Imagine if you had a seat specially made and moulded to your body contours? It would be pretty comfy right? Now add into that the fact that you have to worry about twenty different dials and tiptronic pads that control the brake balance, tyre pressures and general engine settings. In addition, you must steer a car capable of up to two hundred miles per hour around a twisting track and be better at it than other people attempting to do the same thing. This is the life of a Formula one driver, and that chair needs to be comfy for you as you are going to be busy when you are sat in it. It also needs to be safe the last thing you want is it breaking and then you’ve got a celebrity racing driving seeing independent legal from businesses like Sam Conveyancing advice due to an accident.
The process of getting a seat properly fitted is intense. It is one of the first things that are done after the chassis is built. In jumps the driver, they get a different seat every year regardless, as whilst their body might not change, the chassis must take into account new designs for innovations and any new regulations that may come into force. They are dressed in full racing gear including a helmet and shoes so that the measurements would be as if they were in actual racing conditions. Awaiting the driver is a series of plastic bags that contain expanding foam. This will grow and mould itself around the driver’s body shape whilst they are in the most comfortable position they can be. This means that a perfect representation of their frame is then captured.
The impression that is left is scanned and rendered digitally by computer aided design in three dimensions. This is then used to create the seat with computer numerical controlled milling and built out of carbon fibre. Weight in a Formula one car is everything and while carbon fibre provides toughness and strength it also very light.
While it might seem a trivial thing, there are many examples of seats causing huge issues. Nigel Mansell’s brief year with Maclaren was blighted by the fact they could not get the set up right with his seat and so Mark Blundell had to drive in his place whilst they sorted it. Kimi Raikkonen has also been vocal about his Ferrari in the past and it not being comfortable to sit in and drive it as well as he would like.