Scheckter name back in F1

Tomas Scheckter had his first taste of Formula 1 as he tested a Jaguar at Silverstone today (Tuesday), under the scrutiny of Jaguar Racing director Jackie Stewart and 1979 world champion, father Jody

Scheckter name back in F1

The 19-year-old has stepped into the limelight in recent weeks by first taking over the Formula 3000 seat of Stephane Sarrazin in the McLaren Junior Team - scoring a second place at Hockenheim on his debut - and now driving the Jaguar R1 as part of his Formula 3 deal with Stewart Racing.

"It feels mega, unbelievable," enthused Scheckter after his first run. "I feel a bit like something out of Star Wars or Return of the Jedi. It's like driving a rocket ship."

Under blue skies and bright sunshine the young South African took to the track as soon as the pit lane opened at 10:00 BST. Five runs of three laps each during the morning session produced a best time of 1m29.4s, less than a second behind regular Jaguar test driver Luciano Burti's time of 1m28.5s.

It was not only Scheckter's first run in an F1 car, but also his first ever run on the full Silverstone Grand Prix circuit. An unfamiliar track and a car with twice the performance and four-times the power of his Dallara F3 car made for something of a baptism of fire.

"He's doing well for his first run in an F1 car," said Jaguar Racing technical director Gary Anderson. "He seems quite good with the technical information and it's a good chance for us to get someone else's impression of the car and to see what his feedback is like."

With Johnny Herbert set to leave the Jaguar team at the end of the season, a race seat could be available. Scheckter was unequivocal in what he wants.

"I would love a race contract with the Jaguar team," he said, "but I need to prove to them that I am quick, then hopefully they can take up their option on me for next year. It's up to them really, but that's what this testing is for."

Father Jody looked on somewhat anxiously as his son acclimatised to the 800bhp machine.

"When you see how quick he's going," said Scheckter Sr, "I just think I want to get him out of there... But I guess it's a bit late for that now."

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