Second Young Drivers’ Test to begin at Magny-Cours

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In the round-up: Ferrari, Mercedes and Force India begin their Young Drivers’ Test at Magny-Cours today.

Magny-Cours Young Drivers’ Test

The second Young Drivers’ Test begins at Magny-Cours today.

After the teams failed to agree on a single location for the test earlier this year, this is the second of three tests that will be held. Williams, HRT and Marussia have already had their test and McLaren, Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Lotus, Sauber and Caterham are yet to do theirs.

Today Jules Bianchi will drive for Ferrari, Sam Bird for Mercedes and Luiz Razia for Force India. Track action will take place between 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm local time.

The 4.4km Magny-Cours track was last used by F1 for the 2008 French Grand Prix:


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Mercedes plans major upgrade for test (Autosport)

Ross Brawn: “We weren’t understanding the tyres and concluded that the most effective thing we could do, rather than go straight to a Coanda [exhaust] system, was to understand the tyres, to get them a bit more under control.”

Sauber stay coy over Perez future (Sky)

“Asked if his late overtake of Fernando Alonso for second place may have actually harmed his chances of joining the Scuderia in 2013 given it was Ferrari’s home race, [Sergio Perez] replied: ‘Ask him [Alonso]. I don’t know. I’m sure… I’m not at all… I’m fighting for my team and will always fight for the team that I’m in.'”

Battle for F1 title boiling up nicely after Hamilton win (BBC)

“They used to be pretty close but they seem to have drifted apart, probably as a result of their different characters. Hamilton can be a bit of a spoilt kid at times and Button is a fairly grown-up man. That difference in characters does separate people.”

Straight to work in Maranello ahead of Singapore Montezemolo meets with Domenicali (Ferrari)

Stefano Domenicali: “It was a hard battle and I believe the Stewards’ decision was right, above all given the clarification that was given out by the FIA after the last Bahrain Grand Prix. I’m also sure that Sebastian didn’t have any intention of jeopardising Fernando’s race: the German is a driver who is firm but fair.”

Stealthy Raikkonen builds up healthy points tally (Reuters)

“We look forward now obviously to the next races because it should suit our car much better.”

Renault makes alternator fix ‘priority’ for Singapore as Red Bull count cost of lost points (James Allen on F1)

Renault Sport head of track operations Remi Taffin: “This weekend has not been acceptable from either a performance or reliability point of view. We have to apologise to Red Bull for the two failures on Sebastian’s car, first in FP3 and now in the race.”

Alex Zanardi: "a very lucky person" (MotorSport)

“The driver who had rewritten CART’s rules of engagement, who had scrambled past Bryan Herta at the top of Laguna Seca’s Corkscrew, who had unlapped himself to win at Long Beach, who had invented the celebratory smoking doughnut, appeared unable to adapt to F1’s grooved tyres, twitchier turn-in and shorter braking distances; at one point he even reverted to Iron Age discs as his spiral tightened.”

Codemasters: bringing F1 to the masses (The Guardian)

“The official Formula One licence has a reputation for being one of the games industry’s poisoned chalices. Before Codemasters acquired it in 2008, it had been in the possession of Sony and Electronic Arts, both of whom professed frustration at their inability to persuade F1’s famously autocratic governing body, the FIA, to let them do anything imaginative with it. However, at last, Codemasters has demonstrably cracked that particular nut.”

How to have an F1 car in your living room (Yahoo)

“You sit in a lifelike, fully rendered Formula One cockpit, then stare ahead at three HD screens which have perfect versions of all the tracks from around the world ? right down to the pebbles of the run-off areas should it turn out you’re not Lewis Hamilton.”


Comment of the day

@Fixy was hoping to see GP2 championship leader Davide Valsecchi appear at the young drivers’ test.

Still surprised no one called Valsecchi: okay, he has half-an-year’s extra experience (he was injured for part of the 2008 season) but his overall GP2 results are better than Razia’s and as team mates Davide had the upper hand, as he has now that they are rivals. He had a bad period at Addax and iSport, but those days are over now, he has one of the best cars and is delivering.

