Young Driver Test: Day Three

Day three timesheets:

Morning:

Pos. Driver Nat. Team Time Laps
1 Jean-Eric Vergne FRA Red Bull 1:38.917  –
2 Jules Bianchi FRA Ferrari 1:41.347  –
3 Oliver Turvey GBR McLaren 1:42.346  –
4 Max Chilton GBR Force India 1:42.618  –
5 Alexander Rossi USA Team Lotus 1:44.381  –
6 Esteban Gutierrez MEX Sauber 1:44.531  –
7 Stefano Coletti MCO Toro Rosso 1:44.545  –
8 Mirko Bortolotti ITA Williams 1:46.076  –
9 Nathanael Berthon FRA HRT 1:46.299  –
10 Charles Pic FRA Virgin 1:46.348 36
11 Jan Charouz VEN Renault 1:47.159  –
12 Sam bird GBR Mercedes 1:47.624  –

Overall:

Pos. Driver Nat. Team Time Laps
1 Jean-Eric Vergne FRA Red Bull 1:38.917 46
2 Sam Bird GBR Mercedes 1:40.897 104
3 Jules Bianchi FRA Ferrari 1:41.347 106
4 Oliver Turvey GBR McLaren 1:41.513 89
5 Max Chilton GBR Force India 1:41.575 79
6 Esteban Gutierrez MEX Sauber 1:42.049 77
7 Mirko Bortolotti ITA Williams 1:43.277 74
8 Kevin Ceccon ITA Toro Rosso 1:43.686 35
9 Alexander Rossi USA Team Lotus 1:44.283 74
10 Jan Charouz VEN Renault 1:44.470 82
11 Stefano Coletti MCO Toro Rosso 1:44.545 48
12 Nathanael Berthon FRA HRT 1:45.839 51
13 Robert Wickens CAN Virgin 1:45.934 34
14 Charles Pic FRA Virgin 1:46.348 49

Reactions:

Ferrari: Bianchi missed out on completing his hat trick of second places behind Vergne when McLaren’s  Turvey split them up. He spent the day concentrating on set up and aerodynamic work and so setting the fastest time was not the main focus. “These have been three very busy days of testing for me and the team. I am pleased with the work we achieved, because we were able to get through practically everything scheduled for this test. Specifically today, we did some long runs to check the behaviour of the Pirelli tyres over a long distance. During the three days, I only used the Soft compound, because it was the one that best suited the work the team wanted to carry out on track.”

Force India: It was Chilton back behind the wheel today as he continued an evaluation of the 2012 Pirelli compounds, which served to further his familarisation of the car. Oliver Knighton (race support and strategy engineer) said, “A very good day with Max getting up to speed quickly and making a valuable contribution with his feedback.” Chilton was pleased with his performance, “I’m happy with the job I’ve done this week and I really hope I get the chance to do it again. Working with the team has been an incredible experience and I’ve learned a massive amount.”

HRT: Berthon had a full day in the car but fell foul of his statuesqe form once he had squeezed himself into the cockpit. “I’m very tall and the fitting wasn’t ideal, but I think that my performance was good. The engineers told me that they were really satisfied with the test; this will serve me well for the future and it is in Formula 1 where I want to be, once the moment comes.”

McLaren: Turvey had the last day of testing to himself and working hard he managed to split the dominant pairing of Vergne and Bianchi from taking the last 1-2 spots by slotting inbetween them.

Mercedes: The team took a chance to try out the new exhaust system in the morning before reverting back to the 2011 set up in the afternoon to concentrate on tyres and set up. Overall Bird has completed 1394 km in Abu Dhabi for the team and Ross Brawn extends his compliments to the young driver for his help and feedback. “Sam has performed extremely well this week, providing consistency and accuracy in both his driving and feedback, and our engineers in Abu Dhabi have been very impressed with his contribution.”

Red Bull: Reliability, or lack thereof, was the word of the day inthe Red Bull garage. ‘Niggly’ reliability issued put a stop on long runs today for Vergne, however this did not stop the French driver from posting a very respectable sub 1:40 time making him the only young driver to do so. Ian Morgan, head of engineering, had this to say, “He’s not really been in our car for any length of time before this week and he hasn’t made a single mistake. He’s good at taking in information and using it as required and he’s been consistent and controlled. He was able to do as we ask and put in a lap time whenever we needed – he’s done a good job.”

Renault: Charous was in for Renault today fufilling his test driver duties.

Sauber: Gutierrez brought out the red flags today when he crashed towards the end of the day. The young Mexican had a spin at turn three while making a bid to go faster on the super-softs, escaping any injury the car only suffered a little damage to a wheel rim. The Sauber test driver said it was confusion with the DRS system that contributed to the off. “I’ve driven the F1 car four times before and not crashed, so there’s always a first time. To know the limit, you have to. It was because of a mistake with the DRS.” However he leaves having made an impressive impression on the team, and the hopeful has already pin-pointed areas to improve upon. “The stability on the kerbs is something that I can improve; to be able to get through in a more stable way. This is the main point.”

Team Lotus: The team continued with damper testing from yesterday to ready themselves for the 2012 season. It was the turn of Rossi to jump in the car today, having a whole days running to play with the American took to the new machinery quickly. “To get behind the wheel and have that much time was really good. I was surprised at how much you learn during a day’s testing. There’s so much to take in, for example the briefing and debriefing sessions, it’s a whole step up from GP2, so it’s been an extremely valuable day. Jody Egginton from Team Lotus believed there was more to uncover, “We can see a few areas where he can improve and there is a lot more potential there.” Egginton also revealed the test overall has given the team plenty to work on over the winter break.

Toro Rosso: Where their big sister struggled with reliability, Toro Rosso had no such problem. “We achieved a very high number of kilometres which is especially useful as it validates the reliability of some elements we were testing with a view to the 2012 car.” The team also revealed they have also been preparing for the next race in Brazil.

Virgin: Pic was back in for the morning to finish off the programme from yesterday, a long run and start simulation, as well as learning bite points and steering wheel controls. He finished up with a pit stop practice before handing over to Wickens. Using his limited time well he stayed in the car all afternoon and was happy with his lap by lap progress. “I have to look at the fine detail with the engineers to fully evaluate my performance but overall I’m happy with our work today and thanks to the team for offering me these two great opportunities here in Abu Dhabi. It’s been quite a week.”

Williams: Bortolotti was in the car for the first time during the test and the team were pleased with what he produced in terms of feedback and performance. The objective for the day for the team was primarily familiarisation for Bortolotti followed by aero testing in preparation for next season. “Everything was new for me today; the car and the track, so there was a lot to learn,” said the Italian. “It has been a really interesting day for me. I have really enjoyed being here with AT&T Williams and I am very happy with the job that we did.”

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