Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou, driver of the No.10 NTT DATA Honda says he felt he made significant progress with every lap he completed following his recent test with the McLaren Racing Formula One team in Barcelona
“I am just trying to further my knowledge. “Seeing what the car likes and what it doesn’t- looking at how you can gain lap time with this car on a quali run as opposed to a higher-fuel run.
“Ultimate lap time comes from knowing the car that bit more and knowing what you can get away with in the first half of the lap in order to still have some tyre left by the end of it. I think the biggest improvements come from the realisation of where you can push the car, even on a high-fuel run, and where you have to give in a bit to make the tyres last longer.
“I need to improve in every single aspect because this is still very new to me. I feel like I have made very significant steps every single time I have gotten into the car, but there is still more to come in every single area.”
Palou was joined at the test by fellow NTT IndyCar Series driver Pato O’Ward who drovers the No.5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.
Speaking following the action the Mexican said:
Every time you get into a Formula 1 car, your smile is to each end of your face. They’re amazing cars that are capable of so much.
“They are works of art, and I am super thankful and grateful for the opportunities that Zak and Andreas are giving me. Getting more seat time in a Formula 1 car is what it is all about, so that I can familiarise myself more with the car, the controls, the tyres and how everything works – it is great, and I am enjoying it.”
O’Ward scored two victories over the course of the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series season and ended the season on seventh place with 480 points.
The Mexican went on to say:
They are amazing cars. “They’re so quick compared to anything else you might drive in your life. It is an insight into what it is like going as fast as you will ever go in your life – certainly when it comes to cornering. The stopping power of an F1 machine is second to none.
“It is basically a rocket ship on wheels. They are works of art, and great pieces of engineering – so much work and resource go into the development of these cars, and you can really feel that.”
O’Ward discussed how wind direction affects the performance of the car which was the Mercedes-powered MCL35M.
It is important to know where the wind is coming from with these types of cars. They’re so dependent on wind direction because they’re so dependent on aerodynamic balance. That is new compared to what I am used to with Indycar because the air is somewhat important, but not that much.
It was O’Ward’s second run in a Formula One car following his test in Abu Dhabi while it was Alex Palou’s first test in an F1 machine. The Spaniard went on to say:
“I have been lucky enough to race in Europe, Japan, and the US, but it is great to come back to Europe and learn from an F1 team. There is so much that I can learn, and I cannot wait to continue.
“I tried to prepare myself as much as possible, but at the same time, I don’t think I could have prepared for this without having driven a car before, but now I know what I need to do to prepare. I just wanted to have fun and embrace every moment.”
Palou spoke about the power of the car saying:
Power-wise, it is crazy – the amount of power, the grip, and the downforce is insane. Weight-wise, I think it is similar, but you go so fast, and there is so much downforce. We have power steering in F1, but we don’t in INDYCAR, which makes a big difference.
“They are both physically demanding, but in different ways. An F1 car is more about strength in the neck and the g-forces, but it is easier on the arms. In INDYCAR, it is so demanding on your arms but easier on your neck.
“The amount of detail on the F1 cars is insane. So to start with, it was just about getting comfortable with the speed and downforce.”