Tio Ellinas said he was proud of his maiden outing in an F1 test after joining Marussia for the first day of running in the Silverstone Young Driver Test.
The Cypriot, who heads the GP3 standings, earned the chance to take part in the test having been the best placed Marussia drivers in the championship last year, with his Silverstone outing coming on the back of a straight-line test at Kemble last month.
Ellinas was on track during the morning running through a busy programme in the MR02 and he admitted afterwards that it had been a dream come true to become the first person from Cyprus to test an F1 machine.
“Without doubt, today has been the best moment of my life,” he said. “It was a fantastic experience that I know I will remember forever. I feel very proud to be representing my country and to have so much support from the people back home in Cyprus. I have driven the car once before, at the Team's straight-line test at Kemble, but this was my first time out in a Formula 1 car at a proper circuit and so it felt like the first time all over again.
“There was a lot of familiarisation to do at the start of the day. I obviously have some experience of things like the very complex layout on the steering wheel; it's still so much to take in though. I was also using KERS and DRS today for the first time and there is such a lot to think about over the course of a lap. I soon built up my confidence though and after a few single lap runs I was building up to longer runs and I was really able to start putting a lap together. I am happy with my performance today and the Team seem pleased with me.
“I have received some great feedback and support from them so I can't thank them enough for that. Everything has gone according to plan so I can't ask for any more than that right now. Now I will try to refocus on the GP3 Championship and my ambitions for that this season.”
Team principal John Booth said he was impressed by the way the youngster had performed on-track in his first test.
“The whole team was pleased to see Tio in the car this morning as just reward for his very positive debut season in GP3 last year,” he said. “He got off to a good start, conducting some aero measurements similar to those he ran through in Kemble and then he set about completing some timed laps.
“It is clearly a huge amount for the young drivers to take in, stepping up from GP3 to F1 and working with not only many more people but more complicated systems on the cars. However, Tio took all of this in his stride and achieved the objective of improving every run, running two good qualifying simulations on the soft tyres.”