The first day of the F1 young drivers’ test is over. Of the 23 taking part in the three-day test, fourteen were driving today. So far as I’m aware, nothing significant happened and the young drivers generally did well.
In the morning, Jean-Eric Vergne topped the times for Red Bull with Jules Bianchi about two seconds behind in the Ferrari. McLaren ran Oliver Turvey, who was 0.9s behind the French driver. Finn Valtteri Bottas was getting the most out of the Williams and set the fourth-fastest time.
In the afternoon, Charles Pic took over from Adrian Quaife-Hobbs in the Virgin, while Gary Paffett took over in the McLaren. The British team have been using the time to work on 2012 modifications, since Paffett has no race experience despite testing for a long time with them. Vergne was again fastest, with Bianchi around 0.9s slower in the Ferrari. Robert Wickens in the Renault set the third-fastest time. Williams had a few gearbox troubles, but Bottas still managed some good running.
Team Lotus welcomed on board new sporting director Steve Nielsen today. He will be starting work in September. Steve formerly worked at Arrows, old Team Lotus, Tyrrell, Benetton and (most recently) Renault, and will be replacing Dieter Gass.
In the young drivers’ test, McLaren have revealed that they will be using regular test driver Gary Paffett (who has never driven in a Grand Prix) alongside Oliver Turvey; Mercedes will field Sam Bird; and Ferrari will field their test driver Jules Bianchi.
Arden’s GP2 final lineup was announced early this morning, mixing its GP2 and GP3 teams. Simon Trummer, who found his pace late in the season in GP3, will partner Josef Kral. This means that there will be two Czech drivers in the GP2 final.
There is still no news on who will be driving for Super Nova.
Oliver Turvey – 23
British racing driver Oliver Turvey drove for Carlin in GP2 for the round at Monaco. Qualifying 15th, that was where he finished in the first race as the last of the classified finishers. But improvements in the second race saw him finish 8th. Still, it’s Monaco so it’s kind of hard to judge performance other than “he didn’t retire at Monaco”. Which is an achievement in itself.
And the result of Group Lotus vs Team Lotus is that the status quo has been maintained. Ha ha. Both sides have claimed victory.
Group Lotus are allowed to use the ‘Lotus’ name by itself in Formula One. Team Lotus are allowed to use ‘Team Lotus’, but apparently not ‘Lotus’ by itself, although they will keep the chassis name according to Tony Fernandes. I have changed all the ‘lotus’ tags on this site to ‘Team Lotus’ just to clarify things.
Group Lotus are still allowed to have the black and gold cars on the track through their sponsorship of Renault. Team Lotus are still allowed to have the green and yellow cars, and use the iconic Team Lotus symbol. The only real ruling that was made was that Group’s decision to end the license agreement with 1 Malaysia F1 Team was legitimate.
Each company has released a statement about the judgement: Group Lotus, Team Lotus.
Tony Fernandes seems happiest about the result, with Group Lotus intending to appeal as they don’t think the Team Lotus name should be allowed to be used at all by Tony’s team. They say this is to ‘avoid confusion’. I’m not confused. The most confused I get in F1 is when I get a Toro Rosso or a Red Bull mixed up. I think they’re forgetting that Renault aren’t actually their team, but they’re just a sponsor! Probably the happiest people are the lawyers, who have made lots of money to keep things the way they are.
Oliver Turvey has been handed a 30-second penalty from the feature race for failing to take a drive through penalty for jumping the start. This has demoted him to 15th, losing him his two points and promoting Charles Pic to the reverse grid pole. Sam Bird has been penalised five grid places for the race tomorrow after causing the collision between himself and his teammate in the race. Max Chilton is now 16th in the championship, while Turvey is second-last as all drivers except Mikhail Aleshin have at least one race finish better than fifteenth. It does not affect the team standings.
It’s interesting to note that I am doing all this from my home and have never been to an F1 or GP2 race. I love the Internet. I was watching the race today through an online stream that was fantastic quality, using a cable to connect the video to my TV screen while having the live timing on my laptop.
For all the events going on tomorrow, check the front page of my blog.
It’s an all-British lineup for Carlin this weekend as Oliver Turvey takes the place of Mikhail Aleshin. The Russian driver was looking doubtful to drive for the whole season, and Turvey had replaced him in tests. After a poor showing in Barcelona after his injury at Istanbul, it made sense for Carlin to try a more experienced driver.
In 2009, Turvey came 4th with Carlin in FR 3.5, winning the race in Monaco. Last year he competed in GP2 with iSport, finishing 6th with several finishes on the podium, and he won the second Abu Dhabi GP2 Asia feature race in 2009-10, also coming sixth with iSport. In the 2011 GP2 Asia championship he finished 16th, with a best finish of 8th.
We will be seeing the super-soft tyres come out at Monaco for the first time. They will be red. As Martin Brundle said at the first race, the tyres are coloured silver, white, yellow and red or: knife, bread, butter and jam. So far we have seen the silver hard tyres and the yellow soft tyres. We will continue to see the butter yellow softs at Monaco, but they will become ‘primes’ while the super-softs are the options.
Monaco is a slow, low-downforce track so the tyres should wear less than at a high-downforce track like Barcelona. All the same, these tyres create a risk of another massive pit-stop race where Pirelli are looking for only 2 or 3 maximum.