If you want to be successful in Motorsport, you need to be well prepared both physically and mentally. The two go hand in hand and there’s just no going around that. That’s why BMW Motorsport is carrying out special training sessions for the mind.
As cliche as it may sound, the brain is just another muscle that needs to be trained. Therefore, a special setup was created for such purposes, one run by the people from Formula Medicine.
The man behind Formula Medicine is Dr. Riccardo Ceccarelli and he is widely known for his contributions made in the field. “In over 30 years in racing, I learned from engineers that objective data and its analysis are what is most important,” says Ceccarelli.
“We transferred that to our mental training. We developed our own hardware and software that we can use to measure brain performance objectively. During the analysis, a driver can identify their strengths and weaknesses directly from the data, like looking in a mirror.”
Just having data and analyzing it is the first step in the right direction but there’s more to it than just that. “Many of the best racing drivers in the world are characterized by a high degree of self-awareness,” said Ceccarelli, who knows the Formula 1 drivers Charles Leclerc and Daniel Ricciardo very well and has worked with them intensively.
“The best racing drivers are able to make really good assessments of themselves and are always striving to learn as much about themselves as they can. Only those who can assess themselves really well will be able to perform optimally in stressful situations. That is the key.”
Then there’s the efficiency. You brain needs to work efficiently on the long run and that’s yet another crucial point in mental training. At their facility in Italy, Formula Medicine uses a variety of forms of training and measurement techniques. Brain performance is recorded alongside exercises in concentration, coordination and response.
Flexibility and adaptability of the brain is also trained. “If, for example, the weather changes quickly on a race weekend, the driver must be able to mentally adjust to the new conditions within a short period of time,” said Ceccarelli.