• Sauber

Driver weight issue becoming dangerous - Sutil

Laurence Edmondson at Sakhir
April 3, 2014 « Ricciardo has surprised me - Vettel | Rosberg braced for Hamilton rift »
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Adrian Sutil says the lengths heavier drivers are going to to hit the minimum weight in the regulations is becoming dangerous.

The new breed of Formula One cars are heavier than in previous years, and despite the minimum weight limit being increased, teams are still struggling to keep their car and drivers under weight. Sauber is running overweight at the moment and Sutil is among the tallest and heaviest drivers on the grid. The possibility of raising the minimum weight in the regulations was talked about before the season but has been postponed until next year.

Sutil believes drivers dieting and not drinking enough water means they will not be at their sharpest when driving.

"There is a danger of course," he said. "You are driving more than 300km/h on the straights and we need to be in good shape in our bodies and our mind. It's not so easy anymore, you can't guarantee every driver is 100% from a physical point of view.

"I can feel it, I can definitely feel it. I lost 3 or 4 kilos compared to last year and I tried to be very light already last year. This is the extra weight I'm losing now and this is getting to a critical point. I'm trying to control it and to be always in a shape to finish the race.

"You feel it before the race that you haven't got your ultimate power. The cars are a bit slower so you don't need to be in superb shape to finish it, but still it's like if you go for a run for one and half hours and you don't eat enough, you have a sugar hole. You are almost getting in an area where you don't work well up here [in the head]. This is the danger we are facing. The season is long and the longer we travel the more you are taking energy off you. The more substance you have, the longer you last."

The teams were not able to agree on changing the weight limit before the start of the season, but Sutil said part of the problem was that the drivers were not united in calling for action.

"Everyone is responsible for it. We want to have a good sport and I think us drivers could do a bit more if we hold together a bit more. I think everyone should think about what we do and why we are in this situation. Is there any reason for it? No. The sport would be the same or better if we had a normal weight limit. We could eat properly, be happy at the circuit and we would not be having this discussion.

"I wouldn't like to win against a driver who is 20kg heavier. If I win by just 0.1s in front then this is not the truth, he won but I'm in front of him. If you are a fair driver and here because of the sport and you want to win and be the best driver this can't be the case like that. This is not fair, this is not sport."

Sutil said he would not be running with a drinks bottle at this weekend's race in Bahrain in a bid to save weight in the car.

"No drink bottle in the car is one thing for Bahrain. So Bahrain is one and a half hours with no drink. In Malaysia I had a little bit for tea - it was enough for teatime at 16:00, not more. Normally you have one litre or one and a half in Malaysia so you can drink during the whole race. But in this situation now we are talking about 300g or 400g and you also have to count the bottle that has an empty weight of 0.5kg."

However, Fernando Alonso revealed that he did not have a drinks bottle in Malaysia because he did not feel the physical strain of driving the new cars required one this year. And Williams' Felipe Massa, one of the shortest drivers on the grid, has no sympathy for the heavier drivers, saying the problem is with overweight cars and not the regulations.

"I think this is a problem of his team, it is not a problem of [F1]," Massa said. "In past years teams have a double diffuser and the other ones not, this is part of the rules. The rules are like that, if you have a team with a heavier engine or a heavier car then it's up to them to do a better job. This is part of the situation now. I am light and I'm happy to be light, but if I am 10kg heavier than I am I would not have any problem with the car for my weight. This is not really the way you guys think, it's related to the rules and how each team did a better job to be light as possible in the car. It's not just the drivers, it's different things.

"My team did a better job and it's not fair for a team that did a better job on the rules just to put that in a different level. In aerodynamics somebody finds something better, in the engine somebody finds something better, this is the rules of the moment."