As much as we may wish otherwise, the vast majority of those reading this will never find themselves behind the wheel of a Formula 1 race car. And even if they did, actually piloting one of these beasts at speed around a real race track (video games don't count) is a practice best left to the professionals.

This being the case, the closest you're likely to get to seeing what it's really like to drive an F1 car is by watching the video after the break. Lucas di Grassi, formerly a driver for Virgin Racing and now the official test driver for Pirelli, strapped an eye-level camera to his helmet and set out for a lap at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain.

According to di Grassi, driving with such an apparatus affixed to his head wasn't an easy task. "I had to drive with only one eye open as the camera was blocking my other eye, quite tricky," he said. We bet. See it all shake down after the break.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 54 Comments
      Need Mulally 4 Ford
      • 3 Years Ago
      Oh man why did he pit! I was waiting for the straightaway...
        JGuan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Need Mulally 4 Ford
        He did a standard 'installation' lap. Leave pits and come back immediately to make sure there are no leaks, or any other issues with the car.
        Willie Miles Johnson
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Need Mulally 4 Ford
        Agreed. But i must admit the push button for pit lane speed is pretty darn neat.
      MotionDesigner
      • 3 Years Ago
      I must do that before I die.
      Patrick Keller
      • 3 Years Ago
      There were no cars zooming by him, so that's not really what Lucas saw while he was racing. :D
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        AcuraCake
        • 3 Years Ago
        On board camera for every race is here: http://www.formula1.com/video/onboard/
      milkylainen
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nowhere near full speed F1. This was like half qualifying speed. Just crusing around to show off the new camera. The acceleration performance of F1 is really awesome.. It is just second to their breaking performance which is just ... gasp ...
        Elmo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @milkylainen
        Formula 1 rarely ever reaches their top speeds. That was a full-on lap. His hands even fully overlapped in a few of the turns. He was also pegging it.
          Narom
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          You're easily pleased then. He was short shifting and getting off the accelerator early for every single corner. That was never in a million years a full on lap. That was just an installation lap and they tend to be 20/30 seconds off a full on lap.
          WatchF1
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          He was not "pegging" it. He wasn't pushing. This was an out-lap to show off the view from the helmet while the tires were, as yet, not worn in. Sure, they were warm. They weren't up to temperature. Neither were the brakes. He was at, MAYBE, 16k RPM's. Watch it again. He was NOT at full chat.
          clquake
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          The tires usually require more than 10 feet to come up to temp, no way is this an all out lap.
          Lachmund
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Elmo
          like the others stated..this was maybe 3/4 on concerning tires and revs.
        Maverickfiveo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @milkylainen
        Also cruising around to test it... Remember, he has one eye covered, so his depth perception is nil. I imagine half-speed is about the most he would want to push it with no depth perception.
      Duk3ofN3rd5
      • 3 Years Ago
      That just feel SOOO FAST :O Love this video. Thanks, autoblog.
      WatchF1
      • 3 Years Ago
      Forgive the obvious silly username. This was frightening. He wasn't at full chat (warming tires). Obviously, this was just an out lap to show the view. But it was awfully scary to me. Given the viewpoint, you have to commit to a braking line before you can see the turns. And despite that the rumble strips "lean" into the direction of the turns and corners, this track, because of a lack of elevation, scares the !@#%$ out me. In a racing game, you can just choose a different viewpoint to resolve the view. When you're this low, on a track this flat,..... It just puts me even more in awe of what these guys accomplish. I love F1. They really are the pinnacle of drivers.
        foodeater
        • 3 Years Ago
        @WatchF1
        Part of what makes it seem like you cant see the corners before committing to you line, is the focal length of the lens used. it is a pretty wide angle (as evidenced by the distortion of the bridge and other structures passing overhead). Also the human eye can very quickly change focus from objects that are far away to objects that are very close, where this camera lens is focused on a fixed distance that doesnt change. It is almost impossible to make a camera lens that is as versatile as a human eye. That does not change my respect for the drivers in F1 (or any racing series) one bit.
      Maverickfiveo
      • 3 Years Ago
      I like the junk-fix at 0:22. Just proves the cajones diGrassi has.
      glalli2
      • 3 Years Ago
      can't wait for the u.s. grand prix next november
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Ross Carlson
      • 3 Years Ago
      Have to say I was pretty surprised at how little he moved his head? I guess the visibility is just so good that he doesn't need to but I would think he'd be looking through the corners further than that. Either way rather impressive...
        Kris
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Ross Carlson
        He can moves his eyes too, don't forget that. The camera can't catch it. It's much easier to move your eyes than your neck especially with the g-forces involved here.
      Jon Norman
      • 3 Years Ago
      Racing looks so much cooler when the cars aren't flying through the air on fire and exploding... oh wait...
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