American racer Santino Ferrucci began his second stint in a Formula One car Tuesday as he drove the Haas VF-17 during the first of two days of open testing at the Hungaroring in Budapest, Hungary. All 10 teams competing in the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship were present.
The 19-year-old from Woodbury, Connecticut, is Haas F1 Team’s development driver and tested for Haas F1 Team last July at England’s Silverstone Circuit. In doing so, Ferrucci became the first American driver to steer an American Formula One car since Oct. 9, 1977 when Danny Ongais drove a Penske PC4 in the Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario.
Formula One rules dictate that two days of each in-season test must be allocated to young-driver training, which is classified as someone who has competed in two or fewer grands prix. Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen participated in the first open test April 18-19 at Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, making them ineligible for the test in Hungary.
Ferrucci recently competed on the Hungaroring in the FIA Formula 2 Championship this past weekend with Team Trident. In his first drive of an F2 car, Ferrucci qualified just .408 of a second off the pole in 10th before earning points with a strong ninth-place finish in his first race on Saturday. Ferrucci graduated to F2 after spending the 2016 season and the first six races of 2017 in the GP3 Series with DAMS.
Ferrucci was the first driver out on the 4.381-kilometer (2.722-mile) circuit when the track went green at 9 a.m. local time. He began with stock reconnaissance runs starting with a double installation lap on Pirelli P Zero White medium tires followed by two timed stints on the same compound for 10 laps and nine laps, respectively. Halfway through the session, Ferrucci switched to Yellow soft tires, logging 33 laps across three new sets before the 1 p.m. lunchbreak. Ferrucci’s best mark during the morning session was a 1:21.654 earned on his 44th lap.
Ferrucci ran exclusively on soft tires in the afternoon, recording 47 laps with a program blending runs on used and new tires. Two short stints on used tires were followed by two eight-lap runs on fresh tires. It was on the latter of these outings where Ferrucci set his quickest time of the day, a 1:21.185 on his 80th lap that placed him 10th among the 12 drivers participating in the test. Ferrucci closed the day with three further tours on used softs to take his final lap tally to 102.
Scuderia Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc set the quickest time (1:17.746) with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas recording the most laps (155).
“This morning I struggled a lot to adjust to the car. It’s a lot different to anything else out there, especially the F2 car. It took three or four runs before I was acclimated and happy with how I was in the car. In the afternoon, we made really good changes. At the end of the day, I was able to push a bit more and work on my own driving to where I now feel like I’m using almost 95 percent of the car to its optimum. Tomorrow, I’m really looking forward to getting on some supersoft tires and doing some qualifying runs.”
Ferrucci returns to the Haas VF-17 on Wednesday for the final day of testing at the Hungaroring.