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Fong, Nissany and Ocon complete Valencia test - updated

23 Oct 2014

Three up-and-coming drivers got the chance to experience F1 machinery in a two-day test in Valencia, Spain this week. Adderly Fong and Roy Nissany both sampled a two-year old Sauber, while Esteban Ocon was at the wheel of an identical-vintage Lotus.

Chinese driver Fong, 24, and Israeli Nissany, 19, got one day each in the Ferrari-powered Sauber C31 and both completed 99 laps of the 4.005-kilometre circuit.

“I am very happy that I had the opportunity to test the Sauber,” said Fong, who has competed in several single-seater championships in Asia and Europe, and this year is focusing on the Audi R8 LMS Cup, an Asia-based sprint race series.

“I have achieved my objective to complete 300 km without making any mistakes and at a good speed. The car was fantastic to drive, it is a brilliant piece of machinery. With so much horsepower and high downforce, it is a difficult car to learn, but I was able to improve lap by lap. I really want to thank Sauber and Ferrai for providing me such a good package today. It was great being able to test the car at the track in Valencia, having started Formula Three testing here in 2009.”

Nissany, son of one-time Minardi tester Chanoch Nissany and currently competing in European F3, said of his F1 outing: “It was an amazing day. It was my first time driving a Formula One car, and it felt great. I was quite excited at the beginning, and I think I feel more experienced now.

“Going through the fast corners with this high amount of downforce and adapting my driving style to this car was not easy, but I managed to do everything well. I am very happy with today’s outcome, not just from my side, but also from the team’s side, as everyone works very professionally. I knew the track in Valencia, so I think that was a good advantage.”

Frenchman Ocon, meanwhile, earned his two-day session in Lotus's E20 as reward for winning the FIA Formula Three Championship in his rookie season this year. The 18-year-old, part of Lotus’s junior programme since 2010, impressed the team’s engineers with his application, feedback and pace.

“Esteban drove exceptionally well over the course of the last two days, completing every task we asked of him,” said Alan Permane, Lotus’s trackside operations director. “It's clear he has a lot of talent as he was quickly up to speed and looked comfortable in the car. His feedback and aptitude were very promising. I'm sure we will see him in an F1 car again before too long.”

Ocon commented: “The test driving the Lotus F1 Team E20 went really well. I had to adapt to the car quite rapidly which I did very well. I felt comfortable with the team straight away and the same with the E20. The word I’d use to describe the feeling of driving an F1 car is that it is just quicker. The car was easy to drive, stable and very enjoyable; it is a great car. I’m really happy with this two-day test and I hope to the get the opportunity to jump into the F1 car again soon.”