Carlos Sainz worried for drivers’ long-term health in new F1 cars as he calls for debate

Carlos Sainz worried for drivers’ long-term health in new F1 cars as he calls for debate

Carlos Sainz says drivers may be paying a physical price long-term if Formula 1 sticks with their current car philosophy; The Ferrari driver, who says he has neck and back issues due to new-for-2022 cars porpoising, wants to open a debate with drivers and the FIA

Last Updated: 20/05/22 9:57am


Carlos Sainz says he is concerned about the long-term health effects the new Formula 1 cars could have on drivers, calling for a rethink on the philosophy as he fears “paying a price” with his career.

F1 has a completely new generation of cars for 2022 with a focus on improving wheel-to-wheel racing, and while that has so far materialised the cars are also heavier, stiff and have seen drivers suffer with violent bouncing.

Through the five races so far, many drivers have already spoken of the increased physical demands of the new cars, and Sainz went a step further ahead of this weekend’s Spanish GP by saying they could have long-term effects.

“I think as drivers and Formula 1 we need to [consider] how much of a toll a driver should be paying for his back and his health in a Formula 1 career with this car’s philosophy,” said the Ferrari driver.

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

Sky F1's Karun Chandhok analyses the porpoising issue that has been troubling some drivers.

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Sky F1’s Karun Chandhok analyses the porpoising issue that has been troubling some drivers.

Sky F1’s Karun Chandhok analyses the porpoising issue that has been troubling some drivers.

“I think the regulations are great, they’re doing exactly what was needed for racing.

“But do we need to run as stiff for necks and back as we are having to run lately with the car mass?

“For me it’s more of a philosophy question that I put out there for Formula 1 and everyone to rethink about how much a driver needs to pay a price for his career with his health to combat this. I’m thinking more long term.”

Sainz admitted that the topic of health in a car was one that “drivers don’t like talking about much, because we don’t like sounding weak.”

Lewis Hamilton continued to experience difficulties with porpoising in his Mercedes during P1 in Saudi Arabia.

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Lewis Hamilton continued to experience difficulties with porpoising in his Mercedes during P1 in Saudi Arabia.

Lewis Hamilton continued to experience difficulties with porpoising in his Mercedes during P1 in Saudi Arabia.

“I’m strong, I’m very fit and I consider myself one of the fittest drivers,” explained the Spaniard. “I’ve never struggled in a Formula 1 race at all. But it’s more long term and for the benefit of all of us.”

He added: “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 and I’m going to need to invest in health, body health.

“Maybe we should put it up out there to talk about and see what options do we have.”

Simon Lazenby is joined by Damon Hill and Karun Chandhok to look ahead to the Spanish GP.

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Simon Lazenby is joined by Damon Hill and Karun Chandhok to look ahead to the Spanish GP.

Simon Lazenby is joined by Damon Hill and Karun Chandhok to look ahead to the Spanish GP.

Sainz says he has yet to speak to other drivers about his concerns or the FIA, but hopes a debate can be opened.

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

“It’s still very early days, it was a thought I was having in the first five races when I’ve been suffering with porpoising, that I’ve never even brought up in a meeting yet.

“I was probably thinking out loud and it’s something very young in my head and I probably need to speak to other drivers like George who are struggling with the same phenomenon, we need to sit together and see what we can offer or propose.”

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