Drivers will find the physical demands of racing a Formula 1 car again “a challenge” once track action resumes next month, according to Lando Norris.
An eight-race European calendar has so far been confirmed following the delayed start to the season forced by the coronavirus pandemic, taking place across 10 weekends with more races set to be added later in the year.
The season-opening Austrian Grand Prix on 5 July will mark the first F1 race for over seven months, with the only official on-track running since the 2019 finale in Abu Dhabi being the six days of winter testing in February.
Norris believes that while drivers will get up to speed with their machines within a handful of laps, the forces being placed on their bodies again could prove the greater challenge, especially across such a condensed schedule.
“It’s not going to be easy for all of the drivers, but I think we’re all very good at what we do and I don’t think it would take us too long, probably laps really, to get back in the hang of really how to drive the car,” the McLaren driver told Autosport.
“But putting the body straight into a triple-header, physically, is probably going to be a bigger challenge jumping in than actually getting up to speed with the car.
“I think that’s going to be the bigger challenge for the drivers, because as much training as you do, and as much as I’ve been doing and a lot of drivers I’m sure have been doing, driving a race car, just the forces it puts you under and how it puts you under those forces is very different.
“You can’t really replicate them in a lot of ways. You can do all the training you want but it’s still abnormal for the body to go and start pulling five, six Gs around corners and going over the bumps.
“I think that’s going to be a challenge.”
While Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas tested a two-year-old W09 car at Silverstone last week in preparation for a return to action, Norris will be unable to do the same in a McLaren owing to the team’s recent changes in power unit supplier.
Instead, the 20-year-old Brit has been left to complete two separate tests at Silverstone in Formula 3 machinery, linking up with junior team Carlin earlier this month before conducting running with the wider McLaren squad this week.
Despite being different to an F1 car, Norris said the single-seater testing would still be helpful ahead of the 2020 campaign.
“The weather wasn’t great which is the only thing especially after how nice it’s been in the UK,” Norris said.
“This was our first day back driving and it was drizzling all day, it was horrible but I wasn’t complaining, I think it was good fun, it was nice to be back driving a real car again.
“[It was] a bit weird at first with the sounds and the feeling and the vibration of everything. Obviously after driving on the simulator so much, it kind of felt weird to then jump in a real car.
“But after two laps really, two to three laps, it felt more normal again, and it was good to be back.”
Published at Sun, 21 Jun 2020 09:11:11 +0000
Renault Formula 1 boss Cyril Abiteboul believes the sport’s current “two-tier” system will end in 2022, impacting relationships between big teams and partners with whom they share technology.
F1 will introduce a new cost cap in 2021 of $145 million, with a further reduction following in 2022 along with a set of new technical regulations aimed to create closer on-track racing.
Abiteboul is confident the changes will lead to closer competition once the new regulations arrive in 2022, but also believes the level playing field will make bigger teams less open to helping customer partners.
Racing Point based the design of its 2020 F1 car on the title-winning Mercedes W10 from last year, and receives a number of parts from the German team including the gearbox and suspension.
Haas enjoys a similar relationship with Ferrari, taking as many listed parts as possible for its car.
Other than supplying a power unit to McLaren, Renault currently stands alone with no technical allies. The team will be further-isolated in 2021 when McLaren switches to Mercedes, leaving it with no customer teams.
Abiteboul said that concerns about the partner relationships have been eased by the regulation changes, which he thinks will make the bigger teams see their customers as a greater threat.
“It was a worry when there was either no budget cap or the budget cap was sufficiently high that the grid would remain under a two-tier system,” Abiteboul told Autosport.
“Now that we have a budget cap that is low enough that the grid will be much more competitive, I’m curious to see what will happen to those collaborations between teams.
“Because I think right now Mercedes is happy to let Racing Point copy its car. Whether it’s legal or not legal, it’s not my point, but they are very happy to help them in making their car very competitive.
“I will be very curious to see if that’s still the case for 2022.”
Abiteboul says that the big teams will simply be wary of their partners becoming too competitive once they are operating on similar budgets, placing a greater onus on operational strength.
“Anyone will be a threat to anyone, that’s the game changer. And the ones that are winning are the fans,” Abiteboul said.
“This type of construction that we have now, when the grid is not competitive and you have this two-tier system which is protecting three teams, it’s not going to be the case any longer.
“It will police itself to some extent. That’s why I’m much more relaxed about things from 2020 onwards that I am currently.”
Renault has confirmed it will remain in F1 beyond 2020 despite being left without any customer teams, citing the strength of the new regulations and budget cap as being key to its future.
Published at Sun, 21 Jun 2020 07:51:38 +0000