Alex's pre-race rituals
An insight into Alex's rituals & routine before each session.
02 Mar 2024
Est Reading Time
3 min
With the level of concentration and endurance that Formula 1 demands, drivers will often adopt pre-session rituals to help them focus and get into the right mindset. With insights provided by Alex’s performance coach Patrick Harding, here’s how Alex gets ready to head out to track!
90 minutes before a session, Alex will have some nutritious food prepared by the hospitality team. After that, he typically finishes up anything he still needs to run through from an engineering point of view.
Patrick then makes sure Alex is well-hydrated and well-fueled; that can mean an espresso, some caffeine chewing gum or an energy shot, if Alex feels like he needs the boost.
30 minutes out from a session, the pair will make their way across to the drivers’ room where Alex will change into his racing gear, before returning to the back of the garage to start his warm up.
“I think it's good for him from a mental point of view to be in that space [the garage] as we prepare for the session,” Patrick says. The length of the warm-up is dependent on the session, and typically involves jumping ropes or a test of Alex’s reaction times with flashing-light fitness equipment.
Alex then moves to the front of the garage where Patrick will have set up his driver cubby (a small space in the wall near the entrance of the garage where his balaclava, earpieces, clothing and towel are all stored).
Patrick says, “we don't really have any rituals in terms of superstitions [anymore] – but certainly we have a process that we follow.”
Speaking to CNA Luxury last year, Alex went into more detail, saying that he “used to be quite superstitious. I’m Buddhist and my mum is Buddhist and being from Thailand, people are generally quite superstitious.
“Before, I used to always carry lucky charms and bracelets or only get in the car from one side or make sure I wear my favourite underwear, but I’ve started to try to get away from it because I didn't want it to mentally play a part in my preparation.”
After arriving at the front of the garage, they record Alex’s weight in a log that’s kept updated across the race weekend, and which feeds into how Patrick and the team can judge Alex’s hydration. That information is also required by his engineer, whose job it is to make sure that Alex and the car meet the minimum weight regulations set out by the FIA.
At this point, you’ll often see Alex standing alongside his engineers to go over any further notes, or mentally visualising the track by imitating the steering movements. After that, Alex will wipe his face with a cold, wet cloth, before drying it and putting it on his balaclava. Next, it’s helmet on, and into the car.
Patrick and Alex replicate this routine for almost every session. Alex‘s pre-race ritual is a carefully curated combination of mental and physical preparation. By visualising, warming up, and staying well-hydrated and fuelled, Patrick and Alex are consistently striving to put him in the best possible position to perform at his best, every time he takes to the track.
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