Narain Karthikeyan got behind the wheel of a Jordan F1 car for the first time this morning (Tuesday) at a wet and windy Silverstone, as a clutch of British Formula 1 teams began their US Grand Prix preparations at the Northamptonshire track.
Karthikeyan, currently competing in the Japanese Formula Nippon series, was the slowest of the runners who set a time, but with a constant drizzle and strong winds blowing across the track, the young Indian's best time was within three seconds of Jordan's regular driver veteran Jean Alesi.
"Unfortunately conditions are so greasy today, but it's unbelievable when you drive a Formula 1 car in weather like this," he enthused. "They have so much grip you can brake so late."
However, the morning didn't go completely without a hitch for the former British Formula 3 race winner. Just before lunch Karthikeyan spun his EJ11 at Club, stalling his car in the gravel.
"We changed the brake bias a little bit," he told Autosport.com. "I locked up the rears. It was a very slow spin but I couldn't save the engine, so I lost my first run on intermediates."
The five teams at Silverstone - Jordan, McLaren, BAR, Jaguar and Benetton - all opted for either intermediate or wet tyres in the morning to deal with the inclement conditions, and it was Alesi who topped the timesheets before lunch with a lap of 1m34.03s.
McLaren tester Alex Wurz was second quickest, followed by Olivier Panis' BAR, Jenson Button in the Benetton and finally Karthikeyan.
DTM driver Marcel Fassler gets his first taste of Formula 1 power today as the Swiss driver tests for McLaren. However Fassler has yet to set a time at Silverstone, completing just one installation lap in the morning.
Mark Webber in the second Benetton did get some running before lunch, but the Australian always drove through the pit lane to complete his lap so he too has yet to set a time.
Silverstone test day 1, AM times (Unofficial)
Pos, Driver, Car, Tyre, Time
1 Jean Alesi Jordan-Honda B 1m34.03s
2 Alex Wurz McLaren-Mercedes B 1m34.21
3 Olivier Panis BAR-Honda B 1m35.09s
4 Eddie Irvine Jaguar M 1m35.56s
5 Jenson Button Benetton-Renault M 1m35.85s
6 Narain Karthikeyan Jordan-Honda B 1m37.00s
Russia / Results
Standings / After 10 races
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|Emilia Romagna||Imola||1 Nov|
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Berlin / Results
|2||Nyck de Vries||47m23.447s|
Standings / After 11 races
|1||Antonio Felix da Costa||158|
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