F1 drivers weigh in on the topic of stiffness in the current generation of cars which is creating back problems.

While FIA and F1 are in discussions about finalising the changes for the 2026 cars, the stiffness topic has popped up by few drivers especially Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz who reckons that the high rigidity is not good for their shoulders and backs.

He would like it to be discussed and some of his rivals agree to the stiffness part. It extends to limiting the driving too as some are unable to push due to adverse situations. But some drivers like Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez haven’t felt as bad in the car.

Here’s what some of the F1 drivers said about it –

Carlos Sainz: “These cars are very harsh for those who drive them. Their high rigidity is not ideal for our backs and shoulders. These Formula 1 cars perform better the stiffer they are set up. I would consider this situation. Many have started to experience back problems in recent years.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “The cars are definitely super, super stiff, the stiffest I’ve ever driven and witnessed in my time in F1. So it’s definitely, I think, something… Most drivers feel it’s something we would like to work on. It also limits you sometimes in races when you want to offset yourself, getting out of dirty air, you can’t use many kerbs because of stiffness. So it just limits what you can on lines, racing lines, etc. So, it is tricky. There is some, you know, some difficulties with that for sure. Pain, I don’t have [any] but you know, obviously that’s very different, everybody’s built different, everybody has a different seating position. But yeah, they are very, very stiff.”

Lando Norris: “I mean, I would love it. I wouldn’t say no, if we could have softer cars or something that makes it a bit more like it was in ’19, ’20, ‘21. 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. I’ve had a lot of issues over the last 12 months or so. Similar to Carlos. It’s probably mainly referring to me, I think, when he said it. Yeah, I guess everyone’s had different things and struggles with different bits and cars are different and whatever. But yeah, for different reasons, but a bit of it including the car and how stiff it is. I’ve struggled quite a bit.”

Valtteri Bottas: “Not so much to add. My back was already destroyed in 2015, so there’s no feeling anymore, so it doesn’t matter! But in the end, everyone will always search for performance versus comfort. You take it, even with not being so comfortable in the car. And that would be definitely by the regulations somehow to be improved, not by the teams, because teams wouldn’t go softer if it’s slower.”

Charles Leclerc: “No. For me, I really don’t mind. I don’t know. I’ve never been sensitive to that. Even the porpoising wasn’t something that was really disturbing me. I don’t know why. But yeah, for me, it’s for me, it’s fine.”

Sergio Perez: “For me, also fine. I haven’t had any issues with my back. My back is as fresh as when I was 15. So I’m lucky in that regard, I guess. Certainly the cars are on the stiff side, but I haven’t had any problems.”

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