Former Formula 1 star Johnny Herbert swapped horsepower of the four-wheeled variety for a rather different type, as he tried out P1’s Wettpunkt.com on Lake Como in Italy, describing the experience as totally alien to anything he had ever done before.
The 43-year-old took to the driver’s seat of the 11.3-litre, Evolution Class front-runner Wettpunkt.com, alongside throttleman Hannes Bohinc and navigator Ed Williams-Hawkes and in place of regular driver Miles Jennings. It was, the three-time grand prix winner acknowledged, quite an eye-opener.
“I’ve always liked doing things that are challenging,” Herbert said. “In a straight line it’s not over-powerful, it doesn’t just suddenly shoot off like a Formula 1 car does, but what’s nice about it and very similar to F1 is when you go into the corners that’s where you start to get the grip on the turn. Trying to get that right is always the exciting part. I didn’t know where I was going at first, but once you’ve done a couple of turns you know where you’re aiming for. It’s a little bit like being a rally driver and having a co-driver in the car alongside you. The relationship has to be very close and you have to gel, whereas driving an F1 car you’re on your own. It’s completely different to anything I’ve ever done before.”
Be that as it may, the man affectionately nicknamed the ’Romford Rocket’ during his successful twelve-year grand prix career clearly enjoyed his white-knuckle ride, and with a mooted outing in the British round of the 2007 UIM Powerboat P1 World Championship at Cowes on 24-26 August, he certainly didn’t rule out further appearances, even if there was a slight hint of trepidation in his voice.
“It is something I’d consider,” Herbert underlined,”though being on the lake is one thing. Being out on the sea, I think, will be completely different.”