Force India Asks Sergio Perez to Lose 4 Pounds Before The Start Of The 2017 Formula 1 Season

In Formula 1, weight is everything; even four little pounds.

Formula 1, having finished winter testing, the start of the 2017 season is just days away. The teams are looking to the little things to give them an advantage. In the case of Force India-Mercedes, driver Sergio Perez has been asked to lose 4 pounds.

Perez spoke to The Telegraph and had this to say:

“The team’s stipulations could not be stricter. Pérez and his team-mate have been told that they need to weigh no more than 11 stone by the time they line up on the grid for next Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix. As it stands, Pérez is 4lb over that target and acknowledges he has been struggling with some aspects of the car’s handling.”

To most people, 4lbs might not seem like that much, but in Formula 1, weight is everything. This is true across the board in racing, but with the car’s minimum weight at just 1609 pounds (728kg), 4 pounds of extra driver might as well be a ton.

Last year, Force India had it’s strongest season yet in F1, finishing a solid 4th in the Constructor’s Championship, though still very far behind 3rd placed Ferrari. While continuing to have power units supplied by Mercedes, arguably the best engine on the grid, Force India are looking to prove and improve itself again in 2017.

It’s a very tight fit in an F1 cockpit, Force India-Mercedes

It is widely accepted that during a hot lap in a Formula 1 car, 10kg (22 pounds) of extra weight adds 0.3 seconds to one’s lap time. Perez’s extra 4 pounds (1.8kg)  theoretically adds .054 seconds a lap. In qualifying, that .054 seconds could very well mean the difference a place or three on the grid. But a qualifying hot lap isn’t what gets turned out on race day. While fighting for position or fighting through traffic, the penalty of that extra weight gets exaggerated and starts to become a huge liability, especially in 2017.

The 2017 F1 season brings us new regulations and faster cars. The expectation is that this year’s car will be lapping five seconds faster than in 2015, and pre-season testing times have shown this to be the case. This year’s F1 regulations call for the car to be 57 pounds heavier than in 2016. It produces significantly more down-force and wider tires give more mechanical grip. The car must be as light as possible to reach that five second goal. Fractions of a second make or break a race. Since the teams can’t produce a car that is lighter than the minimum weight defined in the regulations, the driver becomes the variable. Perez’s 4lbs may seem petty, but it makes a huge difference.