Tuesday, November 16, 2010

2010 F1 Young Drivers Test Preview

The second annual Formula 1 Young Drivers Test kicks off today in Abu Dhabi., where a bevy of aspiring Gran Primo Piloto’s will take to the Yas Isle Marina Circuit in hopes of ascending to Formula One one day soon. Last year’s class included two current F1 Drivers – whose jobs are somewhat precarious at the moment: Nico Hulkenberg & Lucas di Grassi, with three Indy Car Series drivers also participating, i.e.; Bertrand Baguette, Mike Conway and J.R. Hildebrand.

2009 F1 Young Drivers Test Postscript
Thus I thought I’d try taking a stab at who’ll potentially be running for the 12 F1 Constructors... Although I wouldn’t be surprised if Hispania F1 Racing skipped the event as there were stories about its current lack of finances circulating when I began scribblin’ this...

Keep in mind that only drivers who haven’t competed in more then two Grand Prix’s in the previous 2yrs are eligible...
FerrariI’d assumed that the Ferrari “Contracted” ART GP2 Driver “Jewelz B” would once again run for the Scuderia, while I didn’t know if they’d bring another trio of Italian F3 Stars to the Show? Yet now that Messer Bianchi has been announced as la Scuderia’s 2011 Test & Reserve Driver; Jules will be their Star of the Show whilst the trio of young Italian F3 lions pace about Vallelunga in ’08-spec Ferrari’s on December 2nd.

Jules Bianchi; France
2007 Formula Renault 2.0 Series Champion, 2008 Formula 3 Masters Champion, 2009 Formula 3 Euroseries Champion, 2010 GP2 Series Competitor, 2011 Ferrari Test & Reserve Driver.

Force IndiaI had assumed that Force India would throw current Test & Reserve Driver Paul di Resta a Bone by running him at the test; since his hoped for 2011 Formula 1 drive looks doubtful. As its now been divulged that Di Resta will get to run on Day-1 before a duet of newcomers take over on Day-2...

Paul di Resta; United Kingdom
2006 F3 Euroseries Champion, 2007-10 DTM Competitor, 2009-10 DTM Winner, 2010 Force India Test & Reserve Driver.

Yelmer Buurman; Netherlands
2008-09 GP2 Series, 2009-10 GP2 Asia Series Competitor, 2008-10 Super League Championship. (’08 Series runner-up)

Felix da Costa; Portugal
2006 Formula Renault NEC Champion, 2010 F3 Euroseries Competitor.

HispaniaAs I already mentioned, I’m not expecting to see HRT take part in this year’s Young Drivers Test, unless there’s some unknown youngster idly sitting around and possessing wheelbarrow’s full of Dinero...

UPDATEOtay, I completely missed the Boat on this ‘Juan... (Surprised NOBODY caught me on it!) As apparently Hispania is cementing its links with future “Partner” – Team Willie; as Pastor Maldonado will not only drive on Day-1, but also do both days of Pirelli rubber testing. (11-19/20) Day-2 will be split between GP2 drivers, Josef Kral and Davide Valsecchi...

LotusOriginally I had NO idea what Team Lotus 2.0 would do... Although I’d expected them to run current Malaysian Test & Reserve Driver Fairuz Fauzy
, but Lotus has just confirmed two unknowns instead.

Vladimir Arabadzhiev; Bulgaria
2009-10 GP2 Asia Series, 2010 GP2 Series Competitor.

Rodolfo Gonzalez; Venezuela
2006 British F3 National Class Champion, 2008-10 GP2 Asia/GP2 Series Competitor.

McLarenHaven’t heard a peep ‘bout McLaren’s plans for the upcoming test, but Y’all know they’ll be there in one form or another, most likely with longtime tester Gary Paffett along with somebody else?

Gary Paffett; Great Britain
2005 DTM Champion, 2009-10 McLaren Test & Reserve Driver and DTM Series Competitor.

Oliver Turvey; Great Britain
2006 McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver Award Winner, 2010 GP2 Series Competitor.

