“Practice makes perfect” is how the saying usually goes. For Formula 1 drivers though, it’s really more akin to “practice until you can do it without looking”.
F1 cars nowadays have so many settings to adjust on the fly, that even four-time Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel said that it’s like a computer, and is “very complicated”.
In order to change these settings while driving at full throttle, F1 drivers utilise their years of experience and hundreds of hours on the simulator to develop a “sixth sense” for the track, enabling them to basically drive with their eyes closed.
As a demonstration of that very skill, Mercedes-AMG F1 driver Valtteri Bottas takes us around the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne, but with a twist – he’s actually seated in the middle of an empty room, armed with nothing but two chairs and his imagination.
Starting from the main straight, Bottas goes through each turn with the correct imaginary steering wheel input, while at the same time giving a commentary of the corner itself, or even how the car behaves at certain points of the track.
For example, Bottas pointed out that at the exit of turn 10, the car usually oversteers and pushes it wide towards the wall. He even remembers where the tracks are bumpier – such as the braking zone into turn 13, giving himself a mental note every time on track to be careful under threshold braking.
Bottas ends the lap with a fist bump, along with his iconic “to whom it may concern” radio message, a reference to his win at the 2019 Australian Grand Prix.
If you can’t tell by now, we are really excited for the start of the 2020 Formula 1 season – scheduled to start this weekend in Melbourne, Australia, if all things go according to plan.