Racing drivers blink at the same points when circling a track

by The Insights

The Dutch Formula 1 Grand Prix at Circuit Zandvoort in September 2022


Different racing drivers blink at roughly the same points on a circuit, which could reflect their synchronized mental states as they focus on controlling the car. Blinking lubricates our eyes, but how it relates to other aspects of our health is unclear. Further study could help us better understand the conditions in which blink rates change, such as Parkinson’s disease.

We typically blink 12 times per minute, each blink lasting about a third of a second. Our blink rate has been linked to how much attention we give to a certain task, with some people blinking less when concentrating on a screen.

“A lot of people think that blinking is done just to moisten the eyes, but only a few blinks a minute are enough for that purpose.” says Ryota Nishizono of NTT Communication Science Laboratories in Atsugi, Japan.

To investigate how driving might influence blinking, Nishizono and his colleagues looked at three professional male drivers working for a Formula racing team. The drivers completed 304 test laps at three circuits in Japan: Fuji, Suzuka and Sugo. A binocular eye tracker mounted on their helmets recorded their blink, counted by machine learning.

An analysis of the data revealed that although the drivers’ blink rates differed, they generally blinked at the same points on each circuit, with their blink rates decreasing as they drove faster.

Nishizono says the team was initially surprised to see such consistent blinking patterns between the three drivers, but since their steering patterns were similar at each circuit, it’s probably to be expected that their cognitive states, and therefore perhaps their blinking, are somewhat synchronized.

“The factors affecting the timing of eye blinks are numerous and not fully understood,” says Omar Mahroo of University College London. A better understanding of blinking could increase our knowledge of conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, which is associated with a reduced blink rate, and blepharospasm – twitching or blinking of the eyelids that a person cannot control, says -he.


You may also like

Leave a Comment

About Us

The Insights is a top leading multimedia news magazine curating a variety of topics and providing the latest news and insights.

Editors' Picks


Subscribe my Newsletter for new blog posts, tips & new photos. Let's stay updated!

@2021 – All Right Reserved. Designed and Developed by our team