Welcome to Sunday Matinee, where we highlight classic car reviews or other longer videos I find on YouTube. Kick back and enjoy this blast from the past.
If an alien crashed on earth, and just happened to land right in the middle of a Formula One race, you'd have a hard time explaining everything. Explaining why everyone's driving so fast would probably be the easiest bit, which is mostly because driving fast can be fun. And alien or not, everyone likes to have fun.
But what you'd be most at a loss for words for would be why the drivers push their bodies to such extremes, and the preparation that go through just to achieve a baseline in performance. Parker Kligerman, Jalopnik's resident race car driver, made the point that drivers can transcend mere athleticism, just by the fact that a small mistake can cost them their lives. If a driver passes out due to heat exhaustion, they might very well end up dead when their out-of-control vehicle hits the wall.
To prevent that, F1 drivers go to enormous extremes to acclimate themselves for hot races, like the Malaysian Grand Prix, where in-car temperatures can top 120 degrees. It begins with swallowing an electronic pill, which can monitor their core body temperature, along with other bodily functions, from the inside, which can then be broadcast to a nearby computer.
And their core body temperatures do soar, as the doctor in this video notes, saying that former Red Bull Racing driver Mark Webber's body can top 105 degrees Fahrenheit during a race.
Racers do anything to expand their blood plasma, they do anything to keep their body fat percentage down, and they do anything to stay cool. The doctor's air of disappointment when he says that Mark's body fat percentage is up to 5% would be ludicrous in any other context.
But otherwise, the risks could be deadly.
H/t to r/formula1!