Getting behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car for the first time, Olli Caldwell made his testing debut on Wednesday, running the Alpine A521 on home soil at Silverstone.
As part of the one-day test, the Campos Racing driver completed 485.7km of running – poignantly, the opportunity came 12 years after he got his first taste of karting.
Getting to grips with his first full season in Formula 2, driving the A521 has given the Alpine Academy junior a new wealth of experience and knowledge to carry forward into an action-packed July.
As well as providing important feedback to the team, he completed a successful run plan – including several Qualifying simulations. Familarising himself with the unique challenge, Caldwell was in awe of how quickly drivers have to work inside the cockpit of an F1 car.
“It’s been unbelievable and I’m quite speechless, there’s nothing I could compare it to,” the Brit said. “It’s everything I expected and more. There’s nothing you can do to prepare for how it feels. The car is incomparable to F2, everything is more, there’s more speed, downforce, braking plus there's about 50 more buttons.
“I’ve got used to working much faster in this car and then going back to F2, where obviously it’s slower, I will be able to take forward what I’ve learned from this experience and adapt it when I’m back driving this circuit in a F2 car.”
Julian Rouse, Alpine Academy Project Manager, added: “Olli did a great job today. He kept a sensible head and put in a lot of laps, showing maturity on his debut. He was committed and gave detailed feedback after each run which allowed him to make some good progress throughout the day.
“Overall, a very good approach that shows lots of promise. I'm sure he will be able to put this experience to good use as he moves forward in F2 this season.” The 20-year-old’s test comes less than a fortnight before F2 returns to the historic British circuit for the seventh round of the season.