Former world champion Nigel Mansell has weighed into – no pun intended – on Formula 1’s newest concern ahead of the 2014 season: driver weights.
With the minimum weight limits set to increase from from 642kg to 690kg in an attempt to compensate for the additional weight that the 2014-spec engines and powertrains will bring, there is a concern that teams would be disadvantaged by running heavier drivers in their cars.
While the likes of Sebastian Vettel come in a positively slender 64kg, taller and bulkier drivers like Nico Hülkenberg and Paul di Resta tip the scales at almost 75kg or more, which significantly disadvantages their ability for all-important ballast to be distributed around their cars.
Mansell was certainly one of the sport’s heavier drivers throughout his career – indeed, he couldn’t fit into the McLaren he briefly raced in 1995 – and has joined the growing chorus of pundits in urging the FIA to implement rules changes that would not disadvantage the sport’s larger pilots.
“It’s disgraceful,” the 60-year-old told the BBC. “It’s discrimination against the medium-sized [or] large driver.
“It’s wrong. In years gone by, we didn’t have traction control and we didn’t have power steering. You had to be strong drivers, and there were a lot of strong drivers.
“If you had this weight limit, they wouldn’t have been able to drive the cars – or they would have driven with great difficulty. So I think get the weight limit up a bit, make some cars carry some ballast so that the bigger drivers don’t suffer as much.”
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