Bahrain, 18 April 2017: Unmindful of team principal Vijay Mallya’s arrest and subsequent release on bail, the Sahara Force India successfully completed the first day of testing at the Bahrain International Circuit, with Alfonso Celis Jr. behind the wheel.
With a best lap time of 1:33.939, Alfonso Celis Jr. finished tenth in the order but his 71 laps were very useful to the Force India programme.
Alfonso said: “It was a straightforward day for me and I completed more than a race distance. There have been a lot of changes since I last was in the car in Barcelona and the first few laps were a bit of a learning process. Fortunately the aero programme at the start of the day gave me some time to get used to the car again. We were able to complete some performance runs in the afternoon, but I ran into traffic each time so I couldn’t really take everything out of the car. The temperatures out there were much hotter than I’ve ever experienced on these tyres and it was useful for me to understand how to manage and look after them. All in all, I felt pretty comfortable in the car and I am happy with my performance”
Chief race engineer Tom McCullough said: “It was not a trouble-free day with our programme disrupted by the numerous red flags for other cars, which always seemed to come out at the worst possible times. Despite this, we managed to work through our priority test items and will try and catch up with the remaining tasks tomorrow. We had a busy programme with aerodynamic rakes fitted to the car carrying out mapping and correlation work, even though the windy conditions made the latter quite difficult. Alfonso quickly settled back into the VJM10 and drove very sensibly to help us get through our test programme. He didn’t make any mistakes and showed good improvement. Our race drivers will be back in the car tomorrow for the final day of testing.”