Q: “I have heard the phase: Point your nose where you want to go. What do you think? I’ve watched F1 drivers at Montreal doing this in a very exaggerated way at the final chicane.”
A: Great advice. The idea is that you should turn your head and look to where you want to go, and it’s part of a good driver’s vision skills.
One of the things I do when coaching a driver is watch for head movement. If I don’t see the driver’s head and helmet turn towards the corner at the right time, then that’s a skill we’re going to work on.
Research has been done on head movement and eye movements for all sorts of activities, including driving. But I found one study interesting; it looked at (no pun intended) people walking along a sidewalk, and then turning 90-degrees to head down a perpendicular street. What they found is the people turn their head approximately three-quarters of a second before their bodies changed direction. So, the head leads the rest of the body. The same thing happens with the best drivers.
This advice works well in controlling a skid or slide. The old advice of “Steer into the skid” works, but it’s confusing for some people because they’re not clear on which way the skid is going. If you “point your nose” or look to where you want to go, your hands will follow, turning the steering wheel into the skid.
Point your nose where you want to go.
First thing I tell my students when I am instructing. I use what I saw at the final chicane at Montreal to illustrate the process.
Once they start braking they turn their head to the right. When they turn right, they look immediately to the left.