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  • Writer's pictureTatiana Žišková

Drink system in Formula 1


Have you ever wondered how F1 drivers are being hydrated during the race? Worry not, because this time, we will focus on a drink system in the F1 car. What do drivers usually drink, and how does the drink system actually work?
 

First of all, the drink system is a necessary thing for drivers that has to work the whole session. They are in an environment that we probably cannot imagine – the amount of time spent in the car, the G-force pressure, the temperatures, the mind concentration – all of this at the same time. The mysterious drink system was introduced to prevent drivers from getting drowsy and/or thirsty.


An average weight loss of an F1 driver is about 2 to 3 kilograms and in extreme temperatures, it can go up to 4 kilograms in the form of sweat. That's why the risk of dehydration is extremely high here.


Despite the technical difficulties at first sight, this system is rather simple. Not so long ago, Mercedes team uploaded an interesting video covering this topic.


Chris King, who works for Mercedes F1 team as a race team project coordinator, describes the system this way: "It is effectively a squeezy bag piped to the driver's helmet."


Throughout the years, it was a technical challenge for each team to provide their drivers with a hydration system which would run like a Swiss watch. Another interesting thing about its evolvement is that the drink system was using a pump for pumping chosen fluid.

The disadvantage of the pump was constant, sometimes unstoppable pumping alongside with giving more weight to the car.


Now, the tube of fluid and the tube for the mouth are connected by a valve.

Valve with a filter

(source: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team - F1 Drink System YT video)


Both tubes are going one way only, meaning there is one-way valve with a filter and one-way valve for stopping. "If you are sucking and you stop sucking it would slowly drain back down to the back,“ explained King further on.

The role of the valve is crucial since it works like a stopper for fluid going anywhere and everywhere, which would make the driver naturally very uncomfortable.

The connection of these tubes breaks once the driver decides to exit the car. As a result of this disconnection, a splash of fluid can be seen. For the next Grand Prix, you can pay close attention to drivers getting out of the car and focus on the drinking tube!


What do drivers drink?

Because everybody is completely different, each driver needs their own drink. Most of the time, it is up to them, but usually, their trainers or health care professionals are taking care of it. If a driver chose only water, then the bottle would be filled with water.

But also: "What F1 drivers drink during races is glucose, mineral, and electrolyte rich liquid, designed to release energy to keep the driver alert and able to keep fighting." (https://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2022/04/10/f1-drivers-drink-liquid/ )


As I am closing this article, we all shall remember Kimi Räikkönen and his drink system problems. Laughable but definitely unpleasant and very dangerous.

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