Lotus lead with Valsecchi as Young Drivers’ Test ends

2012 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Davide Valsecchi, Lotus, Yas Marina, 2012Davide Valsecchi put Lotus on top as the Young Drivers’ Test came to an end at Yas Marina.

Valsecchi’s time of 1’42.677 was only slightly slower than the quickest time of the test set by Kevin Magnussen on Monday for McLaren.

Lotus’s work included further development of their Double DRS. “In the morning we completed additional aerodynamic work and looked at further evaluation of our DDRS, providing us with enough data to make an informed decision at a later stage in Enstone,” said race engineer Simon Rennie.

“For the afternoon session, we looked at developments of our front drums and then completed a tyre programme which gave Davide the opportunity to try out the various compounds.

“We ran the hard, medium and soft tyres and he found good improvements in terms of grip with each step in the compounds. All in all it?s been a good day, and Davide did a great job.”

Kevin Magnussen returned to drive for McLaren again and completed enough mileage to gain an F1 Superlicence. Sporting director Sam Michael praised his progress: “He certainly didn?t look like a guy who had never turned a wheel in a modern F1 car before the start of this week.”

Alexander Rossi’s sole day of running for Caterham was interrupted by a technical problem.

“It?s obviously not ideal that we had to end the session early, but when I boxed after my 14th run there was oil on the garage floor so the engineers had to call the session over,” he said.

“That meant I didn?t have the chance to do any performance runs and I?m sure if I did my lap times would have been close to the race drivers, but issues like that are just one of those things. They?ll take a proper look at what caused the problem and I?m sure it won?t affect the team?s preparations for Austin or Brazil.”

1Davide ValsecchiLotus1’42.67786
2Kevin MagnussenMcLaren1’42.827510.150
3Esteban GutierrezSauber1’43.093800.416
4Robin FrijnsRed Bull1’43.233530.556
5Oliver TurveyMcLaren1’43.604440.927
6Luiz RaziaToro Rosso1’45.286682.609
7Alexander RossiCaterham1’46.485853.808

2012 F1 season

Browse all 2012 F1 season articles

Image ?? Lotus F1 Team/LAT

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

44 comments on “Lotus lead with Valsecchi as Young Drivers’ Test ends”

  1. Valsecchi is only half a tenth slower than Raikkonen’s qualifying time and quicker than Kimi’s quicker FP laps!

      1. And Kimi did not use the DDRS last weekend.

  2. I’m a little disappointed not to have seen any faster times this YDT. In the last two years I remember the best times of the Grand Prix weekend being matched or bettered. I guess with this being an in-season test, there is less focus on testing the driver (and let him do some fast laps), and more on testing the car.

    I’m also disappointed not to have seen some faster times from Frijns. As he said himself, this test is important for his future, with nothing in place for next year, but he hasn’t set the timing screens on fire. Also, 53 laps is not that much for a whole day of testing, so perhaps something didn’t go to plan today for him.

    1. I really think that Frijns was a big victim of this, and I also think that the Young Driver Tests are supposed to test the drivers, not new components (they’re not ‘New Component Tests’). Furthermore, I read that he spent almost his entire morning doing aerotests. Finally, I think that Frijns will be Saubers Test/Reservedriver for 2013, with Gutierrez getting the second seat (although I would really like to see Frijns in that seat next year, because it would remind me of another young driver, who didn’t have money but was extremely talented and got a seat at Sauber) and Frijns replacing Hulkenberg in 2014 (If the rumors about him and Ferrari are true at least).

      1. If he (Frijs) was given the same package as Da Costa yesterday, he’s half a second slower. Auch….
        And about the ”New Component Tests”, McLaren was driving around in a car fully covered in Flow Vis Paint today AND using a new front wing, so it’s definately not all about the driver.

        1. I think it should be about the driver only though, because making somebody do installation-laps only doesn’t really show off their talent all too much.

          1. To the teams it might. There’s more to driving in Formula 1 than being just quick. You need to be able to provide good feedback, be consistent. Being able to do fastest laps is nice, but not essential; Alonso, for example, only has 19 fastest laps to his name.

            On one hand, I really like they post times. But on the other hand, it might not mean a darn thing, but people from the outside might form judgement.

            Basically the only people who can actually tell us whether Frijns’ times are good or bad are the people at Red Bull and Sauber. As they have all the data, and they know the program that he ran.

    2. @adrianmorse – I wouldn’t be surprised if Red Bull limited Frijns’ ability to set a fast lap so as to prevent him from upstaging Antonio Felix da Costa, seeing how da Costa is their man and Frijns is not.

