Jean-Eric Vergne leads first day of young drivers test

2011 F1 testing

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Jean-Eric Vergne was quickest for Red Bull in the first day of the young drivers’ test in Abu Dhabi.

Here are the fastest times from the test:

Jean-Eric VergneRed Bull1’40.01183
Jules BianchiFerrari1’40.9600.94985
Robert WickensRenault1’42.2172.20678
Fabio LeimerSauber1’42.3312.2367
Gary PaffettMcLaren1’42.9122.90141
Max ChiltonForce India1’43.0163.00581
Valtteri BottasWilliams1’43.1183.10771
Oliver TurveyMcLaren1’43.5023.49135
Sam BirdMercedes1’43.5483.53753
Rodolfo GonzalezLotus1’44.0224.01187
Stefano ColettiToro Rosso1’45.2785.26787
Dani ClosHRT1’45.3295.31868
Charles PicVirgin1’46.9306.91930
Adrian Quaife-HobbesVirgin1’47.2927.28132

2011 F1 testing

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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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    39 comments on “Jean-Eric Vergne leads first day of young drivers test”

    1. Hard to read. At first glance, you see à Renault and à Sauber reasonably high up. But then you realise that all teams test different things.
      So, I hope we’ll get more info from tha teams. Although there’s always politics involved, we still should be able to know who did really impress his team.

    2. It’s a bit hard to judge based on these results since they’re in wildly different cars, but I find it very odd that Virgin would sign Pic over Wickens, since Wickens has backing from Marussia. Looking at his results, I don’t think there is much that Wickens will learn from another year in the junior leagues. And of all the drivers running at the Young Driver Tests, I think Wickens is perhaps the most-ready for Formula 1. On the other hand, Pic had a mid-season collapse in GP2 and then blew it right at the death. Pic has money, but it comes from a company connected to Renault, and Virgin run Cosworth (because I believe Marussia road cars use Cosworths). On paper, all of the evidence suggests that Robert Wickens is the best person for the team: he has money from one of their backers, he has much stronger results, and he has an existing relationship with the team. Or is there just some larger part to this puzzle that I’m missing? Like another team (say, Renault) buying Wickens from Marussia, or a disintfatuated Timo Glock looking for greener pastures?

      1. Timo Glock looking for greener pastures?

        Lotus/Caterham-Renault green :P

        1. Well, I’ve since looked it up – Glock re-signed with Virgin for three years back at the British Grand Prix. But it still makes choosing Pic over Wickens a bizarre choice.

          1. Guess its money talking then. Or they just think Wickens does need another year before he is ready. Or, a crazy thought, Virgin/Marussia wants to give themselves a year to make a halfway competative car to put Wickens in first!

            1. You know, that last point didn’t even occur to me.

              In my defence, it’s 1:15am here.

      2. I've nothing against Wickens
        15th November 2011, 16:14

        Prisoner Monkeys, you seem to think that money coming from Marussia Motors (which backs Wickens) and money coming from some external source are all the same. They are not.

        I’m sure Marussia Motors would want to make their F1 team if not profitable then, at least, self-sufficient. Paying Wickens to drive for Marussia is contrary to that goal. Pic, on the other hand, pays for his drive and thus has a clear financial advantage here.

        I agree with you though that Wickens looks like a very capable driver.

        1. It makes even less sense to have the driver they back taking their money to a competitor team, which is what the alternative might be. Keeping the Marussia money within the Virgin team would help the team be self-sufficient since that money would count as sponsorship income received by the team.

    3. I wonder what Mercedes is up to. They did little running and have put in none too fast laps. Is it possible they also had their 2012 spec exhaust ending on here?

      Also its interesting to see why Red Bull (and Ferrari) are that interested in running fastest in these kind of tests. I know they are faster then the rest, but surely that is not the point of it here. Must be a PR thing.

      1. @bascb

        Is it possible they also had their 2012 spec exhaust ending on here?

        That’s what they said they would be doing with this test.

      2. Is it possible they also had their 2012 spec exhaust ending on here?

        Williams ran a 2012-spec exhaust too, according to Autosport.

        Someone has to be fastest, so no real surprise to see two of the top three teams at the top of the timesheets. I doubt either Red Bull or Ferrari decided to go for the quickest times, they’re probably just running programmes that don’t make them artificially slow – there’s a difference.

      3. I’m not sure it’s for PR.

        Red Bull have the fastest car and they’re top. Ferrari have the third fastest car and they’re 2nd. McLaren have the 2nd fastest car but they split the day between two drivers, each only got half as much seat time as the others so they’re a little lower down the timesheets.

        Plus as was mentioned, who knows what kind of cars they’re actually running. Some are trying 2012 things like Mercedes while others might want to have a 2011 car as a baseline to try the Pirelli development tyres.

    4. Kevin Korjus, 16.11.11, testing renault f1, yeah hes estonian, good luck young man.

      1. I hope he does well, he’s been very impressive in WSR this year, especially first half of the year. Very impressive considering how young he is.

    5. I am already in 2012 mode, I saw Lotus entry as Renault one, not as Caterham, I hope I can get rid of this confusion as season starts.

    6. Here’s how I read this:

      You have Vergne in a great car that he has been able to drive already, and puts up a respectable time. Same can be said for Bianchi (with probably more time behind the wheel) so I would leave those two in their current order.

      Where i see promise is in Wickens…never been in this car, is not as competitive as a Mercedes or McLaren, but he manages to be a solid ‘best-of-the-rest’. Lets keep an eye on his times in a Virgin.

      If i have learned anything about Sauber pre-season or development testing, it must be that whatever position the appear to be in, subtract 4…

      Paffet and Turvey’s times are surely misleading. Great 2012 testing time with these two, should lead to aggressive development for new parts.

      I think the only disappointment or surprise came with Toro Rosso’s Coletti.
      With a team like this a driver MUST impress, because they will move on to the next potential talent in a heart beat.

      Everyone else seems to fall in line with regular qualifying positions.

      How many of these driver can we expect to see in 2012 or 2013?

      1. I think the only disappointment or surprise came with Toro Rosso’s Coletti. With a team like this a driver MUST impress, because they will move on to the next potential talent in a heart beat.

        True, but with one caveat – Coletti needs to impress Toro Rosso with his performance, rather than the likes of you and me.

        Only Toro Rosso know precisely what programme Coletti was set, how quickly he adapted to the car, the quality of his feedback, his levels of fitness, whether he met the targets the team set him, etc.

        There are ways of impressing a team without setting ultra-quick times.

        1. 87 laps….that’s enough to run two full race distances….surely there was one lap there to see what he could really wring out of the car..

          but you are still very correct. We don’t know his setup, nor do we know much about his communication skills but when you have a seemingly endless pool of Red Bull backed drivers up and coming, your looking for the quickest one. pure and simple. now when u are down to a select few (maybe your current drivers and a reserve or two) then you can look at who jives with the team better. Bottom line is, can this driver put the car in a point scoring position.

    7. I hope but fear that next year we’ll see the same old 3 teams lacking pace at the back off the grid… They lack budget and knowledge. The top teams have updates every 2-3 races, how many updates did Lotus, Virgin and HRT have together this year? 3?

      1. Lotus started the season around the same pace as the Virgins, maybe around 0.3s quicker. But now, they’re already qualifying an average of 1.5s or more faster than the Virgins.

        Assuming Virgin brought no development at all, Lotus have beefed up their car by over a second this season.

        Looks like they have what it takes to compete on equal footing with the established midfield teams next season.

    8. Bottas, Leimer and Wickens did well. Vergne and Bianchi have had more time in the car. Coletti has been out of form in the GP2 race and has just recently returned from his injuries. Clos did well to beat Pic by 1.6s, although he did double the laps.

    9. Where are you guys watching live timing? My browser doesnt support the F1 fanatic live timing page, do any of the teams run live timing or should I just go to formula

      1. Before everyone starts asking, no, there is no “F1 fanatic live timing page”. I suspect you mean F1 Fanatic Live, which can be found here.

        If you have a technical problem with the site please report it via the usual means so I can look into it:

        Reporting a technical problem

        1. Apologies for any confusion, I was thinking of live timing page but meant the F1 fanatic live page. The technical problem is unfortunately on my end, as I am on a work computer which blocks random URL’s and doesnt allow certain HTML scripts or other applications to run.

    10. “Young drivers tests”

      1. Anybody with less than 3? starts is allowed. Thus, good time to stick the test guy in.

        1. Exactly. They need it.

    11. Just looked up Fabio Leimer on Wikipedia. Turns out he hasn’t been anything too special in GP2, behind Sauber’s official reserve driver Gutierrez, which makes me wonder why they’ve bothered with him. With Perez possibly going to Ferrari, you can see why they’d be in the market for a new light bulb, but he seems an odd choice. Although he is Swiss, so for PR reasons he’s a decent choice.

      1. Having said that, he did a pretty good job, especially after all the mean thing’s I’ve just said.

    12. Although you can’t read much from these times, several drivers were closer to the fastest Time than on Saturday.

      Wickens is 2.2% off the fastest time while Petrov was 2.5%.
      Leimer is 2.3% off Vergne while Perez was at 2.4% off Vettels time.
      Same for Bottas in the Williams, he’s at 3.1% where Maldonado was at 3.3%.
      Gonzales in the Lotus is at 4.0% where Kovalainen was at 4.5% on saturday.

      But the biggest difference is Dani Clos in the HRT. He’s only 5.3% off where Ricciardo was 6.2%.

      Again, it doesn’t say much as we don’t know what configuration they were running. But for Clos to be faster in the HRT compared to Vergne than Ricciardo was to Vettel should be noticed by team bosses.

      McLaren and Mercedes drivers were a lot slower in this comparison. Probably because they were testing with a rookie instead of evaluating a rookie?

    13. Fabio Leimer done 67 laps and put the sauber in 4th
      where as
      Jean-Eric Vergne done 83
      very well done to Fabio Leimer !!!

      1. Plus he beat a Mclaren where the driver has driven the car on more than one occasion before.

    14. Doesn’t matter who is driving the cars, your only as good as your car is. The order seems much like what we see on any given grand Prix weekend. Nobody stands out so far.

      1. The order seems much like what we see on any given grand Prix weekend.

        I remember when Kobayashi qualified on the second row :)

        But I pretty much agree with your point.

    15. Can anyone confirm whether Wickens did his fast lap on the 2011 or 2012 Pirellis?

    16. I was looking to the tables and nothing surprising until I read this

      Rodolfo Gonzalez – Lotus

      The green lotus just 4 seconds apart.

      1. That’s about right, they’re just behind Williams. That’s pretty much the only place he could put it.

    17. Bottas posted his best time with which exhaust system?

    18. Interesting that McLaren, well, Paffett, are/is below the Renault and Sauber.

      Actually, it’s probably not that interesting. You would expect that from a team that is using this as a test exercise.

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