Nicholas Latifi has declared his maiden test with the Sahara Force India F1 Team a success after completing 107 laps at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya today.
The 21-year-old was recruited as the team’s third driver at the beginning of the year and his on-track outing during day one of F1’s Barcelona in-season test was his first opportunity to get to grips with the team’s VJM11 car.
The test was a crucial part of Nicholas’s build up to his programme of Friday free practice outings with Sahara Force India, starting at next month’s Canadian Grand Prix (8-10 June).
Nicholas enjoyed an encouraging first day in the VJM11 cockpit, completing 107 laps and clocking up 498 kilometres of running. His best lap time of 1:18.530 was good enough to place him fifth fastest out of 13 drivers.
“It was a very good first day on track with the team and I finally had the chance to put into practice a lot of the procedures and processes that I had learned in the simulator,” Nicholas said.
“I’m pleased with how the day went; we ran smoothly with no big dramas. We completed lots of laps. I’m glad I could help the team with their testing programme and I am looking forward to being back in the simulator with this new knowledge of how the car behaves on track.”
Tom McCullough, Sahara Force India’s Chief Race Engineer, was happy with Nicholas’s first on-track showing, adding that the Canadian helped the team achieve its main objectives during the test.
He said: “It was a very solid performance by Nicholas on his first day in the car. Our programme included a series of aero test items with extra instrumentation on the car in the early part of the day, which allowed him to get up to speed with how we operate and with understanding the VJM11.
“Nicholas settled in well with the team from an operational point of view and was on top of the various switches and procedures straight away after the simulator work he did earlier in the season.
“We were able to get straight to the various test items and completed the main objectives. It was a good day and a great start to our on-track relationship with Nicholas.”
Nicholas will continue his driving duties in Barcelona tomorrow (Wednesday) when he takes part in a Pirelli tyre test to help the manufacturer develop its F1 rubber.