Adrian Quaife-Hobbs had his first taste of a Formula 1 car on Sunday when he got behind the wheel of the Virgin Racing's MVR-02 for the team's first straight-line aero test at Idiada in Spain.
The test allowed the team to evaluate its upgrade aerodynamic package that it introduced for the Turkish Grand Prix in order to help it to extract further performance ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend.
At the same time it gave the team to give an opportunity to Quaife-Hobbs as part of its young driver development program. The 20-year-old, who races for sister team Marussia Manor Racing in GP3, follows in the footsteps of Rio Haryanto, who got the chance to test with the team at Abu Dhabi after the end of the 2010 season.
The car ran reliably throughout the test, with Quaife-Hobbs covering 146 km and giving the team plenty of data to help it with the development of the car.
As with any driver in the junior ranks, Quaife-Hobbs has the aim of one day racing in Formula 1. The test day in Spain gave the Briton the chance to experience driving a current Formula 1 racing car.
“It has been an incredibly special day for me,” said Quaife-Hobbs. “Driving a Formula One car is what you always dream of from the moment you start karting, so it has been fantastic to finally experience that. I completed a lot of runs for the team and helped them to collect a lot of data.
“I can't thank Marussia Virgin Racing enough for this amazing opportunity, as it really allows me to gain experience and see how a Formula One team works. Experiences like this only make you hungry for more and it's exciting to get a taste of what the future could hold.”
Team Principal John Booth was pleased with what he saw from Quaife-Hobbs during the day.
“Congratulations to Adrian on a very impressive debut in the Marussia Virgin Racing MVR-02 today,” he said. “It really is extremely rewarding to put these young guys in the car and see how they respond to such an opportunity. He acclimatised well to the car and developed a strong rapport with the engineers and mechanics, so he should feel pleased with his first day's work in a Formula One car.
“Overall it has been a very productive test for us, with the Idiada proving ground providing us with excellent conditions with which to test the updated package that we introduced at the last race. As we might have expected in its debut outing, we experienced a few teething problems in Istanbul and this test has provided us with the opportunity to understand more of the potential of the developments. We're looking forward to seeing further signs of progress in Spain next week.”
Like the Virgin Racing team, Quaife-Hobbs will be back in action this weekend at Catalunya, racing in the second round of the GP3 season.