Perez and Bianchi to go head to head in Ferrari test

2011 F1 season

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Sergio Perez, Sauber, Valencia, 2011

Sergio Perez will drive Ferrari’s 2009 F1 car in a test in September.

Perez will best tested alongside fellow Ferrari Development Academy member Jules Bianchi, the team confirmed.

Bianchi is driving his second season in GP2. He scored his first win in the category last weekend, and is now seventh in the drivers’ championship.

He has previously driven for Ferrari in the young drivers’ tests.

FDA director Luca Baldisseri said: “We will be back on track in September, at Mugello or Fiorano.

“It will be a very interesting test, because we will be putting Jules Bianchi and Sergio Perez up against one another.

“I think they will both be very motivated and for us it will be the perfect opportunity to assess both drivers.”

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Image © Sauber F1 Team

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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104 comments on “Perez and Bianchi to go head to head in Ferrari test”

  1. Sweepstake anyone? :)

    1. Sweeping out Massa, more like?

  2. Although Perez, who I’m a massive fan of, will have the upper hand because of the added experience driving an F1 car – I would hate for people to dismiss Bianchi if he was outpaced by Perez in this test. It’s a good way to assess the drivers, but unfair as a means of comparing eachother in my opinion.

    1. I think Bianchi has already done much harm to his reputation with his poor form in GP2.

      1. Yea, I knew he was without a race win until this article pointed out he just got one.

        Gotta say it sounds like Perez has the upper hand here but it would be unfair to dismiss Bianchi due to his lack of F1 experience.

        1. I very much imagine Ferrari will take Bianchi’s in experience compared to Perez’s into account.

          1. streetfightingman
            13th July 2011, 15:27

            For sure. And pure pace from one test isn’t everything they look at. There are so many aspects

          2. Do you mean Perez’s bank account, considering that he is being backed by the richest man in the world.

          3. I think Ferrari is one team that can afford to take talent over a paycheck, if that is indeed the case.

          4. I wasn’t talking about Ferrari in particular, obviously they’ll take all that into account. Really, I meant the media/fans if Bianchi gets thrashed pace-wise in the test. You know what people are like…

        2. Bianchi won the feature race at Silverstone on Saturday. Indeed, his first win

        3. Bianchi’s problem isn’t his pace in my opinion it’s that he’s got an addiction to getting himself into trouble. He’s had three retirements so far this year.

          He was 2nd in GP2 Asia overall and 3rd in last year’s GP2 series despite suffering a back injury so if he can stop being a bit of a clown then he’d do a lot better.

          1. Probably no more clown-like behaviour than we’re getting from Di Resta and Kobayashi in the past.

      2. Kobayashi had poor results in GP2 too, but surprised in the higher series, unlike Grosjean, Piquet Jr, Maldonado who were doing great in GP2 but really s..ked when they moved to F1.

        1. Be fair, Maldonado’s not doing too badly this year considering the car he’s been given. He has outpaced Barrichello at some circuits this year. Remember his performance at Monaco?

          1. The Last Pope
            13th July 2011, 16:39

            Maldonado qualifies well, but in every race he just goes backwards. He has been terrible. spins and crashes, and every time someone overtakes him he tries to slam the door. Awfull driver. Even Monaco was no exeption, He found himself in a good position dispite his mistakes and then threw it all away by not knowing when to conceed to an overtake. He’s lucky that Frank needs his money because he’d be done otherwise.

          2. bigredbears10
            13th July 2011, 19:03

            I seem to remember a certain other rookie williams driver last year that qualified well… sometimes that just doesn’t cut it.

          3. TheScuderia (@)
            13th July 2011, 19:39

            @The Last Pope

            I don’t rate Maldonado very highlt. But are you seriously suggesting that the accident at Monaco was Maldonado’s fault? Hamilton received a penalty for that collision for reason. Maldonado has made some mistakes this season but that wasn’t one of them.

        2. Grosjean was dismissed too quickly, as he is currently proving. If you do a handful of races for a team where not only is Alonso your team mate, but he also gets all the focus, all the parts etc. then you’re going to look bad.

          What I like about Grosjean is how he’s gone about proving people wrong by dominating many races across several series since F1, showing he didn’t get there by fluke and was unlucky to be dropped so quickly. If you want any evidence, look to who the current GP2 leader is…

          1. Grosjean couldn’t get his head around f1 he locked every break at every corner at every weekend. He’s doing well in gp 2 now because gp 2 compared to f1 is effectively easy mode in terms of lower cornering speeds gforce duration of races and the length of time needed to concentrate.

            There’s no evidence that he would be any better if he came back to f1, yes having alonso as a team m8 doesn’t help but im pretty sure the car he raced would have at least been capable of finishing a race. Something he failed to do almost every time in f1. Worst thing about his time in f1 for me was that, every time he crashed out or retired and you saw him walking about when the race was still on. He had a look of sheer relief on his face, most drivers would be so angry!!! he just looked happy he was out of the car. I don’t believe he really belongs in f1.

            I’ll say as well the renault of 2009 was better by comparison than the williams of this year. For a start alonso got a podium and a handfull of 5th place finishes and in the same races as alonso was getting points grosjean was getting 15ths n 18ths.

          2. TheBrav3 – one piece of evidence, that Grosjean did as well as he could have is what Alonso said about him.

            He claimed, that the car was just that far off the pace and hard to drive it was a wonder Grosjean did as well without testing and mid season.

    2. UKfanatic (@)
      14th July 2011, 4:23

      I bianchi comes close to perez im surprised if that happens bianchi will surely have a seat next year with a low budget team, if he beats perez who knows?

  3. Smash cut to claims this is proof that Ferrari will replace Felipe Massa for 2012 in three … two … one …

    1. No, no, no. Ferrari love Felipe and there’s no way they’ll replace him.

      That’s why they like to pat him on the back, tell him he’s not fast enough, and ask him if he wants to watch from the pitwall while they try out replacement drivers, or ask him who would look best wearing his overalls.

      I believe Gunnery Sargent Hartmann had a monologue directed at Joker which showed an equal amount of admiration, and invited Joker over to his house, which might be appropriate at this juncture.

    2. I think they are considering such an option and one of these two drivers will replace Massa one day. But the big question is when: in 2012 or 2013? I’m bored Alonso having it for his own and young driver would spice things up. Actually, it could be like in 2007 for Alonso. Besides, have anyone heard a rumour, that Helmut Marko wants Kimo Raikkonen alongside Vettel in 2012?

      1. Theres a new rumour about kimi raikkonen at least twice a week! All of them are complete BS!

        1. No, no, no, this one is about his younger brother Kimo.

          1. Really? Is he good?

          2. LOL big time, read “Osvaldas31” comment about KIMO RAIKKONEN. :)

          3. He’s just like kimi but he wares one of these.


      2. Yeah, Piquet Jr. and Grosjean really spiced things up… I still remember there were some deluded people on this site who claimed Massa will beat Alonso.
        Only Hamilton is a match for Alonso.

        1. What about Vettel or Rosberg?

          At this stage, there isn’t a basis for comparison.

          Replace Alonso? 2016? What devil foresight is this? (waves arms wildly)

          1. Vettel’s a time-trialer ;)

        2. In 2007 I think a fresh faced Hamilton was. But this season? Not so sure. Anyway, this is delicate ground now so I’ll step away…

          I agree that I don’t think there’ll be anyone super highly regarded put up against Alonso. He’s been there, done it, and what happened to him and Mclaren in 2007 is clear to see for everyone to learn from. People have said how Kubica would be a great match, but I’m not so sure.

    3. No, no Massa’s seat is very safe at Ferrari. You don’t find such well trained No 2 drivers so easily in F1 nowadays (just ask RedBull). They are actually looking for a new star who will replace Alonso after 2016.

