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Perez samples Ferrari as several teams take to test track 16 Sep 2011

Sergio Perez, Ferrari Driver Academy, Fiorano, September 2011 Sergio Perez, Ferrari Driver Academy, Fiorano, September 2011 Sergio Perez, Ferrari Driver Academy, Fiorano, September 2011 Sergio Perez, Ferrari Driver Academy, Fiorano, September 2011 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus Renault GP Test Driver.
Formula One Testing, Day 1, Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, 8 March 2011 Max Chilton (GBR) Carlin. GP2 Series, Rd 1, Practice and Qualifying, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Friday 6 May 2011.

Sauber's Sergio Perez, who is also a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA), has tested the Italian team’s 2009 car for the first time. Perez was in action alongside fellow FDA recruit Jules Bianchi on Thursday at Fiorano, Italy.

After a two-day stint on the simulator, the Mexican climbed behind the wheel of the F60 to complete 46 laps. His best time was 1m 00.650s.

“Sergio impressed, despite this being his first time at the wheel of a Ferrari,” said academy head Luca Baldisserri to Ferrari’s official website. “He proved to be aggressive and quick right from the start and was able to adapt to the car in a very short space of time. He is very mature for his age, displaying an understanding that goes beyond the time he has spent driving single-seaters.”

Perez is currently in his debut Formula One season with Sauber. He has scored eight world championship points in his Ferrari-engined C30, but missed the Monaco and Canadian rounds after a heavy accident during qualifying in Monte Carlo. His seventh-place finish at July’s British event is his best result to date.

Asked about the possibility of driving for the Maranello team in the future, Perez was philosophical. “I think there is room for me to do well where I am and that’s my current target,” he said. “It’s impossible to say how things will go and my dream is to become world champion and it would be nice if it could happen with a team like this one.

“I have got a lot out of this time with the Ferrari Driver Academy. The work on the simulator, the meetings with the engineers are all things that will help me over the rest of the season and in general in the future.”

Perez hasn’t been the only driver in action this week. Newly-crowned GP2 champion and Renault third driver Romain Grosjean was at the wheel for the team in the 2009-spec R29 on Tuesday and Wednesday in Valencia, Spain.

"It is always fantastic to get back in an F1 car,” said the Frenchman. “The aim of the drive was to get me used to drive an F1 car again. We did some qualifying running in the morning and some long running in the afternoon. We also did some pit-stop practices. It was very good for the fitness; I enjoyed the car from the moment I jumped in and I enjoyed working with the engineers.”

Force India also spent some time straight-line testing with GP2 racer Max Chilton evaluating the team’s latest aero package ahead of next week’s Singapore race at the UK's Kemble airfield on Thursday.

“Today’s programme at Kemble was our fourth full-size aerodynamic test of the season,” said Oliver Knighton, Force India’s race support engineer. “We use these days to collect data that helps us understand if the car is performing as the wind tunnel says it should. We were able to record the important aero data, which we will analyse over the next few days.

“I’d like to say a special ‘thank you’ to Max, who enjoyed his first taste of a Formula One car today. He prepared himself very well and adapted quickly to the procedures and systems on the car, all of which allowed us to make good progress with the programme.”

All the teams will be back in action next week for the Singapore race.

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