Young Driver Test - Abu Dhabi 15 - 17 November 2011

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Young Driver Test - Abu Dhabi 15 - 17 November 2011

Post by Ed » Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:42 pm

The Formula 1 Young Driver Test commenced on the 15th of November

All F1 teams are present

Best laps times
Position Driver Car Time Laps
1. Jean-Eric Vergne Red Bull 1:40.011 83
2. Jules Bianchi Ferrari 1:40.960 85
3. Robert Wickens Lotus Renault 1:42.217 78
4. Fabio Leimer Sauber 1:42.331 67
5. Gary Paffett McLaren 1:42.912 41
6. Max Chilton Force India 1:43.016 81
7. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:43.118 71
8. Oliver Turvey McLaren 1:43.502 35
9. Sam Bird Mercedes 1:43.548 53
10. Rodolfo Gonzalez Team Lotus 1:44.022 87
11. Stefano Coletti Toro Rosso 1:45.278 87
12. Dani Clos HRT 1:45.329 68
13. Charles Pic Marussia Virgin 1:46.930 30
14. Adrian Quaife Hobbs Marussia Virgin 1:47.292 32

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Post by Ed » Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:17 pm

Selected quotes from day 1

Jean-Eric Vergne (Red Bull): "That was a fantastic day for me. 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. It’s a great opportunity from Red Bull Racing; I’m trying to learn as much as possible and get as much as possible out of it."

Jules Bianchi (Ferrari): "It’s great to be back at the wheel of a Ferrari on a real track, I’ve already driven this car for some aerodynamic testing, but doing it at a real test is a whole different story. Now, 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."

Robert Wickens (Lotus Renault): "I’m pleased with what we achieved today. 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. I’m glad I was able to drive in a car that put me towards the top of the grid. I was hoping to be in the top three today and to be third is really good."

Fabio Leimer (Sauber): “To me it was good day. I was able to improve from the morning to the afternoon, and I learnt a lot for my future. I wasn’t only impressed by the power of the car, as actually I didn’t expect it to be so nice to drive. It is so stable and smooth when riding the kerbs compared to a GP2 car. 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.”

Max Chilton (Force India): “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. It’s scary how quick you can go through the high-speed corners, but the car is really well balanced and it feels very calm. The morning session flew by really quickly while I was getting used to the car and the systems, but in the afternoon things settled down and we managed to do some good testing. Working with such a big crew was also a new experience for me and it makes life so easy because there’s a person for every job and you can change things really quickly. I want to say thanks to the guys for a great day and I can’t wait to jump back in the car on Thursday.”

Valtteri Bottas (Williams): I really enjoyed my first time driving the car on a proper track today. It didn’t take too long to get used to the car but there were still a few new things for me. 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. It is physically very demanding, but I’ve been doing a lot of training for this and although it is hard in these hot conditions, I could still focus 100% on the driving side. 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.

Sam Bird (Mercedes): "We did some good work today as the team began on-track preparations for the 2012 season. 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. Many thanks to MERCEDES GP PETRONAS for giving me this opportunity."

Rodolfo Gonzalez (Team Lotus): “We did a few runs in the morning so I could get used to the car which I found very useful and it really helped to improve my style of driving. We ran some aerodynamic tests which took half of the morning, with many small adjustments and set-up changes, and then ran tyre tests on the 2012 Pirelli tyres. I’m very happy with the car, and the team have been absolutely fantastic and given me a lot of help today.
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.
It’s my dream to drive in Formula One so I’m really very thankful for this opportunity. I think I’ve showed I have potential with the lap times I did, and am pleased with my times overall. I’ve proved I can do the job and have really enjoyed this experience in the car and learned a lot for my future.”

Stefano Coletti (Toro Rosso): “This has been a very exciting day for me, as I finally got to drive a Formula 1 car for the first time. 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 1 car. At first, I found it hard to adapt to the feel of the power steering through the wheel, especially in the high speed corners, but once I got used to it, I could start to enjoy the experience even more. It was interesting testing the new tyres and it meant I was fortunate to run with several new sets, which is not normally the case.”

Dani Clos (HRT): "I'm very happy with how the test went today. The first thing I had to do was adapt to the car as it's been three years since I last drove a Formula 1 car and the leap from GP2 is quite notable. In the morning we carried out various aero tests and I think we extracted a lot of information that will be useful for the team.
We also tested the three compound tyres which helped me to see the different performance and behavior of each one in order to adapt my style to the conditions. In the afternoon we carried out some different tests with the rear end and also with the different tyres to try and extract as much data as possible. The planning was good as was the understanding with the team.
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 dr iving an F1 car but doing it for a Spanish team is something fantastic".

Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (Marussia Virgin): "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. This morning I began with some CSL (constant speed limiter) runs on the straights so the team could conduct some aero measurement work and then I got into the programme properly. I ran two sets of new tyres and just began chipping away as I learned more about the car and how it reacts. Overall I'm pleased with the day and it's been a huge experience for me."

Charles Pic (Marussia Virgin): "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. At the end, we decided that some changes we need to make would take some time, so it was better to wait until tomorrow and save a set of tyres. Wednesday will be a big day for me as there is a plan to do a lot of tyre testing, so it is an opportunity I am really looking forward to as I will be able to learn all the types of tyre and see how they react. I am really enjoying working with the team. They have been very welcoming and helpful, so I am happy with my first day of testing."

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Post by Ed » Thu Nov 17, 2011 8:28 am

Day 2 of the Young Driver test at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi

Best laptimes

Position Driver Car Time Laps
1. Jean-Eric Vergne Red Bull 1:40.188 43
2. Jules Bianchi Ferrari 1:40.279 91
3. Gary Paffett McLaren 1:41.756 71
4. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:42.367 88
5. Johnny Cecotto Force India 1:42.873 84
6. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:43.637 96
7. Sam Bird Mercedes 1:43.734 94
8. Kevin Korjus Lotus Renault 1:43.776 70
9. Luiz Razia Team Lotus 1:43.944 89
10. Kevin Ceccon Toro Rosso 1:44.808 97
11. Jan Charouz HRT 1:46.644 56
12. Charles Pic Marussia Virgin 1:46.698 61
13. Nathanael Berthon HRT 1:48.646 9

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Post by Ed » Thu Nov 17, 2011 8:52 am

Selected quotes from day 2

Ian Morgan (Head of Race Engineering - Red Bull) “We had quite a disjointed morning due to some sensor issues which interrupted our run programme and this afternoon we lost more track time with a KERS issue. The issues are resolved now and at least we were able to complete some laps which provided useful data, hopefully tomorrow will be more productive

Jules Bianchi (Ferrari): “It was another good day of testing, I was able to do a lot of kilometres and so we were able to complete all the planned programme, while I was also able to improve on my lap time from yesterday. It’s valuable work for the team, because we have accumulated a lot of data which will be important for the development of the 2012 car.”

Valtteri Bottas (Williams): "It was really good to work with the team again today and I feel we achieved what we wanted to. Physically is was as demanding as the first day with the heat and different levels of G-forces; it was hard work but in the end wasn’t a problem. It has been a great opportunity for me here and I have really enjoyed every moment."

Johnny Cecotto Jr (Force India): “Amazing is the only word to describe today. Everything was just incredible from the moment I left the pits to begin my first lap. These cars are so impressive: the power, the braking performance and the aerodynamic grip you get through the corners – it makes you say ‘wow’. And there are so many systems on the car, too, such as the KERS, which really impressed me. It was good to try out some of the 2012 tyres in the afternoon and the team seemed happy with the data and my feedback. Overall it was just an unbelievable experience to work at such a professional level, with a great crew, and I want to thank Sahara Force India for giving me such a wonderful opportunity.”

Esteban Gutiérrez (Sauber): “It was a great day for me to learn about the different tyres. It is quite challenging to adapt from one to another, and you have to be sensible enough not to push too hard when you have less grip. It was a very good experience for me and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m happy with how the team is welcoming me back in the car. It is good to drive again to continue developing myself to get prepared for the future.”

Sam Bird (Mercedes): "We made some very good progress with the programme today and were able to achieve all of the goals that we intended. It was interesting to try out the new 2012 Pirelli tyres for the first time, and I enjoyed the experience. Overall it was a very good day for us and I'm looking forward to completing our programme of test items tomorrow."

Kevin Korjus (Lotus Renault): “It was very much a learning day for me – my first chance to drive the R31. The main priority was to give me a little bit of assessment; I gradually built up my confidence, and then by lunchtime I was feeling pretty comfortable with things. I was looking forward to doing some hard laps, but I must say it was really hard especially for my neck, physically and to learn all the buttons, and to do everything at the correct time. It is very different from the World Series. Now I feel I need a bit of rest.
Otherwise I really enjoyed the day because the car was just unbelievably good. It’s much quicker everywhere and I was particularly impressed by the brakes. I was definitely getting more and more comfortable because the brain starts to remember all the buttons. I learned there is still a lot to improve to be a really good driver in F1, and also I need to work a lot on my fitness but I’m very thankful for the opportunity Lotus Renault GP has given me today.

Luiz Razia (Team Lotus): “This morning we did a lot of damper work for the team looking ahead to the 2012 season, with many adjustments and evaluation of each run. We also did a performance run, which was very good as I was able to pick up speed quickly on the first flying lap.
Most of the afternoon was dedicated to the 2012 Pirelli tyre programme, and we did some evaluation on that, looking at how the tyres behaved. We also did some performance runs this afternoon with a baseline setup, but unfortunately the red flag meant that I couldn’t complete the best lap possible. The car balance felt good and I improved on my times so I’m quite happy. What I wanted to achieve was to do as many laps as possible so I was happy with 89 laps in total.

