Formula 1 is physically as well as mentally demanding sport, to say the least. Right from opting for better strategies to keeping the safety of the driver in priority, we as laymen tend to forget the fact that a sport like Formula 1 consists of a bigger picture than it seems.
The first and utmost thing is the driver’s safety. And for that, the FIA has time and again inducted several safety measures, with the recent being the halo. Many including the fans, current drivers as well as the legends, criticized it for cracking a driver’s vision, Niki Lauda even mentioned that it is destroying the DNA of the sport, which was featuring open cockpits since the beginning. But at the end of the day, the Halo had the last laugh.
What that being the car’s equity, there are certain regulations FIA has inducted as what a driver should wear during the races. The sport has seen its fair share of downhearted moments and to minimize the threat, all the drivers are required to wear a fire-proof costume. But what exactly do they wear during the race?
Usually drivers are seen wearing a race suit which covers these racers from neck to ankle, but there are a couple of things underneath that. As the Formula 1’s official website quotes; “Nomex is the key”. Nomex is an artificial fibre which is not just lightweight, but is fire resistant as well. Nomex first undergoes a heavy thermal testing which involves “an open flame with a temperature of 300 to 400 degrees Celsius from around three centimetres.”
If you think that’s enough, these race suits are made of three to four layers of Nomex. This race suit, on the other hand, undergoes the same flame experiment, but at the temperature of 600 to 800 degrees Celsius. There are so many intricate details involved; for example, the zip as well as the thread used in the suit is also fire-resistant.
Beneath this suit, the drivers wear a T-shirt, pant and socks which are extremely silky and are also made of Nomex. And yes, there’s one flameproof underwear as well.
To protect the head there’s helmet, but beneath that, they wear a Balaclavas, which is again made of a fireproof substance. Then there are two important wearables; gloves and boots. The gloves these drivers put on are also made of Nomex “with suede leather palms” to provide sensitivity while racing. Shoes, on the other hand, are also made of soft and cushioned leather and the sole is much thinner than the ordinary boots, which gives the driver a slip-free contact with the pedals.