Sahara Force India concluded its 2015 trackside programme with a busy day of Pirelli tyre testing at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi.
Driving duties were shared between the team’s race driver, Nico Hulkenberg, and development driver, Alfonso Celis Jr, who made his debut behind the wheel of a Formula One car.
Alfonso Celis #34 & Nico Hulkenberg #27
Laps: Alfonso = 65 laps / Nico = 71 laps
Mileage: Alfonso = 361 km / Nico = 394 km
Best lap: Alfonso = 1:48.545 / Nico = 1:45.852
Alfonso Celis: “My first day in a Formula One car certainly lived up to expectations. The car had huge grip and excellent braking efficiency, but my experience in the Formula 3.5 car had prepared me quite well for this big challenge. I really enjoyed the experience and I’m pleased with how the day went. For the first few runs I took things steady while I got used to the car and all the systems. Then, with each run, I started to push more and more as I kept learning about the car. With the programme for the day set by Pirelli, I could simply focus on my driving and getting to know everyone. 2016 is going to be an important year for me as I continue working with the team so I’m pleased to have some valuable miles under my belt already.”
Nico Hulkenberg: “A trouble-free and routine day of tyre testing. Lots of laps, well over a race distance for me, and hopefully lots of useful information for Pirelli.”
Tom McCullough, Chief Race Engineer: “We are very pleased to have completed a successful day of Pirelli tyre testing with Alfonso and Nico covering a combined total of 136 laps. It was Alfonso’s first day in a Formula One car and it’s always fun to be part of that acclimatisation process. He worked well with the engineers and improved throughout the morning as he completed numerous long runs on high fuel. The time spent in the car today has been good preparation for his involvement in free practice sessions next year. Nico took over the tyre programme for the afternoon, gathering plenty of useful data with no issues. All in all it’s been a trouble-free day and a nice way to wrap up the 2015 season.”