Analysis: Andre Lotterer has the pace to be in F1

AUTOSPORT's sportscar expert GARY WATKINS gives his verdict on Audi's Le Mans 24 Hours winner Andre Lotterer's Formula 1 debut with Caterham at the Belgian Grand Prix

Analysis: Andre Lotterer has the pace to be in F1

If you were going to pick a driver who'd never so much sat in a Formula 1 car of anything approaching recent vintage to make a hasty grand prix debut, then Andre Lotterer is probably the man best qualified for the job.

Lotterer replaces Kobayashi at Caterham

His mix of experience of complicated hybrid machinery from Audi's LMP1 programme in the World Endurance Championship and high-powered single-seaters from Super Formula in Japan adds up to a pretty good starting point.

Nor should we forget that Lotterer has a skill set that arguably should have taken him to F1 long ago: he has the pace.

Look at his string of fastest laps at the Le Mans 24 Hours on the way to victory this year.

He has supreme technical ability and understanding of a modern racing car, and he has the mental resolve that is an important constituent of the make-up of every successful F1 driver.

That said, Lotterer isn't going to set the world on fire at Spa. That just can't happen.

Mileage is everything in motor racing. Just look at last month's Spa 24 Hours: Lotterer, making a one-off in the blue-riband Blancpain Endurance Series round, wasn't as quick as some of his fellow Audi drivers, the likes of Rene Rast and Laurens Vanthoor, who virtually live in the R8 LMS ultra.

Lotterer's learning curve through free practice will be steep in the extreme, not least having to come to term's with F1's quirky Pirelli tyres after racing on Michelins in the WEC and Bridgestones in Super Formula.

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Andre Lotterer replaces Kamui Kobayashi at Caterham F1 team
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