Lewis on… why old F1 cars are more exciting
Sound is everything, especially the first time you start up a car. Unfortunately, now when you start up an F1 car, it doesn’t really do it as much as it used to. The old V10s and V8s used to make so much noise, you’d have to cover your ears in the garage. Now you can stand right next to the car while it’s idling.
The drivability is amazing now, better than it’s ever been, and the power is as good, if not better. It’s rapid in a straight line but it’s the sound of a V10 I want. I’m always watching on-board videos of Montoya in the V10 era, and it just sounded amazing.
The first time I drove a McLaren it was a V10, at the national circuit at Silverstone. I was waiting to shift and it just kept going and going and going, to 21,000rpm. It was insane, why would you change that?!
Now I change at like 12,000rpm. We could do 15,000 but we don’t need it, so 12 or 13 is optimal. I like stick-shifts as well. I loved Formula 3, when I had to take my hand off the wheel, and use a real foot-clutch. It’s the way of cars now [the move to paddleshift], even road cars.
I grew up a fan of the sport, overtaking is obviously what people love to see. And there’s probably not enough of it. Me, personally, when I first got to a Grand Prix I remember stepping on track and Schumacher came by and the sound roared into my ribcage. I was 11 years old. After that I was super hooked. Even more than when I’d been watching on TV.