Lucozade provide bespoke drinks for McLaren drivers

Press release

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers to drink bespoke Lucozade formulation for the first time during 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced today that their R&D scientists have collaborated closely with the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team to create two bespoke Lucozade formulations to support optimal performance in the unique environment that is Formula 1 racing. This collaboration is part of GSK’s long-term strategic partnership with McLaren Group.

The two hydration formulations will be used for the first time at this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix by Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton and the team supporting them.

  • The ‘Lucozade Hydration Formulation’ contains a precise and scientifically determined mix of essential hydration salts, carbohydrates and proteins to support the optimal performance of the whole team in the unique environment that is Formula 1 racing
  • The ‘Lucozade Race Formulation’ is scientifically formulated to aid performance in high temperatures and extreme G-forces, but also to answer specific needs relating to weight management, driver alertness and speed of absorption into the body

Helen Cowie, Technical Director, GlaxoSmithKline Research & Development commented: “Hydration is paramount not only because Formula 1 races are often held in hot climates but because temperatures in the cockpit can reach 50 degrees Celsius.  At those temperatures for up to two hours drivers can lose up to three kilos in sweat – roughly five per cent of their body weight. A bodyweight loss of just two per cent will start to decrease performance, so a five per cent loss can have a substantial detrimental effect. As the drivers can only take one litre of fluid into the cockpit, every drop has to count in terms of aiding hydration, energy and focus.”

Jenson Button said: “Hydration in the cockpit is extremely important – and I know that only too well from a past experience during the Malaysian Grand Prix when my fluid bottle broke. That meant I couldn’t take on any liquids during one of the hottest and most physically difficult races on the calendar. By the end of the race, I was in pretty bad shape – which just goes to show that, without proper hydration, your performance and your abilities behind the wheel are severely compromised. I’m really pleased that the team has worked closely with Lucozade’s scientists, and it’s great that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has its own unique formulations – both in and out of the cockpit.  I think our race formulation will be a really important asset: not only will it keep us refreshed and hydrated during races, but it should also improve our concentration and decision-making abilities in the cockpit.”

Lewis Hamilton said: “It’s fantastic that we’ve been able to work on this project with Lucozade’s scientists.  Make no mistake, hydration is important: during a race, you can lose up to four kilos in fluid – that’s a significant percentage of your bodyweight, and something that can really affect your performance in the car.  One of the benefits of working so closely with our human high performance team at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is that Lucozade has really tailored the taste of the drinks to our preferences.”

The two formulations’ precise compositions are proprietary, but the constituents have been fine-tuned for the specific needs of the drivers and team, including:

  • Carbohydrate levels balanced to be high enough to fuel the brain and body, yet emptied from the stomach and absorbed quickly to prevent the drivers feeling uncomfortable in the safety harness.
  • Sodium levels optimised for hot humid environments which helps speed-up absorption of the drink across the gut wall and to replace salts lost through sweat
  • Caffeine (Race Formulation only) to aid driver focus and concentration.
  • Flavours tailored to the tastes of the team and drivers – a drink is only effective if the drivers and crew actually drink it in sufficient quantities.

Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes said: “It’s important to remember that, during a grand prix, the whole team acts as one, and this will be a significant benefit to the hydration, fitness and focus of the engineers and mechanics who are all under considerable physical and mental pressure during the race. At a race like this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, that will be crucial – it’s one of the toughest events on the calendar, and a race where good hydration, coupled with driver fitness, can have a significant impact on the result. I’m extremely pleased at the first results of this collaboration, and I’m excited by the potential that lies ahead as we continue to develop the formulations.”

The drinks are available as cherry, tropical, orange and blackcurrant flavours. The drivers’ favourites are blackcurrant for the Race Formulation and cherry for the Hydration Formulation. In the same way that McLaren engineers work continually to improve the performance of the car throughout the season, GSK scientists will use feedback from Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton and the pit team to refine the two drink formulations as necessary.