Pierre Gasly’s debut in a Formula 1 car couldn’t have gone much better.
“It was awesome,” Gasly said of Tuesday’s test for Toro Rosso at Spain’s Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
The 19-year-old Gasly has made some quick moves up the racing ladder. He finished runner-up in Formula Renault 3.5 last season, followed by a short run for Caterham Racing in GP2.
Gasly remains in GP2 this season with DAMS. But judging by his showing Tuesday, F1 potentially could be on the very near horizon for the Frenchman.
“Pierre acquitted himself very well, showing that he had the right approach, building up speed gradually,” chief race engineer Phil Charles said in a team test report. “He did a professional job all day, completing a lot of laps.”
Gasly may have only been seventh of nine drivers on the timing chart (best lap was 1:27.639, just under three seconds slower than the day’s fastest driver, Mercedes’ Nico Rossberg), but he completed the second-most laps (131, to Rossberg’s 146).
“It was a wonderful day,” Gasly said. “This morning, getting into a Formula 1 car for the first time was something special. The feeling you get from the car is unbelievable.
“Everything is almost perfect, with elements like the power steering, for example, and of course there’s much more power than in the other formulas (cars) and you have more grip, too.
“I really enjoyed the experience and I made the most of it, doing a lot of laps. All drivers dream of driving a Formula 1 car and having now done it, I am even more determined to reach my goal of racing in this category. It was awesome and I can’t wait to try it again.”
Carlos Sainz will get behind the wheel of the Toro Rosso car on Wednesday, the second and last of the two-day open test, one of only two in-season tests. The other will follow June’s Austrian Grand Prix.
Much of Tuesday’s testing was on suspension, aero and braking. Wednesday’s testing will focus on suspension geometry and additional aero tests.