Yas Marina day two - Vergne still top for Red Bull 16 Nov 2011
Jean-Eric Vergne continued to dominate the timesheets for Red Bull as this weeks young driver test continued at Yas Marina on Wednesday. Vergnes lap of 1m 40.188s in the RB7 was fractionally slower that his Tuesday best, but was still enough to put him a tenth clear of fellow Frenchman Jules Bianchi for Ferrari.
His top time did not come without problems, however, as Red Bulls head of race engineering, Ian Morgan, explained: 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.
At Ferrari Bianchi worked on new components linked to engine management and an evaluation of the experimental tyres brought to Abu Dhabi by Pirelli. It was another good day of testing, he said after successfully completing the teams programme. Its valuable work for the team, because we have accumulated a lot of data which will be important for the development of the 2012 car.
McLaren reported another positive day, despite an early halt due to fuel-pressure issues, with official tester Gary Paffett third fastest as he focused on providing feedback, analysis and evaluation for Pirelli as they continue to refine their 2012 tyre programme. The day was spent running different casings and compounds, with some positive results, as well as putting mileage on several development parts intended for next years MP4-27A chassis.
Williams reserve Valtteri Bottas was again at work for the British team, who carried out a busy tyre programme for Pirelli as the Finn went fourth fastest, despite a small electrical issue in the middle of the day which lost him a little track time.
Working with the engineers trackside, Valtteri has done a very professional job for us again, driving consistently all day, commented Tom McCullough, Williams race engineer. He got the most out of the car we gave him and gave us some really useful feedback on the Pirelli tyres. Its been a solid job by him the last two days.
Johnny Cecotto Jr was an impressive fifth as he got behind the wheel of Force Indias VJM04 for his first experience of a Formula One car. The 22-year-old Venezuelan acquitted himself well as he familiarised himself with the car before carrying out a tyre programme in the afternoon. Max Chilton will be back in the car for Thursdays final day of testing.
Today saw a continuation of the programme that we started yesterday with Max, explained Oliver Knighton, race support and strategy engineer. We began with some familiarisation runs for Johnny to get him comfortable in the car and he quickly got a good grasp of the control systems on the car, and was switching modes without being prompted. The technical programme focussed on more data collection for the 2012 Pirelli tyres and we also did some aero sweeps in the afternoon. Overall it was a good days work: Johnny has settled in well with the team and gave excellent feedback.
Sauber reserve Esteban Gutierrez got his fourth F1 outing with the Swiss team, taking over from Tuesday runner Fabio Leimer. The 20-year-old Mexican was sixth fastest as he got to grips with DRS and KERS in the C30 for the first time.
Today the focus was on tyre testing, explained Saubers head of track engineering, Giampaolo DallAra. Esteban compared and evaluated the 2011 version of Pirellis soft compound tyre with a new soft tyre which has been made for 2012. It is also different in design. We have covered a very good mileage today, despite the fact we had to stop for 20 minutes early in the afternoon due to a loss of hydraulic pressure.
Sam Bird continued his work at the wheel of Mercedes MGP W02, as the team focused on 2012 Pirelli tyre evaluations throughout the day with short runs in the morning and longer runs in the afternoon. Bird finished seventh fastest.
Estonias Kevin Korjus made his F1 debut with Renault. The 18-year-old was eighth in the times as he carried out set-up work, new tyre runs, long runs in the afternoon, and aero mapping. He admitted there was an awful lot to take in.
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, he said. 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. Its 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 Im very thankful for the opportunity Lotus Renault GP has given me today.
Lotus third driver Luiz Razia was back behind the wheel of the T128. The Brazilian, ninth fastest, explained his programme: 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 couldnt complete the best lap possible. The car balance felt good and I improved on my times so Im quite happy. What I wanted to achieve was to do as many laps as possible so I was happy with 89 laps in total.
For their second day, Toro Rosso had Italys Kevin Ceccon in the cockpit, running a programme similar to that completed by Stefano Coletti on Tuesday as he went 10th fastest in the STR6.
In the morning, we resumed our evaluation of various aero components and in the afternoon the work centred on tyre testing, reported Laurent Mekies, Toro Rossos chief engineer. However, while yesterday, Colettis programme was based on a series of short runs, today, Ceccon was able to get a taste of what driving a Grand Prix might be like, as he did a race simulation in what was the hottest part of the day!
Even though we asked a lot of him with a complex programme, he delivered a faultless performance. From a team point of view, it was another positive day, as we ran trouble free throughout and our programme is therefore going to plan. Tomorrow, we hope to bring it to a successful conclusion, running Coletti in the morning and Ceccon in the afternoon.
Czech driver Jan Charouz stepped into the car at HRT and went 11th quickest after 56 laps, despite losing some track time due to an unscheduled engine change. He concentrated on acclimatizing to the F111 and its tyres, before handing over to Nathanael Berthon, who completed a brief run to get himself comfortable in the car ahead of a full session on Thursday. Charouz will also be in action again on Thursday, this time for Renault.
At Virgin, Frenchman Charles Pic was 12th fastest after a troubled second day in the car. His start was delayed by the late arrival of parts from the factory and an unscheduled engine change cost him more time. As a result, Virgin have decided to give Pic a further stint in the MVR-02 on Thursday morning, with team tester Robert Wickens taking over in the afternoon.
This morning I was still getting used to the car and working to optimise my driving, said Pic. 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.
Testing concludes at Yas Marina on Thursday.
Unofficial Wednesday times from Yas Marina
1. Jean-Eric Vergne, Red Bull, 1:40.188, 43 laps
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 Jr, 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, Renault, 1:43.776, 70
9. Luiz Razia, 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, Virgin, 1:46.698, 61
13. Nathanael Berthon, HRT, 1:48.646, 9
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