Mansell: New 2014 rules inflict “discrimination” on F1’s bigger drivers


Your prototypical Formula One driver isn’t a particularly big person. But with F1 preparing for multiple introductions in 2014 such as new, 1.6-liter turbocharged engines, it appears that keeping light or getting lighter is going to be even more important for those that strap themselves into the cockpit.

And that’s not a good thing according to 1992 F1 World Champion and 1993 CART champion Nigel Mansell (pictured, center).

“It’s disgraceful, it’s discrimination against the medium-sized large driver,” he said to writer Brad Spurgeon in today’s edition of The New York Times.

“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.”

Spurgeon’s piece details the pressure that’s on the taller (and heavier) competitors in the F1 paddock to keep light and enable their cars to squeeze out that extra tenth or two on the track.

Former World Champion and current McLaren driver Jenson Button is quoted as saying that he fasts before races and only eats “limited amounts” of high-protein, no-carb food throughout the year.

The minimum weight for car and driver together in 2014 will be increased to 690 kilograms or 1,521 pounds; in 2013, the minimum was 642 kilograms (1,412 pounds). But as Spurgeon writes, the new equipment for next season is taking up much of that additional weight.

And that means you won’t be finding the taller drivers hitting up all-you-can-eat buffets in Monte Carlo, Austin, or anywhere else along the Grand Prix circuit.

The F1 life isn’t easy and these drivers accept that. But surely, it can afford them to have a cheeseburger and fries on occasion?

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force has another spectacular motor explosion

Photo courtesy NHRA
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Legendary NHRA Funny Car driver John Force endured yet another spectacular motor explosion – his third in the NHRA’s first three national event races – during Friday’s qualifying at the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

It’s the kind of consistency the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ could do without.

The 68-year-old Force came to Gainesville hoping to break the jinx that saw him endure explosions in both the season-opening Winternationals and the second race of the season in Phoenix.

Both motor explosions sent Force to the hospital for examination before he returned to the race track.

Friday, even though the motor in his Chevrolet Camaro blew up again (in the second round of qualifying), at least this time, Force didn’t wind up in the hospital.

He did have his right hand bandaged from a cut suffered in the explosion, but did not have to go to the hospital this time.

He even joked about not having to add yet another ambulance bill to the nearest Gainesville hospital.

But the explosion still proved costly.

“That was another body and that hurts the financial (bottomline),” Force said. “I was out $500,000 to $600,000, and now we are probably out $800,000, going on a million. In drag racing, you have to be tough.”

He ended the day qualifying 14th, not a very comfortable position with two more rounds of qualifying set for Saturday.

Force continues to be mystified why the motors keep exploding.

“I really thought we had it, I thought we were there,” Force said. “In the first round we drove it 500 feet and shut it off. It looked great. We ran it again that run and I was only going to drive it 800 feet even if we didn’t make The Show.”

Force will attempt to improve his qualifying spot during Saturday’s final two rounds to make Sunday’s eliminations.

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