Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta shared testing duties for Force India on the first day of the final pre-season test, completing 69 laps between them in Barcelona.
Hulkenberg was in the car this morning, setting the ninth quickest lap, and notching up 31 laps. “It was good to be back in a Formula 1 car as the last time I drove was about a month ago in Valencia,” said the Force India test and reserve driver.
“It was also my first outing in the VJM04 so there were quite a lot of new systems to get used to, such as the KERS and moveable rear wing. There’s definitely a lot more work for the driver to do on the steering wheel and quite a lot of information to take in and get to grips with.
“We ultimately finished a little early with a reliability item just before the lunchtime break, but although we are still learning about the new systems, I can see we’re heading in the right direction for the first part of the year.”
Di Resta took over after lunch, finishing the day sixth. “All things considered, a good afternoon of running,” said the Scot, reflecting on his time in the car. “We missed a bit of running after lunch as the guys fixed the problem from earlier in the day but when we did go out we got through a lot of productive work.
“It was my first time running the KERS system as we didn’t run it last time in Barcelona, and all went well with that. Using the DRS [drag reduction system] and deploying KERS together takes some time to get used to but with time it will become a lot more natural.
“We also used the hard and soft tyre compounds from Pirelli and are understanding their behaviour a lot more. I’m looking forward to building on this programme tomorrow when I’ll be in the car all day.”
Circuit engineering director Dominic Harlow noted that it was a day of firsts for both drivers: “A busy programme today as we shook down a new chassis, plus it was Nico’s first opportunity to familiarise himself with the VJM04 before his free practice outing in Australia.
“There are several new systems from the VJM03, including KERS and the DRS, but he equipped himself well and gave a lot of valuable feedback that we will push back into our programme for the remainder of this test. Paul took over for the afternoon, conducting his first-ever test with the live KERS system.
“Apart from one reliability problem before lunch we had no major issues and we’ll continue with race simulations with Paul tomorrow.”