      While Frijns has said that this test is critical to his future, he looks to be aiming for a future with Sauber, not Red Bull.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys, I wondered something along those lines as well. Although it’s not likely they would knowingly sabotage his chances by providing him with a lousy setup, they also didn’t give him many opportunities to learn to push the car, given the lap count of only 53. I wonder how many laps were left after subtracting all the in-and outlaps, and aero- and mechanical tests.

        I wonder how he would describe Red Bull’s treatment of him today ;-)

        1. Like a lackey? :D

        2. Really? So, there’s conspiracy theories about RB and not Sauber? What about Frijns fastest lap with the Sauber? He was half a second slower than Gutierrez…All teams were doing some aero- and mechanical tests, young drivers test was not on there schedule…

          1. Sauber said that they did not do any flying laps with Frijns. They wanted to concentrate on aero development and set-up work, the areas they felt he would benefit from the most.

      2. @prisoner-monkeys, I agree, and it only needs a high fuel load to make a driver look ordinary @ adriamorse.

      3. Or, if we wanted to avoid conspiracy theories, we might suppose that with a world championship or two still to be won, Red Bull were more interested in testing updates than setting the fastest time of the day.

        1. Which sound a horrible amount more reasonable @tdog, not to mention they would not actually be interested in setting ANY competative times to make their rivals pay close attention.

          But off course they still might have given the parts of the program where a driver is more able to show his skill to the guy they know better and have an interest in.

    3. I don’t believe Red Bull would go out of their way to disadvantage Frijns – they’ve got more important things to do like develop new parts for a car that’s still got to help them win the constructors’ title and Vettel the drivers’ title.

      However I do expect they’re more interested in trumpeting the achievements of their development driver (Da Costa) rather than the guy who’s only in the car as a one-off because of their arrangement with Renault (Frijns).

      For example, Red Bull haven’t issued any images of Frijns driving the car yet (as far as I can tell), nor put any on their website, whereas pictures of Da Costa arrived quite quickly. The phrasing of their press release is interesting, too. The first paragraph is at pains to distinguish between the two (emphasis added):

      The final day of the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi saw Robin Frijns take over from Red Bull Junior driver Antonio Felix da Costa at the wheel of the RB8.

      Similarly it’s interesting they go to the effort of pointing out in their own press release that Frijns did a “performance run” but was “six tenths off pacesetting GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi”. I don’t believe I’m being over-sensitive by pointing out it’s not normal for an F1 team to draw attention to their car being slower than their rivals’.

      More significantly, we don’t know all sorts of things about the preparation of Frijns’ car – was his engine set as high as Da Costa’s? Was he using DRS? And so on.

      Again I want to stress I’m not saying Red Bull have done anything improper here – that’s too ‘conspiracy theory’ for my taste – it’s just a reflection of where their priorities are. Nor would I read these testing times and draw the immediate conclusion that Da Costa is a much better prospect than Frijns. Having seen both in Formula Renault 3.5 this year I rate the pair of them and would like to see them racing F1 cars sooner rather than later.

      1. (@keithcollantine)
        Perhaps this test was good for Frijns in a way, maybe now he knows that in the future he shouldn´t spit in his dinner plate.
        I think he wasn´t humble and perhaps was a bit arrogant saying that he refused RB twice and they treat theirs young drivers like dogs – that´s a rich boy attitude. He created a situation where neither the team nor the driver felt comfortable with each other.

        Concerning the lap times, this was one of the most frustrating tests I´ve ever seen, and I take zero from it (in terms of drivers performance) because it was all about car development and pretty much nothing about drivers speed.
        Of course that driving a F1 it´s not only about speed – communication, feedback or consistency are also very important but only the teams can say how much a driver have impressed them.

        1. Funny you mention that, because from what I gather, he’s not a rich boy at all. I read somewhere that he mentioned he was lucky to have won $500,000 in Formula BMW; otherwise he might not have raced in FR 3.5 at all. But sure, he should’ve been more subtle about it. But basically it’s true what he says, look at how Buemi and Alguersuari where unceremoniously dropped like a rock. And it’ll happen again with either Ricciardo and Vergne (or Da Costa). Sure, it’s a tough world out there, and if you’re not good enough you won’t make it. But I can’t blame Frijns for wanting to be his own man, he just should’ve been more subtle about it.

        2. @pnunocosta

          saying that he refused RB twice and they treat theirs young drivers like dogs

          He denies making the ‘dogs’ remark:

          Frijns: ”At Red Bull they treat you like a dog”

      2. Maybe he was trying to hold Gutierrez’s Sauber up to make his times from Monday look better…

        As usual, headline writers, PR people and fans are reading way too much into fastest lap times during a test. I hope the decision-makers within the teams aren’t stupid enough to do the same.

      3. @keithcollantine

        I don’t believe Red Bull would go out of their way to disadvantage Frijns – they’ve got more important things to do like develop new parts for a car that’s still got to help them win the constructors’ title and Vettel the drivers’ title.

        But if, in allocating the finer details of the testing programme, Red Bull’s highly-rated young driver got to all of the flying laps and the driver who criticised them did not, would they be shedding tears over it?

        1. Why should they? From what I can gather Frijns’ might be a fan favourite because his attitude is much like Webber’s, as in ” I say what I think and don’t care what the consequences are” however he isn’t the top gun he thinks he is yet, and making such remarks while in the lower formulae will not aid one’s chances of getting into F1 so all in all if you bite the hand that feeds you what on earth are you expecting will happen?

    4. As for the times, I think you are right about the fact that this being in season also means hiding the real speed of the cars for eachother here @adrianmorse.

  3. William Brierty
    8th November 2012, 15:43

    Surely this confirms what is already very likely. I refer, of course, to the prospect that Valsecchi will replace Petrov at Caterham for next year.

    1. That’s never been mentioned until now.

      1. William Brierty
        9th November 2012, 10:42

        But it is still probably as likely as Bottas’s move to Williams.

    2. The only way that would happen is if Valsecchi brought a bag of cash with him so I don’t see that happening. We’re more likely to lose Kovalainen for that reason.

  4. One question: Why Ferrari is not participating?

    1. They ran at Magny-Cours earlier in the season.

  5. Judging from the lap-times Da Costa appears to have the edge on Frijns in the same machinery. Albeit, we don’t know fuel loads etc. but I’d say that’s a promising sign for Da Costa being a pretty quick driver.

    1. Gutierrez was also faster in the Sauber. Although I think Robin ran only one or two laps on the soft tyre and Esteban did 8 on the first day I believe.

      1. @jp1987 – I think Guitierrez is a rather strange case. He appears to be quick here and now, but when he took over for Perez in India in FP1 he didn’t look particularly competitive. I think he has potential but he’s a bit too inconsistent for now. I still expect him to be at Sauber next year though with Hülkenberg.

        1. @vettel1 to be fair I havent seem him race. but my dad says he might be faster than Checo. If he goes to Sauber he is going to get destroyed by the Hulk. I hope I am wrong, but I don’t see him coming even close

    2. I can’t seem to find a link, but Frijns himself has said he didn’t get any flying laps with Red Bull and only did Aero and mechanical testing.

      1. “The Dutchman’s morning was spent on aero work, but in the afternoon – around some mechanical testing – there was time for some performance runs.” Frijns did had time for some flying laps, as you can see…

    3. I’m afraid something’s lacking with Frijns, but I’m not sure if it’s speed. He tested for Sauber, who want their Mexican money and Red Bull, whose driverprogram he ditched, because they ‘treat their drivers like dogs’. Mmmmm – a good manager / coach could help.

      1. I can only see a chance for Frijns as reserve driver, presumably at Sauber.
        I don´t see any other team giving him the opportunity to race a full season if he doesn´t bring sponsorship.
        Perhaps another season at WSR 3.5 and if possible some FP1 with Sauber would be a pretty good program for him.

    4. Exactly what Red Bull is pointing out in their own press release, @vettel1. But the reality is, as they have an interest in the one, and rather would not have even run Frijns in the first place, they would not have been given both an equal chance to be fast to for the outside world.

      The times in these kind of tests really say nothing. Teams are still testing parts either for next year, or more importantly, to use them in the next 2 races. And as we hardly know about the exact program, nor about fuel levels, setups, engine modes, and who knows what, its just useless to compare the times.

      Both Frijns and Da Costa did a really great job in the WSR 3.5 season, and both are drivers that would really make a nice addition to the grid (be it that maybe both still need a bit more experience before being thrown in the deep end).
      The team that ran them will be able to tell more from the data. But they are not likely to tell us much of it.

  6. A bit disappointed with Razia… he didn’t seem any fast in both days he ran.

  7. With all this test-ban issues, someone somewhere suggested to run the testing days right before/after race weekends, which would be certainly cheaper (all the equipment is already there). And I’ve always though that it would be nice to force the teams to run all these tests by non-official drivers.

    ~7 testing events on a year = Teams get to test + Young drivers get to prove their value

    All happy

    1. Problem is then they have no room for the support races.

  8. You can’t compare the lap times from these guys, the qualifying hapened at night, where the tyres have more grip and less degradation.

Comments are closed.