Alex Lynn followed in the footsteps of newly-crowned British Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton by taking to the track in F1 machinery for the first time yesterday, having won the GP3 Series – a stepping-stone to the very top level of the sport – just a few days previously.
Winning the 2013 GP3 championship catapulted Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat to the top of Formula One only one year later – and now Alex has shown that he has everything it takes to do exactly the same.
The 21-year-old from Essex jumped into a Lotus F1 Team E22 at the final test of the year in Abu Dhabi this afternoon, having had no experience of Formula One previously and only days to prepare. Yet within just four laps he was on the pace, despite the complexity and enormous speed of contemporary Formula One machinery, complete with turbochargers, DRS and a full hybrid system.
“The Lotus F1 Team E22 is an amazing piece of machinery, but I felt comfortable with it almost immediately,” said Alex. “As time went on I felt more and more accustomed to it and we were able to begin to push, while giving some detailed feedback to the engineers. I’ve obviously still got a lot to learn, but I was able to get on top of the car quite quickly.”
Alex alternated longer and shorter runs aboard the Lotus F1 Team car, which finished eighth in the Formula One manufacturers’ championship this year, while sampling a wide variety of engine settings and tyres. Unlike some of the other drivers though, he did not get to try the fastest supersoft tyres, which are worth approximately an extra second per lap.
Nonetheless, he finished the day ninth fastest, ahead of many more experienced drivers who had sampled Formula One machinery before. The team asked Alex to perform a number of systems checks and evaluations on the car, with the main objective of the test being to prepare for the 2015 season.
“Of course, you always feel that you could have done more, but for a first day it’s really not bad at all,” added Alex, a Red Bull Junior Team member who led this year’s GP3 Series from start to finish. “I’m very grateful to the team for this opportunity and I hope I was able to help them prepare for next season. I’ve got to say that this whole experience has just made me even more hungry for my next taste of Formula One!”
Lotus F1 Team Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane concluded: “Alex is clearly a fast driver and to be on the pace so quickly in his first test was very impressive. We had a solid day of trouble-free running, enabling us to complete the majority of our evaluations. Alex was rapidly able to deliver what we wanted of him, and we head back with plenty of data to analyse.”
Alex, however, remains in Abu Dhabi where he will test a GP2 car run by ART on Friday and Saturday.
Formula One testing times, day two, Abu Dhabi 2014:
1 Wehrlein, Mercedes: 1m42.624s 2 Marciello, Ferrari: 1m43.208s 3 Verstappen, Toro Rosso: 1m43.763s 4 Ericsson, Sauber: 1m44.551s 5 Stevens, Caterham: 1m44.888s 6 Goddard, Force India: 1m44.944s 7 Ricciardo, Red Bull: 1m45.151s 8 Nasr, Williams: 1m45.937s 9 Lynn, Lotus: 1m46.168s 10 Ocon, Lotus: 1m47.013s 11 Vandoorne, McLaren: no time set