Luke Browning, winner of last year’s Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Award, has completed his prize Formula 1 test with the Aston Martin team at Silverstone.
The 21-year-old, who is a junior driver of the rival Williams team, completed his day of running on October 24 and did so in the Aston Martin AMR21 car which was raced in F1 two years ago.
He began with two installation runs on wet tyre, then did a six-lap push. After that he pitted and switched to hard compound tyres from Pirelli and did another five-lap run, then pitted again for soft tyres and did a six-lap run.
Browning returned to the hard tyres for eight laps, then did five more laps on softs before a final push of the day – also on soft compound tyres – for three laps.
Another element of Browning’s AMABA prize package was a £200,000 cheque, which helped him step up to FIA Formula 3 this year after winning the 2022 GB3 title. In his rookie FIA F3 campaign he came 15th in the standings with one podium.
After getting out of the car, Browning told award organiser Autosport about the experience.
“It was like a dream, really. Little boy’s dream come true, that’s for sure,” he said. “It was just as fast as anyone might think it could be, it was absolutely ballistic. The power, the brakes, the high-speed downforce is just absolutely incredible.
“It’s a day I’ll always remember, that’s for sure, and I have to say I’m just so grateful to the BRDC, to Derek [Warwick], to Autosport, Aston Martin and to everyone involved who makes this possible for young racing drivers.
“It’s the biggest prize for a junior youngster coming up and I’m very grateful. Just lost for words.”
Browning described the level of downforce in an F1 car as “pretty mental” compared to the Dallara F3 2019 he has raced this year, and will return to next month for the Macau Grand Prix
“I was only cruising on the outlap on wets, but the downforce is immediate. You point and it goes and it feels really direct,” he said. “It’s a lot smoother, the ride so much more smooth than I thought. The bottoming is there, but in a normal single-seater, you feel like you’re fluctuating a bit more.
“In F3, it feels a bit more bouncy and it feels a bit less refined. In an F1 car, it feels like you’re driving a sportscar on the road. It’s just everything is incredible – the ride, the power steering was incredible – and I’m really looking forward to smashing the brakes later on as well.”