Jenson Button: F1 driver weight limit is unfair


Jensen Button: F1 driver weight limit is unfair

British F1 driver Jenson Button has called on the FIA to increase the minimum weight limit for cars competing in next year's championship, claiming that taller and heavier drivers are being discriminated against.

The issue of car weight has come to the fore once again after rumours circulated that Sauber driver Niko Hulkenberg may miss out on a drive next year as he weighs 11st 9lb (74kg). He was previously not considered by Ferrari and is competing with flyweight Felipe Massa for a seat at Lotus.

Britain's Paul di Resta also has an uncertain future in the sport, weighing in the same as Hulkenberg.

The Grand Prix Drivers Association is expected to debate the issue in its meeting, being held today.

Retiring Red Bull racer Mark Webber – who is amongst the tallest of the current crop of drivers at 6ft – took to Twitter to sympathise with his colleagues.

He wrote: "Haven't eaten for last 5 years! Min weight been to [sic] low since for ages. Perfect driver now weight 60/65kg."

The issue of driver weight can have serious consequences for those looking to compete. David Coulthard admitted that he struggled with eating-disorder bulimia as he tried to make a name in the sport as a teenager, while Button himself has said that he never eats carbohydrates.

He is urging both drivers and the FIA to create a level playing field ahead of the new regulations being imposed, which will see driver's being squeezed even further thanks to the addition of heavy electric energy recovery systems.

"I have about six per cent body fat and I am on the limit in our car. "I couldn't be heavier than I am so I fast before the race," said Button to The Telegraph.

"The problem is that it will stop people looking at taller drivers in the future. You could have a very talented driver who could be missed for his height and weight even if he is the fittest and skinniest driver ever to be in a racing car. If he is over the weight by five kilos that is 0.2 secs-a-lap and it is the end of your career basically.

"It needs to change now. To be fair, we [the drivers] should have pushed harder on that. I think the drivers would rather have a level playing field. It is not a safety issue and it should be an easy thing to change: just put [the minimum weight] up five or 10kg."