The stages of his career
When he started in F1, Riccardo Ceccarelli began a period of study on drivers, as well as work. At the 1989 Hockenheim Grand Prix, he attached a heart rate monitor to Capelli to understand how the bodies of athletes function during a race
, from which he achieved unexpected results. Ivan recorded an average heart rate of 174 beats per minute, a high figure if you consider that the driver sits and his physical activity, trivializing, is turning a steering wheel and pressing pedals. This data led Dr. Ceccarelli to go into more detail on athletic performance on board single-seater cars. In the same year, he also began to observe, through pre and post driving blood tests, how nutrition affects activities on the track.
The 1990s was the richest period of innovations and changes: in 1992, with Capelli's transition to Ferrari, Ceccarelli became the official doctor of the Scuderia di Maranello
. It was a very complicated year: the driver did not finish the season and with him also the doctor. The appeal of the track, however, was strong, and when in 1993, in the current season, he met Pierluigi Martini (then without a job, but recently contacted by Giancarlo Minardi), he did not miss the opportunity to return to the Circus. He collaborated with Martini himself, and then, starting in 1994, he became the official doctor of the Minardi team, with whom he remained until 2000. In 1994 he founded Formula Medicine, the Centre for Sports Medicine, now located in Le Bocchette di Camaiore in Viareggio
, where drivers can train under his watchful eye, and in which he can observe and study the data collected during training sessions and on the track. In 1995 he developed, with Magneti Marelli, a device able to connect cardio frequency meter data to that obtained from the car's data logger. This system was such an innovation that the data was reported in real time during the Monza GP of the same year.
As mentioned, from 1994 to 2000 Dr. Ceccarelli stayed with Minardi. With the beginning of the new millennium, however, Toyota, which was working on a return to F1, approached him. In 2001 he became the team's official doctor, returning to the paddock in 2002, after a year of carrying out tests.
In the early 2000s, in addition to working for the Japanese company (with which he exceeded the 300 GP target in F1), he was also contacted by other teams
: this led him to expand his centre in Viareggio due to the numerous requests of the drivers who wanted to work with him. At that time, Ceccarelli began studying mental training. Over the years, with studies and experiments, he elaborated mental economy training programmes, which were very important to achieve excellent brain performance with low energy use. With the goal of improving mental efficiency, he set up and inserted the Mental Economy Gym
(which we will deal with in more detail in the following chapters) into Formula Medicine, which, starting from 2011 until today, has helped to improve the mental skills of drivers, and not just that, among the most important in the world.