Daniil Kyvat returned to Monaco after the aborted start to the 2020 Formula 1 season and unlike other drivers who took to sim racing, Daniil said it wasn’t something that interested him and he only ran through a few simulations with his race engineer.
Ahead of this weekend’s Formula 1 2020 season start (or restart!), he talks through his COVID-19 lockdown and what it is like to wear a facemask around a motorsport garage.
“After the race in Melbourne was cancelled, I just wanted to get home as quickly as possible, because that’s where you want to be in these kind of times. As soon as I got back, the lockdown started so I was pretty much in quarantine in my home in Monaco. It was interesting times, a bit different, but we tried to adapt to find some different things to do, including some sport as it was important not be just sitting around doing nothing. Some aspects of it were not so bad and I slept a bit more than usual! But after a while it became quite monotonous. It was the longest time I went without driving a real race car apart from when I had a year off from Formula 1, so I have experienced this sort of long break before.
“As soon as the karting tracks were opened up again at the beginning of May, I was there right away. It was good to be driving again and I did quite a lot of it and it was a useful way of keeping alive your muscle memory for driving and racing, as well as being enjoyable.
“During the lockdown, I kept in touch with Mattia my race engineer. In fact, I have a small simulator at home and together with him, we did a few qualifying simulations. I would connect him via an iPad that I had next to me and we would simulate a qualifying session and he would talk to me as though we were doing it for real on an actual track. That was the best we could do. I know a lot of the other F1 drivers did a lot of this sim racing, but I have to say it’s not really my thing as I don’t feel it’s very representative of driving an actual car. At the moment, I have not been able to come to the UK and use the team’s real simulator because of all the quarantine restrictions in place, so we will have to see how that situation develops in the next few weeks.
“As for the actual racing and how this season develops, we will just take it one race at a time. I will race where I am told to do so on the basis that the people who run the sport have done their work and decided it’s safe to do so for ourselves and everyone around us.
I trust that we are in good hands and that we will have an adequate calendar to follow and execute. I hope there will be no unexpected surprises. As for keeping masks on at all times at the track, we worked under these conditions at our recent filming day and I’d say it’s something you get used to quite quickly, just like when the Halo was first introduced for example. You get used to it after a few hours. One thing we will have to get used to will be the lack of fans. it will be weird to see the empty grandstands, the crowd is an important aspect of all sport and we will be missing it.
“As to how we will get on, it’s hard to say. In terms of track data to look at, we only have what we acquired in Barcelona in the winter. We will turn up in Austria with a good plan to tackle the Red Bull Ring and then we will see. It’s a track I like, with an old-skool layout featuring plenty of fast corners and I’ve always enjoyed racing there. We will be there for quite a while with the two races back to back and it’s a nice place to be, in the countryside so it means we can put in some training time in the fresh air.”