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Mansell's weight disadvantage?


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#1 scdecade

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 10:49

Nigel Mansell made the following comment in the latest issue of F1 Racing magazine when commenting on how the technical regulations negatively affected the career of Justin Wilson:

"To be honest, I think the regulations should be changed to make things fairer for bigger drivers. I used to suffer - due to my muscular build, not any excessive height - because the weight limit didn't include drivers [nowadays, the 600kg limit is for driver-plus-car]. So racing against the likes of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, who were a lot lighter than me, was a situation stacked in their favour. Those two had an advantage over me of almost half a second per lap, just from power-to-weight ratio."

Could one or some of the more technically minded posters verify or deny this 0.5 sec/lap claim? What would the weight difference need to be to account for such a difference? It sounds to me like Nige is exagerating and it wouldn't be the first time! Still I was and remain a big fan of all three drivers.


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#2 karlth

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 11:01

Ever heard about Pandora's Box?

#3 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 11:21

During the telecast from Albert Park it was mentioned that 10kg of fuel would cost three tenths of a second a lap.

He might be in the ball park with that claim... unless 10kg of fuel is worse than 10kg of 'muscular build'...

#4 Vitesse2

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 11:28

I suppose it depends on the weight of the chip on your shoulder .... :rolleyes:

#5 jloehs777

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 11:33

He's actually got a good point there...I can remember Kataymi used to have a lot of speed before the car weight included the driver...after that he was a nowhere man.

#6 Damon Beck

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 11:39

:rotfl: Bugga! Oi yewster race FV in OZ in the 60's/70's (and more). There were some pretty lightweight chaps (and chapesses) but there were also some large-ish chaps like meself. We only had about 40 horses harnessed and (Ray Bell can attest) the lightweights didn't do all the winning (they did a fair bit of it though!)

Noigel's whingeing musta had some weight in it! :blush:

#7 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 11:50

You weren't so fat those days, Demon...

But it's true... John Smith, Bernie Haehnle, Enno Bussellmann, even Frankie Junior were pretty small alongside you.

But don't fib. You had 43.5hp!

#8 Damon Beck

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 12:04

:lol: Actually 41.9 on TACE's dyno when B K Haehnle had 42.1 - so there!

#9 Mohican

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 12:24

As for Katayama: have often heard it said that he wsas very good in his first season with tyrrell (rather to the surprise of Mark Blundell on the other car, who was supposed to be the star of the team) but not therefater andd that this was due to the rules re weight measurements changing.

Do not believe it, though. As Mario says: "If you can drive, you can drive. Period." And Katayma can drive (compare him at Le Mans in the Toyota, for instance). the thing was that Tyrrell could not build a good car two years in a row...

#10 scdecade

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 13:14

Originally posted by Ray Bell
During the telecast from Albert Park it was mentioned that 10kg of fuel would cost three tenths of a second a lap.

He might be in the ball park with that claim... unless 10kg of fuel is worse than 10kg of 'muscular build'...


If +10kg = +0.3 sec/lap, then Nigel must be claiming he was about 37 lbs (17kg) heavier than both Ayrton and Alain. [He's using math, he's using math! Someone should check it though...] Is that right? Anybody have their actual weights?

Also, the formula above probably assumes todays 3.0 liter grooved tire electronics laden F1. What about mid eighties fat slicks and insanely powerful turbos? I think if you consider the technical differences Nigel's argument would be undermined.

#11 Viktor

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 13:24

Originally posted by Mohican
As for Katayama: have often heard it said that he wsas very good in his first season with tyrrell (rather to the surprise of Mark Blundell on the other car, who was supposed to be the star of the team) but not therefater andd that this was due to the rules re weight measurements changing.

You can find a very good article about Katayamas 1994 season over at www.f1rejects.com, The Rising Son - Ukyo Katayama's 1994.

/Viktor

#12 Rediscoveryx

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 13:30

I also reacted over Mansell's comments in that article, I don't think for a second that his disadvantage could have been that big. In particular as he drove in an era where cars were not refueled, so the relative weight advantage would have been much lesser in those days.

