How Do F1 Drivers Train? Valtteri Bottas Reveals

Published 08/14/2021, 8:23 AM EDT
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA – Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP gives the crowd a thumbs up from the fan stage during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)


Formula 1 is quite obviously one of the most intense sports around the world, with the drivers needing to have abundant physical and mental strength to cope with the high-speed conditions. Competing in such a dangerous sport, Valtteri Bottas revealed the required training to handle such uneasy environments.

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The Finn, who is on course to secure his fourth top-3 finish in the championship this season, compared driving an F1 car to piloting a fighter jet.

What does that even mean?

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The Mercedes driver acknowledged that most of the training in F1 focuses on the head and neck.

What did Valtteri Bottas say?

In an exclusive interview with Velo News, Bottas opened up on why the neck and head exercises are predominant in F1. Apparently, when a driver sits inside an F1 car’s cockpit, most of his body will be safely engulfed by the bodywork, with head and neck remaining an exception.

In terms of strength and muscles, it’s upper body, actually the neck. Obviously you’re strapped into the car but your head is free,” he said.

Second place qualifier Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP looks on in parc ferme during qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

In some of the corners, we have like 5g in terms of g-forces. So it’s actually similar to fighter jets. So if you don’t have a strong neck, you can’t see very well. Core is also very important because there’s a lot of pressure and side-t0-side movement. Otherwise, it’s mainly endurance.

Bottas reveals why cycling isn’t good for F1 drivers

Most of the drivers on the grid are into cycling, including Bottas, his teammate Lewis Hamilton, Alpine driver Fernando Alonso, and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel. However, Bottas reckoned that cycling isn’t a healthy practice for an F1 driver.

Why, you might ask?

According to the Finn, cycling is a very pleasant exercise, which focuses solely on the legs. Hence, he felt that would cause a driver to lose reaction time and coordination, which is essential in racing.

We also do speed and skill training. You need good reactions, good coordination. That’s the one thing that is limiting my cycling a little bit,” he said.

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Because, if I start to do too much long-distance too often, that makes you slightly slower in terms of reactions and how speedy you can be, and your coordination might suffer a bit.

Regardless, Bottas is prepping up for the second bike race of his career. After competing in one ahead of the 2020 F1 season, Bottas is all set to take part in the SBT GRVL race in Colorado on Sunday.

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But with the second half of the ongoing F1 season inching closer, will this be Bottas’ final bike race of this year?

Watch Story: When F1 Drivers Had a Blast on Top Gear Featuring Hamilton, Vettel & Ricciardo

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Rohit Kumar

1163 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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