How Formula 1 Teams Fight Jet Lag

How Formula 1 Teams Fight Jet Lag

Then it’s off to the next race in Japan, which begins at 2 p.m. They are the first two of six events that include the United States, Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi, interspersed by trips home to Europe.

“They’ll have to be quite resilient,” Fisher-Atack said of the teams. “There’s no period of time to adjust.”

Experts said they believed traveling east was a greater challenge than west.

“You’re shortening the day, so you’re having to advance your body clock,” Malvern said. “West, you’re elongating days — and it’s also slightly easier to entertain yourself staying up late.” That is particularly useful in a sport such as Formula 1, where personnel travel in groups, meaning socializing is a jet lag tactic.

“For me the simplest — and not always the most practical — is going out as early as you can, not just for time, but the climate,” Nicholas Latifi, who drives for Williams, said about traveling to a race. “I always find it more difficult going east and much easier west; west you just get up early, but east you can’t sleep in the night and want to go to bed in the middle of the day.”

There is also the impact of so much flying.

“Travel fatigue is a relatively new phenomenon that we see day to day, but it’s not backed by research yet,” Fisher-Atack said. “That’s the accumulation of lots of travel: That you may not be suffering from jet lag, but the actual physical activity of traveling will increase the level of fatigue.”

Indeed, teams will spend about 10 full days, or 240 hours, in planes annually, crisscrossing multiple time zones.

“It’s part of competing in a worldwide sport,” Malvern said. “It’s the same for everyone, so it’s part of the commitment to being competitive. It is an opportunity to have an advantage — if you sleep well you’ll do better.”

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