Bianchi and Ferrari fastest on final day at Magny Cours test
13 September, 2012
Sep.13 (Apex) Jules Bianchi ended the three day young-drivers test at Magny Cours top of the timing sheets for a third consecutive day, this time reverting to the Ferrari F2012 cockpit which he had sampled on the first day, before swapping on the second day to the Force India VJM05.
For most of the day Ferrari continued to evaluate aero bits, particularly various variations of their front wing, with meaningful times being set in the afternoon. Bianchi did 136 laps in total.
Venezuelan GP2 driver Rodolfo Gonzalez was in action for Force India and managed to complete a 79 lap programme which included experimenting with various tyres and setups.
Gonzalez said: “Today has been a great experience. The conditions were quite difficult to begin with because of the wet start to the day, but it was good to try out the wet and intermediate tyres. The other main task was getting used to the control systems and building my speed and feel for the car. I’m quite happy with my pace today, although I think there was more to come because it was my first time driving at Magny-Cours and my first time in the car. The team did a great job of making me feel welcome and comfortable, and I really hope to get another chance to drive a Formula One car soon. ”
Back in an F1 cockpit was Brendan Hartley, who ended up slowest of the trio on the day but adding 87 laps in the Mercedes W03 to his CV. The New Zealander who was dumped from the Red Bull driver programme, had not tested F1 since 2009 when he had seat time with Toro Rosso.
He continued the work done by fellow tester Sam Bird on the two previous days, namely evaluate the new exhaust system on the W03.
Hartley summed up his day: “It was an amazing feeling to be back driving a Formula One car today, and I would like to thank the team for giving me this opportunity. The track was quite wet this morning so we lost some time. A successful day for both me and the team, as we completed the programme, despite the weather.”
“I’m happy with my performance and pleased that it only took a couple of runs before I was on the pace as it’s been three years since I last drove a Formula One car. I’m very grateful for the experience and really enjoyed working with the team today,” added Hartley.
Subbed by AJN.
Magny Cours Young Drivers Test – Day 3
1. Jules Bianchi (Ferrari F2012) – 1m16.985s – 136 laps
2. Rodolfo Gonzalez (Force India VJM05) – 1m18.018s – 79 laps
3. Brendon Hartley (Mercedes AMG W03) – 1m18.671s – 87 laps