Sahara Force India brought the two-day Barcelona test session to a close with development driver, Nikita Mazepin, in the car. Third driver Nicholas Latifi worked with Pirelli on the development of their 2019 tyre range.
Best time: 1:18.344
Position: P5 of 13
Nikita Mazepin: “It’s always a pleasure to be in the car and, as always, I have tried to deliver the best job I could in the most professional way. The conditions are very different compared to the last time I drove the VJM11 during the winter. The car feels so much better now and from the first moment I could feel the positive step the team made. I had my reference points from my work in the simulator so it wasn’t all new for me, but it still felt much more consistent and easy to drive compared to pre-season testing. Our programme today included a mix of long and shorter runs working mainly on the softs and hypersoft. We had a small issue in the morning that prevented us from running as much as we would have liked, but we were able to catch up in the afternoon. ”
Tom McCullough, Chief Engineer: “It was good to have Nikita in the car again after his outing in pre-season. It’s always interesting to see a young driver grow with the team and his maiden win in GP3 last weekend showed how much he has developed over the last few years. Nikita was up to speed quickly thanks to his work in the simulator and helped us gather some important data. We had a productive day, even though a hydraulic leak caused us to lose some time after our aero runs in the morning. We were able to repair the car and go back out for two more runs before lunch and we adjusted our plan to make up for lost ground in the afternoon. We managed to complete all our test items, which was very important for the team ahead of Monaco. Looking at both days, it’s been a valuable session that will help us develop the VJM11 even more as the season progresses.”