GP3 Series championship leader Tio Ellinas has made his Formula 1 debut in a straightline test for Marussia.
The Cypriot performed driving duties in the aerodynamic evaluation at the Kemble Airfield in Gloucestershire, England on Wednesday. Ellinas was already due to get a proper test chance at the young driver test at Silverstone in July as a reward for being the top-performing Marussia Manor Racing driver in GP3 last year.
“Today was every bit as exciting as I expected it to be and a very special moment in my career,” said the 21-year-old. “I will always remember this day I?m sure. I got used to the car and systems quickly and felt very comfortable quite early on. After that I had quite a detailed programme to work through but it was very rewarding to be doing testing that will be of real value to the team going forwards.
“Now I can?t wait for my next opportunity at the young driver test next month and I feel that the work I?ve done here will benefit me significantly for that. I?d like to thank the team for being so welcoming and the many fans all over the world who have shown their support for the team and for me today. It has been overwhelming and I want everyone to know that it is an honour to be the first Cypriot to drive a Formula One car.”
Chief engineer Dave Greenwood said that the team is looking forward to working with Ellinas at the young driver test after impressing at the aero test.
“It has been a real pleasure working with Tio today at what is an important mid-season aero test for the team,” he said. “He has done an excellent job on his first outing in an F1 car and we look forward to seeing more of his potential in more representative circuit conditions at the young driver test next month.
“We?ve had a good clear run at the day despite some damp conditions early on and this has enabled us to complete an extensive programme of aerodynamic evaluations which will yield benefit during the rest of this season and for our longer-term development. All in all, a good day?s work from Tio and the team.”