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Why Bahrain race will be thirsty work for Adrian Sutil

April 04, 2014 11:09 IST

Why Bahrain race will be thirsty work for Adrian Sutil

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Adrian Sutil will be racing in the Bahrain desert without a drop to drink on Sunday after deciding to remove the water bottle from his Sauber Formula One car in a bid to shave off weight wherever he can.

The German is one of the biggest drivers on the starting grid and has also complained his car is overweight compared to others.

After slimming down as much as he can, he is now resorting to other measures.


Image: Adrian Sutil of Germany and Sauber F1 poses for a photograph
Photographs: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

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Bigger drivers are at more of a disadvantage

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"No drink bottle in the car is one thing for Bahrain," he told reporters at the Sakhir circuit, where daytime temperatures can soar to 45 degrees celsius although the race will be held in the evening under floodlights when conditions are cooler.

"So Bahrain is one and a half hours with no drink.

"Normally you have one litre, or even one-and-a-half litres in Malaysia, so you can drink during the whole race," added the driver.

"But in this situation now we are talking about 300-400 grammes and you also have to count the bottle that has an empty weight of 0.5kg."

The bigger drivers are at more of a disadvantage than previously because the new V6 power units and energy recovery systems are heavier than the old V8s but minimum car weights have not been increased significantly to compensate.

While Sutil, who is 1.84 metres tall, started the season weighing around 77kg - three or four kg less than 2013 - he is up against drivers such as Brazilian Felipe Massa who is a mere 1.66m and 60kg.


Image: Sauber F1 driver Adrian Sutil of Germany drives
Photographs: Reuters

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'It's not because the other ones are better drivers, just because they are lighter'

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"All the tall drivers, it's not just me here, have to lose so much weight. There's not so much you can lose anyway, you can't even train because you don't want to lose the muscles you have," said Sutil.

"It's a difficult situation at the moment and I don't think it's fair. Small drivers can eat whatever they want, get a belly, and we are just naturally heavier and we get a penalty, which is like 0.5 seconds a lap or more.

"It's not because the other ones are better drivers, just because they are lighter. This is not as it should be in Formula One because I still see it as a sport."


Image: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP Petronas,left, and Adrian Sutil of Germany and Sauber
Photographs: Getty Images
Tags: Sutil

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Driver fainting at a sponsor event

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Television commentator Martin Brundle said at the Malaysian Grand Prix that he had heard of a driver, unidentified, fainting at a sponsor event and Sutil said there was a clear safety concern.

"You feel it before the race that you haven't got your ultimate power. The cars are a bit slower so you don't need to be in superb shape...but still it's like if you go for a run for one and half hours and you don't eat enough, you have a sugar hole," he said.

"You are almost getting in an area where you don't work well up here," added the German, tapping his head. "This is the danger we are facing. The season is long and the longer we travel the more you are taking energy off you."

Drivers are sometimes forced to race without water when the bottles malfunction, and in the heat of Malaysia it can be more like sipping hot tea even when the system does work.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso told reporters he had not used a water bottle in Malaysia this year because the new cars were slower and did not demand as much effort to drive.


Image: Fernando Alonso of Spain and Ferrari prepares to drive
Photographs: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

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'I am light and I'm happy to be light'

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In any case, Sutil's concerns fell on deaf ears as far as Massa was concerned.

"If you have a team with a heavier engine or a heavier car then it's up to them to do a better job," said the Brazilian. "This is part of the situation now.

"I am light and I'm happy to be light, but if I am 10kg heavier than I am I would not have any problem with the car for my weight.

"It's related to the rules and how each team did a better job to be light as possible in the car. It's not just the drivers, it's different things."


Image: Felipe Massa of Brazil and Ferrari tries to stay out of the heat before the start of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix
Photographs: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Tags: Sutil , Massa

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