Toro Rosso driver Jean Eric Vergne has admitted he was hospitalised between the Australian and Malaysian Grands Prix last month thanks to an extreme diet needed for him to compete against team-mate Daniil Kvyat.
The Frenchman said he ‘felt quite weak’ and wound up in clinical care thanks to the intensive weight loss program he had to stick to because of F1’s new weight-conscious rules.
“Formula one cars are very difficult to drive and we need all of our skills. Being forced to lose weight is not good.” said the Frenchman.
“Frankly, this [season] is stupid.”
Other drivers have expressed concern that they are being penalised for being taller and thus heavier than their smaller team-mates and rivals in 2014, including Nico Hulkenberg who many believe was discounted from a Ferrari drive because of his height.
Adrian Sutil, currently driving for Sauber, has said he will race without a drinks bottle fitted to his car in today’s Bahrain Grand Prix in order to save weight and make a statement to F1’s rule bodies about the weight limit; currently set at 692kg.
“I think it’s unfair. I wouldn’t like to win against a driver who is 20kg heavier and if I win by a tenth in qualifying, this is not the truth.” said the German, whose Sauber car alone is already around 20kg heavier than most other cars.
“The lightest drivers have a problem with it, they block it [proposed rule changes].”
Drivers which are taller than their counterparts, such as Sutil, Hulkenberg, Vergne and Jenson Button, lose around half a second a lap because of the current rules.