A driver called Lawrence (Loz) Davidson gets his first taste of racing in F1 against pros.
|“Today is going to be interesting” thought new rookie driver Lawrence Davidson as he left the hotel he was staying at. On his way to Jerez, the team principal of Scuderia Toro Rosso, the Italian faction of the Austrian Red Bull Racing, phoned him and said “Mr Davidson, I am pleased that you accepted our offer to become test driver for us”. Loz smiled to himself, and then “I am happy to join the team. Hopefully, I will make you proud. After arriving at the circuit, he met the team principal, Franz Tost, who introduced him to the team. Half an hour later, Tost says, “introductions over, it’s time to get you briefed Mr Davidson, if you would like to follow me please”. Loz followed Tost into the briefing room.|
“Right”, he starts off the briefing, “for this season, we have been handed a new specification of car. We would like you to take it out on track and test it. We would also appreciate feedback during the test. This can be any problem with the car or anything that you feel like reporting back to us as this would help with further development. Anyway, enough of that, the serious business is the test run. A time of 1:53:706 has been set, if you can beat that, we would immediately promote you to second driver as our current second driver, Sébastien Bourdais was injured in a biking accident”. Loz was stunned after the briefing. But after a period of around 10 minutes, he was ready to step into the highest level of competitive motorsport. He went down to the garage where he met the most important members of the team, the engineers and the pit mechanics. One of the wheelmen walked over to him and shook Loz by the hand, “you must be Mr Davidson, the new test driver for us, am I correct?” Loz replied “I am. I… I must be dreaming. This doesn’t seem real. I mean, standing here in the garage of Toro Rosso with the car behind us.” The wheelman introduced Loz to his Toro Rosso, in all of its glory. Loz didn’t know what to do as he stood as still as a corpse, just gawping at the sight of the beast of a machine.
He head out onto the pit straight after spending time with the mechanics and engineers. The bellow of the 900hp Ferrari Type 056 engine filled Loz with ecstacy. He pulled out of the garage and onto the home straight and set off at a gentle crawl around the track.This would help him get a feel for the car and the layout of the track. He reaches the end of the lap and as soon as he crosses the line, the timer starts. Loz gentley, but without losing any time, eases the car through the first third of the track. He reaches the first speed trap, where he passes it and puts his foot to the floor through the high speed straights and the smooth high speed corners. Second speed trap approaches and passed. Loz is currently 2 seconds down on the target time, but he pushes his body and the car to the extreme limit. Into the final corners of the circuit and Loz presses the brake pedal so hard that the discs actually start glowing due to the intense heat. Meanwhile, back in the pit garage, Lewis Hamilton is standing, watching the lap. Hamilton and Loz have been friends since school. Their bond has grown stronger throughout the years.
Loz is thinking to himself, “well so far so good, the car is fine”, when all of a sudden, disaster strikes. Loz gets a warning in his cockpit telling him that the front left brake has malfunctioned. This slows him down as he tries to repair the problem from the cockpit. Fortunately, the problem is soon fixed and he can get on his way again. He abandons this lap, but doesn’t pit. He heads over the line for another run. First speed trap approaches and he is 0.5 seconds quicker. He then flies down towards the second speed trap. He presses a button on his wheel that reads “KERS”. “Hm, I wonder what this button does”. What he doesn’t know is that the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System, sometimes refered to as Kinetic Energy Regeneration System) button actually gives the car an extra 80hp for about 6.67 seconds. Let me explain KERS briefly while I’m on the subject. KERS is a system which utilises the energy that is lost during braking and transforms it into useful energy. It can come in tow different styles, the more conventional KERS battery and the less conventional KERS flywheel. Only downside to it is that it makes the cars 25kg heavier and alters the cars centre of gravity, which makes it more predictable when turning. Enough about KERS, back onto the story. Loz presses the button and travels towards the second speed trap. He passes and is 1.8 seconds up on the time. Final sector to go. He still has a litle bit of KERS left, so he utilises it coming out of the final corner onto the pit straight. All of the team including Hamilton are standing where the race engineers usually stand. Loz crosses the line and his race engineer shouts over the radio, “congratulations, you have just beat the target time by about 2.1 seconds. Box at the end of this lap for debriefing”. Loz cannot believe what he has just heard. He trundles back to the pit lane and when he reaches the entrance to the pits, he is welcomed back into the garage. He steps out of the car and heads back to the area where Tost is sitting. Tost walks over to him and shakes him by the hand, followed by Hamilton. Tost says to him, “well, Mr Davidson, let me be the first to congratulate you on a stunning performance out there. You have now been promoted from test driver to second driver, along side Sébastien Buemi”. Hamilton then walks over to Loz and congratulates him and with a smile, “it looks like you are coming into a world of extreme competition” and jokily says to him, “how does it feel to be the new guy around town? Drivers are not forgiving at this level. Just thought I’d let you know”. Tost comes back into the room and says to Loz, “I just want to let you know that we look forward to working with you and that I (and the rest of the team) hope you make us proud by showing your full potential. Now was there any problems with the car, i.e. was the ride uncomfortable, was the steering unresponsive etc?” Loz thinks about this question carefully, and then responds, “there was one issue I had with the car, and that was the front left brake malfunctioned halfway round the track, sending me running extremely deep into the corner and sent me off the track, but apart from that, the car was fine.”