A racing driver, throughout a race, has to be very aware of his surroundings and spot every little detail on the track and during pit-stops, with lightning fast reflexes.
That’s why through exercise, and practice sessions, F1 drivers train their brains to keep up with the speed of the car. But on what exactly does a racing driver focus when driving a single-seater?
In order to showcase what an F1 driver sees, Sky Sports teamed up with Tobii – a company specialized in eye tracking technology – and Sahara Force India deriver Nico Hulkenberg, and tried to put in perspective the comprehensive amount of information the human eye has to process during a normal practice run (imagine what happens in an actual race).
Data collected from Tobii showed that, unsurprisingly, it takes Hulkenberg only 100 milliseconds (1/10th of a second) to check his side mirror upon exiting the pit lane, or respond to a visual cue. A common trait in the world of F1 drivers, even though 100 milliseconds is exactly the time interval between gear changes on a Ferrari FXX. In other words, it’s blistering fast.
Moreover, Hulkenberg’s run demonstrates that racing drivers rely on automatic reflexes, but also use their brain to “feel” the absolute limits of the car.