As the popularity of Formula 1 has grown here in the States, the hard work of achieving and sustaining success in the pinnacle of motorsports has remained the same for McLaren’s Lando Norris.
In his sixth year with McLaren, Norris is now the team’s lead driver. There’s a calmness and coolness to the 23-year-old that serves him well in this position along with being one of the fastest and most talented guys on the circuit.
With a schedule that consists of 24 races across 20 countries and five continents in nine months, it’s imperative that Formula 1 drivers utilize every resource available to them to be at their best. It’s a results-driven sport and excuses don’t fly far and for long. If you’re not performing, there’s not a shortage of up-and-coming talent waiting for their opportunity.
While Lando Norris does enjoy spending his free time with friends and family, either golfing or his recent love of cycling – when it’s time to train or go over the technical side his job requires, he’s completely locked in. Ahead of the Miami Grand Prix this Sunday, Lando Norris sat down with M&F and shared his thoughts on the steps needed to achieve success in Formula 1.
Formula 1 Training Is Very Specific
I have a very good trainer that I’ve been with for about 10 years almost. He knows what I love and what I hate. I can’t do super long sessions. I need shorter, targeted sessions. Formula 1 is super specific also. A lot of it has to do with neck strength and that’s probably what would be the biggest shock for anyone. If you were to jump into a Formula 1 car and drive, not only would the speed and acceleration stun you but the g-forces in terms of breaking and cornering would be the biggest shock.
There are not many things in everyday life where you would need to strengthen your neck and there’s specific training for it. You can easily go for a run and just keeping active is good for general health. It’s specific things like heat training. When you’re in the seat in the car, it can get hot in certain places. It’s maintaining the endurance side and maintaining concentration for such a long period of time. The cognitive side of things is very important. Its neck, core, glutes, upper and lower back, and all of these things are very important. I love playing golf. I got into cycling a bit more recently and I’m going to do more. A lot of my training isn’t big weights and it’s more yoga-based stuff. It’s about keeping my body healthy, and flexible and keeping those small muscles you don’t use in everyday life sharp and at their best.
How Lando Norris Fuels His Body
I think with time you learn what’s best for you, what you like more of, and what you don’t like. My trainer is on top of all of this for me. I have a guy that does all my nutrition when I’m away from racing. He’ll come out to my home in Monaco, and he’ll prepare food for me for about a week. When I’m over in the U.K. at MTC [McLaren Technology Centre], I’ll normally have a cool bag that will have a few day’s worth of food — breakfast, lunch, dinners, snacks, and drinks. Just because it’s better to go that route than snacking on things that I shouldn’t.
I think it’s nice to be able to go and enjoy a nice meal while you’re out and do some things with my friends every now and then. But it’s important I remain to a diet that’s given to me to remain as healthy as possible.
Everything in Formula 1 needs to be performing at the highest level. It’s the pinnacle of motorsports. It’s a big part of our health, fitness, and strength. I’ve learned more about what I enjoy eating and what works for me when I’m at the track and away from the track. I would say I’m the guy that sticks to what I like. When it comes to weekends, I just kind of have one thing and stick to that for three days. Even though my trainer hates it, I just stick to what I like and enjoy.
How Lando Norris Acclimates To Various Time Zones and Climate Changes
I fly out the weekend before the race, which means I’m there Sunday night through Thursday, which is the first day of work. Friday is the first day of driving. So, I have four to five days to climatize. That’s the same if you go to Singapore, where it’s a lot more humid and the temperatures are a lot higher. It does take time. There’s no specific cheat to getting over it. You can have the melatonin’s, optimize your training schedule, blue light glasses, and the other small hacks to help your body to trick your mind in certain ways. But there is no way to go from one bed to the next and get used to it.
You just want to optimize these things — training at the right time, eating at the right time, blue light glasses, and just giving yourself the time to get used to your environment. The difficult thing is you come back home, and you have a race the next week. It’s not always the easiest to change into those times. That’s when you just have to be strict with your schedule and sleep times. If you don’t, you pay the price. If you do, you can get back into it within a couple of days.
The Beauty of Nice Ice Bath
For the hot races, there’s nothing that beats a nice ice bath. Especially a race like Singapore, Austin sometimes, and Miami last year. It was boiling. You can easily lose up to four kilos in body weight in some of these races and you pay the price. A cold tub just kind of wakes you back up after a hot race. Drinking a lot of water, a good amount of food — I’m always hungry after I’ve driven. Normally, I’ll have a nice chicken burger. That’s my little treat to just get some energy back.
I love Austin. The Texas barbecue place called Terry Black’s is so good. It’s also very different from UK-based foods and it’s nice to have that kind of change. I love to do In-N-Out even though it’s rare that I get that chance. Italian food is my favorite. When we go to Monza and the Italy-based races or Japan, those are my favorite races. I hate fish. I can’t eat any fish or seafood in any way. Going to Tokyo though, the meats and fare is something that I love. I have to be careful but it’s very enjoyable.