F1’s unlikely training tool – The Vauxhall Astra

Rob Wilson has been involved in training twelve of the current drivers on the Formula 1 grid including  Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen, Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg.

Wilson’s training technique may surprise some as his car of choice is the British-built Vauxhall Astra“The Astra will do everything that an F1 car does dynamically, just at a far lower speed”  said Wilson.

“This allows me to explain the physics behind what the car is doing out on the track in real time, which I’d never manage in a performance car. The other advantage is that the driver’s engineer can ride along too, and this is crucial since a change in driving technique could result in a different set-up for the race car”.

In the 360° video above we ride along with Wilson in a typical lesson at his his base test-track at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, South Leicestershire.

Rob’s techniques, which have been honed from his own long and successful career in motorsport, assume a very high base-line in driving ability at the start of his sessions.

The focus is on cornering and braking weights, and how to minimise both by adopting sometimes counter-intuitive cornering lines; even gear-changing comes under the microscope.

“Many top drivers have never heel-and-toed during down-changes, because they’ve never needed to. But the discipline makes them appreciate the importance of smoothness and how it can have a positive effect on the balance of the car into corners”added Wilson.