#13 fines

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 15:11

The old adage is a second per 35 kg on average. I was never able to find out on what theoretical basis this was computed, but let's guess it's one per cent time on 5 per cent weight.

Anyway, Mansell has a point... but to put it bluntly, what was he going to do about it? Make a diet? A bit ridiculous, this... :rolleyes:

[can we have a Mansell smiley? :mansell:?]


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#14 later

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 15:26

Originally posted by scdecade


If +10kg = +0.3 sec/lap, then Nigel must be claiming he was about 37 lbs (17kg) heavier than both Ayrton and Alain. [He's using math, he's using math! Someone should check it though...] Is that right? Anybody have their actual weights?

Also, the formula above probably assumes todays 3.0 liter grooved tire electronics laden F1. What about mid eighties fat slicks and insanely powerful turbos? I think if you consider the technical differences Nigel's argument would be undermined.


Don't forget that the fuel mass is changing through the lap, but mansell's was not, suggesting that starting a lap on 10 kg extra of fuel is not the same as starting a lap on 10 kg extra weight. This would likely suggess that 10 kg of body weight is even slower.

#15 John B

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 15:31

He mentions Prost and Senna as his examples.....how does his weight compare to drivers (teammates) like Patrese and Berger, who he frequently outpaced?

#16 jloehs777

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 15:34

Yeah body weight's in a bad place centre of gravity wise.

#17 Rainer Nyberg

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 17:16

IIRC Mansell was +80kg, typically 82-83kg
Prost was jockey sized at around 60kg.

Berger was also one of the heavyweights of his era, in the Mansell league.

#18 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 20:40

Cornering and braking are a part of the weight equation...

Which tends to show some extra bravery when a heavyweight goes in deeper under brakes.

fines... eventually the FIA did something about it... they weighed the car with the driver inside.

#19 Mark Beckman

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Posted 15 March 2003 - 03:18

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Cornering and braking are a part of the weight equation...

Which tends to show some extra bravery when a heavyweight goes in deeper under brakes.

fines... eventually the FIA did something about it... they weighed the car with the driver inside.



Well said Ray and accurate ecpecially at the initial directional change when as jloehs777 mentions, extra wieght shows up the most when its in the wrong place.

Mansell has a very valid point, more than just a whinge, not to mention the discomfort he also went thru as did other large drivers who had to squeeze into cars made around an ideal sized driver.

Cant remember which but a more recent driver got 20 odd more horsepower at speed by sqatting down hard in the cockpit to allow better airflow into the airbox because he was idealy too tall and his head was in the way literally, may have even been Berger ?

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#20 Anorak Man

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Posted 15 March 2003 - 06:26

"Weight" what about Height too, poor James used to stick out of his Big Mac as if her were driving a dodgem. Added wind resistance, bonce, blocking the air intakes, etc. It's going to have to be in the handicap algorithm Nige.

Then there's IQ to factor in ... and possibly ... nationality, social status, linguistic ability, and skin tints.

Oi Max , we need your expert guidance.


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#21 jloehs777

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Posted 15 March 2003 - 06:30

Originally posted by Mark Beckman




Cant remember which but a more recent driver got 20 odd more horsepower at speed by sqatting down hard in the cockpit to allow better airflow into the airbox because he was idealy too tall and his head was in the way literally, may have even been Berger ?


Yeah I'm pretty sure it was the Bennettons in 97, I think both Berger and Alesi had the problem not sure though.

#22 Leif Snellman

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Posted 15 March 2003 - 12:15

From Michelin's press release, 2003 Australian GP:
"The penalty for carrying a heavy fuel load is significant, too - about 0,4 second per lap for every 10 kilos."

