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F1 Driver Daniel Ricciardo, at 143 Pounds, Needs to Lose Weight to Help His Team

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24:  Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Scuderia Toro Rosso prepares to drive in his final race before joining Infiniti Red Bull Racing next season at the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images)
Peter Fox/Getty Images
Gabe ZaldivarSenior Writer IIJanuary 24, 2017

Size matters—at least when it comes to sports that take a far more discerning and specific look at weight, Formula One being one of them.

Fox Sports Australia (h/t Jalopnik) reports F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo, who stands 5'7" and weighs all of 143 pounds (via Jalopnik), is being forced by his team to lose weight because F1 cars are getting heavier.

According to the report, the sport is transitioning from powerful V8 engines to turbocharged V6 ones. The new equipment is heavier, so teams have to lose kilograms somewhere:

Ricciardo, one of the taller drivers in the F1 field at 1.75 metres, tips the scales in the mid-60 kilogram range.

But he will be looking to edge that down to the low-60s by the time testing of Red Bull's new RB10 begins in January.

F1 cars have to meet a minimum weight limit (car and driver combined), which teams try to get as close as possible to for obvious reasons. As the report issues, some teams are hoping the current limit is raised to 700 kilograms by 2015, 10 more than it is currently.

Nov 18, 2012; Austin, TX, USA; Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo (16) is introduced before the start of the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Still, the added weight means teams need to look to the driver for an edge, so they are figuratively knocking that knife and fork out of their hands.

We aren't exactly talking about a massive man needing to shed holiday pounds, a plight most of us can already relate to.

This is a svelte driver who is finding that every fork full of goodness and each spoon of delight docks him vital seconds on the course.

As the report states, "every five extra kilograms costs a driver roughly 0.2 seconds per lap," giving even the most ardent enthusiast a reminder the sport is all about seconds, inches and, yes, pounds.

For his part, Ricciardo is taking it all in stride, stating, "It's not a problem. I like watching UFC (ultimate fighting championship) and those guys lose eight kilos in a week or something when it gets close to the fight."

The 24-year-old Australian continued, "Two kilos in four months will be easy." Those of us delighting in holiday fare only wished this were universally true.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 24:  Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Scuderia Toro Rosso drives in his final race before joining Infiniti Red Bull Racing next season at the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2013
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Of course, Ricciardo raises a great point, because there are a number of sports that already have weight limits, official or not.

F1 has its own, which has caused some consternation. Retired driver Mark Webber quipped, via Fox Sports, "Haven't eaten for last 5 years! Minimum weight has been too low for ages."

Still, this is a far cry from the egregious dieting methods in horse racing. A 2012 CNN report profiled the delicate subject of "flipping" or "heaving."

OK, it's basically vomiting to lose pounds, and there are reportedly "heaving bowls" still around some racetracks, though the report points out the practice is taboo. However, abstaining from eating and sweating out weight in saunas remain widely used methods.

Meanwhile, ESPN's Nigel Collins recently reported on boxing's peculiar practice of losing weight, only to gain a wealth of it back a day later.

As Collins points out, boxers are prone to lose a great deal of weight, far more than is healthy, prior to a fight for the all-important weigh-in, only to stuff their famished faces right after.

This isn't to imply F1 drivers are about to suffer extreme weight fluctuations, but it's quite apparent there is an even bigger call to make already slim drivers even slimmer.

Perhaps now we know why this sport hasn't exactly taken off in America as it should.

 

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