About us

The Mission

In 1989, when Dr. Riccardo Ceccarelli began his career as a doctor in Formula 1, he was surprised and also disappointed to observe how far behind Formula 1 was, compared to other sports, in the approach of the teams towards their drivers with regard to their fitness.
Thus the idea of Formula Medicine was formed, leading to the creation of a structure to finally bring to motor sport a proper understanding of the role of athletic preparation for drivers by providing specialists in every sector and introducing professional strategies hitherto unseen in the paddock.
Today Formula Medicine has a team of doctors, psychologists, fitness trainers and nutritionists, all experts in motor sport, able to provide a complete service both at the spacious headquarters in Viareggio and also at the circuits.

In order to realise this ambitious project, Formula Medicine was the first, and still today, remains the only organisation to invest significant financial and human resources into this area of scientific research in Formula 1. This philosophy has made Formula Medicine the world leader in its field as revealed by its impressive client portfolio, its history and the important research undertaken. In fact as a result of its research, Formula Medicine has created an innovative and exclusive mental training known as “Mental Economy Training®” which following its success in motor sport is now branching out into other sports including tennis, sailing and golf. Currently Formula Medicine is introducing the corporate world to Mental Economy Training® as the methodology can benefit not just sports people but also anyone who is subject to intense mental workloads.

Our History

The Formula Medicine team has been providing medical and fitness assistance to teams and drivers involved in motor sport for the last 25 years. From 1989 to 2015 Dr. Riccardo Ceccarelli and his team at Formula Medicine have worked with 75 Formula 1 drivers and 900 other drivers from other categories and from 47 different countries. The staff is made up of physicians, psychologists, fitness trainers, physical therapists, osteopaths and nutritionists under the supervision of Dr. Ceccarelli.

VIAREGGIO 1975. It all started with a magazine, “Autosprint”… and the second life of Dr. Ceccarelli began in front of a newsagent’s kiosk in Viareggio.

And to think that the founder of Formula Medicine until the age of 15 only wanted to become a great tennis player.
“I used to dream of Vilas’ backhand, Connors’ grit and the determination and the backhand smash of Panatta. I used to do tournaments and I was quite a good player”. Then one day, by chance, needing something to read during a train journey to a tennis tournament, I bought Autosprint, and started to read about motor racing and all my plans changed.

At 18 he took part in some races in Formula Ford and Formula Italy and was subsequently selected as one of the top 10 drivers eligible to participate in the inaugural race of the federation organized by the CSAI.
“At Vallelunga, they were looking for young talent and ten young drivers were picked, including me. That was when I met Ivan Capelli and we became friends, but after a while I gave up the idea of racing and I went to university to study medicine, I graduated and started to specialize. Meanwhile Ivan had arrived in F1 with the Leyton House Racing and I went to see him at the circuits”.

It was 1988, Dr. Ceccarelli was 28 years old and had a great passion for cars, but even when Leyton House Racing made him an offer he still took six months to think it over.
“They didn’t want a doctor, only a masseur. None of the teams at that time had a doctor, even a physiotherapist was uncommon, so I took six months off to go to learn the ‘craft’: I went to Tirrenia where there were the physiotherapists of the national athletics team, to AC Milan’s training ground at Milanello to see how the masseurs in the world of football worked and to Trentino to see what they were doing in skiing. After that I began at Leyton House Racing and did massage, but I also started being a doctor. When the results started to arrive Leyton House Racing confirmed me until 1991. Meanwhile I began to work with the Scuderia Italy”.

And the idea of Formula Medicine was formed…
“Those were the days when teams were only interested in talent. Poor lifestyle choices mattered little. The doctor was only needed when the driver wasn’t feeling well, and the team focused exclusively on the car. But I had begun to look at the performance of drivers studying in particular their heart rate during the race and I realized that one could, indeed should, work on improving their physical and mental performance. Talent is crucial, but to be a winning driver you need a body and especially a brain in perfect condition. In order to handle an average of 180 beats per minute, with peaks above 200, you have to be perfect. No other sport has similar frequencies for such long periods. Anyway, this is how Formula Medicine started”.

