Tio Ellinas had a successful debut at the wheel of an F1 car today when he completed an aero evaluation programme for Marussia at Kemble Airfield.
21-year-old Tio, a member of the Marussia F1 Team's Young Driver Programme and current GP3 Series leader, from Larnaca in Cyprus, spent the early part of a damp and cool morning at Kemble familiarising himself with the MR02 before swiftly progressing into the main run plan. This comprised a full aero mapping programme with the evaluation of a variety of ride height settings as well as plenty of extra data logging to assist the team with the correlation of its wind tunnel programme. The team also experimented with some new options to aid its longer-term aero development programme.
"Today was every bit as exciting as I expected it to be," said Ellinas, "and a very special moment in my career. 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."
"It has been a real pleasure working with Tio today at what is an important mid-season aero test for the team," added Chief Engineer, Dave Greenwood. 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."