Palou – alongside fellow IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward – got behind the wheel of the 2021 MCL35M last week in a closed test at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as part of the car testing program Team Papaya’s previous years – after IndyCar driver Colton Herta’s test at Portimao with McLaren in July.
After the test, speaking to SoyMotor.com, Palou revealed the main differences he found behind the wheel of Formula 1 compared to his previous experiences in other motorsport categories, before explaining what made the experience so enjoyable.
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« It’s so different from all the other cars a driver can drive before Formula 1 that when you get out of the car, the first things that come to mind are acceleration, braking…basic things. , because it’s a massive change,” said Palou.
“It’s amazing. First I did an hour just to check everything was ok in the car, check the seat and just give myself time to get comfortable with the speed. When I jumped out of the car, I couldn’t help but tell my wife Esther and my father that it didn’t make sense, not the opportunity itself, which it’s not. neither did the case, but the behavior of the car and how different it was. »
He continues: “It’s an endless acceleration, it doesn’t seem to end. Then when you do more laps you get used to it and you see where it ends… and then there’s the braking, the cornering… It’s so perfect. »
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When asked if he was 100% out of the car, Palou replied, “100%, no. It’s hard to get the most out of the car with only 500 kilometres. You can do it, but there are risks. It’s not that we are racing against time, it’s more about progress.
“At the end of the day, I’m a racing driver, and it’s a racing team, so what matters most is going fast, for sure, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. be possible to go from an IndyCar to a Formula 1 and get the most out of the car in a single day”.
Palou – the 2021 IndyCar champion – also opened up about his ambitions to one day become a full-time Formula 1 driver.
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« When you win IndyCar, the biggest goal I set for myself, then the doors open a little bit more and so do your goals, » Palou said. “I think we proved in the United States that we can be very fast on the ovals, in the Indy 500 we won the championship… Why not try Formula 1?
« Doing this test doesn’t mean we’ll be there on the sidelines just in case something happens, but doing a test is better than nothing and I wanted to try Formula 1 at some point in my life. Now I have done it. »