Chandhok: F1 rookies should be utterly terrified

Date published: April 9 2020

Karun Chandhok: F1 rookies should be utterly terrified

Formula 1 rookie drivers should be “utterly” terrified the first time they drive a Formula 1 car, that’s according to Karun Chandhok.

Not for the first time, and likely not the last, someone is complaining about how easy it is to drive the current generation of Formula 1 cars.

This saw Max Verstappen make his debut at just 16 while Lando Norris joined the grid at 18 years of age.

Last season Norris was one of three drivers to enter Formula 1 with the Brit less than two-tenths down on his team-mate in pre-season testing while George Russell was quickest for Williams and Alex Albon edged his team-mate.

Chandhok says it shouldn’t be like that.

He told RaceFans.net: “The most awe-inspiring experience of driving a racecar, I think that’s what F1 should be.

“With all due respect, I think George Russell and Lando and Alex Albon, they’re all great drivers and great rookies. But they shouldn’t be able to get into a Formula 1 car and be within three tenths of the pace on their first day.

“It should be a scary, terrifying experience like it used to be. The first day that you drive a car should be utterly terrifying in F1.”

The former Caterham driver is desperate for Formula 1 to swap to ground-effect aerodynamics, which was the game plan for 2021.

That has been deferred a year to 2022 to give the teams an opportunity to recover from the current financial crisis.

“I was optimistic [for] 2021, but now it could be ’22, ’23 with the new rules coming in. They can’t come soon enough for me,” said Chandhok. “I think F1 is ready for a reset and we need to get back to cars that can race better.

“The 2011 cars were so agile. The drivers, they were on edge. The drivers really had to be on top of it because they darted around and they moved around, they were skittish and edgy to drive.

“Whereas now… I have driven the Williams from 2017 and the Mercedes from 2019. And particularly the W10 was a great car, won the world championship and dominated last year.

“But you can feel the weight, you’re edging towards sportscar territory. Compared to 2004 which was, I still believe, the peak of F1 performance, they were 605. So that’s now a 140 kilos lighter. That’s pushing seven seconds.”

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