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Lando Norris has explained that F1’s current generation of cars are taking their toll on his lower back, forcing him to work with a physio for the very first time. The majority of a car’s downforce is generated by the underside and floor thanks to a renewed emphasis on ground effect aerodynamics following the regulation changes in 2022.
The approach has sometimes led to handling problems and violent bouncing on straights, which has sparked health concerns when it comes to driver safety. Lewis Hamilton could barely stand up after he was hit hard by the bouncing at last year’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, while Toto Wolff lobbied for the FIA to step in and protect drivers by tweaking the rulebook.
The governing body responded by raising the ride height of cars for 2023 in a bid to reduce the unwanted physical impact on drivers, but Norris is still feeling the effects on his lower back and is now working with a physio for the first time in his F1 career.
“I’ve struggled a lot with my back, I’ve had to make quite a few seats and do a lot more training just to try and strengthen my back, my lower back,” Norris told Speedcafe.
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“I’ve had a lot of issues over the last 12 months or so. It obviously was worse last year than it is this year. Every year until last year, I could get away with just hopping in the car and not doing any physio in a way. Not the best thing. I always did it, but I could get away with it.
“Now I have to do it [physio]. I have to stretch, I have to do all these things morning and evening, before every session. If I don’t then I always struggle a lot more with my back.”
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Norris went on to explain that his back pain has been taking a toll on his personal life by causing sleep problems and standing in the way of his other passions, with the Brit now playing much less golf than he would ideally like.
“It’s not just racing, it is other things,” he added. “It’s just something that I’ve had to work on in general anyway but it’s definitely not helped by some of the changes on the car in the last couple of years. It got to quite a bad point last year.
“Every day I was struggling, struggling with sleep and everything, just in constant pain. Now I’m in a much better position but I’m also limiting a lot more things around it, you know, doing more stretching, all those things. Even like golf, I’m playing a lot less golf just because of my back.”
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