How much time does a professional driver need to spend on preparation?
At Formula Medicine our work is based on two daily sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Physically, we work on all muscle groups, including the legs, but obviously we focus mainly on the arms and neck, and also aerobics with intense workouts of running, biking, kayaking and swimming. In total the driver trains on average 6 hours per day of which at least 50% of the time is dedicated to mental training. Our scientific research has shown that brain performance is what makes the difference in a race and for this reason we have developed a specific training called “Mental Economy Training®”.

A team of specialists?
“A team made up of professionals able to address any issue, we work with more than 30 specialists. Our work is designed not only to enhance physical and mental health but also to provide constant medical monitoring, and last but not least, to instill, especially with younger drivers, good nutritional and behavioral habits”.

And the idea of Formula Medicine was formed…
“Those were the days when teams were only interested in talent. Poor lifestyle choices mattered little. The doctor was only needed when the driver wasn’t feeling well, and the team focused exclusively on the car. But I had begun to look at the performance of drivers studying in particular their heart rate during the race and I realized that one could, indeed should, work on improving their physical and mental performance. Talent is crucial, but to be a winning driver you need a body and especially a brain in perfect condition. In order to handle an average of 180 beats per minute, with peaks above 200, you have to be perfect. No other sport has similar frequencies for such long periods. Anyway, this is how Formula Medicine started”.

How much time does a professional driver need to spend on preparation?
At Formula Medicine our work is based on two daily sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Physically, we work on all muscle groups, including the legs, but obviously we focus mainly on the arms and neck, and also aerobics with intense workouts of running, biking, kayaking and swimming. In total the driver trains on average 6 hours per day of which at least 50% of the time is dedicated to mental training. Our scientific research has shown that brain performance is what makes the difference in a race and for this reason we have developed a specific training called “Mental Economy Training®”.

A team of specialists?
“A team made up of professionals able to address any issue, we work with more than 30 specialists. Our work is designed not only to enhance physical and mental health but also to provide constant medical monitoring, and last but not least, to instill, especially with younger drivers, good nutritional and behavioral habits”.

Who has been to Formula Medicine?
“The first that gave me his trust and from whom I learnt a lot was Ivan Capelli, but in general I have great memories of all those with whom I have worked, including Pierluigi Martini, Pedro Lamy, Ukyo Katayama and more recently Jarno Trulli, Giancarlo Fisichella, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Pastor Maldonado, Marcus Ericsson, Jules Bianchi and many others. Not forgetting the Polish driver Robert Kubica who lived for years near us ever since he was little more than a teenager, and that without his unfortunate incident would surely have gone on to be a great champion. A special thought too for the late Michele Alboreto, a true gentleman and a champion, with whom I had the good fortune to work with during his time at Minardi and for whom I have special memories”.

An anecdote, a story …
“Kubica. A Pole and from a family that wasn’t rich by any means, but he was a natural talent. We knew him because we had helped him when he was in the junior categories. One day we heard that while in Poland he was involved in a terrible car accident, he was being driven by a friend who had his arm in plaster, and Robert was injured and risked losing the use of his right hand, in other words, career over. We brought him to Formula Medicine he was and operated on in Lucca. After 40 days of rehabilitation, managed by us, he was back in the cockpit with a steel plate and 18 screws in his arm and to the amazement of everyone, won his first race in Formula 3. From that moment he began his second career, which soon led him to become one of the best drivers in F1. Unfortunately, as we all know, just as he was showing his true greatness, another accident brought his career to an end”.

And what now for Formula Medicine?
“In early 2009 we moved into the new centre in which we created three separate but adjoining spaces, medical, mental and fitness which allows us to work every day with the drivers and provide a complete service in every aspect of sports medicine. Thanks to research developed in collaboration with The University of Pisa and the National Research Council in Pisa and the use of new and modern equipment, we were able to develop systems, new to motor sport, in order to evaluate training regimes, particularly “Mental Economy Training ®” which is one of our greatest strengths together with the management of the psychological aspects of the drivers. This kind of training is proving to be instrumental for the development of a competitive driver and in fact in the last few years we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of drivers coming to Formula Medicine as well as a lowering of the average age of the drivers.
In other words, Formula Medicine has become a “university” to prepare the cultural and athletic background for those who aspire to become professional racing drivers”. With more space available and having renewed and expanded our team, and thanks to the tools and methodologies of “Mental Economy Training®”, we are also strengthening our presence in the world of tennis and sailing while also opening up to other sports including golf. We are now expanding into the corporate world, as we believe “Mental Economy Training®” is in perfectly in line with the needs of business. Aware of the pressing needs of time, in addition to the ability to perform a comprehensive medical check-up in half a day, we can offer the possibility to extend the check-up to mental aspects, with programs for stress management and to help optimize mental resources.

