The 33-year-old has trialled a simulator version of McLaren’s challenger for next season. He believes the increased torque and reduction in drag will make mistakes more frequent and require different driving styles.
When asked about the challenges that the new rules will create, he said: “It’s about getting an understanding of the power unit and how we are going to put the power down, because it’s not going to be easy. There’s going to be a lot of simulator work and running through things that are going to help us put the power down, because I don’t think any of us are used to having torque. I’ve raced in Formula 1 for 14 years and I’ve never had torque, so it’s going to be a new experience.
“I think it will be easier in reality but we’re going to find it tough. In high speed corners you’re off the power for so long and you just can’t get the power down – you’re waiting the whole time. It’s not like now with so much downforce and so little torque that you can just floor it and even if you run a bit wide you just understeer off the circuit. With the 2014 car, if you floor it in a corner like Turn 3 at Barcelona, you don’t just drive off, you immediately lose the rear because there is so much torque.”
He is expecting the racing to be closer next year. “I think over a qualifying lap you might not get such a buzz, unless you’ve put it on pole,” he said. “The racing will still be exciting, but I think it will be closer and there will be more fighting.
“There is a lot of fighting now but the way the cars will be, with less downforce, harder tyres and more torque, you’ll get close racing a bit like GP2 because it will be so much easier to make a mistake.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic