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Magny-Cours day one - Bianchi fastest at young driver test 11 Sep 2012

Jules Bianchi (FRA) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One Young Drivers Test, Day One, Magny Cours, France, Tuesday, 11 September 2012 Luiz Razia (BRA) Force India F1 VJM05.
Formula One Young Drivers Test, Day One, Magny Cours, France, Tuesday, 11 September 2012 Sam Bird (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W03.
Formula One Young Drivers Test, Day One, Magny Cours, France, Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Jules Bianchi topped the timesheets for Ferrari as this week’s young driver test got underway at Magny-Cours on Tuesday. Bianchi, who is a Force India tester but also a Ferrari Driver Academy member, clocked a best time of 1m 18.070s from his 87 laps in the F2012.

“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” said Bianchi. “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.”

With Williams, HRT and Marussia conducting their 2012 young driver tests at Silverstone in July and others expected to run theirs at Yas Marina in the week following November's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, only two other squads - Force India and Mercedes - joined the Italian team in action at the French track.

Luiz Razia, who is currently second in the GP2 standings, completed 65 laps for Force India and was second quickest at the end of the day’s running. After his spell in the Ferrari, Bianchi will be back driving the VJM05 on Wednesday, whilst Italian GP2 star Davide Rigon will be in action for the Scuderia.

“It’s always valuable to spend time in a Formula One car and today has been really useful," commented Razia. "It’s given me the chance to get to know the team and get comfortable in the car. The biggest challenge was getting used to all the switches on the steering wheel so that was good experience and I learned about all the car’s systems. I also got to experience KERS for the first time.

"There were some issues with the car in the morning so I did most of my laps in the afternoon and the track just got faster and faster as the track rubbered in. We made some improvements to the car during my runs in the afternoon and some balance corrections which worked well. I really enjoyed working with the team and hope I get the chance to build on this in the future.”

The final place on the Tuesday timesheets was occupied by Mercedes tester Sam Bird. The British driver, who is competing in the World Series by Renault this season, covered 95 laps as he evaluated new updates, including a revised exhaust system, on the F1 W03.

"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," said Bird. "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 Three 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."

The young driver test continues on Wednesday.

Unofficial Tuesday test times from Magny-Cours:
1. Jules Bianchi, Ferrari, 1m 18.070, 87 Laps
2. Luiz Razia, Force India, 1m 18.535, 65 Laps
3. Sam Bird, Mercedes, 1m 19.094, 95 Laps

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