Force India’s Tom McCullough: “Nikita did a good job and delivered detailed feedback”

Nikita Mazepin impressed Chief Race Engineer Tom McCullough on Monday
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Tom McCullough praised development driver Nikita Mazepin for his detailed feedback during the opening day of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Monday, despite the Russian being restricted to only twenty-two laps due to a sensor issue and the poor weather conditions at the Spanish track.

The sensor issue caused braking cooling issues that required the Sahara Force India F1 Team to keep the VJM11 in the garage for long periods of time, and by the time it was sorted out, the weather had worsened, meaning any useful track time was almost impossible.

McCullough, the Chief Race Engineer of the Silverstone-based team, says teething problems are always expected with the new car, but they are hopeful of some more meaningful running with race driver Esteban Ocon on Tuesday.

“The first day with a new car is always a bit of a step into the unknown,” said McCullough. “We focussed on systems checks and aero mapping this morning as Nikita got his first impression of the new car.

“A few small teething problems with a sensor caused some brake cooling issues, which hampered the afternoon programme and limited our mileage. By the end of the day it was getting chilly and damp, and it was difficult to complete any meaningful running.

“Nikita did a good job and delivered detailed feedback as usual. We will pick up tomorrow with more aero mapping of the car as Esteban gets his first taste of the VJM11.”