Jorge Lorenzo, Mercedes W05, Silverstone, 2016

Lorenzo: Mercedes F1 test times “really competitive”

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Moto GP world champion Jorge Lorenzo says he was told his lap times during yesterday’s test for Mercedes were “really competitive”.

“First of all I want to say thank you to Monster Energy for giving me this opportunity,” said Lorenzo after yesterday’s test. “It has been a great experience, like a dream come true.”

“The past few days for me have been very special. I had the opportunity to work alongside some of the best engineers in this sport, drove the F2 car, had simulator test sessions and finally, I got to drive the real deal.

“Today I experienced driving a Formula One car. It’s been an amazing day. I’m very satisfied with the lap time in the last run. From what the engineers were saying, my times were really competitive. The car is so smooth, I expected a more twitchy and difficult car but in the end everything was so good: the steering wheel, the engine, everything.

“It was quite easy to drive and the car in the corners is really, really fast and the grip of the car it’s unreal. In the first lap you feel the power but when you get used to it, it’s similar to a Moto GP bike but in the corners, you are in a different world, about 40kph faster in the middle of the corners. Also it surprised me how late you can brake and the amount of grip the car can support in full throttle in the fast corners is insane.”

Pictures: Jorge Lorenzo tests a Mercedes W05

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 17 comments on “Lorenzo: Mercedes F1 test times “really competitive””

    1. I’d like to know the lap time he managed to achieve, LOL.

    2. My take away was he said the car was “quite easy to drive”. Even though he has experience racing a car, I wouldn’t expect someone new to the formula saying it was easy. I have to admit I liked it when an F1 car was difficult to drive and only a handful of people could do it.

      1. Well you could give them a Sauber.

      2. This is of course a conditioned world level athlete the likes of which only few can compare. And as for “only a handful of people could do it”… Do it well? Sure… Do it sanely? Definitely… But just do it? There’s nothing that’s stopped any number of handful from doing it in the past.

        1. Yeah, I think that what he’s saying about how fast the car is in the corners as compared to a bike, might be part of what felt easy, a motorbike is probably a lot more tricky to race into corners, and he doesn’t have much experience in older F1 hardware to compare either. Still, good for him, great to see a Moto GP driver given a try in a competitive car.

          1. probably more difficult? you use your whole body, in MotoGP, they often have as much as 60% lean angle. even riding a motorcycle on public roads is harder then riding a car on public roads.

      3. Yes, and of course “my engineers told me I was hopelessly slow and to stop wasting their time with this publicity stunt” would not necessarily achieve the same level of PR goodness

      4. @velocityboy
        Today’s cars are probably a lot more difficult to drive on the limit than they were 5, 10, or 15 years ago. They have so little downforce and such brutally powerful engines that Lorenzo probably wouldn’t have managed to push the car under realistic circumstances.
        The thing is, I can’t imagine Mercedes let him drive with Strat 0 engine settings, and he probably wasn’t pushing beyong what he’s comfortable with, either. With tamed engine settings and fresh slick tyres, current F1 cars can manage stable cornering speeds that feel unbelievable. Silverstone might be the perfect place for this with its many sweeping fast corners where you get to enjoy a lot of downforce.
        On circuits like Monaco, however, the drivers were even struggling to transmit the power to the tarmac in dry conditions, the rear trying to twitch out of control in almost every lap, even for the most competitive cars. Even in Barcelona, a track that has somewhat comparable characteristics to Silverstone, we saw Verstappen and Räikkönen powersliding out of the slower corners late in the race, because these cars simply have too much torque for their grip.

        Long story short:
        If Lorenzo found the car easy to drive, he was probably a few seconds off the maximum pace, because that’s where these cars tend to behave rather nicely. If he had had to push like a driver trying to qualify for Q3, his assessment would’ve been a completely different one.

        1. Doubt it – you give these drivers too much credit. Over protected, over paid and unstressed. F1 is more like pro wrestling than a sport, and I say that as a fan for 26 years.

          1. @f1bobby
            I fail to see what this has to do with the difficulty of driving these cars. Yes, these drivers live inside their own bubble. But what’s it to me? I don’t care about them. I care about them driving, that’s all.
            Also, I fail to see the similarities with wrestling. Okay, the paradox of F1 is that it is an extremely technical sport but is mostly watched by people who think it is actucally wrestling. But that doesn’t turn the action on the track (or sometimes the lack thereof) into wrestling.

            Fan for over 20 years now, couldn’t agree less with what you said.

      5. @velocityboy, as others have said, we don’t know the exact context in which he set those times or how hard he was really pushing – Brundle mentioned that the current cars are not so difficult to drive when the engines are turned right down, but are a lot more challenging when you use a higher power setting (as he found out when he crashed the Force India he was allowed to try in a demo event).

        Equally, we’ve seen other drivers also get into an F1 car and set immediately quick times – remember when Loeb was able to drop into the RB4 back in 2008 and was immediately able to set similar lap times to all of the other drivers during an official test session (8th quickest out of 17 drivers)? He didn’t find the car itself to be that hard to drive – the main issue he had was that, since it was a while since he’d done circuit driving, his neck muscles were a bit weak, but otherwise Red Bull thought that he was quick enough that they did consider giving him a drive in Abu Dhabi in 2009 (it was only when the FIA refused to give him a superlicence that they dropped the idea).

    3. Yeah current generation of cars are quite easy to drive compared to their predecessors. Even looking at the times, the gaps between team-mates are often less than a tenth, they are clearly smaller than before.

    4. Check Richard Hammond (6:00 min) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGUZJVY-sHo
      Richard takes the Renault R25 Formula 1 car for a spin round the Silverstone track.

    5. Shows how ‘easy’ F1 is as a sport TBH. No-one on the F1 grid could hold a candle to the MotoGP riders on a bike.

    6. They should have Lewis ride the 2013 Yamaha M1 :)

    7. I don’t know why people are surprised by his statement about the car being easy to drive. If it was really hard to drive like having too much oversteer or understeer why would Mercedes be so dominant right now? Obviously its a good car to drive. I highly doubt he was any where near race pace or qualifying pace that any of the top drivers could set in the W05.

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