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F1 drinks system explained: How do drivers stay hydrated during races?

F1 drinks system explained: How do drivers stay hydrated during races?

F1 drinks system explained: How do drivers stay hydrated during races?

F1 drinks system explained: How do drivers stay hydrated during races?

How do Formula 1 drivers drink during races? As ever, GPFans is here to explain.

Racing around tracks at breakneck speeds of up to 200 miles per hour, drivers are subjected to intense G-forces and sweltering heat inside the cockpit. Thirsty work.

Staying hydrated is therefore critical for their safety and health, as well as maintaining their focus and peak performance.

But how do they manage to quench their thirst without disrupting their rhythm?

Once again, we are here with the answer.

How F1 drivers drink during a race

Drivers have a bag of fluid - usually 1.5 litres of water mixed with vitamins and minerals or other drinks they prefer - stashed behind their seats or in the nose of their cars.

This bag is connected to a plastic tube, which snakes its way through their helmets before linking up with a pump which is activated manually by a button on the steering wheel.

When they need to hydrate, they press the 'DRINK' button, which activates the pump, drawing the fluid from the bag and propelling it up the tube.

This tube is placed directly in front of their mouths, allowing them to drink without breaking their concentration on the track.

Do all teams have the same drinks system?

While Red Bull cars are equipped with a pumped drinks system, not all teams use the same approach.

Mercedes, for example, now prefers the traditional method of sipping fluids through a straw which is connected to a bag in the cockpit without the use of a pump. There are a couple of potential reasons for this - the pump adds weight to the car, and it can possibly fail during a race.

Mercedes F1 drinks system

One example of this was seen during the 2021 United States Grand Prix, where Red Bull's Sergio Perez suffered dehydration and fatigue due to the failure of his drinks system. This unfortunate incident shows just how important the feature is, especially on tracks as challenging as the Circuit of the Americas (COTA).

"I had no drink at all. It was extremely tough, already from Lap 20 I was completely gone," said the Mexican driver after the race.

"I had no strength, I was losing strength on my hands, strength on my feet, the vision as well was getting quite uncomfortable, and it was just a surviving mode: trying to keep up."

READ MORE: F1 Explained: Why do F1 drivers get weighed?

Do all drivers drink during races?

Some drivers, like Lewis Hamilton, have previously admitted that they didn't use a drinks system for a long time. Others say they don't always use it, especially during races in colder temperatures when they don't feel the need for hydration.

READ MORE: F1 drivers age: How old are Lewis Hamilton, Verstappen, Norris and co

Of course, we can't talk about the drinks system without mentioning the hilarious moment during the 2018 Hungarian Grand Prix when Kimi Raikkonen asked his Ferrari engineer over the radio if his drink was connected, only to be told: "No, Kimi, you will not have the drink".

So, drinking during a race is up to the driver, unless that driver is Kimi!

How much weight do drivers lose during a race?

During a race, drivers could lose up to 4kg and over 2 litres of water. This dehydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness, and impaired cognitive function, all of which can significantly affect their health, safety, and overall performance.

All the more reason for them to utilise that vital drinks system.

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