MEDIABALAP.com – Having made his Formula 1 Grand Prix race weekend début last weekend in Singapore, young hopeful Sean Gelael is now more determined than ever to get to the top level of motorsport.
The 20-year-old Indonesian driver replaced Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz for FP1 last weekend. In a solid session, he outpaced both Saubers in the 90-minute practice session at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
“What a great experience to drive in an FP1 session and be so close to home!” he said afterwards. “It’s an amazing feeling.
“I enjoyed it a lot out there and we were able to complete the programme which is positive,” he added. “I’m happy with my performance.”
Gelael will get further FP1 outings with the team in Malaysia, the United States and Mexico. He previously took part in official in-season tests at Bahrain and Budapest.
Gelael is currently in his first full season of Formula 2 with the Pertamina Arden team. His best result so far was second place in the feature race at the Red Bull Ring in July. He’s currently in 15th place in the drivers standings.
If he’s to have a chance of getting a converted Formula 1 superlicence, Gelael will need to win 40 eligibility points over a three year period. Finishing in the top three in Formula 2 would deliver exactly that.
“We realise that we need a really good result in F2 to get the [eligibility] points,” Gelael said. “And not only the points but to get a good result in general.
“Hopefully we can do that next year. It’s going be a big push,” he added, admitting that it hadn’t been the best of seasons for him in 2017.
“We’ve had a lot of hiccups, reliability issues from day one,” he pointed out. “It’s been really tough to judge.
“It’s a difficult start, to be honest. Our pace has always been relatively good.
“Thankfully, in some races we showed the pace in the race. And then in race two we’ve always shown something,” he added. “I think Monza was quite a clean weekend. I think it’s a good confidence booster for the last two races.”
Gelael’s challenge will be to get off to a much quicker start in 2018 – and then maintain consistency through to the end. Only then will he have a chance to think about a spot on the Formula 1 grid.
“Hopefully we can still continue the programme with testing with Toro Rosso next year,” he said. “And see what 2019 brings.” (http://en.f1i.com/waw)