Charles Leclerc is gearing up for the 2023 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, and that requires some special preparations detailed by his Performance Coach, Andrea Ferrari.
It’s not easy to be a Formula 1 driver, because aside from talent, drivers follow a strict system of training, bespoke diets, and a healthy lifestyle among other practices all aimed at making sure the best 20 drivers in the world driving the fastest cars in the world do their job properly.
And with the time zone difference that comes along with traveling down under to race at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit, drivers undergo special preparations to make sure they are as sharp as ever, without falling prey to jet lag.
In a feature on their website, Ferrari asked Charles Leclerc’s Performance Coach Andrea Ferrari, to detail the Monegasque’s preparation ahead of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, and while many may be aware of such preparations, it’s remains an interesting read.
Responding to a question on how to minimize the effect of the flight to Australia and the consequent jet lag, Ferrari said: “Managing jetlag is one of the trickiest problems for a driver.
“The Formula 1 calendar takes in four continents and so there are a lot of time changes to deal with. A lack of sleep, which means getting less than five hours, as well as the quality and amount of sleep can have a significant effect on an athlete’s performance. It can influence learning, memory, pain perception, inflammation of certain parts of the body and the immune system.
Nothing is left for coincidence, it’s all planned…
“The Australian time difference is one of the hardest to deal with, Melbourne being ten hours ahead of Italy. The most important thing is to look at the flight timings and then decide when it is best for the driver to sleep on the flight and when to stay awake to minimize the jetlag after landing,” he added.
As for Leclerc’s nutritional needs on such trips, his trainer said: “When it comes to nutrition and hydration everything is planned around the flight.
“We carefully study when are the best times to eat during the flight, which often do not align with when the airlines offer meals on-board and of course we also pay great attention to what type of food is best. Meals can also impact sleep, therefore light and only slightly seasoned meals are best,” he explained.
Asked to shed more light on the details of his role as Leclerc’s coach, Ferrari revealed: “I am in overall charge of Charles’ physical performance and, in addition to planning his fitness training, I coordinate physiotherapists, nutritionists, biologists, physiologists and specialist doctors, who are also involved in ensuring his performance level and general wellbeing.
“With a busy race calendar, a demanding part of this role is making sure that all parties are perfectly aligned and in condition to make decisions based on the latest developments.
“I really enjoy my work and feel I make a significant contribution to building his performance. It’s what I studied for and I constantly strive to expand my knowledge, dedicating a large part of the year to this,” he concluded.
Unlike the start of this season, with Ferrari struggling in the opening two races, Leclerc won the 2022 Australian Grand Prix. His best result so far this season is a seventh place at the previous race in Saudi Arabia. He retired from Bahrain’s season opener due to car troubles.