Force India driver James Rossiter has apologised after running in to a mechanic, who did not sustain any serious injuries, during a pit stop at testing in Jerez.
As part of his role as the team’s simulator driver, Rossiter was on track to learn how the new VJM06 performs on a real circuit. He had an hour’s running on Wednesday afternoon, but when he returned to the track on Thursday morning the conditions were much cooler and he misjudged his entry to his pit box.
“I hold my hands up, that was totally my fault,” he said. “We were doing some aero runs and everything was cold, the brakes were too cold, the tyres were too cold. Thank God Marcus is okay and he’s only got a few bruises. I’m sure I’ll be buying him many beers and he won’t be forgetting it soon!”
Nevertheless, Rossiter said his experience on the track had been very valuable to his work in the simulator after clocking up 42 laps on Thursday.
“For all the guys that I work with and the team of vehicle dynamics guys it’s been very important. It’s so important to get it right with the tyres early on in the season so we can try and help with the early stage of the upgrades and which direction we need to take the car to exploit its potential.
Rossiter, who was sixth fastest by the end of the day, last tested a Formula One car in 2008 with Honda and Super Aguri. He said his test in Jerez was all about learning the ins and outs of modern Formula One.
“It was about running with a sensible amount of fuel with new tyres and then running with an awful lot of fuel so I could feel that difference. I never got to experience the super-high fuel levels we have at the start of the race [when I tested for Honda] so I’ve now had a chance to experience that. It’s certainly pretty interesting and very different from what I remember in Formula One. There wasn’t too much focus on performance, there was no need to push hard or anything like that. It was all about me getting up to speed and learning as much as I can to take back to correlate with the simulator.”
Asked how much the simulator had prepared him for the real thing, Rossiter said: “I think it’s done quite a good job as I haven’t been in a Formula One car for four-and-a-half years and it didn’t take so long [to get used to it]. I had a set of hard tyres yesterday, a set of mediums and a set of softs today and every time I went out I went faster. But like I said, I wasn’t taking any risks as there was no need to do that. I think the lap time I did today was very good and representative of where we are. If you look at what Paul [di Resta] did yesterday it’s not too bad, so I’d say the simulator works reasonably well. Obviously physically you’re actually moving, whereas in a simulator you are tricked into believing that you’re moving, but they are becoming very advanced.
Rossiter has not yet announced his plans for 2013 but said he was keen to continue to work with Force India.
“I want to race as well, that’s crystal clear, but as much time as I can put in [I will],” he said. “We can all see the benefit of it so it’s a worthwhile cause and I’m happy to do it. Obviously with my experience as a test driver in the past it’s very useful because I’ve got that mindset that I can sit in the simulator all day and test things. I think some of the drivers that are here now missed out on those days.”
via Lotus F1/ESPN