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FIT FOR F1: How the drivers train for the season ahead

Special Contributor

Justin Hynes
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Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas cycles the track during the previews ahead of the Formula

Ten months, 24 races, five double headers, three triple headers – F1’s longest ever season promises to not only be one of its most hotly contested, but also one of the most physically and mentally demanding.

In such an intense environment, being fit enough to take on the record-breaking schedule is more important than ever. So how do drivers train for such an epic challenge – and how do they maintain peak performance across the season?

For Mark Arnall, who spent more than two decades as a performance coach for Mika Hakkinen, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, and who now heads up the human performance programme at Formula 1, the key to a successful season is a strong winter.

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“The off-season period is crucial,” says Mark. “That’s when you can get most of the work you need to do for the season done and achieve the objectives you have in mind before the season starts. Typically, when a season finishes, that’s it, you don’t see a driver for weeks. With Kimi, for example, I wouldn’t see him until the first week of January but after that we usually had about two months to get the work done.”

By and large, the routine is straightforward. A mix of cardio and strength training, and according to Mark, the base level of cardio fitness required for F1 is well within the scope of most drivers to manage themselves.

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