Starting in 2019, Formula One has mandated a minimum driver weight of 80kg independent of the car’s weight. If a driver weighed in at under 80kg, ballast would be placed near the driver’s seat to make up the difference.
The current 2nd Generation Formula E car has a mandated minimum weight of 900kg, including the driver and battery.
Di Grassi, who had competed in all 50 ePrixs since Formula E’s inception, wanted to see the same regulation introduced in the series.
“We hope Formula E also adopts minimum 80kg complete driver weight… I’m 78kg with 9% body fat and zero muscle to try to achieve minimum weight. It’s not healthy for some “tall “drivers… also gives small guys an unfair advantage!” tweeted Di Grassi.
Speaking to eRacing Magazine, Di Grassi explained in detail how a team can leverage hiring a lighter driver for competitive advantage.
“Because the small guys have an unfair advantage. If you are light, that means you can put more weight into the drivetrain or ballast in the car in different places, and you have an advantage,” said di Grassi.
“Because of this unfair advantage, Formula One now has a driver weight of 80kg. So if you are not 80kg, you have to put ballast around your seat, so everybody has the weight in the same place.
“So it’s just a fair thing – it’s just a fair thing to do. Why [should] a small guy have an advantage over me? If there is minimum car weight, there should be a minimum driver weight.
Di Grassi said that drivers who are heavier should not have to resort to taking drastic measures to lower their body weight, incurring inherent health risks in doing so.
“Of course you can diet and you can starve and you can go maybe to 70kg. But then you are not healthy, you’re not fit, you get colds very easy… It should not be this way.
“We should take the heaviest driver, which I think is Andre Lotterer, and let’s say look this is the minimum weight – everybody who is under that should put ballast around their seat. It has to be around the seat – same centre of gravity.
“So you must have driver plus that ballast must equal 80kg, and that is simple.”
“Basically if you are overweight – because the problem is that for example, the team makes a powertrain, it’s overweight. They will never hire a heavy driver. They will only hire a driver which the car would be within the weight limit. So basically it would squeeze out the heavy drivers out of the equation. It’s not correct. That’s my complaint.”
Lotterer Weighs In
DS Techeetah’s Andre Lotterer agreed with Di Grassi advocating for a minimum driver weight limit and was in favour of seeing such a mandate, although he conceded that it was up to Formula E and the FIA to decide whether or such a regulation should be introduced.
“It’s not for Lucas to decide this,” said Lotterer at the Sanya ePrix. “For sure it goes towards my direction because I am one of the heavier ones with maybe Oliver Rowland and maybe a few other bigger guys – to make things fair.
“But that’s up to Formula E and the FIA to make that rule and understand it. But it is a valid point.
“It’s strange that the FIA and Formula E don’t do anything about it. Hopefully they do.
“It’s good to talk about it, but again it’s not for us drivers to make the rules. They should have the capacity and the view to make things that way. So hopefully it will happen.”
Massa: Driver Weight Not a Big Advantage
Venturi FE driver Felipe Massa, who weighs approximately 62kg, said the weight difference did not amount to much advantage gained in Formula E.
“I don’t think [in] Formula E you have a driver that is over the limit,” said Massa of the 80kg limit that di Grassi proposed. “I think [in] Formula E – maybe nobody is passing the weight.”
“Definitely for the weight distribution, it can change a bit. But I think maybe they allow to change some stuff that maybe the lightest guy is not completely in the back in the weight distribution, it can go forward, then maybe the heavier guy will be also forward, but inside the range.
“To be honest I don’t think really it will change a lot if they change the rules now in Formula E. I don’t even think Lucas is the heaviest guy – maybe Rowland.
“I don’t think it’s a big advantage to be honest.
I think definitely if I can really play with the free weight distribution, it can be an advantage. But it’s not the case. You need to be inside the range – so at the end, I don’t think it’s a big change. It’s a very little difference.”
Photos: Audi Sport / FIA Formula E
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