After watching the Netflix documentary Formula 1 Drive To Survive, I became a casual fan of Esteban Ocon. Wanting to learn more about him, I did some Googling and found out that he isn’t in a car for the 2019 season, and that he is apparently going to “transform” himself to try to get a ride for next year. This had me perplexed, so I kept digging.
The reported issue is that Esteban needs to work on his physical attributes, specifically his weight, in order to better his chances of achieving a full-time driver position. According to the 2019 Formula 1 rules package, the car with the driver must weigh in at 740kg, or roughly 1,631 pounds. Then, separately, the car must weigh in at 660kg (1,455 lbs) allowing a driver to weigh anywhere up to 80kg (176 lbs). Any less than 80kg and the teams can put in ballast weight to bring the car to full combined mass.
*Moving forward height and weight will be in inches and pounds.
Esteban is the tallest driver in Formula 1 at 6’1″ and weighs in at 145 lbs. According to BMI charts, that is underweight. While it is safe to consider Formula 1 drivers to be some of the most physically fit athletes in the world, defining personal physical health and safety has to be left respectively up to the individual. The fact that Esteban might have to cut more weight (he has already done so before the 2017 season) in order to compete against the other drivers, might be a hard thing for fans to watch.
I can relate to Esteban. I am 6’4″ and currently 233 lbs. Three years ago, I weighed in at 180 lbs, and personally, felt I was at a physical peak. Yet, many people thought I looked too thin and not healthy. Surprisingly, for my height and weight at the time, I was smack in the middle of a healthy zone according to BMI charts. Now, at 233 lbs, my BMI is considered overweight and my body reminds me often that physical tasks are not as easy as they once were. Yet, people tell me I look healthy and I don’t look overweight.
Everyone is different and physical fitness is something that only each individual person can determine, but the scientific generalities are a good start though to get everyone in sync with how to determine and define physical fitness. I support BMI charts and eating healthy and exercising. Hopefully, those general tools can be interpreted and understood better by all, in order to understand each person’s best physical fitness.