Veteran Sports Car and Open-Wheel Driver

News Index

Adrian’s Latest Blog: A Dream Come True


I wanted to share a recent event that I was truly fortunate to experience. Most people have a wish list of things they would like to do if they had the opportunity. I have my own list with a few lofty goals, one of which is to drive a Formula One car. Obviously, it is a big dream and one I never thought I would stumble across but that is exactly what happened.



Many years ago I had an opportunity to drive in Formula One for Ken Tyrrell’s team. Obviously, I would have had to bring some sponsorship money, which was what I was doing at the time in Champ Car. It really made me think but, in the end, I realized that I had created a good future for myself in CART and the interest from Mexico was growing very big in America. I didn’t want to jeopardize that for maybe one or two years in Formula One.


When I moved to Switzerland, I became very good friends with a neighbor of mine named Kevin. One day Kevin asked me if I wanted to go to watch him run in a Formula One car. I thought he was joking. I didn’t go the first time, but when he asked me a second time, I went with him to Fiorano for a Ferrari Cliente Day – Ferrari Customer Day. I almost fell over when he got behind the wheel of  his 2004 Formula One Ferrari, the car that had been driven by Michael Schumacher and is the most successful Ferrari ever built!!


When we were there he said, "Would you like to do a few laps some time?" No need to list my answer.


The opportunity came after my Aston Martin Racing test at Paul Ricard. My teammate and good friend Harold Primat was also invited. We finished the test and the next day traveled to Bologna to spend several hours on a simulator which is used by a lot of the F1 drivers, including Sergio Perez. That night we ate at the famous restaurant right in front of the Ferrari Formula One factory, where Schumacher used to eat all the time. It was a fun day but both Harold and I couldn’t wait for the morning.


We traveled to Mugello the next day. The time finally came when I was fitted in the car and about to do my first lap. I must admit it was quite difficult to get out of the pit lane. I had to get used to a hand-clutch for the first time, and it had a small problem so the "bite" was very narrow. You had to release the clutch within two millimeters, which was difficult.


Once I got out onto the track and was heading toward the first corner, the acceleration was just mind-blowing. You think you are on full power and then you realize you don’t have the throttle all the way down. When you put the throttle completely down, the kick comes and it is just breath-taking. An unbelievable sensation. The braking power was also incredible.



I was just trying to understand the car on the first lap. I remember my old days in Champ Car in terms of power. Those cars were very powerful but because the Formula One cars weigh so much less, this felt like it had at least 30 percent more power. I was very careful going through the corners. When you get on the throttle, it just feels like the rear is coming out because there is so much power. It’s so quick you feel like the thing is going to spin.


The steering wheel had all sorts of controls that I could use, like differential adjustments and another system to make the car loose or push, but I really had no time to play around with those. I was busy making sure that I wasn’t making any mistakes and enjoying every second of it – the power and the braking and the turning. I was just to the point where I was feeling comfortable and ready to take it up a notch, when they told me to come in.


I would loved to have spent an entire day in the car, just doing laps and taking the car to its limit, but this wasn’t my car. It is a very valuable and historic race car and I knew I had to be careful. Even so, the whole experience was tremendous.


I did get a little bit emotional on my second or third lap. I began to wonder whether I maybe missed a big opportunity all those years ago, but at the end of the day, I have had the best career and can’t complain.


The laps I drove reminded me why I’m so passionate about Formula One. I loved the experience and at least I finally achieved my dream of driving a Formula One car.






All rights reserved Fernandez Racing LLC ©