'No more than 10 laps' and I'll have the McLaren back on the limit when F1 resumes, says Sainz
Jumping into an Formula 1 car and pushing it to the limit is out of the bounds of reality for most of us, but McLaren’s Carlos Sainz says he’s so ready to race that it will take him just a handful (or two) of laps to get back up to speed. And that’s after at least five months away from the McLaren MCL35.
Sainz, who will be joining Ferrari next year as Sebastian Vettel's replacement, explained to F1's Will Buxton in a recent Instagram live interview how he will approach returning to the cockpit after so long away from racing.
“I think it will take a few laps to feel exactly 100%, but not many,” he said. “To find the proper limit of a Formula 1 car?
“Maybe FP1, you go out with a hard set of tyres, you do push, cool, push, cool, push, then all of a sudden you put a new set on and go quicker and you say: ‘oh, now I start to feel the G-forces and the braking points’ and I get my head around a Formula 1 car again.
“I would say not more than 10 laps and I am back to 100%.”
Sainz's comments might come as a surprise given several drivers have already expressed concern over the long hiatus between F1 testing and the first race of the delayed season. Williams’ George Russell said recently he's ready to capitalise if others are "rusty" for the first few races.
However, it won’t be a case of Sainz going from 0-60 instantly. He outlined just how long the process of preparing for his first race back will be – and how the excitement will ramp up in tandem.
“First I want to be able to go back to see my engineers, my mechanics, have a conversation with them, have a chat with them and a catch up.
“I want to go back into the real McLaren simulator and start testing some things to prepare for the first race, that will get my excitement and my adrenaline going. That will mean we’re close to the first race of the year.
“And then the excitement of qualifying, excitement of the race. Everything is going to be step by step and it’s a huge build-up that I’m really looking forward to.”
Buoyed by his stunning debut podium at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix – which we aired live on Saturday as part of our F1 Rewind series – Sainz has just a few months remaining with McLaren before he migrates to Maranello to replace the outgoing Sebastian Vettel.
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