Behind The Scenes Talent: Simon Hayes


We’re happy to introduce Simon Hayes, personal trainer and head of Performance Physixx, a company aiming to perfect the physical preparation of athletes for high-calibre racing. Simon’s many clients include professional racers Ryan Hunter-Reay, Stefan Johansson and celebrities like Patrick Dempsey.

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Simon, what’s a good week of training for a racer?  

Well, first we would analyse strengths, weaknesses, injury status, physiological and biomechanical assessments, and only then look at the dynamics to follow. The most important elements of the driver’s strength and conditioning programme are neck resistance band work, chest/shoulders work, exercises for different sections of arms and legs, core work, cardio and reaction time training.

Workouts that can be done with little or no equipment are crucial when a driver is travelling or on the road.

And what part does mental preparation play here?

My take on this is to leave it to the expert. From a mental training perspective, we have onboard probably the most experienced coach in the world – Dr Jacques Dallaire of Performance Prime. He focuses his programs on teaching racing drivers to lock into what is limiting their performance via a custom-built evaluation process. Then he designs a personalised programme for an individual and sees it through.

The development of training strategies we put together for each racer focuses on the aspect of how drivers think on track. I work alongside Richard Smedley who ran P Company, the Parachute Regiment’s Selection process, allowing the Company to develop cardiovascular and mental programmes utilising their unique methodology.

Workouts that can be done with little or no equipment are crucial when a driver is travelling or on the road.

How do you see the current driver training in Formula 1?

The current driver training within Formula 1 has evolved very well with younger highly trained physiotherapists employed by each team. However, I believe our strength is that we at Performance Physixx and other similar expert companies in the US have been able to develop over time due to working with athletes from various and indeed very different racing series, including Formula 1 too.

A much wider, more comprehensive range of specific training programmes has been proven many times in the field of professional motorsport competition. Even Jenson Button has recently commented how much harder a Global RallyCross Car is to physically handle than a Formula 1 car due to the weight, although obviously, Formula 1 drivers have to be trained specifically to deal with much higher g-force loads.

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