A mechanics body
Pistops, long working hours, constantly on the move, climate changes, jetlag and high pressure.
This is all an everyday diet when working as a motorsport mechanic, not only in Formula 1 but also in the lower series.
I was told before starting my new job: “The hardest part of being a formula 1 mechanic is the travelling”, I can see what they meant now but personally I don’t 100% agree. Sure, travelling to 21 countries in 9 months does takes it’s toll on your body, constantly being on the move and living in your suitcase is not for everyone. But let’s be honest, complaining about travelling, to 21 countries in 9 months, you should feel ashamed. It is such an opportunity and I believe alot of the people in this circus love that fact that they get to travel. For me the travel is 80% why I am in this game, but that topic is for next weeks post 😉
For me what is hard is the combination of it all. First things first, you are jetlagged and for those of you who don’t know how that feels it’s like a dark cloud around your brain. Bit like a hangover minus the alcohol. Alot of the times the places we visit are really really warm. From the moment you wake up, you start sweating, then for the next 12-18 hours you are working in maybe 35 degrees, drinking litre after litre of water, getting heat rashes and dreaded chaffage (sorry, I know it isn’t pretty but it’s the truth) the combination of sweat and dirt is not great either! It’s like there is a constant film of dirt on your skin. Then you add pitstop practice on top of that, sometimes its so warm that the management show us mercy and we dont have to wear helmets. For you who have read most of my post, should have an idea of how this circus is working by now and should know my love for pitstops. This is not me complaining but I am just trying to give you an idea of our everyday life.
So beside the jetlag, the tiredness, the sweating and the constant focus you have to have in order for you not to make any mistakes, your body is now starting to ache aswell. For me the triple header was hardcore. 3 races in a row. First week was okay, the second is always a bit hard but the 3rd week my muscles in my arms and my back started to ache alot, but it wasnt really the 3 weeks of working that was hard, it’s when you stop working after 3 weeks that the pain reveals itself! When you are working you don’t realise what you are really putting your body through, it’s like you are working on adrenalin but the moment you stop your body get’s a chance to stop up and feel what hurts and it will let you know!
The days I have off, I try and do nothing, let my body relax eventhough it’s difficult! I have been on my feet for 1 or 2 weeks, constantly working and then suddenly trying to force your body and mind to relax can be really difficult.
It is important to be good to your body in this game, try and keep healthy and in good shape, but answer me this, after a 16 hour work day, where you have been sweating more than you could even imagine was possible, no breaks beside your lunch and dinner, been so focused on your work that by the end of the day you’re almost tunnel visioned, you are not only physically drained but also mentally. You finally come back to the hotel and take a long warm shower, you sit on your bed and now have 3 options; Go to the gym, go for a beer with your co workers or go to bed. 9/10 times you do not choose the first option. For me it is a bit of a mystery, is it being good to your body to relax or to excercise when you been active all day? I think maybe listening to your body and try and figureing out what it needs is the best thing, even if that is a cold beer, a long bath, watching netflix, calling your family or maybe take a stroll through the city you are in and appriciate you are in a job where you get to travel the world and work on racecars.