Esteban Ocon is predicting the 2020 Formula 1 cars can break all the lap records given the increase in speeds and surge in development over the winter.

With stable regulations plus the same specification of tyres from Pirelli this season, all F1 teams quickly got up to speed at the first pre-season test at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in comparison to the lap times from previous opening tests.

While conditions were also ideal for impressive lap times, Ocon feels the level teams have already reached in the early stages of development with their respective 2020 F1 cars means lap records will be targeted at every race this season.

Numerous track records were beaten last season, including at the Spanish Grand Prix with Valtteri Bottas taking pole position with a 1m 15.406s for Mercedes, and the Finn came close to matching that at this week’s pre-season test with a best lap of 1m 15.732s.

“I don’t know if it is the track. I drove on Monday on the filming day, and these new cars are impressive,” Ocon said. “I have never gone that fast in some corners before. So it feels good.

“It is definitely exciting because we are going to go faster and faster. We’re probably going to break all the records this year of lap times.

“With the amount of grip there is already this year, if you take in account the fastest lap time, we are already faster than the fastest last year from the first day. The car is a revolving year-by-year, and it is hard to compare. The amount of grip I feel now I never felt before.”

Ocon has moved to Renault after finding his path blocked at Mercedes following his year on the F1 sidelines since losing his race seat at Racing Point at the end of 2018.

2020 is set to be F1’s last chance to produce new lap records for the foreseeable future with the incoming 2021 regulations overhaul set to peg back outright car performance by at least three seconds according to F1 simulations and predictions.

 

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