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Video worth watching: What does an F1 driver look out for on a racetrack?

Team OD  | Updated: July 11, 2016, 11:37 AM IST

The title might appear to be a rather simple question. And to many, the obvious answer would be "the next turn". But is that really what a Formula 1 driver looks out for on track?

Well, at speeds of up to 370kmph, you can't afford to leave anything to chance. To find out exactly what these nearly superhuman racecar drivers manage to see at these phenomenal speeds, popular TV channel Sky Sports F1 teamed up with Nico Hulkenberg from the Sahara Force India F1 team and what they found was fascinating.

With the help of a special eye-movement tracking aid from Tobii that features five compact infra-red cameras, Hulkenberg heads out on track. These smart goggles record every single movement of the driver's eyes - when he exits the pit, enters turns and also manages a blitzing quick reaction time to the track going green. Just so you know, he merely took 0.09 seconds to react to the changing of lights as he dashed past the start line.

The results that were collected from the video reveal that even though a human's eyes have a reasonably small focal point, the brain makes up for the missing points by processing all the data at lightning speed. This helps the drivers make quick decisions and make the right move on sighting an oncoming turn, or while making a quick manoeuvre past another car.

The video also tells us how F1 drivers train their brains to use the information received from the eyes between different focal points, process it and then come up with a decision on their next move. This is what separates them from the average Joe. You realise this when you see Nico taking just a 10th of a second to look at the mirror as he drives out of the pit lane. In comparison, we mortals take at least half a second to do the same.

Check out the video to know more.


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