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Abu Dhabi Young Driver Test Session–Team Quotes-Day 1

It was the first day of the Young Drivers Formula 1 test in Abu Dhabi today and several new faces took a ride in a Formula One car. First impressions, expectations and comments.   

Renault F1

The Renault F1 Team completed its first day of young driver testing in Abu Dhabi as Mikhail Aleshin got behind the wheel of the R30 to complete his prize test for winning this year’s World Series by Renault.

Circuit: Abu Dhabi

Length: 5.5 km

Driver: Mikhail Aleshin

Chassis: R30-03

Total Laps: 58 laps

Fastest Lap: 1:42.073

Mikhail Aleshin: “It was my first proper day in an F1 car and I have to say it definitely lived up to my expectations. It felt great to be part of the team, working with the engineers and the mechanics and we managed to do lots of different things during the day. By the start of the afternoon we had quite a nice balance with the car and it felt really good. The only issue we had was a hydraulic leak, which cost me some track time at the end of the day. That was a shame because it meant that I couldn’t go out when the track temperature was low and when the track was at its quickest. But overall it has been a fantastic experience and I want to say a big thank you to the team and to Renault Sport because this was a great opportunity for me”

Technical Debrief with Alan Permane

“Mikhail completed a good day’s running for us. We started the day by doing some aero mapping work, which went very well, and he spent most of the morning on the medium tyres as he steadily improved his lap times. In the afternoon he set his quickest time on hard tyres when the track was at its hottest, but he didn’t get a chance to run on the soft tyres when the track was cooler so I’m sure there was more lap time to come. Overall we have been impressed with his approach and his pace, so it has been a positive day.”

Abu Dhabi Test Schedule

Wednesday 17 November: Jérôme D’Ambrosio

Friday 19 November : Robert Kubica

Saturday 20 November: Robert Kubica

Lotus Racing

The sound of Formula One™ engines returned to Abu Dhabi today as Lotus Racing’s young driver test began with Venezuela’s Rodolfo González at the wheel of chassis T127-03. After a full day in the cockpit Rodolfo completed 83 laps with a best time of 1.44.924.

Rodolfo González: “What an incredible day. As I pulled out for my first lap I could not believe I was finally at the wheel of a Formula One™ car. Since I started karting at the age of five it has been my dream to get behind the wheel of an F1™ car and today it came true. It has been 18 years of hard work and sacrifice to reach this point and I want to say thank you to Lotus Racing for giving me this opportunity. I have been preparing for today for a long time and even though I completed 83 laps to be honest I am surprised I lasted that long – after 30 laps I was already feeling it and by the 82nd lap my neck was beginning to suffer so I thought it was time to stop. That is normal for anyone who makes the step up to F1™ but I am really pleased with how the whole day went.

“Since I arrived here the whole team has been just great. They have all given me real confidence and said I did not have to try to impress anybody, you have already impressed people anyway so just do a good steady job and you will be fine. Mike Gascoyne told me today was not about proving I am ready for F1, but it would show if I am not ready so I just wanted to do the most intelligent job I could. I have learnt a huge amount over the last couple of days and tomorrow I hope I can continue to progress on track and put in another good performance.”

Jody Egginton, Chief Race Engineer: “Rodolfo did a good job for us today. He gave good, clear feedback, took a measured approach and spent the right amount of time learning his way around the car. This morning he drove steadily and started picking his pace up this afternoon when we moved to some more performance biased runs. The fuel loads and setups he was running would compare with a normal Friday at a race weekend, so he had the experience of both high and low fuel and a range of run types. He worked well with the engineers all day and studied the data in depth so I think for his first time in an F1™ car he has done a pretty decent job overall.”

Force India F1 Team

Abu Dhabi test report – day one of two

16 November 2010 – The Force India F1 Team’s young driver test got underway today at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. The team remained on site after Sunday’s race to participate in the two day test, reserved exclusively for drivers who have limited F1 racing experience.

Paul di Resta took to the circuit for the opening 90 minutes to test development items ahead of the tyre test later this week before handing the VJM03 over to Antonio Felix da Costa for the remainder of the day.

Antonio became the youngest-ever Portuguese driver to run a Formula 1 car when he took to the track and performed well throughout the session, running on a variety of settings, fuel loads and aero configurations. He completed 77 laps with a best time of 1:41.381, the third quickest of the day.

Paul will again be running in the first part of the day tomorrow, with Dutchman Yelmer Buurman taking over driving duties mid morning.

Paul di Resta

It was good to be back in the car this morning for the first time since the Italian Grand Prix, even though it was a very short session – just over an hour and a half. We had a few development items we needed to run to carry over to the tyre test later this week and I had to learn the circuit layout since I’d never driven the Yas Marina track other than on the simulator. It’s very technical with tight corners that you need to get right, and I’m looking forward to getting out again tomorrow to carry on the programme in the morning.

Antonio Felix da Costa

It was a good day, quite surprising, even for me. I adapted to the car a bit faster than I expected and that was very positive as I could do some real work to get up to speed more quickly and get to grips with the set up of the car. I think my lap time was good, only four tenths from the qualifying times of the Force India this weekend, so I am pretty pleased. It was just such an amazing experience today and I wish everyone could try it as it’s so impressive, such fun. I have to thank the whole crew at Force India who worked so hard today, to my management and sponsors and I hope to have some more F1 experience again quite soon.

Dominic Harlow, chief race engineer

A good first day of testing for the team. We started with Paul to make a short baseline and carry out some component testing and data collection. Antonio took over the car shortly before lunch, familiarised himself quickly and ran through several tyre and long run evaluations as part of what is now our standard Young Driver Programme. Overall we covered our objectives, everyone in the team did a great job, and we and look forward to tomorrow’s second Young Driver day.

Testing data

Driver:   Paul di Resta (9am – 10.30am) / Antonio Felix da Costa

Track:   Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi

Best lap time:  Paul: 1:42.736 / Antonio: 1:41.381

Laps completed: Paul: 28 / Antonio: 77

Kilometres completed: Paul: 156km / Antonio: 428km

Air temperature:  High of 33 C

Track temperature: High of 45 C

Weather:  Sunny throughout

Mercedes GP Petronas

Date Tuesday 16 November 2010

Track Yas Marina Circuit

Driver Sam Bird

No of Laps 67 laps

Best Lap Time 1:42.985

Kilometres Covered 372 kms

Track Length 5.554 kms

Weather Hot and sunny

The first day of the official Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi began today with British GP2 racer Sam Bird driving for the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS team. Sam completed 67 laps, covering 372 kms of the Yas Marina Circuit, which he knows well from his GP2 racing over the weekend.

Sam concentrated on acclimatising himself to the team’s MGP W01 car as he worked through a test programme which included aerodynamic and set-up direction work, providing consistently good feedback for the team. Sam will continue his programme tomorrow for the second and final day of the Young Driver Test.

Sam Bird: “We have had a really good first day of testing and worked through a lot of different things with the car to help the team’s programme here. We made some good progress on the set-up over the day and I have thoroughly enjoyed my first day working with the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS team. I’m looking forward to the second day tomorrow and seeing where we can make further improvements.”

Ross Brawn: “Sam drove very well today and the training that he has put in on our simulator at the factory recently really paid off as he was able to get to grips with the car quickly and understand all of our procedures right from the start. Sam provided strong feedback on the set-up direction and we should be able to achieve further performance work tomorrow and are confident that Sam will provide good results.”

Hispania Racing


Pastor Maldonado  F110-02 #40 11th  (59 laps, 327.686 km)     1.46.278 


Pastor Maldonado  F110-02 #40 11th  (49 laps, 272.146 km)     1.43.750

Tuesday, 16th November 2010

It was the first day of the Young Drivers Formula 1 test in Abu Dhabi today, and Pastor Maldonado was the first one to drive the HRT F110. This was only the second time the 25 year old was driving an F1 car after having tested with Minardi F1 in Misano 2004, and he demonstrated straight away that he is fast and can drive at constant pace. The Venezuelan was one of the first to be out on track this morning and he spent the day fulfilling his program. In the morning, Pastor Maldonado drove 327.686 km (59 laps), clocking a best time of 1.46.278. In the afternoon, the current GP2 Series Champion was able to keep on improving his times as he got more used to the car and the track conditions kept on improving. He stopped the clock on 1.43.750 and was the driver who covered the most laps at the wheel of the car today, doing 108 in total (599.832 km). Tomorrow it will be the turn for both GP2 drivers Josef Král and Davide Valsecchi to jump in the Hispania Racing F1 car for the first time, and Pastor Maldonado will be back driving for the Spanish team on Friday and Saturday at the Pirelli Test.

Dr. Colin Kolles, Team Principal:

“We are very happy to have Pastor Maldonado in our car at the Young Drivers Test and the Pirelli Test. He did a great job and he was the driver who completed the most laps today. The track conditions were very good and Pastor got used to the car quickly. The Venezuelan was very competitive compared to the other new teams’ drivers and the rest of them. We fulfilled our program as planned and did 108 laps. We could also carry on improving like during the last races and we are excited to see how much further up we can go.”

Pastor Maldonado:

“It was a great feeling to be back in a Formula 1 car today and to complete 108 laps with the HRT F110. I got more confident with this car during the day and I could improve the lap times constantly when the track conditions improved. We were quite quick today and I pushed a lot to show a good performance. I am very happy to get the opportunity to do the Young Drivers Test and Pirelli Test with Hispania Racing. Now I cannot wait to be back in the car on Friday again.”

Scuderia Toro Rosso

ABU DHABI TEST – DAY 1 – 16 November 2010

Circuit: Yas Marina Circuit – 5.554 km

Driver: Jean-Eric Vergne

Chassis: STR5 – 03

Best time: 1:42.489, 93 laps

After a one day break from track action, the Formula 1 teams were back at work for a final week of testing in 2010. Today and tomorrow are officially designated as a Young Driver test, included on the calendar to deal with the fact that the in-season test ban makes it hard to give drivers from the lower formulae a chance to experience a Formula 1 car.

In the cockpit for Scuderia Toro Rosso was Jean-Eric Vergne, the Frenchman who has won this year’s British Formula 3 International Championship, as part of the Red Bull Junior Driver programme. With testing being such a valuable commodity, apart from giving the driver time in the car, the team also used the day to work on elements for next season so the STR 5 was run with various aerodynamic configurations. Vergne then also had the opportunity to try the car in race trim, which made for a very different car in terms of mass and balance and the Frenchman also did his first tyre comparison, using the medium and super soft Bridgestones, which the teams had used over the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend.

“We completed a very busy schedule today, split between an evaluation of the driver and working on elements for next year’s car,” said Chief Engineer, Laurent Mekies. “Jean-Eric performed consistently throughout the day and it was good that he was fit enough to complete 93 laps without any problem.”

Jean-Eric will be back in the car tomorrow.

Williams F1

Driver: Dean Stoneman

Chassis / engine: FW32-01 / CA221

Location: Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi. 5.554km / 3.451 miles

Objectives: Aero testing, baseline and familiarisation runs

Weather: Warm with some cloud

Air & track temps: 33ºC / 29ºC

Tom McCullough, Senior Test Engineer

Dean Stoneman was in the cockpit today for the first day of the young driver test. We did aero work this morning, from which we’ve accumulated useful data. Dean used the afternoon to familiarise himself with the car and put some times on the board. He went quicker every lap he completed, worked well with his engineers and overall did a professional job for the team. We’re impressed by him. Tomorrow, Pastor Maldonado will drive the Williams and we will spend the day continuing our aero tests.

Dean Stoneman

That was slightly different to what I’m used to! It’s a big step up from a Formula 2 car, particularly the difference in aero. It was good to start off with some speed-limited aero work as it allowed me to build up to doing quicker laps in the afternoon. Towards the end of the day, I just kept pushing to see where the limit of the car is and where I could improve my times around the lap. Today was a great experience and the team have been really supportive. It’s also been a major opportunity for me. To be given the chance of driving a Formula One car doesn’t come around that often, so I feel very privileged.

AT&T Williams will be back on track tomorrow, Wednesday 16 November, when Pastor Maldonado will drive the FW32 for the second day of the young driver test.

TIMES (All timings are unofficial)


Pos Driver Car Time Laps


1. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:39.616 83

2. Oliver Turvey McLaren 1:40.725 85

3. Antonio de Costa Force India 1:41.381 77

4. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:41.432 88

5. Dean Stoneman Williams 1:41.522 70

6. Mikhail Aleshin Renault 1:42.073 58

7. Jean Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:42.489 93

8. Paul di Resta Force India 1:42.736 28

9. Sam Bird MERCEDES GP PETRONAS 1:42.985 67

10. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin 1:43.518 36

11. Pastor Maldonado HRT 1:43.750 108

12. Jules Bianchi Ferrari 1:43.894 59

13. Rodolfo Gonzalez Lotus 1:44.924 83

14. Rio Haryanto Virgin 1:49.439 21