Fernando Alonso 'very impressed' with Jimmie Johnson's F1 run

Fernando Alonso was "very impressed" with NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson's performance in a Formula 1 car in their drive swap test in Bahrain

Fernando Alonso 'very impressed' with Jimmie Johnson's F1 run

Two-time F1 world champion Alonso sampled Johnson's NASCAR Chevrolet, as the seven-time Cup champion drove a 2013 McLaren MP4-28 with a Mercedes V8 engine.

GALLERY: Alonso and Johnson swap cars

Alonso initially drove the F1 car for a few laps to set a benchmark time of 1m40.204s before switching to the Chevy.

Johnson managed to post a 1m40.462s during his F1 run, just over two tenths shy of the double world champion's best.

"Impressive," said Alonso of Johnson's performance. "He was really gaining time every run.

"Sometimes you put new tyres on these cars for the very first time and you are not able to extract the grip, but he was able to guess this extra grip that the new tyres are giving to you, and extract that grip into lap time so I was very impressed with that.

"He took it very seriously.

"We were swapping the cars, having fun, but also we wanted to feel the new environment in a representative way and in a speed that we could feel something close to what they feel normally."

Alonso, who competed in his final F1 race for now on Sunday in Abu Dhabi, admitted the NASCAR Chevrolet was a culture shock.

"I knew that the cars were very basic in terms of technology," he said. "Last time I ran an H-gearbox was in 1999, so it was going back a lot in time.

"The car was very powerful for the amount of grip available. Maybe with other cars around it is different but definitely alone it was a lot of fun."

Johnson, who had never driven a single-seater on a road course, admitted the "sensation of speed" was "mind-blowing".

He had to pit for helmet adjustments after his first run.

"Literally on the first outing, my helmet was trying to leave my head, and I was staring at the microphone in my helmet it was so high!" said Johnson.

"I was like 'I don't want to stop but I think I should...'

"I got my helmet more under control and then it was really my eyes trying to find their way far enough ahead and far enough round the turns.

"At the end I really quit focusing on the braking markers themselves and was able to look at the apex and had an idea of when to hit the brakes and was putting together some good laps. It was fun."

Johnson underlined that he was trying as hard as possible even though it was ostensibly a light-hearted day, and reckons the experience was better for him than for Alonso.

"I didn't know how close I would get," he said. "The racer in me was of course focused on that and I was straight away asking: 'What was his lap time? Can I look at the data and try and piece that together?'

"He had that same opportunity in my car to look at that data and go after it.

"I honestly think I got a way better swap experience than he did."

shares
comments
Thick paint caused crumbling kerb during F1's Abu Dhabi GP weekend

Previous article

Thick paint caused crumbling kerb during F1's Abu Dhabi GP weekend

Next article

F1 2019: Albon's deal to partner Kvyat at Toro Rosso announced

F1 2019: Albon's deal to partner Kvyat at Toro Rosso announced
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Fernando Alonso
Author Jonathan Noble
Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Plus

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to STUART CODLING, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion

Formula 1
May 15, 2021
Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row? Plus

Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row?

Aston Martin claims Formula 1’s latest technical tweaks have cost it competitiveness – and that it’s the innocent victim of a regulatory stitch-up aimed at pegging back Mercedes. But is any of this actually true? It depends on who you ask, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
May 14, 2021
How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean? Plus

How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But is their rivalry destined to end in broken shards of carbon fibre?

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight Plus

What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight

OPINION: Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have recovered from their pre-season woes to take three wins from the opening four races of 2021. But each time Red Bull and Max Verstappen have pushed them hard. So, what clues did the latest round of that battle – the Spanish Grand Prix – tease about the next stage of the season?

Formula 1
May 12, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Plus

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Plus

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Plus

How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021