George Russell expects race management and qualifying strategies to be the areas where drivers will need the most work this season.
The Williams racer explained how he was bettering his old times on the simulator after just 12 laps, so he doesn’t expect the actual task of driving an F1 car to catch him out after the extended break.
But he does think it will take a while to get back into the rhythm of managing a qualifying session on race weekends, as well as remembering what information to give the team.
Speaking on an F1 vodcast, as quoted by Motorsport.com, he said: “I’ve driven on the sim and my first five laps were absolutely terrible.
“But by my 12th lap I was actually quicker than what I was prior to Australia, same track, same set-up, everything exactly the same. I was quite shocked by that to be honest.
“It took a little while to remember some of the procedures we had to do, and the way I worked with my engineers.
“I think that’s probably going to be the biggest thing, when you talk about rhythm, remembering exactly what feedback my guys need, how I need to drive in certain ways for the out lap, in-laps, cool down laps. That’s probably the point where we’ll make a couple of mistakes.”
Russell though expects delivering a solid qualifying lap will just be like “riding a bike”, you never forget.
“From a qualifying perspective, when it’s everything on the table, everything you’ve got, I think that’s just going to be like riding a bike to be honest,” he explained.
“Essentially you’ve either got it or you don’t, and you know how you need to drive for a lap like that. But when it does come to the race you’ve got to manage your tyres, manage your brakes, the engine temperature, attacking, defending, engine modes, talking to the engineers, giving them feedback.
“That’s the part that requires probably the most skill, there’s a lot of finesses required to optimise your whole package.
“I’ve done a lot of looking back over my notes, how I was preparing for Australia, how I ended Abu Dhabi last year, when I went into the simulator how I need to approach the race, so fingers crossed we should be in a good position.”