Romain Grosjean had a chance to experience turbo F1 cars of an earlier era when he drove Alain Prost’s Renault RE40 at Silverstone Thursday.
Prost finished second in the 1983 World Championship, losing out to Nelson Piquet’s Brabham at the final round in South Africa.
“It felt the same as driving an F1 today at some points, but very different in others,” said Grosjean. “The main difference is the driving position and the fact you feel you are sitting on the front wheel axle. The driveability of the engine is of course very different – you feel there is no power and then all of a sudden it kicks in and the emotions and feelings go crazy.
“Then the gearbox is very different and takes some time to get used to. You can feel the braking, the downforce, the car sliding, and the car is going where it wants to go. It was very nice to drive though and I wish I could have done more laps!
“You can really feel the difference in the turbos from this year. In these old cars, you need to get to 2.2 bars of pressure and then it kicks in. It would have been tough in the race. Rob White [of Renault Sport] came to see me afterwards and said ‘now you won’t complain about the response this year any more!’ and I said no, I definitely won’t! The technology we have this year makes the turbo seem very easy in comparison to drive.”Alain Prost, Formula 1, Renault, Romain Grosjean