Kevin Ceccon, the Auto GP reigning champion, boasted a convincing debut performance in F1: lined-up by Toro Rosso in the Abu Dhabi rookie test, the Italian 18 year-old driver had a very fruitful first day of testing with the Faenza-based outfit.Ceccon, who was coming from a good GP2 showing in the weekend (he was 5th in Race 1 and 6th in Race 2) definitely fulfilled the teams’ expectations, completing the programme of the day without a single issue.
The team’s focus today was to carry out some development work aimed to both the last race of 2011 in Brazil, where Scuderia Toro Rosso will fight with Sauber for the 7th spot in the constructors standings, and to the 2012 season with the evaluation of the new Pirelli tyres together with some new technical solutions.
Kevin completed an impressive 97 laps combining the morning and the afternoon session, so going over the 500 kms mark needed to obtain the FIA Superlicence. The Italian driver used the DRS, but never mounted Supersoft tyres or activated KERS, given that the team needed to focus on other areas of the car and never looked for raw performance.
The Auto GP champion’s job included long runs and practice of both starts and pit-stops, allowing Kevin to gather valuable experience and earning him the praise of Scuderia Toro Rosso chief engineer Laurent Mekies: “In the morning, we resumed our evaluation of various aero components and in the afternoon the work centred on tyre testing.
However while yesterday's programme was based on a series of short runs, today Ceccon was able to get a taste of what driving a Grand Prix might be like, as he did a race simulation in what was the hottest part of the day! Even though we asked a lot of him with a complex programme, he delivered a faultless performance”
This was an incredible experience for me, driving a Formula 1 car
Kevin Ceccon “This was an incredible experience for me, driving a Formula 1 car and working with this team and first, I must say thank you to Scuderia Toro Rosso for giving me this fantastic opportunity. We got through a lot of work today, testing parts for the car as well as next season’s Pirelli tyres, running them in comparison to this year’s. I drove two long runs, from which I was able to understand a lot. Therefore today was very good as a learning experience for me and I am looking forward to making more progress tomorrow from a personal point of view and also in terms of helping the team for next season."