Alfonso Celis, ART, Spa-Francorchamps, GP3, 2015

Celis first to drive Force India’s new car

2016 F1 season

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Force India’s test driver Alfonso Celis will be the first to drive the team’s new car when it appears next week.

The 19-year-old will drive the VJM09 on Monday at the Circuit de Catalunya and will also be behind the wheel on the final day of the four-day test.

The team’s regular race drivers will have a day each in the car during the first test. Sergio Perez will drive on Tuesday and Nico Hulkenberg on Wednesday.

Perez and Hulkenberg will share driving duties at the second test, Perez on the first and third days and Hulkenberg on the second and fourth.

Force India has previously confirmed Celis will drive in selected practice sessions during the upcoming season. He will race in Formula V8 3.5.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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16 comments on “Celis first to drive Force India’s new car”

  1. Makes perfect sense.

  2. Interesting idea to have a driver come in on the 1st day of the test and then the last. He will definitely be able to give them an undiluted idea of the overall progress.

    1. Plus the new kid will likely see most of the breakdowns whilst completing what will likely be an extended shakedown rather than a real test.

  3. Clearly he’s paid quite the amount of money for that development seat. Here I was expecting barely any involvement, but now he’s actually going to be testing the car two days? Incidentally, isn’t that bad for Force India’s development?Having an (average) inexperienced driver behind the wheel rather than the two racing drivers? Is the need for money that dire?

    1. Apparently yes.

      1. Money Talks My Friend!

  4. I wonder how much he paid for this then…

    1. @craig-o

      Paid in ‘great memories’.

  5. Since most cars scarcely reach full throttle on the first day of testing, this should be a task representative of his talents.

  6. I’d be careful letting Kylo Ren behind the wheel. Not the best temperament.

  7. With 8 days testing they are giving 25% of the days to a 19 year old boy who will not race this year for them. Seems strange as everything will be compressed in testing so they will maybe have to work on some baseline settings and get valuable info for future development from this boy who will have 50% of the 1st test or twice as much as either race driver. FI must be short for cash.

    1. This is their approach to their £120m budget, as far as I understand.

      1. Are we sure their budget is as healthy as it used to be with all the owners issues?

        This just seems strange to me with such limited testing.

  8. Could also be a move to protect against losing Perez in ’17. If he gets a call-up higher up the grid, they’re probably trying to ensure they’ve got a half-decent Mexican rookie waiting in the wings. They have already got the Hulk for two seasons, so one side of the garage is tied to a solid points scorer, leaving them open to gamble on a rookie if need be,just to keep the money flowing from mexico. Despite being called Force India, their fan following and reliance on Mexican backing makes this a no-brainer actually.
    In the past, their reserve roles have tended to be meatier and meaningful compared to a lot of teams (Sutil(Midland),Liuzzi,Bianchi,Di Resta,Hulk) and a record of their third drivers graduating to a full race seat bar Bianchi (which had more to do with the Merc/Ferrari decision). But on the face of it, definitely a commercial decision than anything else. Tough times, tough measures.

  9. Glad we see another woman in the sport

    1. Awesome….not a patch on Carmen Jorda for looks though.

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