What happens when you give a former Formula 1 champion a 789 hp McLaren Senna and free rein at the Paul Ricard Circuit? One helluva harrowing video that will leave your palms slick with sweat.
Nico Rosberg, who won the 2016 Formula 1 championship, takes us behind the scenes of his recent shoot with a McLaren Senna on his YouTube channel at the French track, and the raw footage shows that Rosberg still has a serious need to find the edge and dance upon it. Rosberg hammers the Senna over curbing, pushing the supercar so hard during his first timed trial that the car chirps a warning about its clutch temperature overheating, and Rosberg has to back off for a minute.
Back on with the power, the twin-turbo V-8 is howling behind Rosberg’s head as he attacks. With 590 ft lbs of twist pushing him forth, Rosberg wrestles the wheel more than a few times, exclaiming “Whoa” whenever he feels the Senna sliding. “Everything’s under control,” he shouts over the cabin noise, and thanks to fast handwork, his lap time is equally impressive: under a minute. “I hope you’re seeing that this is absolutely on the edge,” Rosberg says afterward, shaking his hands out. “The ragged edge,” he corrects, adding that he was “absolutely flat out” with some “major moments out there.”
He concludes by noting that the Paul Ricard Circuit is “good fun, [but] for this car, [it’s] not quite perfect. It’s missing very high-speed corners where the downforce comes into play,” going on to explain that what he loves so much about McLaren’s Senna is the impressive downforce and grip. “It actually got my neck muscles [working], which I’m not used to anymore, but that tells you how much grip there is,” Rosberg says. “This has the most downforce that any road car has today, and you can feel it. It’s the only road car that I’ve driven that gives you that Formula 1 feeling.”
There you go, McLaren. There’s your next marketing slogan and spokesperson.