Weights 1983:
Cheever 80.8
Tambay 80.4
Mansell 80.0
Jarier 77.8
Serra 77.4
Watson 77.2
de Angelis 77.0
Patrese 76.8
Salazar 76.6
Warwick 75.8
Winkelhock 75.6
Ghinzani 75.4
Giacomelli 73.0
de Cesaris 72.8
Boesel 72.4
Sullivan 72.2
Lauda 71.2
Alboreto 70.8
C Fabi 70.8
Cecotto 70.4
Baldi 68.0
Rosberg 67.8
Arnoux 67.2
Surer 67.2
Piquet 67.0
Guerrero 66.6
Prost 65.4,
Laffite 61.6

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#23 Leif Snellman

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Posted 15 March 2003 - 12:46

Of course the time is also depending on the circuit. Using 0.3s/10kg mentioned earlier we'll get:
Handicap in seconds:

Cheever +0.576
Tambay +0.564
Mansell +0.552
Jarier +0.486
Serra +0.474
Watson +0.468
de Angelis +0.462
Patrese +0.456
Salazar +0.450
Warwick +0.426
Winkelhock +0.420
Ghinzani +0.414
Giacomelli +0.342
de Cesaris +0.336
Boesel +0.324
Sullivan +0.318
Lauda +0.288
Alboreto +0.276
C Fabi +0.276
Cecotto +0.264
Baldi +0.192
Rosberg +0.186
Arnoux +0.168
Surer +0.168
Piquet +0.162
Guerrero +0.150
Prost +0.114
Laffite scratch

#24 karlth

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Posted 15 March 2003 - 12:56

Originally posted by Anorak Man
"Weight" what about Height too, poor James used to stick out of his Big Mac as if her were driving a dodgem. Added wind resistance, bonce, blocking the air intakes, etc. It's going to have to be in the handicap algorithm Nige.

Then there's IQ to factor in ... and possibly ... nationality, social status, linguistic ability, and skin tints.

Oi Max , we need your expert guidance.


Prost was fast because he was the professor, Prost was fast because he was such a smooth driver, Prost was fast because he was such a setup expert, etc.

Perhaps Prost was just fast because he was light as a feather.

#25 Vitesse2

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Posted 15 March 2003 - 13:12

Sorry all, but I can't help thinking about the GP du Roc here, with Altbauer talking about the necessity for von Grips to have a central pocket in his overalls so that his handkerchief wouldn't upset the balance of the Schnorrcedes.

"Von Grips must come in now .... it is time to blow his nose ....." :stoned:

#26 Maldwyn

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Posted 15 March 2003 - 13:19

Originally posted by John B
He mentions Prost and Senna as his examples.....how does his weight compare to drivers (teammates) like Patrese and Berger, who he frequently outpaced?

According to a MotorSport article (July 2002) about the 1992 season weight was a big issue for Mansell:

David Brown: "We had the ritual weigh-in at the first race [South African GP, Kyalami], and Nigel was determined to be lighter than Riccardo..."

Adrian Newey: "I remember something about a dummy helmet..."

David Brown: "There were all sorts of shenanigans. No stone was left unturned in this effort for Nigel to be lighter. And he was [76kg to 78]. He was chuffed; Riccardo got extremely Italian about it."

Having been matched and frequently outpaced by Patrese in 1991 those 2kgs clearly made a difference in 1992 :p

#27 karlth

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Posted 15 March 2003 - 13:23

I remember a scene from the 1994 FIA review video of the official drivers weigh-in. After stepping off the scales Senna immediately rushed to the FIA official and asked: "How much does Damon weigh?"

#28 Ian McKean

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Posted 15 March 2003 - 13:59

Mansell may have been one of the heaviest at 76-80kg in 1983, but weren't people like Dan Gurney and Jack Brabham well over that in the '60s and '70s?

#29 Alan Baker

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Posted 15 March 2003 - 14:50

I seem to recall that when Gurney was driving for Porsche in '61/62, their engineers calculated that he needed 9 (or something like that) bhp more than Clark to have the same power to weight ratio.

#30 karlth

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Posted 15 March 2003 - 14:59

Originally posted by Alan Baker
I seem to recall that when Gurney was driving for Porsche in '61/62, their engineers calculated that he needed 9 (or something like that) bhp more than Clark to have the same power to weight ratio.


