Four-time Moto GP champion Marc Marquez has completed his first laps with a Formula One car at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
Marquez drove a Toro Rosso STR7, the car Red Bull’s junior team used for the 2012 season, decked out in its current livery. The show run was to promote upcoming F1 and MotoGP races at the Spielberg circuit.
Marquez, who has won four of the last five championships of motorbike racing’s premier category and is leading series legend Valentino Rossi in the 2018 championship, completed 43 laps before handing the car over to his Honda MotoGP teammate Dani Pedrosa after lunch.
“Yesterday I was very, very nervous, this morning too — difficult to sleep, even more than in a race weekend,” he said. “But step by step we just tried to find a way, to enjoy, and it was really good.
“They tell me [I was] not bad [to begin with], but I was so far [away from the pace], but then step by step I understand the things, and around these legends everything is easier. It is a day that will be always in my mind.”
His run was overseen by three of Austria’s most famous motor racing names, Red Bull’s owner Dietrich Mateshitz, motorsport advisor Helmut Marko and three-time world champion Niki Lauda. Former Red Bull F1 driver Mark Webber was also at the circuit to act as a coach for Marquez and Pedrosa’s runs.
Webber was taken aback by how Marquez adapted to the experience.
“It’s impressive, because obviously Marc is at the top of his game on two wheels and to come to drive a Formula One car, the way we generate the lap time is just so different,” Webber said. “We have so much downforce, so much cornering grip, the lateral component, the seating position is unique because the eyeline is different.
“A super-impressive morning. He chipped away, we got into the breaking areas, we got into the high-speed corners, and now we’re into this last part which takes a bit longer to get the last bit of lap time out. In general it’s been a real honour to be here. He’s driven awesome.”