Young Driver Test: Day One

Day One Timesheets:

Morning:

Pos. Driver Nat. Team Time Laps
1 Jean-Eric Vergne FRA Red Bull 1:40.707 33
2 Jules Bianchi FRA Ferrari 1:42.632 34
3 Oliver Turvey GBR McLaren 1:43.502 35
4 Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams 1:43.816 47
5 Fabio Leimer SUI Sauber 1:44.354 34
6 Robert Wickens CAN Renault 1:44.579 29
7 Rodolfo Gonzalez VEN Team Lotus 1:45.026 44
8 Sam Bird GBR Mercedes 1:45.564 12
9 Max Chilton GBR Force India 1:45.714 42
10 Dani Clos ESP HRT 1:46.922 39
11 Stefano Coletti MCO Toro Rosso 1:47.008 42
12 Adrian Quaife-Hobbs GBR Virgin 1:47.292 32

Overall:

Pos. Driver Nat. Team Time Laps
1 Jean-Eric Vergne FRA Red Bull 1:40.011 82
2 Jules Bianchi FRA Ferrari 1:40.960 85
3 Robert Wickens CAN Renault 1:42.217 77
4 Fabio Leimer SUI Sauber 1:42.331 67
5 Gary Paffett GBR McLaren 1:42.912 41
6 Max Chilton GBR Force India 1:43.016 80
7 Valterri Bottas FIN Williams 1:43.118 71
8 Oliver Turvey GBR McLaren 1:43.502 35
9 Sam Bird GBR Mercedes 1:43.548 52
10 Rodolfo Gonzalez VEN Team Lotus 1:44.022 87
11 Stefano Coletti MCO Toro Rosso 1:45.278 87
12 Dani Clos ESP HRT 1:45.329 68
13 Charles Pic FRA Virgin 1:46.930 30
14 Adrian Quaife-Hobbs GBR Virgin 1:45.292 32

Reactions:

Ferrari: Their official test drive gets the full three days, and like others has been out on track to complete aerodynamic tests. Bianchi also ran some set up tests to gear the car towards his driving style to get the most out of the sessions. “It’s great to be back at the wheel of a Ferrari on a real track.” Bianchi added, “I am looking forward to a further two days of testing and we hope to carry on as we have started, with a lot of kilometres completed and trouble free running.”

Force India: Relative unknown Chilton finished the day in sixth on his first day in the VJM04, he spent the day getting used to the car during his first on track outing in F1 machinery. “I had been looking forward to this moment all my life and it definitely exceeded my expectations. The performance of the car is just amazing, especially the downforce and traction, which are mind-blowing. The design of these cars is incredible and it’s left me wanting much more.” The team remarked on his ability to quickly integrate and that he made no mistakes and was consistent. Chilton also had his first taste of KERS before an issue slowed his final laps.

HRT: Another driver taking to the track with an aerodynamic test to complete for his temporary team. The team were also eager to get to grips with the new tyres, in the afternoon they switched their focus to the rear suspension. Clos said of the experience, “We could reach a good level of performance with the car and I think that the team was satisfied with me both on and off the track and I’m confident that we have set some solid bases for the future. It has been a great experience, not only driving an F1 car but doing it for a Spanish team is something fantastic.”

McLaren: Turvey was in action in the morning and ended his stint in the McLaren in a respectable third. The stalwart of the young driver test Paffett was in the afternoon.

Mercedes: The team stuck with the 2011 tyres as Bird took to the track to test out 2012 parts for next years challenger. The British driver suffered a transmission issue which hindered his total number of laps, he’ll have another chance to add to that tomorrow. “It’s fantastic to be behind the wheel of a Formula One car again, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself out there. I’m looking forward to the next two days and making a contribution to the team’s work for 2012.”

Red Bull: Vergne aided the team in some aerodynamic tests to help out with preparations for next season. He completed 82 laps to set the fastest lap time and is in the car for the rest of the test. “Driving the world championship-winning car is just great and I liked every lap I did out there. Knowing there are two more days still to do, just makes me smile more.”

Renault: Wickens is pleased with his performance, hoping to get into the top three he managed it with the third fastest time. “I learned so much with everything, and Lotus Renault GP did an amazing job. The car really feels fantastic to drive. It has been fun and I can’t thank Lotus Renault GP enough for the opportunity they gave me to drive for the team.” Hinting at the 2012 Pirelli Wickens explained he managed a 20 laps stint of consistent times with heavy fuel on the soft compound.

Sauber: Today was the first time Leimer has experienced an F1 car and was understandablyexcited at the prospect. Going fourth fastest with an improvement from the morning, along with the new experience gave the Swiss driver a lot to take in. “I was a bit worried about my neck before the test, but this wasn’t an issue. What I could feel in the end was that the concentration needed during the entire day was quite intense. Obviously I had to learn a lot about procedures and switches. All in all, I’m happy with what the team and I have done today – it was a great day, full of new experiences.” The team were also impressed with Leimer, explaining he gave good feedback and ‘handled the programme well’.

Team Lotus: The team took their first top ten finish of the year woth Gonzalez behind the wheel. Completing 87 laps (tieing with Coletti at Toro Rosso) he got involved with some aerodynamic and 2010 tyre testing, and having driven the 2010 version he could compare cars. “I drove the T127 last year which is this car’s predecessor and I can really see the difference and improvements in the T128 and across the whole team. Obviously the Renault engine and Red Bull gearbox play a big role in the change of the car, but overall it feels as though it has more downforce and is smoother to drive. The rear end is also more stable which gives me the confidence to push into the corners and to get on the power early on the exits.”

Toro Rosso: Like others Coletti was combining his valuable time on track to help the team with aerodynamic testing and evaluating developmental parts for next season. Being his first time behind an F1 wheel it took a little time to adapt to power steering in high speed corners, but this was soon a non-issue. “I found it an amazing experience, from the speed, the huge amount of downforce and the way the engine power pushes you along. Nothing I have driven so far in my career has come close to the feeling I got driving a Formula One car.”

Virgin: The team ran two drivers in the first day of testing, Quaife-Hobbs went first with Pic taking up the wheel in the afternoon. Booth explained that they ran a similar programme for both drivers to ease of comparision, taking it further by using the same tyres their regular line up used during the race. Quaife-Hobbs said, “I have to start by saying a very big ‘thank you’ to Marussia Virgin Racing for this fantastic opportunity today. It’s been a great experience and I’ve learned a lot.” Pic echoed his sentiments, “Today I had my first run in an F1 car, so it was a very special day but with a lot of new things to learn. The high speed corners and braking were things I had to adjust to, but I felt my acclimatisation went well. I’m very happy with this first step.”

Williams: Bottas completed his long programme despite being struck with a gearbox issue, something that had affected the current Williams line up. This was his first time the Finnish driver had taken an F1 car out on a track, having completed a straightline test for the team previously. “I really enjoyed my first time driving the car on a proper track today. There is much more downforce and power than the cars I am used to driving, but I really liked it and I think the day went well. I was able to help the team make some progress with some interesting tests for next year. I’m definitely looking forward to getting back in the car tomorrow as I have more to learn and I know I can do better.”

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