The Force India F1 Team’s final pre-season test got underway today at the Circuit de Catalunya, Spain. Nico Hülkenberg got his first run in the VJM04, completing 31 laps as he conducted aero testing, KERS and tyre evaluation.
Paul di Resta took over in the afternoon to continue the team’s programme, putting in 38 laps with a best of 1:26.039, the sixth quickest of the day.
Paul will remain in the car all day tomorrow.
It was good to be back in a Formula 1 car as the last time I drove was about a month ago in Valencia. It was also my first outing in the VJM04 so there were quite a lot of new systems to get used to, such as the KERS and moveable rear wing. There’s definitely a lot more work for the driver to do on the steering wheel and quite a lot of information to take in and get to grips with. We ultimately finished a little early with a reliability item just before the lunchtime break, but although we are still learning about the new systems, I can see we’re heading in the right direction for the first part of the year.
Paul di Resta
All things considered, a good afternoon of running. We missed a bit of running after lunch as the guys fixed the problem from earlier in the day but when we did go out we got through a lot of productive work. It was my first time running the KERS system as we didn’t run it last time in Barcelona, and all went well with that. Using the DRS [drag reduction system] and deploying KERS together takes some time to get used to but with time it will become a lot more natural. We also used the hard and soft tyre compounds from Pirelli and are understanding their behaviour a lot more. I’m looking forward to building on this programme tomorrow when I’ll be in the car all day.
Dominic Harlow, circuit engineering director
A busy programme today as we shook down a new chassis, plus it was Nico’s first opportunity to familiarise himself with the VJM04 before his free practice outing in Australia. There are several new systems from the VJM03, including KERS and the DRS, but he equipped himself well and gave a lot of valuable feedback that we will push back into our programme for the remainder of this test. Paul took over for the afternoon, conducting his first-ever test with the live KERS system. Apart from one reliability problem before lunch we had no major issues and we’ll continue with race simulations with Paul tomorrow.
Driver: Nico Hülkenberg (am) / Paul di Resta (pm)
Track: Circuit de Catalunya, Spain
Best lap time: 1:26.030 (Nico) / 1:26.039 (Paul)
Laps completed: Nico 31 / Paul 38
Kilometres completed: 144km (Nico) / 177km (Paul)
Air temperature: High of 13 C
Track temperature: High of 25 C
Weather: Grey and overcast, occasional rain showers