Friday, December 11, 2009

F1 Young Drivers Test Postscript

Being the final Official Formula 1 activity of the year, last week’s Young Drivers test session in Jerez garnered much press, thus here’s a small sampling of how some selected aspiring Gran Primo Piloto’s performed...

F1 Young Drivers Test begins

Although I doubt it has anything to do with one’s potential success… As like many of the test’s Young Guns; Belgium’s Bertrand Baguette has a cool sounding name… (Although it’s kinda making me hungry, as in time for a sandwich? Hya!) As Baguette was also a bit of a novelty, as he was the test’s only driver to drive for two separate teams. Driving for Renault on Day 1 and then switching to BMW Sauber on Day 3.

Jules Bianchi was probably one of the most “Hyped” Young Guns at the test, having just signed a multi-year (development) contract with the Scuderia… Not to mention he’s not only got a great sounding name, but a good racing pedigree and is on the Fast-track to F1 thanks to his manager.

Formula BMW Starz
American Alexander Rossi showed well during his stint behind the wheel of the BMW F1.09, running a total of 82 laps to wind-up seventh on Day 1. Next up was Mexico’s Esteban Gutierrez, finishing fifth on Day 2 with Baguette sixth on Day 3.

Brawning Up
IndyCar driver Mike Conway ran very respectable lap times, winding up sixth fastest on Day 1, sixth again on Day 2 and fourth quickest on Day 3, one spot ahead of Nico Hulkenberg; while Swedish Hot-Schue Marcus Ericsson was eighth, seventh and eighth respectively.

La Scuderia
The Scuderia ran Jules Bianchi for the firs two days before giving the Top 3 finishers in this years Italian F3 championship the final day to pound ‘round in an F60, with Mexico’s Pablo Sanchez Lopez throwing down the fastest time of the three Hot-Schues.

Hildebrand Hot Sauce
While Paul di Resta was the fastest of the two Force India drivers; American J.R. Hildebrand made a very respectable showing in his maiden Formula 1 outing; tenth quickest on Day 1 when he drove 49 laps and eighth on Day 2, (49 laps) besting Bianchi by one spot. On Day 3 Hildebrand ran another 41 laps to finish in the tenth slot; finishing ahead of Ferrari’s trio of Italian F3 “Studs!”

Paffett on the Pace
McLaren’s longtime test driver Gary Paffett nipped at the top of the timesheets over the test’s outing; third on Day 1 and third again on Day 3 along with being a good choice for one of the four new Constructors.

Bullish Ricciardo
Current British F3 Champion Daniel Ricciardo showed quite well for Red Bull Racing, as the “Aussie” was near the top of the timesheets all three days; fourth on Tuesday and third on Wednesday.

Le 'Reggie
Amid swirling speculation that the “Reggie” appears to be on the cusp of departing Formula 1, (again) nevertheless the team ran the trio of Bertrand Baguette, Lucas di Grassi and Ho-pin Tung, with tung’s ride having something to do with one of the team’s potential suitors, while Di Grassi is supposedly working upon securing the second seat at Virgin Racing.

Team Willie
While 2010 F1 Rookie & reigning GP2 Champion Nico Hulkenberg was the more celebrated Young Lion of the Williams duo, it was inaugural F2 Champion Andy Soucek who stole Hulkenberg’s thunder with his blazing speed, albeit Hulkenberg posted the second fastest time on his first day’s outing. (Day 2)

Thus, somewhat surprisingly, Day 1 (Tuesday) saw Andy Soucek top the Timesheets for Williams, with Paul di Resta of Force India runner-up. On Day 2, (Wednesday) McLaren’s Gary Paffett topped the time sheets with Nico Hulkenberg runner-up; while on Day 3, (Thursday) Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo moved to the top of the timesheets with Di Resta runner-up once again…

Day 1 Test results

Day 2 Test results

Day 3 Test results