MercedesJust read (10/29) that GP2 Rookie Sam Bird will drive for ‘Merc at this test. No word on whether or not he’ll be joined by last year’s BRAWN GP nominee Marcus Ericsson (wishful thinking...) or anyone else? Although it’s obvious that Ericsson’s Young Driver Test teammate Mike Conway won’t be back in the fold for the German team this winter. (Nor was Ericsson...)

Sam Bird; Great Britain
2005 Formula BMW European Championship runner-up, 2009-10 GP2 Asia Series, 2010 GP2 Series Competitor & winner.

Red BullThe newly anointed 2010 “Double” World Champions (Drivers & Constructors titles) will once again run RBR Tester Daniel Ricciardo in the forthcoming Young Drivers test.

Daniel Ricciardo; Australia
2008 Formula Renault 2.0 WEC Series Champion, 2009 British F3 Series Champion, 2010 World Series by Renault (3.5) runner-up.

RenaultWhale, I was a bit surprised to discover that Virgin signing Jerome D’Ambrosio will be testing for le Reggie at Yas Isle; but then again I believe he’s managed by Gerard Lopez’s Gravity Sports Management concern. While newly crowned WSR Champion Mikhail Aleshin gets to taste Formula One machinery as a prize for winning the World Series by Renault title...

Jerome D’Ambrosio; Belgium
2003 Formula Renault 1.6 Champion – Belgium, 2007 Formula Master Champion, 2008-10 GP2 Asia/GP2 Series Competitor; 1-win, 2010 Renault Test & Reserve Driver, 2010 Virgin Third Driver.

Mikhail Aleshin; Russia
2009 F2 – 3rd Overall; 1-win, 2010 World Series by Renault (3.5-liter) Champion.

SauberI’d expect the team to run new signing Sergio Perez - possibly along with his fellow countryman Esteban Gutierrez, who’s also a “Contracted” Sauber driver...

Sergio Perez; Mexico
2004 Skip Barber Series Competitor, 2007 British F3 National Class Champion, 2010 GP2 Series runner-up, 2011 Sauber F1 race driver.

Esteban Gutierrez; Mexico
2008 BMW European Champion, 2010 GP3 Champion, 2011 Sauber Test & Reserve Driver.

Scuderia Toro RossoRed Bull’s ‘lil “Seester” will run another Red Bull prodigy, reigning British F3 Champion Jean-Eric Vergne, another member of the vaunted Red Bull Junior Team since ‘08. Having replaced Junior Team member Brian Hartley who’s apparently fallen out of favour with Red Bull…

Jean-Eric Vergne; France
2007 French Formula Renault Campus (F4 EuroCup 1.6) Champion, 2008 French Formula Renault 2.0 Champion, 2010 British F3 champion.

VirginI was guessing that current third driver Jerome D’Ambrosio would get the nod for Virgin at the test, which perhaps he’ll still do on Wednesday? As perhaps both of the “Reggie Boyz” will see duty here too, especially since Virgin has just done a deal with Marussia - could we see two “Rooskies” in Formula One next year, eh?

But I’ve just discovered that Virgin does have a Test Driver, so may be he’ll run instead... Actually I believe they’ve got two; D’Ambrosio & Luiz Razia, with the latter having beaten Mario Moraes (KVRT IndyCar driver) and Diego Nunes for his South American F3 title.

Luiz Razia; Brazil
2006 South America F3 champion, 2008-10 GP2 Asia Series, 2009-10 GP2 Series Competitor; 1-win.

Williams"Team Willie" has previously announced that it’ll be running the current 2010 GP2 Champion Pastor Maldonado along with Dean Stoneman, this year’s F2 Champion... As speculation suggests that the 25yr old Venezuelan Maldonado will replace current Williams F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg, while Stoneman’s drive is part of the prize for winning the F2 Championship...

Pastor Maldonado; Venezuela
2004 Formula Renault Champion - Italy, 2007-10 GP2 Series Competitor, 2008-09 GP2 Asia Series, 2010 GP2 Series Champion.

Dean Stoneman, Great Britain
2007-09 Formula Renault UK Series Competitor, 2010 F2 Series Champion.