Sahara Force India was back in action today to kick off the first of three days of young driver testing at the Yas Marina circuit. On driving duty was 20-year-old Briton, Max Chilton, who completed a total of 81 laps in the VJM04, setting a best time of 1:43.016, the sixth fastest of the day.
The focus of the day was acclimatisation work for Max who was driving the car for the first time on a Grand Prix circuit. The 2012 Pirelli development tyres were also used for a number of runs, while the team focussed on general data collection having added additional sensors to the car.
Tomorrow, Johnny Cecotto Jr will get his first experience of a Formula One car before Max takes over for the final day of running on Thursday.
Max Chilton: “I had been looking forward to this moment all my life and it definitely exceeded my expectations. The performance of the car is just amazing, especially the downforce and traction, which are mind-blowing. The design of these cars is incredible and it’s left me wanting much more. It’s scary how quick you can go through the high-speed corners, but the car is really well balanced and it feels very calm. The morning session flew by really quickly while I was getting used to the car and the systems, but in the afternoon things settled down and we managed to do some good testing. Working with such a big crew was also a new experience for me and it makes life so easy because there’s a person for every job and you can change things really quickly. I want to say thanks to the guys for a great day and I can’t wait to jump back in the car on Thursday.”
Oliver Knighton, Race Support and Strategy Engineer
“A positive first day of testing and I’m very pleased with the way Max integrated himself with the team. There were no mistakes, he was very consistent and he quickly got the hang of the control systems. The morning was spent acclimatising Max to the car and we also ran several test sensors to gather some more data with a view to Brazil next week and for 2012. In the afternoon we ran through a 2012 tyre programme, which has given us some interesting information for the rest of the week. We had a KERS issue in the afternoon, which took the edge off Max’s final lap time, but it was still a very good day.”