Formula E driver Antonio Felix da Costa, who won the New York E-Prix on Sunday, said he recently hung out with an NFL player but had to cut their time together in order that he is rested before morning training. The player replied, “Training for what? You are seated.
“I told him,” da Costa told SportTechie, “‘Look, imagine driving your car all day without power steering, on bumpy tracks.'”
Driver fitness is an imperative, though publicly overlooked, part of motor racing. At least four Formula E drivers were spotted wearing Whoop bracelets during Friday’s media availability.
“It’s been great for my own education of my own body – what affects me, what helps me with my sleep, my training, my recovery,” da Costa said. “But also because it is connected to my sneakers. They cannot participate in all my races. Thus, the day before the race, [they might say], ‘Look, maybe you’re eating this tonight, stop eating this.’ They helped me get in my best possible shape for the race.
Formula E season leader Stoffel Vandoorne has explained that he gradually gave up much of the cycling he used to do in training because he realized it wouldn’t did not transfer as well to the demands of driving. He now favors explosive actions in his training.
“I watch a lot, to be honest,” Vandoorne said, noting that he particularly watches his sleep in Whoop. He added: “It’s also good to see, when you do certain things, eat certain things or drink certain things, how your body reacts to that. Just one drink of alcohol, I can notice it immediately on my resting heart rate or whatever, so I know what not to do, say, before race day.
Jean-Eric Vergne, who is da Costa’s DS Techeetah teammate, declined to discuss his specific use of Whoop but said in general that he was very aware of sleep and recovery – to a point.
“It’s the limit of things because sometimes you have bad sleep, and if you wake up and you see that you have bad sleep, you’re already starting the day on a bad note,” he said. . “It’s not good.”
Formula E is introducing a new Gen 3 car in the coming season, and although none of the drivers have had a chance to test drive it yet, they are already anticipating some changes.
“Next year in the new Gen 3 we will also have a front drivetrain, so every time we brake the wheels independently regenerate energy back to the battery,” da Costa said. “It’s going to have a lot of hindsight effect on the wheel. So it’s going to be a lot harder physically next year for us. And I think that’s a good thing: you start to take even more [effort] out of the athletes. I like it to be difficult.