MIM driver consistently quick at Red Bull Ring with 2021 car as his GP programme continues
Monaco Increase driver Alex Palou continues on his learning curve with Formula One cars after concluding the Indycar championship with a resounding win in the last round at Laguna Seca. The 25-year old Spaniard has been thoroughly committed to a ‘split’ programme as he faces new exciting challenges with the Grand Prix cars, while retaining his drive for Chip Ganassi Racing in the 2023 North American series.
Following a first outing at Circuit de Catalunya in September, last week Palou tested again the MCL35M McLaren car at Red Bull Ring circuit near Spielberg, home to the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix. The MCL35M was used by McLaren in last year’s F1 championship and is fitted with Pirelli ‘academy’ tires which are 1-1.5 seconds per lap slower than the C3 compound tires used last year in Grands Prix. Again, MIM’s Palou shared the driving duties with fellow Indycar driver Patricio O’Ward, the Mexican running on Thursday before handing over the car to Palou for the following day. The runplan was very exhaustive, ranging from early runs with harder tire compound to softer rubber outings and terminating with a series of race-like long runs. While no official lap times were given, Palou was consisently quick in his day of running, even though some time was lost in the garage to repair a technical issue. Once again he proved to be very much at ease with the Formula One car, which unlike Indycars is fitted with power steering and thus requires much less physical effort, but is way more demanding in terms of driver’s reactions as “everything happens at much faster speed”, in Palou’s words.
“I had a blast driving the McLaren F1”, Palou wrote on his Twitter profile, and he was even more enthusiast when he called the Monaco Increase Management headquarters to tell about his experience, which represents yet another step in his Formula One test and reserve driver commitment for McLaren…