Force India sign Mexican teenager Celis


Alfonso Celis has joined Force India as their development driver, a role that will see him take part in seven practice sessions next season.

Aside from the Friday outings, seven of which have been scheduled, the 19-year-old GP3 and Formula 3.5 driver will also spend time on the simulator at the team’s Silverstone factory.

Celis will make his debut later this year as the Mexican driver is scheduled to test the VJM08 at the season-ending Abu Dhabi outing where he will share driving duties along with Nico Hulkenberg.  When he does, expect the young recruit to be at very long championship odds.

Celis said: “Ever since I started racing I’ve been dreaming of Formula One, so it’s a huge honour to begin working with Sahara Force India. It’s an amazing opportunity for me to learn about Formula One and to work closely with the engineers and race drivers.

“Being on the track in Abu Dhabi will be an incredible feeling. It’s going to be the biggest moment in my career and I am fully focussed on doing a good job for the team.”

Team principal Vijay Mallya believes Force India is the right training ground for the teenager.

He said: “I would like to welcome Alfonso to the team and wish him well ahead of his debut with us in Abu Dhabi. As our development driver we will work hard to prepare him for the demands of driving in Formula One and provide a good grounding in all aspects of the job. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Alfonso to learn from Sergio and Nico, and to get valuable mileage in the car.”