• Young Driver Test - Day

Who said what after the final day of the Young Driver Test

ESPNF1 Staff
November 17, 2011

Read what the drivers and teams had to say after the final day of the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi

Jules Bianchi was the most productive driver on day three as he completed 106 laps © Sutton Images


Jules Bianchi - 3rd "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

Max Chilton - 5th "Another excellent day which I really enjoyed. It helped having already done a day of testing on Tuesday because I knew 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 "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."


Nathanael Berthon - 12th "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 "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."


Alexander Rossi - 9th "This morning we started off with getting used to the car and finding my way with the T128, as obviously it's a big step up from GP2, and I felt comfortable quickly as we worked up to a good setup level. Then our focus was on the damper work for the team, which involved various runs and looking ahead to the 2012 season, plus a few changes to the rear of the car and a few runs with the 2012 Pirelli tyres. In the afternoon we did some performance runs, which I wasn't entirely pleased with, as I felt I could have achieved more, however my first day in the car was positive, and I feel there is a lot more potential to unlock.

"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.

"It was really good fun to drive the car, and this car and the team are pretty special. Being able to work with the team as a driver was brilliant as I was able to further my relationship with them, with the mechanics and engineers. I now know the team on a personal level and it's really important to build those relationships. It's been a good day, and I'm happy to get the experience behind the wheel and I think there is a lot more to come."

Jody Egginton "It has been another good day. Alexander familiarised himself with the car very quickly and adapted to the new tyres comfortably which meant we could make progress all day. Our initial runs were to get him used to the car and settled with the tyres and the team.

"Part two of the run plan was the second part of the damper programme that we ran yesterday, which provided us with some very interesting data and Alexander gave excellent feedback on the changes we made. We also gained some good data regarding the rear suspension work in general. We then progressed to working on some of prototype Pirelli tyres which reconfirmed what we learned earlier in the week which was good. We then did some performance runs on two compounds - on the supersoft tyres he put in consistent laps although we felt we didn't extract the optimum time due to the red flag that was shown. He has done a brilliant job on his day's running and he now has a basis on which to build upon.

"We can see a few areas where he can improve and there is a lot more potential there. With another set of tyres on the final performance run you could expect a half second improvement with Alexander's lap times. The test session has been very useful overall. The various departments at the factory gave us a big list of work to carry out and we accomplished the vast majority of that list which is excellent and the boys have worked extremely hard throughout the test. There were a number of rear end changes as we worked on the suspension, so the team have done a fantastic job to turn everything around and so quickly. Reliability has been good and the drivers have worked very well. I feel they have enjoyed themselves and have provided us with clear, useful feedback and data, so all in all a very successful test indeed."


Sam Bird - 2nd "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, team principal "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."

Red Bull

Ian Morgan, head of race engineering "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."


Esteban Gutiérrez - 6th "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."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, head of track engineering"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."

Toro Rosso

Laurent Mekies, chief engineer "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."


Robert Wickens - 13th "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 - 14th "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 "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."


Mirko Bortolotti - 7th "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."

Tom McCullough, race engineer "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."