Ceccon 'F.1 test was a very exciting experience'
With yesterday afternoon session in Abu Dhabi, Kevin Ceccon closed his first F1 experience. The Auto GP reigning champion had the opportunity to drive for one and a half day the Toro Rosso STR6 that usually belongs to Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi and immediately made the most of the chance, showing a steady improving trend and impressing the Italian team’s technical staff with both his quickness and ability to complete a complex programme with a faultless performance.This were his words just a few minutes after the end of the test:So Kevin, how did you live such an important moment for your career?“Being as focused as I could, determined to give my very best. Well, I’m not saying that there weren’t any emotions involved, the first installation lap was really incredible from that point of view, but it was over quickly. It had to, because there was too much to do, many directions to follow, many procedures that had to be learned and remembered. And as the opportunity was the most important in my career until today, I was just focused on delivering the best possible performance”.Did you achieve that, in your opinion?“I think so, concerning this I have no regrets. The team knows what kind of programme we undertook, and I feel that inside the available performance envelope I quite reached the limit of the car. We never worked on raw performance: just to give you an idea, in the whole one and a half day we never used Supersoft tyres, that would have been worth a 1”5 improvement on their own. KERS, we just used it in this last afternoon.It’s fine, the team had a development programme to fulfil, and that’s what we did. They needed to test some new technical solutions for both the season finale in Brazil, where they will fight for P7 in the Constructor Championship, and for 2012, including some new spec tyres from Pirelli. Obviously I’d have liked doing at least one ‘qualifying run’ just to feel the car at its best, but on the other hand I have to say that being involved in a working programme that was so important to the team was as much as gratifying”.What impressed you the most in this first F1 outing? “I was amazed by how quickly you can progress working with an F1 team. With so many people around you there’s an incredible amount of info and data at your disposal, being able to make the most of it you can make a difference. From this point of view, being part of the development work of an F1 team was enlightening: I think that doing that regularly can be vital for a driver’s growth, and that’s one of the reasons why I would like to repeat this experience soon”.You had to cope with KERS and DRS for the first time, what was the feeling?“You quickly learn when you can use both. So you don’t need a lot of training to make the most of them, but they can make a big difference on the final laptime.With DRS, for example, it’s incredible how much the car changes when you activate it: it really starts flying, the downforce drop is dramatic and the speed goes up very quickly. In the same way, it’s impressive how quickly you get the grip back when the moves moves to his standard position.The 80 bhp boost you get with KERS can also be felt very clearly when you exit corners, and in this case ‘dosing’ it proved to be the most difficult thing: on the wheel you have a gauge that tells you how much battery you have left, but it moves quickly and stopping it exactly where you want requires a bit of practice”.In just one year you passed from F3 to F1 through Auto GP. How do you feel that the Series has helped you to get ready for your F1 testing debut?“One year ago I wouldn’t have been ready for such a step, so it clearly helped me. Auto GP taught me a lot in just one season, especially on how to drive a real racecar on the limit, how to make the most of a powerful and heavy car.From this point of view it’s really a good school because it has no ground effect, exactly as GP2 or F1. This means that the behaviour of the three cars when you’re on the limit is very similar. Obviously in F1 there’s much much more of everything, power, downforce, brakes, but the basic feeling is close, and that surely helped me”.