James Calado described his debut at a Formula 1 race weekend as “amazing and fantastic” after his practice outing at the Italian Grand Prix.
The 24-year-old Briton has been signed as Force India’s reserve driver and got his first Friday run at Monza in Adrian Sutil’s car.
After doing an impressive job to end the first session just four tenths of a second off teammate Paul di Resta, Calado could not hide his delight.
“It was amazing and fantastic,” said Calado, who also drove for Force India at this year’s young driver test at Silverstone. “It is quite a strange feeling to be out with all the other Formula 1 drivers. But I got used to everything and we did a good job.
“We found a good balance and I was happy. Everything ran smoothly and there were no big mistakes. It was nice, really and the novelty never wears off of being at maximum speed at the end of the straights.”
NEXT OUTING NOT YET SET
Force India has said that Calado will get further free practice outings later this year, but no decision has been made yet about when they will be.
“I am sure I will be in the car again at some point, but it is not confirmed yet in terms of which races I will do,” he explained. “It depends on the battle between McLaren and Force India, so we will work around that.”
Calado knows that his F1 race seat hopes will likely depend on securing sponsorship, but says all he can do for now is concentrate on doing his best.
“It is a tough situation, especially for a young driver,” he said. “It is very political F1, but the ambition is to be a race driver. That is what I have always dreamed of and I will do my best to get there.”
Calado will now return to GP2 duties with ART for the rest of the Monza weekend.