Same goes for Luca Filippi: he had bad periods in his GP2 experience (but he scored many podiums for Super Nova, who became backmarkers once he left) but he has now proven that even one year after his last single-seater experience he has lost no pace at all, and beat everyone else to win at Monza. He probably had difficulties in getting to grips with the Dallaras, but now he’s ready for F1, as he’s shown. Why should old results have such an important effect?

On the other hand, Gonzalez should be nowhere other than in karts. His season has been appalling: he has one points finish to van der Garde’s one win, five podiums and one pole position and is 135 points, 16 positions behind his team mate in the standings.

Silly mistakes and just plain slowness have cost the team, who debuted last season but still took a win and a pole, a rise in performance for this season in the team’s championship.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

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On this day in F1

Mario Andretti won the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on this day 35 years ago.

Second place for Niki Lauda sealed the constructors’ championship for Ferrari and brought Lauda closer to his second drivers’ title. Alan Jones finished third for Shadow.

Having started from pole position, James Hunt was passed by Andretti on lap two, spun on lap 12 then spun again and retired for good 14 laps later.

Here are highlights from the race:

Image © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

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54 comments on “Second Young Drivers’ Test to begin at Magny-Cours”

  1. Do people that are a waste of space like Gonzalez not feel any shame in literally buying their opportunity away from others? Him getting a test day is like the son of Ralph Lauren getting a WC for the US Open for no other reason other than his dad sponsoring the event.

    1. The sad fact is that Caterham needs the money. GP2’s expansion to Malaysia, Bahrain and now Singapore has driven up costs.

  2. surely no updates should be able to be tested at young driver tests

    1. Why not, Magny-Cours is the perfect track for it, no bumps to disturb data, high speed corners, traction areas, big straight, and elevation changes.

      1. I mean they shouldn’t be allowed to. It seems a bit unfair, considering there is meant to be no mid-season testing.

        1. Unfair to who? All teams are allowed to do it.

    2. Young drivertests.
      Just because they are testing young drivers doesn’t mean they can’t test the cars as well.

    3. @jleigh, I was also surprised to hear Mercedes bringing big updates to test for Magny-Cours, and then realized I shouldn’t have been. I suppose there have never been any such rules for the young drivers test because it was at the end of the season, and if there is nothing to prevent teams from bringing updates, they would be crazy not to.

      In fact, the only thing that really surprises me is that McLaren and Red Bull allow Ferrari (and to a lesser extent, Mercedes) to get an advantage over them by having an extra test before the fly-away season. Especially in case of McLaren, who trundle out Paffett and Turvey at every test, seemingly without any intention of ever having them race their cars, it would make much more sense to have an extra in-season test.

      1. But see that tweet by Turvey @adrianmorse, it seems that McLaren were happy to only have a straight line test to augment their simulation/wind tunnel work. Maybe they have little problems this year with correlation (or developments that don’t suffer from that, like those sidepod wings?). Or they want to be able to test some things for next year/last races?

      2. I was also surprised to hear Mercedes bringing big updates to test for Magny-Cours, and then realized I shouldn’t have been.

        With all the talk of Mercedes making Hamilton a serious offer for 2013, I think a lot of people are going to be watching the team very carefully this week. If their upgrades don’t yield any returns, then it’s not going to inspire a lot of confidence in their negotiations with Hamilton since the ability to provide a good car is the biggest hurdle they have to overcome if they want to secure his services for next year.

  3. Hamilton can be a bit of a spoilt kid at times

    Understatement of the season (at least).

    1. Latest rumour: Hamilton to Sauber for 2013.

      1. At least we have a source.

        1. Hehehe.

          Hamilton wants stardom? Here’s my idea: Buy into Sauber, get a 30% or so stake, use his image to bring new investors and fresh funds, hire good engineers and Danika Patrick as team8, P.Diddy to organize parties during GP weekends, get an MTV contract for a reality TV show and adopt an orphan girl from Botswana.

          1. good plan. Add more American Management to the thing and you will see tractor pulls,fly bys, marching bands and hot dog stands…but P.diddy will bring in the hoochie mamas to spice it up.

          2. the stupid thing is that idea should work.

          3. @jcost, and Bernie will want to control and take the income from all of them.

      2. Says who?

  4. I’m starting to get the feeling that any driver/team that says “the next race(s) should suit our car better” are cursed. How many times did we hear that from Mercedes, only for them to steadily go backwards until they just kind of shut up?
    If I’m right, Kimi will get knocked out in Q1 for Singapore!

    1. The next Mercedes will probably suit the remaining circuits better. The idea is to make the car so it is fast at race tracks, not rely on race tracks suiting your car. I think they’re starting to work that out.

  5. Would have thought one of the teams would at least invite the GP2 Championship leader for a test, If not why does GP2 even exist?.

    What’s the benefit of Ferrari giving Davide Rigon a day in the car, I’am unaware of him even racing anything this year. Ferrari could have given Davide Valsecchi a day in the car as a reward for his efforts this year.

    1. Rigon is Ferrari’s simulator driver. But as for the rest I agree.

    2. Or the Formula Renault 3.5 championship leader, for that matter – Robin Frijns has been driving superbly.

      1. Frijns is likely to test with Sauber in Abu Dhabi.

        1. Oh, that is good news, where did you get that from @armchairexpert?

    3. It’s pretty unrelated to F1 but Davide Rigon has been going well this year in a Ferrari F458 GT3 for Kessel Racing in the Blancpain Endurance Series

      1. @klbd, he will be ready for the fully enclosed F1 car.

    4. Rigon is loaded is not going anywhere but that’s the sad reality Ferrari needs that money.

  6. It’s actually quite good to see F1 cars back in France, Magny Cours isn’t that bad a circuit, a bit remote, and sometimes the action was dull, but we have DRS and Pirelli’s so it’s a shame they aren’t racing.

    1. It’s not as remote as it once was – the French recently completed a national highway that runs right past the circuit. It’s now far easier to access than ever before.

      Ironically, though, I don’t think construction of the highway started until after Formula 1 left France.

      1. I’m kind of annoyed, I don’t live that far from there so I tweeted the circuit to ask how one got to the track from the train station and they never tweeted back. Well, I wasn’t that sure it was worth going to watch three cars going round part of the time, and that decided me. Plus it’s raining here right now, don’t know about M-C.

      2. @prisoner-monkeys, the ” RN7″ that runs past Magny-Cour has been around since Napoleon, it has been upgraded bit by bit for decades, except south of Lyon where the “Autoroute de Soleil” parallels it, I imagine you are referring to the completion of the upgrade from Paris to S. of Magny Cours.

    2. I think Magny-Cours used to get largely negative reviews from the journalists who went there, but that was more to do with its remoteness (difficulty of access, lack of anything to do of an evening) than anything particularly wrong with the track. The cliche “it’s in the middle of nowhere” got pretty worn out over the years.

      In any case, I think Magny-Cours (like the Hungaroring) is one of those circuits that was among the least entertaining 10-20 years ago, but now with the influx of identikit Tilkedromes would be a welcome change. I’d be happy to see it back on the calendar.

  7. About the Vettel alternator problem – I think I expressed some thoughts about it after the last failure as well, but still. The way I understood it, the alternator is sitting near the exhaust, and therefore its temperature is highly dependent on the engine and exhaust settings. Perhaps the reason why its only Vettel who is having problems with it, is that Vettel is using different engine modes than Webber, or is just using them more recklessly?

    Last year when Vettel retired with a broken tire at lap one, it was also speculated that they are running a special engine mode to use the exhaust for heating up the tires, and he just used it a bit too much. Supposedly this could be the reason why Vettel could open up a respectable gap at the beginning of most races last year, by simply using a high risk engine mode which gave him more power and better tire temperatures.

