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

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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?