How I prepare for a Formula E race weekend
I guess some people might think racing drivers just turn up at whatever track they’re racing at, jump in the car and go. The reality is a bit different and there’s a lot of preparation work that goes into every race. I’m pretty much thinking about racing all the time!
This year I’m racing full time in the FIA Formula E Championship and I’m also doing the Brazilian Stock Car Championship. I’m sure some other races will crop up as well – watch this space.
In this column I wanted to explain a little bit of how we prepare for each Formula E weekend, as it’s a very unique kind of schedule, bringing with it unique challenges.
Sim and track work
Because of the nature of a Formula E weekend with two practice sessions, qualifying and the race all happening in one day, track time is very limited and most of the tracks we go to are completely brand new without us knowing anything about them.
They’re street tracks so will have normal city traffic driving on them until the night before the race normally. We don’t know technical information such as how much energy we will consume on a particular track, so it’s very useful for us to spend a good amount of time on the simulator back in England before the race, because it gives us a very good idea of what we’re going to face when we get there.
As an example, the length of a particular track will ascertain how many laps we can do in practice because the battery has a limit. And another example - if you look at the temperature, the warmer the ambient temperature is, the warmer the battery will get.
All of these kind of scenarios that we simulate are not 100% identical to the real deal, but it gives us a very good idea as to what we will face at the actual race weekend and we can make a plan on what we need to do and prepare for. On a race day everything happens so fast that you need to arrive at a track as prepared as you can be.
As well as preparing for the technical side of things, as a racing driver I keep a good level of fitness all year around. I am constantly travelling so I look to adapt my fitness routine to where I am going. I have a gym I go to where I live in Monaco but, when you’re travelling, you have to adapt. I like to cycle and, if I’m near a beach, that’s great to go for a run on.
I also make sure the hotels I stay at when I am racing have a gym so that I can regularly workout. There’s no one particular special thing to do to prepare for a Formula E weekend but there is a fitness and mental regime that I keep all year round to be in optimum condition for racing.
I also have to watch what I eat. When I’m at home I make a lot of fresh fruit and vegetable juices and try to eat as healthy food as I can. Over the past couple of years I’ve cut out a lot of dairy and I also only rarely eat red meat.
So, for me, it’s a lot of fish and white meat and on some days I cut out meat and fish completely. It’s also important to avoid alcohol in the ten days or so before a race. The aim is to be as slim, fit and healthy as possible and to be the lightest we can on a race day, as every kilogram counts.
If I have a rare weekend off at home, more often than not I jump in the car, drive to Italy and go karting. I think it helps to stay sharp and surely the best way of preparing to race is to race?!
To see more of my build up to this weekend's race, follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter through the links below:
The FIA Formula E Santiago ePrix will take place this Saturday 3 February. You can find out how to watch by visiting the link below: