Magnussen leads Da Costa as test begins

2012 F1 testing

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Kevin Magnussen headed the times on the first day of the Young Drivers’ Test in Abu Dhabi. The Danish driver set a quickest time of 1’42.651 at the Yas Marina circuit.

Fellow Formula Renault 3.5 driver Antonio Felix da Costa was second-fastest for Red Bull, less than a tenth of a second behind the McLaren.

Series champion Robin Frijns, who will drive for Red Bull later in the test, had his first day of running with Sauber.

The team’s head of track engineering Giampaolo Dall’Ara said Frijns “coped well [physically] and also, for his age, gave us good feedback. The mileage is a lot and the lap time is also good.

“We started with hard tyres and did some aero work in the morning before actually working on his lap time. Towards the end of the day we gave him an idea of different tyre compounds and went with a set of medium and a set of soft. But we never sent him out with a qualifying fuel level.”

Frijns said he found the test “hard work”. “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.”

“On my fastest lap with the soft tyres I made a mistake, so there was more to come,” he added.

Luis Razia spent his first of two days with Toro Rosso: “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.

“As far as the tyres are concerned, I found it relatively straightforward as they seemed quite similar to those supplied by Pirelli in GP2. As for all the buttons on the steering wheel, I had some time before driving the car to get used to them, so I soon got the hang of it.”

Johnny Cecotto Jnr will take over the car tomorrow and Razia will drive in the final day on Thursday.

Abu Dhabi Young Drivers Test Day 1 times

1Kevin MagnussenMcLaren1’42.65140
2Antonio Felix da CostaRed Bull1’42.717790.066
3Gary PaffettMcLaren1’43.407440.756
4Robin FrijnsSauber1’43.775781.124
5Nicolas ProstLotus1’44.194551.543
6Luis RaziaToro Rosso1’44.691672.040
7Giedo van der GardeCaterham1’45.936563.285

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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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36 comments on “Magnussen leads Da Costa as test begins”

  1. Good job Kevin! Hope to see you permanently in that seat very soon!

  2. Hm. Completely setting the original purpose of the test aside, the fact that Ferrari already completed its test and Red Bull and McLaren got to do it just now, evaluating things, increases the odds further on Vettel as far as the WDC is concerned.

  3. Da Costa seems to be living up to his early signs of promise. I hope we can see him in a Toro Rosso in 2014 (given Toro Rosso have already confirmed their driver line-up).

    If Webber goes there will be an empty seat at Red Bull (which I assume one of the current Toro Rosso drivers will take), leaving an empty seat at Toro Rosso for 2014, so it’s possible!

  4. Did any teams try out the new nose cover?

  5. Frijns seems like the real deal. 3 -4 tenths off a McLaren and a guy who has driven an F1 car a lot. I hope he gets a ride in the coming seasons. Or goes to Indycar….

    1. I agree. Very impressive of Frijns! There’s no way he should be wasted at Indycar though.

    2. Frijns in indycar would be dreadful :c

    3. Yep, Frijns looks like the real deal. He was within a second of Perez/Kobayashi on Medium compound. Quite a bit further off on the soft compound, but considering it’s his first run in a F1 car, pretty impressive. Now lets see how he compares to Esteban. I’m not convinced by the young Mexican so far.. But he’s got 2 solid days to prove me wrong.

      I liked an interview by Frijns saying Red Bull treat their drivers like dogs and he wouldn’t be a part of their young driver program.. Lol. I’m surprised after that comment they’re allowing him to drive the RB8.

      1. I liked that interview too. One good confident young man. Hope he keeps that mentality thru his career.

      2. There obliged to give him a shot because he won the championship, so he can pretty much say what he likes about the Red Bull young driver development programme!

    4. Love the fact Frijns told de telegraph in Holland that he’d been approached twice by Red Bull and turned them down. The paper reports that he did this because he thinks Red Bull “treat you like a dog” and he wants control over his F1 progression.

      i see you Helmut and raise you! :)

      According to his dominant and highly aggressive Renault World series performances he is some kind of Senna, Schumacher and Grosjean mix in the making.

      1. That could be taken more than one way depending on which Senna and Schumacher you’re referring to …

        1. LOL, quite true!

    5. @mikemat5150 I’m skeptical of that… I fully expect that Paffett could have gone much quicker in the MP4-27 and I very much doubt McLaren were evaluating him specifically.

  6. I really hope that tomorrow by the end of the day Red Bull allows one or two soft tyres and low fuel runs just to see the sort of lap time that he can achieve. That would be interesting because the kind of test he did today doesn´t tell us much, and even for the team I doubt that the driver mattered they just wanted someone to do some consistent running to try new parts and perform all sort of tests.

    1. I agree, this is bending the rules every bit as much as flexi-wings and all the other scandals. They are supposed to be testing the drivers, not the cars. I guess they are all complicit and their is nothing in it for the FIA so it will be ignored.

      1. They are supposed to be testing the drivers, not the cars.

        Arh, Red Bull! BTW, good point.

  7. Go Frijns!
    Now a day rest and then Red Bull. But will Red Bull let him go for gloryruns? After all he ditched their program.

  8. Frijns made the most impression on me with the Sauber.
    Got only one set of soft tyres at the end of the day and didn’t drove with qualy fuel loads.
    Da Costa didn’t make much progression during the day. I put my money on Frijns for the future.

  9. Tomorrow we will see FDC with brand new soft tires..
    It will be funny!


  10. 5. Nicolas Prost Lotus 1’44.194 55 -1.543

    I have to say, being 1.5 seconds slower than the benchmark in the racing winning car is rather poor to say the least. I don’t know much about Nicolas Prost, in the sense of the fact that I’ve never actually watched him race. Does he have any of the abilities his old man Alain had?

    1. I think you have to consider that the car may not still be in race spec,

      1. And that Prost’s testing programme might not have called for qualifying runs. Frijns didn’t do them, so it’s conceivable that Prost didn’t, either.

    2. @kingshark please verify the details before making such contreversial statements… We all do not have actual data nor telementry to actually pass final judgement.

      It’s for the F1 teams (and experts involved in the industry) to decide, not us spectators. We can state our general views and impressions, but we must also remember that we don’t have the underlying details to actually pass such final judgement.

  11. Jan magnussen? oh its his son…. i feel old!

  12. all these sons of show the sad state of the sport in that its not what u can do, its whats your name, who you know and whats your bank balance.

    1. It’s always healthy to check what you are actually talking about before you start: Kevin doesn’t have any big sponsors, his father doesn’t have useful funding at all but instead Kevin has a very impressive racing CV.

      Obviously it doesn’t hurt to have connections just as in any other aspect of life and of course Jan has trained his son to the best of his abilities. Is that really such a sin?

      1. poul i clearly meant one or other sponsorship or name. and they obviously have an advantage of your regular kid trying to get into motorsport when they start. Its not cheap.

        fair play they make it with their name, you cant blame them or their famous parents. Top job. but i wonder how many kids dont make it cos they dont get their foot in the door cos they dont have a fancy name.

    2. I don’t see Nicolas Prost as a talent of the future – he hasn’t even raced single seaters for the past couple of years. But Kevin Magnussen’s looked pretty handy against a very competitive field in FR3.5, especially in qualifying.

      1. Thanks Keith. Kevin looked even more promising in F3 in 2011 despite an unusual amount of issues beyond his control.

        I don’t think it is unlikely that we will see him in F1 though Danish drivers never come with sponsor $.

      2. I think the way Frijns and Magnussen can be so competitive with so little sponsorship will ultimately be good for the sport.

      3. But then again, Di Resta made the switch from DTM to F1, and I think him to be fairly successful.
        I think that in order to pass judgement, we need to see him race against a proven quantity.

  13. There would be nothing more exciting than watching new young guns with high potential to enter into the grid and fight for position against already built-in names. But in certain aspect, Robin’s interview seems quite amusing when he mentioned RB program as something like dog training program. How much difference will there be among those programs run by top teams?
    Anyway, I’d like to value his attitude and valor very high for turning down top machine’s offer twice and particularly for the reason to reject it. Hope he find his way to hone his potential and realize them in the grid soon.

    1. @leotef

      How much difference will there be among those programs run by top teams?

      Every driver development programme will have the expectation to perform. That’s a given. But it’s the approach that differs. Red Bull have been notorious for axing drivers indiscriminately – just look at Lewis Williamson, who lost their backing after just five races in Formula Renault 3.5 this year. Is five races really enough for a young driver to show their true performance?

  14. I hope Nicolas Prost gets into F1, to see again the Senna-Prost battles (for 13th position)

    1. I hope Kevin Magnussen gets into F1, so he can be replaced by Max Verstappen (at McLaren).


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