Nico Prost took part in the young drivers test for the Lotus F1 Team at Abu Dhabi today, announcing himself further as a serious prospect to become the latest son of a World Champion to compete in F1. Of course it is a long shot for Nico, who has carved out an impressive reputation in the increasingly competitive world of sports cars. He ended the day 5th fastest after completing 52 laps in the Renault powered Lotus.
Nico is a way off making his Grand Prix debut but when one considers that at the end of 1989 at the age of 29, another son of a World Champion, Damon Hill, was equally nowhere near the F1 radar yet went on to win 22 Grand Prix and a title. Nico, 31, can still more than make up for any lost time. He didn’t start competing until he in his early twenties in 1996.
Prost’s talent has grown exponentially in sports cars since 2009. He is highly rated within the Rebellion Racing team where he has shown very favorably against respected talents such as; Neel Jani, Marco Andretti and Nick Heidfeld. Prost has also carried on the cerebral gene inherent to the family. He’s a clever lad but extremely amiable with it. He was educated in the States at Colombia University and worked as a financial analyst for a private Swiss bank in Geneva. Nico also possesses a determined and resolute streak that will set him in good stead as he pursues his F1 dream. Recently married to the delightful Delphine, Nico is ambitious and can make it on to the F1 grid should a suitable opportunity arise. It’s a long shot but stranger things have happened.
And what of Papa Prost? We have seen him test a variety of F1 cars in recently and there are very few more evocative sights than seeing the simple white, blue and red helmet design back on track. A true champion, Alain made driving an F1 car poetic. His serenity at the wheel was legendary and it is a mark of the man that anyone with similar traits to ‘Le Professor’ is instantly labeled as enjoying a style reminiscent of the great man himself.
“Well of course my dad is very special to me and represents quite an example in what he achieved in his career,” Nico told Sniffer Media this year. “In recent years, I have a lot of admiration for Fernando Alonso and also Tom Kristensen. They have achieved great things and it gives me motivation to look up to the style and determination they have given to their quests in the sport.
“Racing is very competitive and you have to work harder than the others to beat them. I really like the Tiger Woods quote: ‘People can outplay me, but they cannot outwork me.’ You always have to give 100%”
Summary of Nico’s day – Supplied by Lotus F1 Team
A successful first day’s running at the Abu Dhabi Young Driver Test saw French driver Nicolas Prost step into the race winning E20. Nicolas completed a full engineering and aerodynamic programme during a trouble-free day, gaining valuable data for the team in the process.
Morning Session: Pressure logging and aerodynamic testing. Afternoon Session: Evaluation of rear drum configuration and further aerodynamic testing. Total Number of laps: 52 Best Lap Time: 1:44.194 Tyres Used: Three sets of hard compound rubber .
Nicolas Prost, E20-01 “Today was my first real experience of a Formula 1 car. I had driven the R30 before, however it’s now two years old and uses different tyres so it’s quite different to my experience today. I’m obviously very happy and I’m impressed by the car; it’s a massive step up even from the R30.
“For me it was like a real test driver’s day and we trialled a lot of parts. We only worked on the hard tyres, so were obviously not looking for pace, but we have been analysing the data and I have been comparing myself with Kimi and Romain’s telemetry. Obviously I’m missing a bit in some corners, but others are quite good. For my first day I think it’s very positive and I did the job the team asked of me, so it’s been a very good day.”
Simon Rennie, Race Engineer: “For the first day of testing we ran Nico in the car and mainly focused on running some new aerodynamic developments. It was therefore quite a demanding programme for Nico in terms of procedures, but he managed them all very well. We worked our way through the programme and completed everything we hoped to get out of the day; Nico did a great job.
“We only used three sets of hard tyres; as we had discovered from the race, the degradation at this circuit is very low and they were therefore ideal for completing our aero work. We focused on testing parts that take quite a while to change, meaning it is impossible to gain good data on them during a race weekend. We have not done a huge number of laps, however they have been laps where we have gathered very good data. We were not looking for performance, rather consistent runs from Nico which he did well, so all in all it’s been a very good day.”