Let’s talk about G-force. During racing, the driver-athlete is exposed to elevated G-force during acceleration, breaking and cornering. F1 Drivers can experience up to 6G while driving. Assuming the head/helmet weighs 7kg, that’s 42kg of force the driver will have to tolerate!
👉🏻 G-force during breaking: As the driver attempts to break, the head will attempt to decelerate with the car, therefore the neck extensors will be required to keep the head in position (see diagram).
👉🏻 G-force during accelerating: As the driver accelerates, the head is pushed backwards. Fortunately, the head rest provides support for this, meaning neck flexors are not extensively required (see diagram).
👉🏻 G-force during cornering: as the driver goes round a corner, they will experience lateral G-force, i.e. from the side. The driver experiences this G-force as centrifugal force, being pushed away from the corner.
It is essential that drivers can tolerate these forces to:
- Protect the soft tissue of the brain from damage.
- Enable the driver to maintain a head position that allows the driver to utilise their vestibular and visual system with maximum proficiency and therefore improve performance.
- Reduce the risk of; muscular, soft tissue and skeletal injury whilst driving and during accidents.