Celis Jr. targeting F1 drive with Force India for 2017

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Force India development driver Alfonso Celis Jr. hopes to be in the running for a Formula 1 seat with the team in 2017.

Celis joined Force India at the end of last year, making his test debut in Abu Dhabi before taking part in the pre-season running at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The Mexican driver enjoyed his first F1 weekend session outing in Bahrain last Friday, completing first practice at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Speaking to reporters after his run-out, Celis said that 2016 is about improving and learning so he is in a position to step up to a race seat next season.

“I want to improve step by step. It’s my first year in Formula 1, there’s still a lot of things to learn, I’ve got to be patient,” Celis is quoted as saying by GPUpdate.

“My personal goal is to end the year at a place where I’ve shown performance and show I’m ready to be considered as one of the drivers next year.”

Celis will combine his Force India role with racing in the revamped Formula V8 3.5 series in 2016, and explained that he chose it over GP2 in order to focus more on his F1 commitments.

“As they [F1 and GP2] race together, it’s almost impossible to be fully committed in one championship and in another one,” Celis said.

“It’s really hard to do and, as well some other factors, that made me take the decision.”