      1. Exactly! Just like they replaced Schumacher! Checo will be the 2017 World Champion for sure.

    4. Perez and Bianchi have completed their test for Ferrari today, but the list of potential Ferrari drivers is infinte and not necessarily one of the two will substitute Massa.
      Kubica has always been a favourite of Italian fans who wish to see he im red. Sadly, with his injury, Ferrari won’t want to risk and will wait a season or two before considering him.
      Rosberg has often been rumoured because he deserves a better car. We thought with Mercedes he’d show his potential, but Mercedes hasn’t challenged for victories, so the rumours go on.
      Webber was linked to Massa’s seat for a brief period, but he extended his contract with Red Bull to the end of 2012, and by that time it will be unlikley that Ferrari will sign him.
      Button has been rumoured as well, as a dream of his to drive for Ferrari, but as he is doing very well at McLaren it most likely won’t happen, aslo because Whitmarsh is looking to make him sign a life-long contract with the team.
      Sutil was briefly rumoured, somehow strangely given his performances which have failed to impress. Apparently, now that he is against di Resta, people have seen him more realistically.
      Perez is the oldest of the Ferrari river Academy members and the only one already in F1. He has a season’s experience and should be the first considered by Ferrari if they need a contract and he hasn’t failed to live up to expectations.
      Bianchi is the second-oldest member of the FDA, and having a two-year experience in GP2 he should graduate. having only one win in the Main Series, and finishing 3rd in both championships, though, may be an obstacle between him and F1, let alone Ferrari.

      Yet, what is the objective of a Ferrari Driver Academy if the drivers chosen will not get a chance to drive for the Scuderia? If they don’t impress, fine, but if they perform well, why should Ferrari get a driver from another team unless he is clearly better? But if there are better drivers, why put Perez and Bianchi under contract?

  4. Perez will be fast. Bianchi will probably find his usual form and crash on his first lap.

    1. So long as he doesn’t do it on the warm up lap like petrov or di grassi last year can’t remember which of them it was, maybe it was both lol. Or ricciardo in his last g2 race lol.

      1. It was both.

  5. Webber.

    Just a thought, but I wonder what RedBull threatened Webber with to stop him having a go at Vettel. Instant mid season dismisall? ALG will replace him and MW go to Ferrari.

    1. no chance, why replace a hasbeen with another hasbeen?

      1. Because they don’t want two #1 drivers.

        The bigger risk is would Webber play #2 there?

        1. MW will not go to Ferrari, too quick and abrasive to work with Alonso, if he won’t take team orders from RB he certainly won’t take them at Ferrari, Webber will go to Renault if Kubica cannot recover 100%, Renault’s current drivers are underperforming in what is essentially a good baseline package, neither of them have the ability to drive the development required, Webber could lead that team and he has the experience of the Renault engine at RB..

          1. perhaps......
            14th July 2011, 0:21

            Good thinking, however Webber is managed by Flavio and I think that connection could hamper Renault negotiations.

    2. Webber goes to Ferrari??! I’m struggling to see anything in the rules that allows 3 cars in a team… Alonso and Massa are a great pairing, and Toro Rosso will prefer to have their two drivers in their team aswell, they are seperate teams, not Red Bull A and Red Bull B…

      1. That’s why Vettel graduated from Toro Rosso to Red Bull, because they’re seperate teams and in no way linked by the massive Red Bull ‘sponsorship’ on the side.

        Even if it is run fairly independantly- which is good- it is still a B-team and the same owners will certainly have ultimate say over who drives for the team.

  6. I wonder why they take the F60. It´s a horribl car to put a driver in. Of course, they have no choice because of the rules and there is no older car running under current rules, but the car has had such a bad handling…

    Anyway, I´m looking forward to this, I´m really excited to see what Perez will be able to do.

    1. *horrible

      missed an ‘e’…

    2. I was thinking that regarding the quality of the F60. However, that might not be a bad thing, to see who can tame it the most. Drivers need to adapt to new cars quickly and as far as these guys are concerned it is a new car. I guess the biggest noticable difference will be the double diffuser?

    3. Off course it does have KERS so they can see how Bianchi copes with that. And its the most recent F1 car they can use.

    4. No matter how “bad” the F60 is it will still be much, much better than anything either of these guys will have driven before.

      1. I dissagree, the sauber has good handling, KERS and the current ferrari engine. Comparing for example malaysia 2011 with 200 results

        kobayashi = p7
        massa = p9

        I could go on

        1. I believe they’re not allowed to use cars from this or last year. So it’s between the slick tyred, KERS enabled F60, or the grooved tyre, KERS-less F2007/2008.

          1. right and F2007/F2008 will not be the right reference

        2. Haha You’re right mate, I’d totally forgotten that Perez was already driving for Sauber in F1 and was thinking he was still in GP2 :-)

    5. It’s the most similar car to the current regulations that they can use.

  7. So does this mean Ferrari wants to evaluate Perez, or do they want to see if Bianchi is up to F1 speeds, as they feel confident Perez is the real deal already?

    How long before we see the silly season starting to bring another wave of “Massa exit for 2012” articles, after Webber will be confirmed at Red Bull.

    1. If Kobayashi stays at Sauber, there is no room for Bianchi.
      If Kobayashi moves, Perez and Bianchi will be at Sauber.
      If Perez moves, Kobayashi and Bianchi will be at Sauber.
      But where could the move?

      1. If Button goes to Ferrari, Kamui I reckon should take his place at McLaren. If that leaves Massa out, he could go to Renault alongside Petrov which would kick Heidfeld out if Kubica doesn’t return but Nick could go to Mercedes instead of Schumacher who I think will retire. In the case of Sauber, Perez and Bianchi would be in those seats.

  8. I can’t absolutely see the point in testing a driver who is actively driving in a full F1 season already.

    If Ferrari is serious in evaluating Perez for a seat, sooner or later, every day in a GP weekend would tell them much much more than this test.

    1. Both usually drive different cars. Now there will be chance to put them it some other car. both haven’t raced – it will show the skill factor.

    2. Don’t think it will, mainly because of the massively extended experience Perez has got in F1 cars.

      This test won’t work as a direct comparison beetween the two drivers in raw speed, and it won’t work better than a race weekend in evaluating Perez for a 2012/3 seat.

      Only thing i can seriously think about is a real comparison with Perez previous tests. Show how much and where he has improved.

      1. They also get to compare him to whatever data they have regarding everyone else who drove the f60. Kimi was a very good driver, despite his faults, and comparing lap times to whatever he did will perhaps be more useful to Ferrari. This is maybe more relevant regarding where Perez stands, as comparing him to Kobayashi from outside the Sauber team on race weekends is not so useful if you aren’t sure where Kobayashi rates.

  9. I don’t really think this means much, if anything, in terms of Massa’s seat for next year. I think this is merely a case of Ferrari doing a routine test between two of their development drivers and using it as an opportunity to see what Bianchi needs to get into F1 by comparing him to Perez, who’s had some race experience, rather than as a shootout for Massa’s drive.

    It wouldn’t really make sense to give Massa the boot so soon and replace him with someone with so little experience (Webber won’t go there, it’s a sideways step for all parties involved). Perez is promising but he could do with another year at Sauber. If he continues to improve then a seat at Ferrari in 2013 would be well deserved, but rushing a relative rookie in for 2012 would be a huge risk (not everyone can be a Hamilton).

    1. It wouldn’t really make sense to give Massa the boot so soon

      So soon? How many more seasons are they going to persist with Massa then? Unfortunately since his crash he has had one and a half seasons of pretty much poor performances.

      Yes Alonso is top tog but it doesn’t do Ferrari any favours if the other driver isn’t picking up many points either – just look at this year’s standings for confirmation of that.

      1. So soon? How many more seasons are they going to persist with Massa then? Unfortunately since his crash he has had one and a half seasons of pretty much poor performances.

        Sid Watkins said it’ll take around two years for him to fully recover and that he came back too soon. I’ve never used his injuury as an excuse for his performances though but I’m just saying it’s not been that long. In 2010 he needed time to get back up to speed and in 2011 I think he’s been much improved. He outraced Alonso in Malaysia and China (where he was in contention for a podium), had a sloppy Europe return but was close to getting pole at Canada and a podium and forn a couple of races now his strategy has been compromised by having to wait for Alonso to pit first. He may be being hammered in the qualifying head to head but on a couple of occassions he’s been right on Alonso’s pace.

        Massa isn’t in Alonso’s league but he’s a good driver who has steadily imrpoved on his 2010 form and who else is there? Kubica’s out and injured, Perez is a rookie whose pace is questionable, Bianchi is nowhere near ready and Fernando probably wants Massa to stay next door too.

    2. I absolutely agree Dan about Massa’s seat. I can’t make my mind up about Perez though as he’s a rookie and his yard stick is Kobayashi and I don’t feel like I know his pace.

  10. It’s weird that they will be comparing two drivers like this. It’s like comparing a football player from the English Premiership to one from the Thailand Premiership, there going to be gulfs apart because of the quality they have been playing in. Just look at Perez, doing a very good job in F1, Bianchi doing a rubbish in F2, not the same.

    1. Hang on, Bianchi has driven the F60 before hasn’t he? I don’t think Perez has.

      I believe Senna got into his first test at Williams (back in the 80s) and was quicker than the current drivers after a few laps. I’m not saying Bianchi needs to be the new Senna but anyone deserving of a Ferrari drive should be naturally on the pace towards the end of the test at least in my opinion, otherwise Ferrari have the wrong man.

      1. When Villeneuve tested for Ferrari he didn’t set very competitive times if I remember rightly.

        1. villeneuve was average at everything except high speed left turns

          1. i think steph was talking about his daddy :)

    2. Both Perez and Bianchi were in GP2 last season. Perez ended 12th in his first GP2 season, and in his second was 2nd. Bianchi started one year later and was 3rd in his first season and is currently driving his second season, where he is 7th but the season is only half-way through.

      1. Good point. I dont think Nianchi is to be underestimated, and I’m sure that Ferrari will factor in that Perez has been racing in F1 and Bianchi hasn’t

        1. *Bianchi

  11. Hopefully this means Massa wont hold Ferrari back next year.

    1. Yep. Massa reminds of a slacker at work who completely slows down the entire team effort just because he isn’t quick or motivated enough.

  12. I wonder if this is just an excuse for testing components for the 2012 car. It’s been a habit of Ferrari not to have the best car out of the box for the last 3 years…

    1. Might that be the reason that their using their horrible 2009 car?

      I don’t understand why they would put two (semi) rookies to the test in a car that Fisichella and Badoer, how good or bad they may be, could not get off the back row of the grid after more than a decade’s worth of (testing) experience…

      The ’08 car might even be better.

      1. The ’09 car was the first under the new rules, thus much closer to the rules we have today. The cars of ’08 were terribly different, starting with the wing dimensions and aerodynamic appendages around the car.

        And I don’t think they could put any of their current test drivers in the car without raising questions from the other teams.

        Or they could be using this opportunity to put some pressure on Massa and see if he responds on track. Or both…

      2. BTW, Fisichella, as disappointing as he was, was buried in the lower midfield rather than the back row (And last in races) like Badoer.

  13. If Kimi did come back, and that’s a bloody huge if, RB could well be the team who’d agree to his PR demands (ie not very much, and free ice cream)

    1. Forget about Kimi, he’s gone… As much as I like this guy I wouldn’t want him to return and do a Schumacher.

  14. BaronVonAwesome
    13th July 2011, 14:44

    I think this is just fairly routine Ferrari academy stuff. Certainly for 2012/2013 I can’t see it being anyone other than Massa or maybe a fit Kubica taking that drive.

  15. “It will be a very interesting test, because we will be putting Jules Bianchi and Sergio Perez up against one another.

    It will be interesting indeed, can’t wait.

  16. Why Perez??
    Surely Kobayashi deserves a go in a Ferrari. He’s quick and and has driven some brilliant races this year. And nearly got on the podium in Monaco and Montreal. I say give Kamui a test.

    1. Pérez is in the Ferrari Driver Academy, Kobayashi isn’t. It may well be that simple.

  17. They only had to say, Alg +2.00 on his board.

  18. If any of these drivers want to win the world title why would they drive for Ferrari? We already know Alonso is there till 2016 and is No1 driver, that won’t change unless Ferrari want Alonso throwing his toys out of the pram as he did at McLaren.

    The No2 seat is only good for someone learning their craft, not for someone who wants to be World Champion, Perez should steer clear for the next few years at least.

    1. Massa’s under contract so Perez is unlikely to get the seat for at leats a year anyway even if he is in the running. Ferrari have a policy of letting their drivers race and if one establishes a big elad then they back that driver so unless Perez isn’t quick enough he’d be daft to turn Ferrari down I feel.

      1. ‘Ferrari have a policy of letting their drivers race and if one establishes a big elad then they back that driver’.
        Steph which planet have you been living on for the last 15+ years.

  19. Since Ferrari just last week officially took Marlboro out of its name, I would guess that the sponsor money would be diminished. Could it be that Ferrari see Carlos Slim as a new benefactor. I don’t know what he’s paying Sauber for Perez’s seat, but you could only figure that it would cost him a lot more to get Perez a drive at Ferrari.

    1. It’s around 10M usd for Sauber…

      1. May be the money factor is coming in.

  20. Knowing Ferrari and their disregard for rules, I am sure they are going to test new parts on the car. Surely they can’t use the 2010 car as that was based on the double diffuser and had no KERS. Thus, the 2009 care is closer to the 2011 regulations. Plus, they get to evaluate potential replacements for Massa and find out how much Bianchi is falling behind other rookies as he is not getting any F1 experience

    You gotta hand it to Ferrari though. No other team can think of such out-of-the-box solutions and kill two birds with one stone. Agreed that they are flirting with the rules, but they aren’t breaking them. That is what makes Ferrari so different than other teams.

    1. Knowing Ferrari and their disregard for rules, I am sure they are going to test new parts on the car. Surely they can’t use the 2010 car as that was based on the double diffuser and had no KERS. Thus, the 2009 care is closer to the 2011 regulations.

      Nevertheless, the F60 and the F150-degrees Italia are two very different cars. You cannot simply stick new parts onto one car and expect the same results as on another car.

  21. Good luck perez

  22. I thought Kobayashi will be the man for Ferrari now seems like they are eyeing for Perez? He is good & talented just like Kobayashi & won’t be a bad sweep for Massa in 2012 or 2013.

    1. If he shows consistently strong qualifying pace(which is his weak point I think) and no trouble in race. Aggressive driving style is good and I like it but no need to break front wing.

  23. i don’t think perez is a really good driver. every time he scores is because he makes 1-2 pits stops less than everybody else. i would like to see him doing the same # of pits stops as the other drivers.

  24. I have a slight feeling that Kamui may want to move up with a leading team next year. I mean Kamui is one hell of a driver and with the right car, I think we may see the first Japanese race winner so I think Sauber will need to step up their game to keep Kamui. If they can’t, I would love to see Jules and Sergio in at Sauber next year.

  25. dirtyharry1990
    14th July 2011, 17:48

    looks like perez will take the same path as massa to ferrari from sauber

  26. What about kamui ferrari come on

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