F1 drivers share a special bond with their physios

Bharat Sharma

Greater Noida, Oct 28 (IANS) Formula One drivers must thank their physios for keeping them fit during the gruelling season.

Whether traveling together on the F1 calendar or being away during the off-season, they stay connected.

The role of a physio is critical to a driver's performance on the track. Depending on the weather, a driver loses 1.5-3 kg after every race. To add to that, the amount of G-force he absorbs on the neck while zooming at more than 300 kmph takes a toll on his body as well.

Besides taking care of a driver's fitness, physios also prepare a strict diet plan for them.

"The routine on a race weekend is not to put too much strain on the body. It is basically low running, little swimming....just to keep the body in motion. You can't get fitter on a racing weekend. We also look after their diet. Make sure they are not driving with a heavy stomach," Florian Eschrich, trainer of Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, told IANS at the Buddh International Circuit here Sunday.

Most drivers prefer their own physios. Hulkenberg called Eschrich from Germany for the Indian Grand Prix.

"We try to do different things each day, make sure it doesn't get monotonous. We keep the schedules easy on weekend and bit of hard stuff like weightlifting on Mondays and Tuesdays," Esrich.

Gerry Convy, who is associated with Paul di Resta, also shares his thoughts.

"I live in England and Paul lives in Monaco. So we are on the phone regularly and before every break I mail him programs on fitness and diet," Convy said.

"It is a long season and most of the work is done in the winter break. The focus is mainly on strength. The drivers get lethargic during breaks doing things they would not do in the season," added Convy. He worked with McLaren for six years before joining Force India. He has been with di Resta since the Scot's days in DTM.

Convy has his own style of keeping di Resta in shape.

"I don't prefer running that much. So things like swimming, rowing and cycling are staple for me."

It is something Convy also tried with Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Juan Pablo Montoya at McLaren.

The biggest challenge for a phyiso is back-to-back races. The F1 caravan from India moves to Abu Dhabi next weekend.

"In these scenarios, massage is the key. Paul has been responding well to my methods. After the race, I see him fresher than many of the other drivers," said Convy.