Kevin Ceccon (Toro Rosso): “This was an incredible experience for me, driving a Formula 1 car and working with this team and first, I must say thank you to Scuderia Toro Rosso for giving me this fantastic opportunity. We got through a lot of work today, testing parts for the car as well as next season’s Pirelli tyres, running them in comparison to this year’s. I drove two long runs, from which I was able to understand a lot. In fact, I felt that in one day of testing with an F1 car, I learned more than in several days in other categories of car! Therefore today was very good as a learning experience for me and I am looking forward to making more progress tomorrow from a personal point of view and also in terms of helping the team for next season.”

Jan Charouz (HRT): "It was really nice driving for HRT today. It was great that we had a lot of tyres to test, which is something that I need a lot because my biggest problem is getting the time out on new tyres. I liked working with the team as they were very professional; we had an engine problem in the afternoon and I've never seen anybody change an engine so quickly!
I encountered some traffic on my last run on supersofts and I was only able to do one lap. It was a great experience and it would be great to drive again. I was feeling more comfortable lap by lap as I was getting to know the car better and how different controls worked. It was also my first chance to use DRS which was really nice to experience, there are so many things you have to do at the same time and it was good to start to get used to it".

Nathanael Berthon (HRT): "I wasn't able to run for much but it was incredible to get out on the track with an F1 car. It's important to do laps to adapt to the driving posture so that I can start tomorrow's test comfortably and get the most out of it".

Charles Pic (Marussia Virgin): "This morning I was still getting used to the car and working to optimise my driving. We made two longer brake evaluation runs and this afternoon we did a test of new Pirelli tyres, but this time only for a few laps. We used four different specifications of tyre and it was very interesting to see the difference and get this information. By this afternoon I was happy with the car and all the new things like using DRS through the lap I just kept getting better and better at. I am very happy with my second day in the car and once again I have learned a lot. Thanks to the team again for making everything comfortable for me."

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Post by Ed » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:19 pm

Third and final day of the Young Driver test at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi

Best laptimes

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

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Post by Ed » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:48 pm

Selected quotes from the final day:

Ian Morgan (Head of Race Engineering - Red Bull) - “It was a frustrating day, due to a few niggly reliability issues which hampered our progress in the afternoon – but we had a good morning.
Looking to Jean-Eric, I must say I have been very impressed with him during this test. 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.”

Sam Bird (Mercedes) - "We again had a very good day today and were able to cover a lot of mileage with 104 laps in total. We were focusing on further development work for 2012 which went well and the team are very positive about the results gained. I would like to say thank you to MERCEDES GP PETRONAS for trusting me with the driving responsibilities for this three-day test. It's been a very positive and enjoyable experience for me, and I've greatly enjoyed working with the team."

Ross Brawn (Mercedes) - "We have had a very good test in Abu Dhabi this week, and my compliments to Sam and the team at the Yas Marina Circuit for their efforts over the three days. The test has enabled us to make a good start to our 2012 preparations, and provided a wealth of data for our engineers to study.
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."

Jules Bianchi (Ferrari) - 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.

Max Chilton (Force India): “Another excellent day which I really enjoyed. It helped having already done a day of testing on Tuesday because I new the car, the systems, and just felt a bit more relaxed. So I was able to focus more on driving style and giving good feedback. We managed to do quite a lot, including some set-up work and a few long runs after lunch. At the end of the day I had some fresh tyres, but it was a shame there was a red flag in the middle of my final run. Still, 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.”

Oliver Knighton (Race Support and Strategy Engineer - Force India)
“A very good day with Max getting up to speed quickly and making a valuable contribution with his feedback. Today’s programme saw further work with the potential 2012 Pirelli tyres, some background data collection, as well as some aero work. A couple of small problems limited the total lap count, but it has been a very positive day and test overall with all the major objectives completed.”

Giampaolo Dall’Ara (Head of Track Engineering - Sauber) - “We had another very productive day of testing with Esteban. In the morning we started with an hour and a half of aero measurements with the 2012 tyres. Then we did set-up work with these tyres we shall be using in the future. After the lunch break we then worked for the next race in Brazil by using this year’s medium and soft compounds. We finished the programme with a run on a set of super soft tyres. Esteban impressed us again. He did a very professional and reliable job in testing. When working with him we tend to forget he is such a young rookie.”

