|The Ferrari left a lasting impression|
to test Ferrari's race winning F60 Grand Prix racer.
|Michael Lewis currently races in F3|
Michael Lewis' F1 test came in 2011 as his prize for being the highest placed rookie in the Italian Formula 3 Championship. The test, organized by Ferrari's Driver academy, took place at
the Autodromo Vallelunga Piero Taruffi just outside of Rome, Italy. He completed approximately 50 laps of the circuit, the equivalent of round about 200 kilometres. He currently races Formula 3 cars, something similar to an F1 car, only smaller and considerably less powerful. Think of it like this, Formula 3 is like running, whereas Formula One is the Olympic 100 Metre Final. This would perhaps lead you to think that F3 was closer to a road car than an F1 car. However, as Michael tells me, this is not the case. He describes the similarities as "Mainly just the fact that the Formula 3 has 4 wheels and a steering wheel". So; smaller and less powerful but still a potent track weapon.
How does this compare to a Formula One car then? Well, they basically look the same, wing at the front, wing at the back, engine and driver in the middle; but despite the relative aesthetic similarity, they are hugely different. In F3, power comes from a four cylinder engine producing approximately 210bhp at around 6000RPM, F1 engines on the other hand have twice the number of cylinders, produce an astronomical 700-850BHP and rev to around 18,000 RPM. That RPM figure is around twice that of a high powered supercar and near enough four times the figure of your average family car. An obvious feature of a Formula car is the wings. In F1 they are bigger than F3 due to the higher speeds achieved (F3 cars can achieve around 160MPH whereas and F1 car can achieve between 200-230MPH depending on setup).
With a road car, you get something suitable for all occasions. A Formula One car can be adapted depending on the track you're driving it on, the weather, temperature, driver and thousands of other parameters. The lack of traction control allows the car to slide around but this effect can be adapted by the engineer by altering the aerodynamic setup of the car. The wings ensure the car sticks to the track at high speed, a feature definitely not needed on a road going vehicle. In fact, legendary Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer once described a Formula One car as 'an aeroplane with wheels'.
|'I'll do whatever I can to get back into an F1 car again'|
From the driver's seat, the view of the road ahead is hardly a big one, although it's is similar to an F3 car, albeit with a wider nose and front wing. Despite this, the cockpit is still smaller than an F3 car even though the junior formulae racer is smaller in overall size. Michael tells me that it is "not that loud" on board an F1 car, a shock for me considering the first time a stood behind a revving Formula 1 car without ear protection, I couldn't hear properly for a week afterwards! Maybe I'm just soft.
|The cockpit of the F60 |
is hardly a lounge
Sitting behind the wheel of an F1 car is an experience few get to sample. In his test, Michael Lewis drove Ferrari F60 - 279, a significant fact as it was the exact car that Kimi Raikkonen won his final race for Ferrari in. He also used Giancarlo Fisichella's actual race seat from the 2009 season. Driving for the most fabled F1 team in history is obviously going to be a special occasion. Michael Lewis actually became the first American to drive a contemporary works Ferrari since Mario Andretti in 1982. "Seeing that prancing horse logo on the steering wheel was pretty special. As I was getting faster and faster on track and really pushing the
car, I was thinking, man...I'm really doing this?"
You can read my full interview with Michael Lewis HERE
About Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis hails from Laguna Beach in California, USA. A man always seeking to push himself, he came to race in Europe to further develop his skills rather than sticking to the American racing tradition of IndyCar or NASCAR. In 2012 he competed in the Formula 3 Euro Series with PREMA Powerteam, 2011 he was the highest ranked rookie and 2nd place overall in the Formula 3 Italia Championship. Prior to this he raced Formula BMW and Go Karts in America. his aim is to become America's next F1 star, telling me 'I'll do whatever I can to get back into an F1 car again'.
For more information on Michael Lewis' career, and to find out his plans for 2013, check out his website - http://www.mjlracing.com/
I'd like to say a massive thank you to Michael for his help with this
feature. He has been incredibly helpful, insightful and I am extremely grateful!
Images have been
taken from various sources across the internet. No copyright infringement is intended.