Norris drives an F3 car ahead of F1 return

FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 12, 2020 McLaren’s Lando Norris arriving to the circuit REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - After COVID-19 lockdown and months of virtual racing, McLaren’s Lando Norris has got behind the wheel for real by taking a Formula Three car for a spin at Silverstone.

The 20-year-old Briton linked up with his old Carlin team this week as he prepared for the much-delayed season to start in Austria next month.

“It’s just getting the body back into that physical feeling of the G force and everything like that, to get that muscle memory back and working as it should do,” he told Formula One’s F1 Nation podcast before the run.

“It’s also a bit of a shock to the system to get back into doing that as well. Driving anything that you can push and go flat-out is going to be a good feeling.”

Formula One drivers last raced in December and have not driven the new cars since pre-season testing in Spain in February.

The planned season-opener in Australia on March 15 was cancelled before the start of first practice.

The sport announced this week that the season will start on July 5 at Austria’s Red Bull Ring.

“For it all to start up again next month is going to be weird, after almost getting used to the last two or three months looking at computer screens all the time,” said Norris, who has kept busy with esports.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis