Richard Goddard made his Formula 1 testing debut in the Abu Dhabi post-season test, and was impressive as he completed 89 problem-free laps of the Yas Marina Circuit, finishing sixth fastest.
The jump from Formula 3 to Formula 1 is big, but the young Australian, nicknamed Spike, quickly adapted to his Sahara Force India machine, and admitted the increase in power and downforce was ‘a massive shock to the system’.
He also was hopeful of being able to keep a link with the team, and with the team backing the Hilmer Motorsport team in both the GP2 and GP3 Series, he could be in line to move up from the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, where he has run for the past two seasons.
“I felt today went really well,” said Goddard. “The VJM07 is a massive step up from my Formula 3 car so the first part of the day was devoted to adjusting to the new machinery. The power and downforce of these cars is something on a completely different level; it was a massive shock to the system, but I got used to it fairly soon.
“We chipped away at the lap time in every run and in the end we got to a pretty good time and 89 laps, which is a fair bit of running. I am pretty happy about the work I did with the team and the way everyone worked with me.
“I’d love to keep a link with Sahara Force India: it’s a fantastic group of people and I’d like to contribute and help as much as I can.”
Chief Engineer Tom McCullough felt Goddard did a respectable job during his first time in an F1 car, and felt he grew in confidence as his day progressed.
“Spike did a good job and really made the most of his first opportunity in a Formula One car,” said McCullough. “It’s always a big jump from Formula Three to Formula One, but he adapted quickly and gradually built up his confidence and speed throughout the test.”