Home Formula 1 Calado scores Silverstone run with Force India

Calado scores Silverstone run with Force India

by Valentin Khorounzhiy

Photo: Alastair Staley/GP2 Series Media Service

GP2 race winner James Calado has been confirmed by Force India as their young driver of choice for the upcoming Silverstone test, where Calado will share driving responsibilities with the team’s two regulars – Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta.

The 24-year-old Brit joined Nicolas Todt’s All Road Management outfit earlier in the year and, since then, has partaken in aero tests for Force India. At Silverstone, Calado is scheduled to get testing runs across all three days.

“We are pleased to give James the opportunity to test with us at Silverstone”, stated Force India’s team principal Vijay Mallya. “As a graduate of the Racing Steps Foundation, his talent and determination have brought him to our attention and this is the ideal occasion to evaluate him further. The priority this week is to give the team a better understanding of the new Pirelli tyres due to be introduced next week in Budapest.”

2013 has been a rocky year for the Briton, who entered the championship as the overwhelming title favorite after a highly-rated rookie year performance with ART Grand Prix. Continuing on with the French squad, Calado struggled for pace ever since the season opener, but a stellar performance at the most recent round of the series at Silverstone has left him with an outside shot at the title, as he occupies fifth in the standings.

It should be noted that fellow All Road Management driver Jules Bianchi occupied the reserve driver role at Force India in 2012, before scoring a last-minute deal to race with Marussia F1 for this year.

PaddockScout comment
By Valentin Khorounzhiy

While James Calado’s GP2 career has been going through a bit of a sophomore slump, it is almost impossible to suggest that the Briton’s F1 test opportunity wasn’t scored on merit.

After two straight years of finishing runner-up in various junior single-seaters championships (British F3 in 2010 and the mega-competitive GP3 in 2011), Calado firmly put himself on the map with a stunning rookie campaign in GP2, where he overshadowed highly-rated teammate Esteban Gutierrez on his way to two wins and fifth in the standings. Whilst highest-placed rookie, he could’ve very well been in a better position in the standings if not for two lacklustre weekends in the final stages of the year, including a Singapore round that saw James struggle with food poisoning. Unfortunately, his 2012 performances could not compensate for a lack of budget and, thus, he missed out on last year’s YDT.

Opportunities have come by a lot easier ever since Calado came under Todt’s wing and, while this year hasn’t lived up to expectations, it’s not entirely unfair to suggest the larger problem lies in the car and an inherent lack of pace. At Nurburgring, James reminded just what he’s capable of – very much in time for this outing.

Force India should be applauded for the choice. Calado’s testing debut is one that has been long overdue, but, as the saying goes, it’s better late than never.