Driving an F1 car surprisingly easy - Lorenzo

Driving an F1 car surprisingly easy - Lorenzo
By AutoSport

02/12/2016 at 10:55

Three-time MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo said he was surprised at how easy it was to drive a Formula 1 car, after his test with Mercedes in October.

The Spaniard drove a 2014-spec Mercedes at Silverstone, with the team saying his pace was competitive.

"I expected it to be much harder to drive because I tried an F2 two days before at Snetterton and the F2 was very difficult to drive," said Lorenzo.

"The engine was very nervous, the steering wheel was very hard.

"But when I tried the simulator in Mercedes' factory I was like 'wow, this is much easier - maybe the simulator is too easy and the reality will be much harder', but no.

"I was very quick from the beginning and they had to put me on wet grip to feel some difficulty because in the dry it was very easy.

GALLERY: Lorenzo's Mercedes F1 test in pictures

"When I tried the car in real life... I imagined that in the corners the car would be very easy to spin, to lose control, but it was very grippy and very easy to be fast."

Lorenzo said he received good feedback from the engineers, adding: "They were quite impressed because they didn't expect after just a few hours an inexperienced driver to be close to this limit."

However, he conceded that while being quick over one run was one thing, doing so over a grand prix distance was a different challenge entirely.

"It's relatively easy to make one lap fast with new tyres but the most difficult thing is to be one hour and a half at the same level, the same pace," he said.

"This separates the rookies, the non-professional Formula 1 drivers, from the professional ones.

"Normally motorcycle riders when they get into a car they are relatively fast relatively quick, but the next level is to stay one and a half hours with very high temperature, not losing concentration and stay consistent during so many laps."

Lorenzo also pointed to how the plethora of controls on an F1 steering wheel makes life more complicated than for a MotoGP rider.

"In MotoGP, we just have two switches, one for the traction control and another one for the engine brake," he said.

"But in Formula 1 you have 30 or 40 buttons.

"I just used two or three, but to know how to use the rest in a long race is one of the most complicated things compared to 20 or 30 years ago when F1 cars just had the steering wheel and the gearbox.

"Now it's the most difficult thing for a Formula 1 driver compared to the past."