Szafnauer: First test focused on tires, Wehrlein evaluation


Even though Force India was testing its 2014 chassis last week at Barcelona, there was still plenty for the team to learn.

The focus primarily centered on dialing in Pirelli’s 2015 tires, said Otmar Szafnauer, Force India’s COO.

“It was a straightforward and productive week, with the primary focus to learn about the 2015 tires,” he said in a team release.

“Because we know the 2014 car so well, we could focus purely on tire evaluation on a range of different fuel loads. We used every dry compound that was available last week and all of that information will be transferrable to our 2015 program.”

The team has officially taken the wraps off its new VJM08 chassis Wednesday morning and preps to run it for the first time on Friday.

Last week’s test also allowed the team a look at Mercedes reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein for two days.

Wehrlein’s first day was interrupted when Mercedes called him up to fill in for an ill Lewis Hamilton on Thursday, but he had a full day in the car Saturday to provide the team an evaluation.

“Everyone was impressed with Pascal,” Szafnauer said. “He took a very mature approach to the test and didn’t put a foot wrong.

“It’s always interesting to receive feedback from a new driver and Pascal was very detailed and accurate with his feedback. Running him alongside our race drivers provided a nice yardstick for data comparisons.”

It’s only February so it’s a bit too early to think ahead to the 2016 silly season, but depending on how Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg either get on or advance in 2015, Wehrlein will probably be a name we’ll hear in the silly season talks later this year.