F2 Champion Luciano Bacheta got a taste of F1 with Williams at Silverstone
By William Esler at Silverstone. Last Updated: 20/10/12 11:40am
Britain's Luciano Bacheta got his first taste of Formula 1 at Silverstone on Thursday, driving the 2011 Williams FW33.
The test on the International Circuit at the Northamptonshire venue was part of the British driver's prize for winning the F2 Championship.
The 22-year-old completed 34 laps on demonstration tyres, due to testing restrictions placed on F1 teams, but enjoyed every minute of it.
"It was awesome. I'm disappointed that it is over already," a beaming Bacheta told Sky Sports.
"The team have great and very welcoming and they made my first experience of Formula 1 as straightforward as it could be, so I am very grateful to them.
"The car was fantastic. Every lap I was just trying to push harder, carry more speed into the corners and I still feel as if I could have gone quicker - even though I'm told I got down to a pretty good time."
The Williams F1 Team builds the chassis used by all the teams in the F2 Championship, but Bacheta says that is the only similarity between the two cars.
"It is quite a bit difference," he added. "The biggest difference is the power steering so the feedback comes through very differently to what I am used to - so that took a few laps to get used to. Everything is very refined and you always feel like you can go faster.
"A couple of times I got to the limit and the transition of being on the limit and going over the limit is quite big and aggressive so it is not like you can hold it in a slide like you usually do - it is either the limit or over it - so I was careful not to cross the boundaries too much."
Having been in front of the Drivers' Championship throughout the entire 2012 F2 season, the British driver is looking to move on in 2013 and is eyeing a drive in GP2, which supports a number of F1 races, or World Series by Renault.
"My main options for next year are GP2 or World Series Formula Renault 3.5 so we are working with potential and current sponsors and talking to a lot of teams, hopefully we will do some testing over the winter and hopefully by the end of the year we will have something sorted," he confirmed.
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For now, Thursday will be Bacheta's only test with Williams, but the Brit says he would jump at the chance to drive for the Grove team again.
"You will have to ask them, but if they wanted me I would be back here straightaway - they are a fantastic team," he concluded. "They have made me feel at one with the team - despite the fact I am just here for one day - and I would love to have another go with Williams."
Former F1 driver Martin Donnelly was at Silverstone to watch the test and thinks Bacheta will have learnt a lot from his running.
"He is living the dream," Donnelly said.
"There are not many current young British drivers who get the chance to sample a Formula 1 car and that will stand by him in the years to come ahead and for his next F1 test - because no doubt, there will be another F1 test in the future.
"You can explain to a driver until you are blue in the face who great these cars are - their braking, the g-force and acceleration - but until you are in the car with the vibrations going through your spine and you experience it for yourself all the talk in the world does not achieve it.
"He is going to learn a lot from this day, he is a worthy F2 Champion and hats off to Mr Palmer (Jonathan Palmer of MSV) for putting up such a great prize and there is an inspiration for the rest of the guys coming up through the junior ranks that F2 is good Formula to be in."
The Northern Irishman was impressed by Bacheta's pace and thinks that with the right guidance, he could be an F1 star in the future.
"He needs to be managed. He has the ability - you can see that today in the F1 test, he wasn't hanging back, first corner was flat," the former Lotus driver added.
"So, that takes commitment and it is not like he had a full days testing, or even a half day, it was four or five short stints of five laps each, so every time he went out he went quicker - that is just the learning curve.
"So whoever is looking after him and managing him needs to make sure he is in the right place, at the right time, in the right car, in the right year and if Luciano can deliver the goods year-in-year-out then in four or five years' time he will be knocking on the doors of the F1 teams."