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Nigel Mansell slams new weight limits

ESPN Staff
October 19, 2013 « Lotus seat 'hot property' - Boullier | Strategy Group 'could be illegal' »
Weighting game ... Nigel Mansell takes a photograph of Jenson Button and a fan © Sutton Images

Former world champion Nigel Mansell has criticised proposed weight limits in Formula One, labelling them "disgraceful" and "discrimination against the medium-sized large driver".

Amended minimum weight limits will be introduced in 2014 to take into account the introduction of new engines, but as engines are heavier than anticipated it means bigger drivers will become less appealing to teams.

This season the weight limit for the driver and the car is set at 642kg and this will rise by 48kg in 2014. But most of the extra weight is expected to be used by new power units.

"It's wrong … they're not jockeys," Mansell said. "In years gone by, we didn't have traction control or power steering. You had to be a strong driver and there were a lot of strong drivers. If you had this weight limit, they wouldn't have been able to drive cars many years ago or they would have driven with great difficulty.

Does it matter?

  • 1kg of weight equates to about 0.035secs a lap on an average circuit. so, for example, Sebastain Vetterl (65kg) will be 0.35s faster on a lap than Mark Webber (75kg) all other things being equal

    A taller driver is at a disadvantage because his weight is high up in the car

"So I think get the weight limit up a bit, make some cars carry some ballast so that the bigger drivers don't suffer as much."

A few of the bigger drivers have also expressed concerns even though they are at the peak of fitness.

Mark Webber, who is 182cm tall and weighs around 75kg, said he "hadn't eaten for the the last five years" adding that his minimum weight had been "too low for ages as the perfect driver weight is now 60-65kg".

The supremely fit Jenson Button - who weights about 74kg - admitted he struggled to meet the weight limit and had done for the last three years. "I love fitness training but there are things I can't do because I have to be a set weight - not eat carbohydrates, not build muscle. And next year it will be worse. I don't think any team will have ballast next year."

It has been rumoured the talented Nico Hulkenberg has missed out on drives because of his weight - he too is around 74kg - and other heavier drivers are facing questions about their status.

The sport has moved on a long way since Carel Godin de Beaufort raced in the late 1950s and 1960s in his own car. He was of such a size - he at one time topped 100kg - he was nicknamed "Fatty Porsche".