Aitken needed a ‘re-hardwire’ for F1 debut

Date published: December 7 2020

Jack Aitken

Due to how complicated a Formula 1 car is, Jack Aitken said he needed to “re-hardwire” his brain for the Sakhir Grand Prix.

The 25-year-old is somewhat familiar with the world of Formula 1 having served as a test driver for Renault and now Williams, but he was called up to make his debut in the series for the Sakhir Grand Prix in place of George Russell.

For the past three seasons Aitken has been focusing on Formula 2, so in order to get to grips with the complexity of the Williams FW43, the Briton said his brain needed a “re-hardwire”.

“There was a lot I was prepared for this weekend in terms of having done days in the simulator, I had my FP1 session so I at least knew the basics of the car and the processes,” he is quoted by Motorsportweek.com.

“But there are things you just can’t get through testing and Saturday and Sunday have been a steep learning curve for me, getting the most out of one lap and going racing.

“I have learned a huge amount in the last two days with those specific scenarios and re-hardwiring my brain from driving more traditional single-seaters to fairly complex beasts we have in F1, and getting the most out of them there.”

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It really was cruel irony when Aitken’s spin triggered the Safety Car which started Mercedes’ meltdown with a screw-up in the pits costing Russell a golden chance at victory.

Aitken previously said he was “gutted” for Russell, but didn’t feel any sense of responsibility for starting the chain of events.

“I am gutted for George as a colleague and friend. Obviously it was a huge opportunity for him and that’s very unfortunate,” he told reporters.

“I don’t feel responsible for it in any way. This is racing, this is what happens, it’s a chain reaction.

“Mercedes made a bit of an error and that’s very unfortunate for him, but that’s racing and I’m sure I’ll get my fair share.”

Whether Aitken gets another outing at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix or not all depends on Lewis Hamilton.

If the seven-time World Champion returns a negative COVID-19 test then he will be back in the W11 at Yas Marina, but if he still tests positive and Russell continues with the Silver Arrows, then Aitken will contest the Abu Dhabi GP for Williams.

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