Day one of Marussia F1's decision to conduct its annual Young Driver test saw GP2 frontrunners Max Chilton and Rio Haryanto go about their work with the team's British Grand Prix infrastructure in place.
Although both had previously tested an F1 car previously - Chilton with Force India and his Carlin team-mate in one of the then Virgin team's machines back in 2010 - they were eager to show how much experience in other categories had helped them develop as potential grand prix pilots as they got a half day's running apiece in the current MR-01.
Chilton got off to a good start in sunny conditions similar to those that finally graced last Sunday's race. The 21-year old completed 34 laps during the morning session and posted a fastest lap of 1min 36.558secs, but his running was curtailed due to the car stopping out on track when some electrical noise caused the engine protection system to cut in.
“Obviously, I'm really happy to be given this chance anyway, but to be at a track where F1 has just been racing, and in my own home country, is even better," Chilton admitted, "Once I got to grips with the car, I was very happy and felt at home in the cockpit and in the team straight away.
"As we progressed, I felt that I could really push the car and, from then on, we started to do some team development work, particularly with the engine, which gave me the chance to learn more about the controls. I also completed a qualifying run and I felt like I could really attack the track. I ended the morning having really enjoyed the experience and I can't wait for tomorrow afternoon now.”
There was a slight delay after lunch as the team rigged the car with aerodynamic measurement devices prior to 19-year old Indonesian Haryanto getting his programme underway. He too made steady progress and was faring well, until a fluid leak confined him to the garage late in the day. With the weather closing in, he ended the day third fastest with a fastest lap of 1min 37.404secs after just 19 laps.
“It was incredible to get my first F1 test run with the Marussia F1 team back in 2010, so to be given a second opportunity is obviously very special," Haryanto smiled, "I feel I have developed significantly as a driver and am better equipped and prepared all round, [so] it's a little disappointing that I was only able to complete 19 laps today. Even without the leak, the weather turned against us later in the day.
"However, it was still a very valuable experience for me and I really enjoyed working with the team. Everything was very well structured ahead of the test and here at Silverstone, and the whole team are very open and always working together well. I was very happy with the balance, [although] the car is very different to the one I drove in 2010. I'm very comfortable and feel there is a lot more to come tomorrow. We don't know what to expect from the weather yet - I hope it is dry but, even if it is wet, it will be good wet running experience for me. I'm looking forward to the morning.”
The action switches to the International Circuit for day two, with the drivers taking the opposite shift to that which they ran on the opening day.