And what have you been doing in motor sport recently?
“After Toyota withdrew from Formula 1 at the end of the 2010 season, I served as chief medical officer in the Renault F1 Team and was in charge of the rehabilitation of Robert Kubica. In 2012 my commitments increased because Formula Medicine became a partner of the BMW DTM and we are doing both the off-track physical and mental preparation of all their drivers as well as on-track support at races which I personally attend, assisted by 3 physiotherapists. Furthermore since 2013 we have provided the medical teams for 7 Formula 1 teams underlining our commitment and involvement in the top flight of motor sport. We are also continuing in the role as supervisors of Safety systems in all Formula 1 tests. It’s not as if we are short of things to do!”

Headquarters

The current headquarters, located in Viareggio, Tuscany, was opened in 2009. It is a modern center for Sports Medicine and extends to an area of about 600 square meters, divided into three parts: treatment rooms for medical purposes, the gym and the area for Mental Training.

The configuration of the structure, the constant presence of an entire team of doctors, psychologists, physiotherapists, athletic trainers and the use of innovative tools and methodologies directly developed by Formula Medicine, make it unique and unequalled, as testified by the astonishment of drivers who come here for the first time, especially if they have had previous experience at other facilities.

The geographical location of Formula Medicine, by the sea and only a few kilometers from the mountains, together with a temperate climate, is a winning combination allowing programming of all types of outdoor activities, such as running, cycling, kayaking, swimming, climbing, etc. . Another advantage is the proximity to Pisa International Airport, only 20 km away.

The Staff

One of the features that most distinguishes Formula Medicine from its competitors is the constant presence at the headquarters of a complete team made up of professionals with many years of experience in motor sport.

The staff consists of doctors, physiotherapists, fitness trainers, psychologists, nutritionists and osteopaths. Furthermore, in order to provide a complete service, if necessary Formula Medicine is able to call on a wide range of external specialists covering every aspect relating to motor sport.

Staff at headquarters

Riccardo Ceccarelli

Medical Doctor Specialist in Sports Medicine - Founder of Formula Medicine

Cinzia Della Latta

Coordinator of the activities of FM

Yvonne Taylor

Responsible for logistics and accounting

Lorenzo Baldassarri

Psychologist

Elena Sgherri

Psychologist

Alessio Erra

Physiotherapist

Cristoforo Morocutti

Physiotherapist

Simone Romani

Athletic Trainer

Filippo Della Latta

Athletic Trainer

Specialists at headquarters

Marco Sagramoni

Physiotherapist

Luca Vargiu

Osteopath

Claudia D’alessandro

Nutritionist

Enrico Vischi

Medical Doctor, Specialist in Cardiology

Andrea Petrucci

Medical Doctor, Specialist in Gastroenterology

Francesco Russo

Medical Doctor, Specialist in Otolaryngology

Marco Cupisti

Medical Doctor, Specialist in Sports Medicine

Specialists off premises and at circuits

Israel Sanchez

Physiotherapist

Alberto Proto

Physiotherapist

Gabriele Polcari

Physiotherapist and Osteopath

Stephan Voillount

Physiotherapist and Osteopath

Achim Hofstadter

Physiotherapist

Fabio Sangalli

Medical Doctor, Specialist in Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine

Massimo Buzio

Medical Doctor, Specialist in Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine

Giacomo Ravenni

Medical Doctor, Specialist in Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine

Francesco Guerriero

Medical Doctor, Specialist in Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine

Ferdinando Vittone

Medical Doctor, Specialist in Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine

Elisa Recchia

Medical Doctor, Specialist in Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine

Alexander Elgh

Athletic Trainer

Doctors and Paramedics of the "Safety" department

Andrea Nicolini

Medical Doctor, Specialist in Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine

Dido Zoppi

Medical Doctor, Specialist in Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine

Michele Martini

Medical Doctor, Specialist in Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine

Andrea Giorgetti

Medical Doctor, Specialist in Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine

Fabrizio Beltramo

Paramedic Specialized in Emergency Care and Early Defibrillation

Simone Sargentini

Paramedic Specialized in Emergency Care and Early Defibrillation