Laptimes in qualifying were far from the predictions of 4-5 seconds per lap faster, but Max Verstappen said that kind of speed can be expected on circuits other than Melbourne.
So when asked if the ‘new’ F1 is on track, the Dutchman said: “In terms of driving, yes.
“The cars are faster, it’s nice to drive them. The high speed corners are exciting.”
But Verstappen warned that overtaking may be rare in 2017, with the excitement on Sunday in Australia perhaps limited to a fight for the first corner between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.
“The races will be more boring,” he said. “Tomorrow, whoever leads in the first corner will win for sure.”
However, the cars are obviously and visibly faster and harder to drive.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, for instance, crashed in qualifying, and Romain Grosjean confirmed that the Australian was not alone in struggling to handle his car.
“We are going through the corners at an insane speed compared to the last seasons,” said the Haas driver.
In fact, the Frenchman sensationally claimed that cornering speeds in Melbourne are getting close to 8G.
“Coping with this is not easy for the driver and the car,” he said.
Even Fernando Alonso, who is otherwise frustrated with his situation at McLaren-Honda, is happy with the new F1.
“We can see that the veterans are out front and the rookies behind, because it’s more difficult to drive,” he said.
As for the risk of drivers losing control of their cars, Alonso joked: “Last year I think we had four seconds to recover — you could have a coffee while you were doing it.
“These cars are in another category.”