With the exception of the test weeks in Barcelona, the F1 drivers have been at home for about 200 days. In that period many of them have only raced virtually. Although very competitive, according to Robert Doornbos this is not the best preparation for the real thing. For that, the asphalt really is the best solution.
“All this sim racing is of course fun and nice, but driving a Formula 1 car is a lot different”, says Doornbos to NU.nl. “You want to shake your body awake before you get back in the car.”
A shifter kart, which can reach top speeds of 180km/h, is a better preparation for the real thing, according to the former F1 driver. But maybe it’s even better to really go on the track. Purely to get used to the speed again. There will be no time for that during the race weekends.
And getting back on track is exactly what many drivers are doing. Both Mercedes and Ferrari are expected to run test sessions for their drivers in old machinery next week while Lando Norris has hit the track in an F3 car. Others, meanwhile, have relied on going back to their roots spending their days thrashing Go Karts around the track.
“You’ll be looking for the right setup for qualifying and the race very soon. There’s really no time to get back into it. But what I do expect is that the real talents will surface right away. I’m talking about the natural talents who are always good in the rain, for example”.
Doornbos doesn’t dare say exactly who they are. He does expect Max Verstappen to have no major problems with this, but he doesn’t know whether young drivers like Verstappen will digest this rest period better or whether it’s Lewis Hamilton’s experience that will be the deciding factor in the first race weekend.