    Now it might seem that they are, again, taking risks with the engine modes and getting problems with the alternator temperature as a result – only this year, instead of pulling up a gap at the front, Vettel is forced to use it in the middle of the pack as well, in hopes of catching up with drivers in front of him.

    This way it might make sense that Vettel, being the more “reckless” driver in Red Bull should be experiencing most of the problems, as Webber would probably be more risk-aware, and avoid using the same engine modes too much or not at all. After all, we have seen Vettel trying to set the fastest lap at the end of the race, regardless of a safe lead and the warnings from the team. Perhaps the same could apply to the use of engine modes as well.

    1. @stjuuv
      Last year Vettel started almost every race on pole and he was able to create a gap tons of times. If he used a high risk engine mode I’m sure he would have had this problem more often. It only happened at Abu Dhabi and in that case he went a little bit too wide at the exit of turn 1, so I think it was just an unfortunate incident.

      As for the alternator, I don’t think that Vettel chooses whether or not to use risky engine modes. He had a problem in FP3 in Monza and you could clearly see that the team was worried about it for the race. I think that RB tried to be as careful as possible in the race, but still it wasn’t enough.

    2. I’d been waiting for someone to come along and blame Vettel for the faulty alternators, so thanks for that! I knew it was just a matter of time.

      1. Not really blaming him for it. If it actually is/was a case of using higher risk tactics, then he did a damn good job using them last year, and apparently no one else, even Webber, came close to his skills in using them.

        1. @stjuuv, I have said many times I believe RBR are running 2 different strategies, as you mention a ” high risk-high reward” model for Vettel and a lower risk plan to ensure regular points for Webber, I also have been derided as a Vettel hating conspiracy theorist, even after stating ” Vettel drove superbly and made several gung-ho passes” when questioning Webbers race-plan.

  8. “I’m fighting for my team and will always fight for the team that I’m in.”

    Damn straight! There’s no place in F1 for drivers who throw away points for their team to appease the bigger guns.

    1. I don’t think Ferrari would be so petty that they would refuse to take on Perez simply because he beat them at Monza. Like any other team, they’re obligated to take on the two best drivers available to them, and if they were to pass on Perez for such a pathetic, childish reason, then they’re only going to see him snapped up by a rival team.

      If anything, Ferrari and the tifosi should welcome Perez’s race at Monza. He has been hailed as Ferrari’s next big driver, so for him to upstage Ferrari at their home event is an endorsement of his abilities. I can’t think of anything that would instill more confidence in Ferrari’s future than to see the driver tipped to join them put in such a strong performance at Monza.

      1. Not unheard of in Italy. A Korean soccer player was released by the Italian team he played for because he was on the Korean side that beat Italy in the 2002 World Cup. But, I agree…Ferrari wouldn’t do that.

      2. Agree, after all, Alonso beat Ferrari in 2006 and almost did the same in 2007 but now they are Scuderia Fernando.

      3. @prisoner-monkeys My sentiments exactly. He clearly didn’t care and why should he? He’s doing the best for the team and that’s commendable, whoever you’re driving for.

        Also, his attitude to having a Ferrari in front of him and over-taking just quashes those silly rumours about the team telling him to let Alonso win in Malaysia.

  9. What a major upset would it be, if the suitable track characteristics and the to-be-introduced DDRS by Lotus suddenly played into the hands of Raikkonen, and he would be world champion in his first year of return in a team longing for success since 2006 and in a car in which he so far never won.

    1. Sutiable circuit traits and a DDRS won’t do much good if Lotus can’t get on top of their consistently- poor race management. Their breakthrough win has been tipped since April, and they still haven’t made good on the promised potential.

      1. I know. I just think it would be a surprise if they’d won in the end, despite Raikkonen being a contender based on his points tally.

        I think eventually it will be a three-way fight between Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel. Personally, I think as a driver Alonso is in the best shape, but both Hamilton and arguably Vettel has a better car. No-one knows hoe the development race will unfold during the fly-away races, and how much energy the drivers have left in them, so all that could change.

        But I think it will be one of the three.

        1. The fact that McLaren have only got one car to the finish in the last two races has masked somewhat the fact that they’ve got clearly the fastest car again, as they did at the beginning of the season. Button won the Belgian GP by 15 seconds and Hamilton was 20 seconds ahead of Alonso at the end of the Italian race. If they can maintain that kind of pace to the end of the season then I wouldn’t be surprised to see a McLaren 1-2 in the drivers’ championship.

          On Raikkonen, it’s interesting that he’s third in the championship, a point off second place, without having won a Grand Prix. Kind of busts the myth that this new points system would “reward winners” more.

          1. Consistency will always be important, regardless of any points system they introduce. The only way to truly reward race winners over anything else would be the medals idea.

            Raikkonen has finished in the points every single race but one, most of the time strong points in the top 6 while Hamilton has had 3 no scores despite the 3 wins, which has balanced out over the season to date. You mention Raikkonen but its easy to forget Vettel has actually only won once this year as well, and with the exception of his two wins Mark Webber hasn’t been on the podium.

          2. Having written that comment I should amend it to say consistency will be always be important in a points system where all the races contribute to the drivers score at the end of the season. I was just thinking and Prost’s consistency worked against him in the ’88 season against Senna as the 11 best scores rules was in operation.

          3. Yes, I’ve also noticed McLaren upped thier pace once again. I walked around after Belgium saying that ‘Button 2nd in Hockenheim in arguably the best car, Hamilton won at the Hungaroring, Button won at Spa. McLaren had the fastest car at the beginning of the year, has fastest car for a while now – still lies 5-6th on the driver’s table.’ So yeah, basically, McLaren looks far more promising than what the standings shows to us.

            Actually, I have an own Excel file in which I register the race results and driver’s standings race by race by all four major points system being used up to now (1961, 1991, 2003 and 2010). Not even the current one rewards the winner as much as the old 10-6-4-3-2-1 did.

            As for the 11-best-finishes-count rule (or earlier 5 out of 9, etc.), I think it has its charm, but is certainly not suited to nowaday’s green policy: I think it encouraged development race in every sense, because you knew you can make reliability mistakes, driver errors by pushing too hard, etc. to a certain extent, and you’d still come good. In fact this was the behaviour it encouraged, see precisely 1988. Nowaday’s reliability and consistency rewards you in every sense and above all. It is a whole different point of view.

  10. James Allen reckons Lewis Hamilton may have signed a contract with Mercedes at Monza.

  11. I just read the article but for me the interesting thing in all the story of Lewis Hamilton joining Mercedes is not how this decision (signing a contract at Monza) will affect his future but how it will affect his Present!!!!!!!!!!
    I mean this is maybe the best chance of Lewis Hamilton to win another WDC ,how Mclaren will react if they smell that he has already a deal with Mercedes, are they going to give him full support , i know that their car’s program developing is not going to stop regardless of hamilton because they need it to next year’s car , but how about race strategy ,car set up …….

    The other interesting thing that Jenson Button said McLaren will be wasting its time if it asks him to support Lewis Hamilton’s title challenge

    This like “If you want the title ,go for it we aren’t going to support you”

    1. McLaren will support Hamilton. Even if they know he is leaving – the history books will show that he won the title with McLaren, regardless of what happens next.

      As for Button’s comments about not supporting Hamilton, I believe he made those when he felt he still had a shot at the title himself. His DNF at Monza might have changed that.

    2. Even if Hamilton is not with McLaren the next year, the points he scores and the result of this years WCC will still be with them, and as I understand, that is worth quite a bit of money. I don’t think any of the teams would simply throw away money like that on a supposed personal grudge (which may not even be there, Hamilton is not the first driver ever to change teams).

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