And it is just not about the power. Higher weight also slows you down in the curves.

#31 masterhit

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Posted 15 March 2003 - 19:21

I think this is true, as it is no secret that Mansell lost a lot of weight in the 1991 winter season prior to the '92 championship. James Hunt, who of course was no fan of Riccardo Patrese, (Mansell's partner at williams in the 92 season) took great delight in reporting how Mansell had outpsyched Patrese right from the word go, by turning up to the pre season weigh in lighter than Patrese. In other words, Mansell recognised his weight disadvantage and worked on it, and by doing so shocked and immediately outpsyched his new team mate. Of course Mansell then put weight back on again after he won the Indycar title in '93, when his motivation suffered. We all remember the McLaren chassis having to be rebuilt to accomodate his additional size. Also it is worth pointing out that Mansell was very physically strong, and this was believed to have helped him in fast corners to physically throw the car through the corner as it were.

#32 holiday

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Posted 15 March 2003 - 23:44

This thread is highly interesting and I take Nigel very seriously on this issue. But if the speed advantages of light drivers are anywhere as high as Leifs table suggests, then I wonder why jockey sized pilots havent taken over f1 long ago like they actually did at horse running. After all, since Darwin we know that adaptation to the environment is the first rule of life and formula1 would look quite differently from how it looks today, if we have to take the weight advantage issue at face value. There must be a bug somewhere, teams owners are not that stupid.

BTW f1 drivers are less than average tall, too.

#33 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 00:11

Truth is that most drivers are fairly small...

Clark was small, Surtees was slim, Phil Hill was small, most European drivers are small.

#34 D-Type

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 01:41

Truth is that most drivers are fairly small...



And Nuvolari and Moss

#35 Frank S

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 02:09

I'd have to guess the reason F1 is not taken over by small—or smaller—drivers is because there aren't that many who can dance well. According to Stirling Moss, recorded somewhere I could read it fifty-something years ago: "If you aren't a superb dancer, don't even try to drive a race car competitively." Or something near that.

I know from personal observation Moss was a superb-or-better dancer, even though (or perhaps because) his view of a dance partner was collar-bone height or lower.

So, may we infer the "big" F1 drivers are better-than-superb dancers? How does one handicap that? We must avoid Russian competitors and French judges, in any event.

Frank S

#36 holiday

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 02:57

Can you imagine Noige dancing? :rolleyes:

There must be something wrong with Moss theory... :p

#37 dbltop

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 09:54

So, if Nigel had shaved his moustache off sooner, who knows what he might of accomplished.;)

#38 fines

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 20:33

How about bringing in weight classes, like in Boxing. So Mansell would be super-heavyweight champion, and perhaps Watson in heavyweight, de Cesaris middleweight etc. :p :drunk:

#39 WDH74

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 20:47

Regarding dancing and driving, I imagine that the point Sir Stirling was driving at ( :p ) was-good dancers have a better than average sense of rythm and timing, two things that come in handy for driving a high performance car quickly. Not that taking dancing lessons will necessarily help your autocross times, but I can see his point. (Maybe I'll start wearing tap shoes behind the wheel!)
-William

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#40 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 20:58

Originally posted by Leif Snellman
From Michelin's press release, 2003 Australian GP:
"The penalty for carrying a heavy fuel load is significant, too - about 0,4 second per lap for every 10 kilos."


Is it really that high now? I was allways informed that 10lbs=1/10th so 10kg (22lbs?) should be about .25 not .4

Id assume its even worse at lower levels where the cars are actually ligher (F1 is 600kg, Formula Ford 480) and you have less power. In which case using the Michelin supplied ratio I am a racing god in the making if id just stop going to McDonalds.

#41 karlth

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 22:43

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld
Is it really that high now? I was allways informed that 10lbs=1/10th so 10kg (22lbs?) should be about .25 not .4


Depends on the circuit of course. Monaco is especially bad with the heavier drivers having probably lost huge chunks(no pun intended) of time powering out of St. Devote.