• Young Driver Test, Day 1

Bianchi tops first day at Magny-Cours

ESPN Staff
September 11, 2012
Jules Bianchi will switch to the Force India for Wednesday's running © Sutton Images
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Jules Bianchi set the fastest time on the first day of the Young Driver Test at Magny-Cours.

Bianchi - driving for Ferrari on the opening day ahead of a switch to Force India tomorrow - completed 87 laps in the F2012 and set a best time of 1:18.070 before an electrical problem brought his day to a slightly early end. Nevertheless, Bianchi said it had been a productive day for Ferrari.

"Today we tried various aerodynamic components which are not big evolutions for the car, but things already tried on Fridays at the races and brought here to confirm some of the data," Bianchi said. "It's the first time I've driven this year's car and it was good opportunity for me to get some experience of it. I immediately felt comfortable, with a good pace, but right near the end of the session when I wanted to go for a time, we had a small electrical problem. Apart from that, it was a completely positive day: I really like driving this track and it's characteristics are particularly well suited to testing."

Second quickest was Luiz Razia, making his debut for Force India, as he racked up a total of 64 laps on his one and only day of running. His best time was a 1:18.535.

Sam Bird was third quickest for Mercedes, but the team will have been focusing more on the data gathered in the 95 laps he completed rather than a fastest time of 1:19.094. Mercedes was running a McLaren-style exhaust system as it looks to ramp up development on the W03 having neglected it recently to focus on tyre analysis, and Bird said everything had gone to plan in terms of carrying out the schedule.

"We've had a very productive first day of the test today and were able to complete everything that we had planned on our programme," Bird said. "It felt great to be back in the car again and I enjoyed every minute of it. I've driven at Magny Cours previously in a Formula 3 car and it was good to experience it today in a Formula One car.

"The layout here is nice and smooth whilst also being quite challenging. We've collected a lot of data today which will take some time to sift through this evening and I'm looking forward to another good day tomorrow."

While Bird will continue work for Mercedes on Wednesday, Bianchi will switch to Force India and Davide Rigon will take over the Ferrari.

Unofficial times

Driver Car Time Laps
1. Jules Bianchi Ferrari F2012 1:18.070 87
2. Luiz Razia Force India VJM05 1:18.535 64
3. Sam Bird Mercedes W03 1:19.094 95