The 2017 Formula One season hasn’t started yet, but this is a crucial period for the mental and physical preparation that precedes the drivers’ first pre-season laps. Since most competitors will only be reunited with their cars on February 22nd, in Barcelona, they have to go through a series of tests and training sessions to gradually get back in shape.
In 1993, already boasting an impressive an illustrious career, Ayrton Senna was interviewed by Roberto Cabrini about the importance of being physically prepared in F1, and specially about the pioneering techniques employed by Nuno Cobra, the three-time world champion’s trainer at the time.
Senna: “Nuno is a very special person. He’s a very calm and quiet man. He’s got a unique personality, so only those who really know him can understand him and accept him the way he is. He’s a dreamer. I tease him about it, but it’s a big virtue. He sees beauty in things most people don’t”.
“All I know is that in all these years of work – and this is really important for any person, or any athlete –I’ve never been injured. This is the key point that shows that Nuno [Cobra] knows exactly how far to push each person, since everyone has their own needs”, said Ayrton.
Senna: “I’ve improved my physical condition a lot, without ever pushing my own body past its limit. It’s not unusual to be injured during a process of physical conditioning, but I wasn’t. This comes not only from Nuno’s technique and knowledge, but also from his experience”.
Interviewer: “How important was your physical preparation in achieving so much success?”
Senna: “It was – and still is – very important not just for my career. It’s a matter of health. Whenever you’re in shape, you’re healthier. You’re better prepared to face your routine. And you’ll undoubtedly have more vitality and live longer. I believe that the stress of a regular life, or even the life of a driver, who has to race in an environment full of competition and politics, can really compromise your health ten or twenty years down the line. But if you have an above average physical condition, you’ll be able to better deal with that stress. You’ll improve your focus, reducing the risk of an accident or an injury. And your chances of winning also increase”.
Interviewer: “How did you choose your trainer?”
Senna: “It was a matter of fate. A journalist introduced me Nuno Cobra. About ten years ago, in 1984, I lived a great and heathy life. I’ve always liked all kinds of sports. But I wasn’t physically prepared to withstand the rigors of Formula One. I soon realized that and invited Nuno to work with me. From then on, our partnership grew year by year”.
Check out the full interview (only in Portuguese):