Alfonso Celis Jr says his first outing in an F1 car 'lived up to expectations' as he got behind the wheel of the Force India VJM08 in Pirelli's Abu Dhabi tyre test.
The Mexican, who was recently confirmed with Force India as its new development driver for 2016, was given his first run in the morning of the test around the Yas Marina Circuit, adapting to the machine and providing feedback on tyres.
Handing over to Nico Hulkenberg in the afternoon, GP3 and FR3.5 driver Celis Jr completed 65 laps and turned in a fastest lap of 1min 48.545s, with the team's regular driver doing a 1min 45.852secs.
“My first day in a Formula One car certainly lived up to expectations,” 19 year-old Celis Jr said. “The car had huge grip and excellent braking efficiency, but my experience in the Formula Renault 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.
“Next year 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.”
Celis Jr competed in both FR3.5 and GP3 in 2015, ending up 16th in the former and 12th in the