Being an Formula One driver is not as easy as it looks

Formula One drivers are known for their quick reflexes, a skill that’s ingrained in them early on and honed to keep them competitive in their racing environment. But hearing or reading about it is one thing. Actually seeing it first-hand from the perspective of Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg is a completely different and far more thrilling experience.

To demonstrate exactly how fast Hulkenberg’s reaction time is, Sky Sports put a pair of Tobii eye-tracking glasses on the German racer to determine what he sees on the track and how fast he’s able to process everything in his sight, right down to his peripheral vision.

Suffice to say, the revelations are nothing short of incredible. On one test, Hulkenberg’s reaction time to lights, specifically the green lights at the start of the race, amounted to under 100 milliseconds, or quicker than 0.10 seconds. Apparently, that kind of reaction time is “superhuman.” In another test, Hulkenberg was instructed to drive out of the pit lane and proceed with his usual routine in such a scenario. Of particular importance was how quickly he checks his mirrors before returning his gaze to the track. The tracking glasses recorded the time and as it turns out, he only needs 0.10 seconds to look at the mirrors and process what he sees. By comparison, average folks like you and me would need at least 0.50 seconds to do the same thing. Some parts of the track, particularly the apexes, naturally demand more attention from Hulkenberg and it’s interesting to see that when drivers turning into corners, their sole attention is taken up by the apexes, and not the the actual road ahead.

In the event that somebody dismisses a Formula One driver’s abilities on a track, it might be a good idea to have them watch this video prepared by Sky Sports and the Force India F1 racing team. It takes the appreciation for these drivers to an entirely new level.


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