag by 0.01%...
        bchreng
        • 2 Years Ago
        @k_m94
        The problem with the beak is that drag will be compromised when the driver turns his head to follow through a turn. The helmet would have to look more like a flying saucer to compensate.
      stclair5211
      • 2 Years Ago
      Soon we won't even need the driver. F1 is just silly. Motorsports for the elite 1% funded by the common slep 99%. Hype and blame 2012
        JLL
        • 2 Years Ago
        @stclair5211
        Go play in traffic, troll.
      MikeWills
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Foam is very heavy"... Just shows how big they are on saving weight, haha.
        jvshenderson
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MikeWills
        Seriously. Are they really going to lose a race because they added an extra 1/8 inch of foam to pad his shoulder? I guess the honest answer is "almost definitely not, but its possible" and that 1 in 10,000 chance is why they keep the foam to a minimum...
          k_m94
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jvshenderson
          It isnt to do with making the car lighter, as there is a minimum weight allowed and all the cars easily come under that with even a big driver strapped in. They have to use ballasts to bring it up to the ~640kg min weight, but they can place those ballasts almost wherever they want in the car, giving them play to mess with weight distribution, lower/more inbound center of gravity, make the car understeer less or more, anything to save a couple milliseconds a lap. So the less weight is used up in "frills" like foam padding, the more can be liberated to put in moveable ballasts. BTW if it wasnt for ballasts, the cars would weigh like under 450kg, probably not much more than 500kg with driver and fuel. Just like if it werent for rev limiters and material regulations, those puny V8s would rev to 25,000 and make 1000hp by now.
          RocketRed
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jvshenderson
          Actually, as of this season, front-back weight distribution is set by rule, or it has a very narrow window. Which should lessen the penalty bigger/taller drivers pay. Nonetheless, the ability to put more ballast down on the floor to lower roll-center is essential. When you think that you have a car coming it at say 450kg, or 990lb, and you stick in a physical form primarily composed of water, which is obviously has a specific weight much higher than the carbon fiber monocoque, you can see that putting as low as possible is vital to performance. You can see here that in this case a 155lb driver is already like 15 percent of the unballasted car weight. So you jam that driver as far down as possilbe.
      Florg
      • 2 Years Ago
      The only time I've heard someone describe foam as being "too heavy".
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      budwsr25
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's amazing how these guy's are not hurt when they crash.
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