The Singapore Sling: F1 Race Team Cognitive Function and Mood Responses During the Singapore Grand Prix

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The current investigation measured cognitive performance, subjective ratings of mood and sleep in Formula 1® (F1) race team members during the 2013 Singapore Grand Prix. Two weeks prior to the Singapore Grand Prix participants (n = 16; mean age 33.5 years, range 22-48 years) underwent baseline cognitive assessments as well as a questionnaire on mood and sleep quality/duration. These assessments were repeated on the race weekend prior to practice (S1) and post qualifying (S2). A significant increase in simple reaction time (SRT), that is slowing of total response time was observed from baseline to S1 (33.69 ± 6.52 ms; p<.001) and from baseline to S2 (34.63± 8.19ms; p=.002). Mood related effects were observed with subjective stress levels increased from baseline to S1 (18.06 ± 6.18; p=.032) and a decrease in how refreshed the race team members felt between S1 and S2 (18.56 ± 6.14; p=.029). In addition a negative association between change in SRT and change in quality of sleep (R2=0.47; p=.016) as well as negative association in how refreshed individuals reported feeling and SRT between S1 and S2 (R2=0.37; p=.017). The findings suggest that the demands presented by an F1 race environment have significant effects on cognitive function and mood, however, the exact cause of any decrements would most likely be a combination and interaction of multiple factors. Future research should endeavour to adopt a holistic approach and investigate physiological and cognitive endpoints to fully explore the demands of this challenging motorsport.

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