Yas Marina day one - Magnussen sets young driver pace 06 Nov 2012
Kevin Magnussen led the times at Yas Marina on Tuesday for McLaren, as this weeks three-day young driver test got underway at the Abu Dhabi circuit. Magnussen, who was seventh in this years Formula Renault 3.5 series, clocked a best time of 1m 42.651s in the MP4-27 to finish just under a tenth of a second ahead of Antonio Felix da Costa in the Red Bull.
With Williams, HRT and Marussia conducting their 2012 young driver tests at Silverstone in July, and Ferrari, Force India and Mercedes running theirs at Magny-Cours in September, only four other squads - Sauber, Lotus, Toro Rosso and Caterham - joined McLaren and Red Bull in action in Abu Dhabi.
Magnussen spent the morning acclimatising to the car, fine-tuning its set up to his personal preference. He handed it over to regular tester Gary Paffett after lunch. Paffett eventually ended the day in third after covering 44 laps as he evaluated a number of aerodynamic and suspension developments for next season and the remaining two races.
Da Costa, who finished third in the 2012 GP3 Series, completed 79 laps in the RB8 as he carried out mechanical work in the morning and aero-mapping during the afternoon. He will continue to test for the team on Thursday.
This was my first time driving an RB8 at a proper test, with proper tyres on a real circuit, and wow! exclaimed the Red Bull Junior driver. I was perhaps a little anxious beforehand, but ultimately the pedals and the steering wheel are in the usual places. Theres a lot to learn, particularly with the buttons on the steering wheel, and it took one or two runs to get completely comfortable with all of that - but I think we had a good day.
Fourth fastest was 21 year-old Robin Frijns in the Sauber. Frijns, who won this years Formula Renault 3.5 Series, covered 78 laps as he carried out tyre and aero evaluations. The Swiss teams reserve driver Esteban Gutiérrez will take over the Sauber for the rest of the test, although Frijns will be back on track for Red Bull on Thursday.
Gosh this was hard work! said the Dutchman. Not in the beginning but then suddenly I felt it, especially from the brakes. I am really tired now and know I have to go and exercise more. In the afternoon I found it hard to understand the tyre compounds. I had only driven on Michelin tyres before, and with the Pirelli medium and soft compounds it was difficult for me after only one lap.
"I had the feeling the more careful I handled them the worse it became. There is obviously a lot to learn. On my fastest lap with the soft tyres I made a mistake, so there was more to come. The team did a great job during the day and I want to thank them for that.
Nicolas Prost, son of four-time world champion Alain, was fifth for Lotus. Prost completed a full engineering and aerodynamic programme over his 52 laps in the race-winning E20.
Today was my first real experience of a Formula One car, he explained. I had driven the R30 before, however its now two years old and uses different tyres so its quite different to my experience today. Im obviously very happy and Im impressed by the car; its a massive step up even from the R30.
For me it was like a real test drivers day and we trialled a lot of parts. We only worked on the hard tyres, so were obviously not looking for pace, but we have been analysing the data and I have been comparing myself with Kimi (Raikkonen) and Romains (Grosjean) telemetry. Obviously Im missing a bit in some corners, but others are quite good. For my first day I think its very positive and I did the job the team asked of me, so its been a very good day.
Sixth quickest was 2012 GP2 runner-up Luiz Razia for Toro Rosso. Although Razia has plenty of previous Formula One experience after running for Virgin, Team Lotus and Force India at young driver tests in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively, this was his first day working with Toro Rosso.
He will hand over the STR7 to Johnny Cecotto Junior on Wednesday, before returning to the cockpit for the final day.
In the morning, the team had various test items it wanted to work through and in the afternoon, we looked a bit more at establishing a base line on the car, explained the 23 year-old Brazilian. Overall, it was a good day as the car ran trouble free and I was able to do a lot of laps.
The final place on the timesheets was occupied by Caterham reserve Giedo van der Garde. Im pleased with how today went, said the 27 year-old Dutchman. We were mainly working on aero performance, running sensors and different mechanical configurations on the car in the morning and afternoon sessions and to get the most out of them I had to drive consistently, carefully and not go for outright speed.
I think the teams happy with what Ive done today and physically I feel great after running a good number of laps. Theres still a few tweaks we could make to the setup to suit my driving style a bit more but we have tomorrow to work on a few more setup options, as well as continuing to test parts and aero programmes.
The young driver test continues on Wednesday.
Unofficial Tuesday test times from Yas Marina:
1. Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, 1m 42.661s, 40 Laps
2. Antonio Felix da Costa, Red Bull, 1m 42.717s, 79 Laps
3. Gary Paffett, McLaren, 1m 43.407s, 44 Laps
4. Robin Frijns, Sauber, 1m 43.775s, 78 Laps
5. Nicolas Prost, Lotus, 1m 44.194s, 52 Laps
6. Luiz Razia, Toro Rosso, 1m 44.691s, 67 Laps
7. Giedo van der Garde, Caterham, 1m 45.936s, 57 Laps
For tickets and travel to 2012 FORMULA 1 races, click here.
For FORMULA 1 and F1 team merchandise, click here.