Formula One driver Lando Norris has recently revealed the challenges he’s faced with ongoing back problems. In a frank discussion, Norris revealed that these issues have been plaguing him for some time and have become particularly acute in 2022.
The revelation sheds light on the physical toll that the demanding world of motorsport can take on even the most promising talent. What’s perhaps most disturbing about this story is the fact that the current ground effect cars are a big reason for problems such as Norris’s.
A year of struggle
Lando Norris began by explaining that the difficulties he experienced in 2022 were more severe than those he’s currently facing. Remarkably, until last year he had managed to perform at the highest level without the need for extensive physiotherapy or specialised treatment.
But as the physical demands of Formula One have increased, so have his requirements for maintaining his wellbeing.
“I have to stretch, I have to do all these things. In the morning and in the evening. Before every session,” revealed Norris. Failure to adhere to this routine results in aggravated back pain, highlighting the constant effort he puts into staying race fit.
Persistent pain & sleep disturbance
The young driver revealed the extent of his suffering during 2022, describing it as “constant pain”. These problems extended beyond the racetrack and affected his daily life, including his quality of sleep. Sleep disturbance is a common consequence of chronic pain, and Norris’ admission highlights the multifaceted impact of such injuries on professional athletes.
The situation has since improved, giving Norris some respite, but he still endures discomfort. His decision to prioritise his health and well-being reflects a mature perspective that recognises the long-term implications of neglecting such issues.
Sacrifices & adaptations
To alleviate his back problems, Norris has had to make sacrifices in his personal life. He cites playing less golf as an example of an activity he has had to cut back on because of its impact on his back. Even mundane activities such as a track walk, an essential part of a Formula 1 driver’s race preparation, can be strenuous for him.
These adjustments highlight the unique challenges faced by professional athletes in managing chronic injuries while maintaining their competitive edge. For Norris, these sacrifices extend to his leisure time, limiting his ability to fully enjoy certain activities.
Training & teamwork
Norris understands that his road to recovery involves more than just adjusting the seating in his car. He recognises the importance of training specific muscle groups, including his core, lower back and glutes, to strengthen the areas affected by his back problems. It’s a testament to his commitment to his sport and his own wellbeing.
McLaren, Norris’ team, are actively working with him to address these issues. While the team recognises that there won’t be an immediate revolutionary solution, they are working together to find a balance between improving his race performance and maintaining his health.
“I need to work more on my core, my lower back, my glutes and things like that,” he explains
Current cars damaging drivers?
Norris does hint that the current formula F1 runs under could well be responsible for the health issues described.
“I wouldn’t say no if we could have softer cars,” Norris said recently, explaining his problems: “I hope it doesn’t have a long-term effect. Other F1 drivers are much more relaxed about the situation,”
“Everyone is different,” says Norris. “For my own health, it is definitely important for me to look after my back…”
In a world where elite athletes are often perceived as invincible, Norris’ openness about his struggles serves as a reminder that even the most talented individuals have hurdles to overcome. It also underlines the importance of prioritising health and well-being, even in the pursuit of greatness in the world of motorsport.