It took only half a day in the RS20 for Esteban Ocon to believe that the 2020 F1 cars will break the lap records at all circuits this year.
The Frenchman is a new recruit for Renault this season, and he had the honour of driving the RS20 during the morning session of day one of pre-season testing in Barcelona.
He would complete 59 laps, ending the morning 0.691s down on Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.
There is plenty of excitement surrounding this season with hopes of a tightly packed grid in the final year of the current regulations, and Ocon has predicted already that the lap records will go at every circuit F1 visits.
Speaking to reporters at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, he said: “I drove on Monday and it’s impressive – these new cars. I’ve never gone that fast in some corners before. It’s exciting. We’re going to go faster and faster.
“We are going to break all the records this year, I think, in lap time.”
Renault have their sights set on taking back that P4 spot in the Constructors’ Championship from McLaren this year, and Ocon thinks his team have a “solid base” with the RS20.
“[This morning], testing went really good. We completed our morning program without any issues and the car feels very good. It feels well born. Predictable. I think its a solid base to start with,” he explained.
Ocon returns to F1 after sitting out last season and serving as Mercedes’ reserve driver, and the 23-year-old said he is still “trying to get back up to speed” in these early stages of testing.
“I’m just trying to get first feel. I am just not leaning on it yet. I am trying to get the rust off of me,” he said.
“It’s been some time since I have properly driven a car which means with somebody next to me and having reference etc. I am just trying to get back up to speed. It is important to have these lap times to be able to feel how the car reacts in race conditions or practice conditions.
“Its a good base we are having at the moment. Some times when you step in a car, there is an issue you are trying to solve the whole winter. There isn’t any kind of that at the moment. It feels pretty healthy. It’s only the first morning, we have to wait and see more during testing.”