Four-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier has enjoyed stellar success in his World Rally Championship (WRC) career, and he is now able to tick another motor sports achievement off his list, having realized his boyhood dream of driving a Formula One car.
As a youngster, Ogier dreamed of emulating the grand prix exploits of his Formula One idols, but over the years his career took off on a different track – onto the gravel, tarmac, snow and ice stages of the WRC.
However, despite 40 WRC rally wins and a colossal 493 stage wins, the Frenchman still harboured his F1 dream, so recently Red Bull Racing decided to give the M-Sport driver the chance to make it come true.
“As a kid I was watching [Ayrton] Senna, he was my idol, and of course I was dreaming one day to try this kind of car,” Ogier explained. “For a racing driver to have fun you need to be fast and a Formula One car is the fastest car you can drive, so of course every racing driver wants to feel that one day.”
The location for Ogier’s dream date with an F1 car was Spielberg’s Red Bull Ring, home of Formula One’s Austrian Grand Prix. And the car at his disposal? The mighty Red Bull Racing RB7, a machine that took 12 grand prix wins and 27 podium finishes on its way to the 2011 Constructors’ title and which earned Sebastian Vettel a second drivers’ crown.
Former Red Bull Racing driver David Coulthard was on hand to show Seb around the V8-powered, 325-kph machine, and the Scotsman took the wheel of another Red Bull Racing F1 car to show Seb the 4.3-kilometer circuit.
“One dream came true for me today,” said Ogier, after 100 kilometers at the wheel. “It was awesome, and of course a big discovery – so different to what I have ever driven before. It was so much fun and actually this car is super quick but also you feel quickly very comfortable in it.”
Ogier felt sufficiently at home to experiment with the car’s set-up. “The only thing I played with a little was the traction control,” he said. “I turned it down gradually then removed it completely to finish without any. It was interesting to feel how nervous the car felt without any traction control and how smooth and gentle you have to be with the throttle – it was good fun!”