GP2 racer Luiz Razia impressed the Force India team on his first run in its VJM05 as the latest F1 Young Driver Test got underway at Magny-Cours.
The Brazilian is one of three drivers who will drive for the team this week in France and was given the role of kick-starting its programme on the opening day of running on Tuesday.
Although the start of his programme was somewhat delayed by a technical issue in the morning, Razia was able to complete plenty of meaningful running during the afternoon session and ended up with the second quickest time – just half a second shy of Ferrari's Jules Bianchi.
“It's always valuable to spend time in a Formula One car and today has been really useful,” he said. “It's given me the chance to get to know the team and get comfortable in the car. The biggest challenge was getting used to all the switches on the steering wheel so that was good experience and I learned about all the car's systems. I also got to experience KERS for the first time.
“There were some issues with the car in the morning so I did most of my laps in the afternoon and the track just got faster and faster as the track rubbered in. We made some improvements to the car during my runs in the afternoon and some balance corrections which worked well. I really enjoyed working with the team and hope I get the chance to build on this in the future.”
Chief engineer Jakob Andreasen said he was impressed with the way in which the Arden GP2 had worked with the team during the day, having done 'all that was asked of him'.
“It was our first time working with Luiz and he impressed us straight away,” he said. “He looked very comfortable in the car and was immediately giving good feedback on grip levels and car handling. We had a few technical issues in the morning, which kept us in the garage, but we got out straight after lunch and completed the programme.
“We tried to give Luiz a feel of what is needed to be a Formula One driver, so the day included some launches and pit stop simulations, and we also got his feedback on set-up items. He handled everything very well, including the KERS and DRS, and did all that we asked of him. The lap times were competitive and he set his best time on the soft tyres towards the end of the day.”