PETRONAS-supported driver, Jaafar, said of today’s performance, “It couldn’t have been a better start to pre-season testing for me. I thought we could be quick today and we were. To be quickest on the first day is a really good feeling. We have had a really productive day, putting plenty of mileage on the car and starting to learn about its characteristics.
“I’ve been working on all aspects of my race programme over the winter – fitness training, simulator work, preparations with my driving coach and engineers, as well as working closely with everyone at Carlin – and I feel that this has really paid off with the performance we had today.”
Jaafar has focused on preparations for his 2012 race programme over the winter months, including intensive fitness training and spending plenty of time with the team in the simulator to keep his driving skills honed.
The Dallara F312 chassis has brought a new challenge for Jaafar and the Carlin team, with no historical data to draw on to develop the setup of the car. As Jaafar explains, “We’ve started with a blank sheet of paper in terms of car set up, so it has been a very exciting day to work with my engineers to develop the car and maximise its performance potential, understanding how it reacts with old and new tyres and how set up changes affect the balance.
“Each run we made today we learnt more about the car and I gained experience of handling it with different tyre wear and in different track conditions and we collected plenty of useful data which we can review to look for further performance improvements tomorrow. Ending the day with the fastest lap time has just capped a really good day of running and I can’t wait to get back in the car tomorrow for more time behind the wheel. “
This first pre-season test concludes tomorrow and Jaafar will then move on to Rockingham next week for a further two days of preparation for the opening round of the British F3 season which will be held at Oulton Park circuit over the UK’s Easter Bank Holiday weekend.