What can F1 Driver do to “push” when the team told them to do so during a race?

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I am currently watching the newest season of F1 documentary on Netflix and I noticed that teams keep telling their drivers to “push”.

So, what can the drivers do to actually “push”?

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There needs to be a certain conservatism when driving to not wear the tyres too much, not use up too much of the carefully calculated fuel amount, not wear out the brake disks by overheating them, and similar things. It’s not just a matter of going as fast as possible all the time. If the team think that they have something in hand, or need to open up a little more gap to make time for a pit stop they can tell the driver to be a bit more aggressive braking, corner harder or turn on a different engine software mode that gets better acceleration at the cost of extra fuel.

They basically pick up the pace as much as they can. They aren’t always pushing 100% as pushing too hard will cook the tires and make them wear too quickly or they’ll use too much fuel. So they can push the car a little harder to gain time/create a gap from the cars behind when needed.

As much as we like to think, F1 drivers (indeed, most race drivers) aren’t at 100% all the time, as they need to look after their tires, their fuel, their engines etc. So, when a driver’s engineer tells them to push, that essentially means “There is no longer any need to look after things at this point in time, go 100%”. What that generally entails for the driver is things like braking later & not coasting, into corners, accelerating earlier out of them & turning more aggressively through them

A racing driver doesn’t go flat-out all the time – they’re mostly about 95%. For the bulk of the race, they are managing the equipment – taking care of the tyres and fuel consumption.

When the team tells them to push, they’re telling the driver to disregard that and “push” the limits. Driving as close to 100% as they can to improve their standing in the race. In the case of F1, that’s usually trying to engineer a better track position to make their pit strategy work.