Alonso says no time for 'coffee break' with new F1 cars

Formula 1 drivers can no longer afford a 'coffee break' to react to errors, claims Fernando Alonso, with the new generation of cars demanding an instant response to avoid crashes.

Alonso says no time for 'coffee break' with new F1 cars
Fernando Alonso, McLaren
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32

With F1’s new wider and faster cars having earned rave reviews - with reports of cornering forces peaking at 8G - Alonso believes that drivers are facing an all-new scenario compared to the previous generation of machinery.

“When you lose the car a little bit on the rear end especially, it’s difficult to recover because you are fast on the corners,” said Alonso.

“So you have half a tenth of a second to react. Last year you had four seconds - in the corner you could take a coffee in those cars!

“Definitely you are in a different category and are more in the direction of F1. I’m happy that an F1 car goes faster in the corners than a GP2 or a Japanese [Super] Formula, many other categories that were faster than F1 in the corners.”

Although there remains some scepticism about the impact that the new cars will have on racing - and especially overtaking - Alonso says he is not too concerned.

“The cars are much more fun to drive, the cornering speed is back to what an F1 car should be,” he said. “I think the fans will love that feeling of watching the cars from the grandstand going to that speed into the corner.

“Also on television I think they look better. I think we’re still missing the sound of F1 that was part of the DNA of the sport, but I guess that will not come any more.

“I think we’re in a good position for the sport, and I think we have good years in front of us in terms of show and in terms of excitement, driving these cars.

“I read that maybe the DRS zone will be reconsidered after the first couple of races, so everyone is working in the same direction of making F1 spectacular again. I think we are in that direction – I’m happy.”

Alonso says he’s happy too that 2017 regulations have delivered cars where the driver can make the difference - citing the disparity in performance between experienced and less experienced drivers apparent in several teams.

“Definitely I’m much more happy now,” he said after qualifying. “We saw even today, we see also the teams, how they split the drivers – always one experienced driver, one rookie maybe behind.

“In these kinds of circuits, narrow, bumpy, where you have to push the car, it’s not easy to get into the speed. So I think the cars are definitely tougher to drive and more difficult to drive.”

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