Formula One rookie Felipe Nasr emerged positive from his first test with Sauber, but urged caution as the second four-day stint approaches.
The Brazilian, a GP2 Series race winner last year, enjoyed two very productive days in Jerez last week, completing 197 laps during his stint.
While times are irrelevant, the experience offered the 22-year-old an opportunity to acclimatise to his new setting. “So far, so good,” he said. “It was a new environment for me, a new car, a new team, I’m working with new people, so it was just getting used to everything, getting used to new systems, procedures.”
On the surface, it appears the Swiss team may be about to take a significant step forward, following a dismal 2014 season, which saw them score no points for the first time in their history.
While Nasr did not run in the C33 machine – he was the reserve driver for Williams previously – he did still have encouraging words following the completion of running at Jerez, yet the former British F3 champion held back from making unwise declarations. “There is clearly a step forward from the chassis and the engine side, but it is only testing – it doesn’t mean anything to be leading the testing, as I do not know what the others are doing. So far, so positive and much better than I expected,” he said.
The man from Brasilia added, “I think that we could have done more [laps], but we had some small issues – nothing major. It was good to have a feel of the car with different levels of downforce and different set-ups in the car and also we were able to do some long runs in the end.”
For some, the inclement weather that plagued the mid-part of the test would have been something of an inconvenience for a number of players keen to get clean running; however the debutante was happy, at least, to garner some experience in changeable climate.
“We drove in all kind of conditions – dry and wet – so I could have a feel for that and also play a bit on the tyre side. For example, I had never drove on the soft tyres before, so it was the first time I did that,” he noted.
Although Nasr may appreciate the lessons learned in the damp, the low ambient and track temperature during the Jerez sessions was unrepresentative of what he will face this season. It mattered little in the end, for Nasr was keen just to get runs in, as he settles into his new title of ‘Formula One driver’.
“In general it was very positive.” It was in this very typical laconic manner that Nasr ended the week in the driest manner possible. For the rookie, this adventure is only hotting up.