Esteban Gutiérrez (Sauber): “I am very happy. This test was a really nice experience for me. I was able to push to the limit in a lot of different circumstances – with fuel loads from high to medium to low and with different tyres and compounds. This was obviously great to get to know more about the car. On my final lap I was pushing a bit too much and spun while on the super soft tyres. Overall I am satisfied that I was consistent during these two days and, together with the team, we managed to go through a huge programme.”

Tom McCullough (Race Engineer - Williams): It has been an excellent final day with Mirko Bortolotti. He did a really good job, improving on each run and iterating down to some good lap times. Overall, he gave excellent feedback, was consistent and is clearly physically fit. We have now completed our three day test and have lots of useful information to take away. The factory have done a great job this week in getting lots of test items out here in order to help our understanding of the FW34 and we can now return to the factory and analyse the data in order to develop the FW34.

Mirko Bortolotti (Williams): Everything was new for me today; the car and the track, so there was a lot to learn. The team had several objectives this morning so I wasn’t just focusing on lap time but on getting that work done for Williams’ 2012 preparations. We completed that and then moved on to finding performance this afternoon. 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.

Laurent Mekies (Chief Engineer - Toro Rosso) - “Another busy day to end this test, which has been very productive for us. 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. That was one part of the programme, while on the other hand, we also used this opportunity to prepare for the final round of the championship in Brazil, in just over a week’s time. Time spent evaluating Pirelli’s development tyres for next year has also been very productive. Both drivers worked well, not making any mistakes and delivering a positive contribution to the team.”

Jan Charouz (Lotus Renault) - It is not the first time I have driven an F1 car and I really like using the DRS and KERS. It is really nice to use these. I was feeling more comfortable lap by lap as I was getting to know the R31 better. I covered a total of 82 laps, summing up a total of 455.4 kilometres. I spent the morning with a huge amount of data acquisition equipment fitted to the car and went through a range of tests for the team – firstly to learn more about the tyres and secondly to learn more about the aerodynamics, both of which are areas Lotus Renault GP are exploring for next year’s car development. In the afternoon, I spent some time getting used to the R31 and the systems and completed a long run on the new 2012 Pirelli tyre and I also completed several procedural tests with starts and pit stops. I really enjoyed all of it today

Nathanael Berthon (HRT): “Today was a great experience but it felt like it was too short. I would like to spend some more time in the car but, as a first step, it was very good. 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.

The thing which surprised me the most about the experience wasn’t the car itself but everything that surrounds it. It’s really impressive to see how many different things the team works on and all the data they look at is incredible. As for the car, it is much more balanced than a GP2, the braking is good and my favourite thing is the steering wheel, which is really light. Overall everything is impressive and it’s been a good experience to have”.

Ángel Baena (Race engineer - HRT): “Today’s work plan was quite intense and we’re very satisfied with how it went. Both the team and the driver did a perfect job and we completed the programme. We planned various tyre tests for today to get a better understanding of their degradation and behavior on the first laps and also carried out some tests on the control system’s set up and some adjustments for next year’s car.

We had a good connection with the driver and he adapted very quickly to the car. You could see he was really motivated, brave on quick corners but also very professional. The only inconvenience was that he is really tall and didn’t feel too comfortable in the cockpit, but despite this he worked hard and it showed. I think he has great potential”

Robert Wickens (Marussia Virgin) - "Going into the afternoon session I knew I was going to have limited time, plus it took a little while to get the car to my liking. I then got straight into testing the Pirelli prototype tyres and I was quite surprised by how different they are. It was a busy afternoon - I didn't get out of the car at all - but I'm pleased with my progress and my lap. 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."

Charles Pic (Marussia Virgin) - "Today I was back in the car for the morning, so it was another good chance to really familiarise myself with the procedures and become more natural in the car. We made two runs on new tyres, so it was good experience, and after we made one long run of 18 laps together with a start simulation, so again a lot of things to learn and I have taken in a lot of information. We also did a lot of controls work such as bite point learns, which were interesting and I enjoyed the pitstop practice also. My thanks to the team once again because it has been a very positive experience here this week and I have enjoyed it very much."

John Booth (Team Principal - Marussia Virgin) - It's been a fascinating week here in Abu Dhabi, observing not only the young drivers Marussia Virgin Racing have been putting through their paces but also the next generation of drivers testing up and down the pit lane. Adrian, Charles and Robert have all acquitted themselves impressively and it has been a delight to work with each of them. Our objectives for here were two-fold - to evaluate the young drivers and at the same time work on some important developments for 2012, the most significant of which has been the Pirelli prototype tyres.
The data we have collected this week has been invaluable and will be fed straight back into the 2012 design process. It has been a challenging few weeks for the team, both here and back in the UK, and in particular I would like to thank the race team for their hard work in last weekend's Grand Prix and at this week's test. We're all looking forward to rounding off the season in Sao Paulo and eagerly await the start of testing with next year's car."

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