Young Driver Test - The Lowdown

By on Monday, November 14, 2011

Several F1 2011 drivers tested in Abu Dhabi last year

This week’s young driver test in Abu Dhabi provides drivers with a chance to prove themselves in F1 machinery. With chances limited, the next three days give inexperienced drivers the best chance to understand how an F1 car works and get precious track time.

Last season, Daniel Ricciardo proved his worth in the Red Bull RB6, while Sergio Perez tested for Sauber and Pastor Maldonado all but secured his 2011 seat running for Williams and HRT.

12 months on, the next batch of young stars will be auditioning for seats.

Jean Eric Vergne, who has tested for Toro Rosso this season, will have the unrivalled pleasure of driving Red Bull’s title winning RB7 across all three days. McLaren will run the not-so-young Gary Paffett, but he still qualifies through his lack of actual F1 starts. Oliver Turvey is expected to get a run as well. Like in 2010, Ferrari will give maximum time to their test driver, Jules Bianchi, who will surely be a firm favourite to replace Felipe Massa in 2013 should the Brazilian fail to improve.

Sam Bird will be testing the spare Mercedes, while Renault will be handing their car to the trio of Robert Wickens, Jan Charouz and 18 year old Estonian Kevin Korjus.

Force India will be handing Max Chilton the first two days of the test, with fellow GP2 driver Johnny Cecotto Jr sampling the VJM04 on Thursday.

Sauber will loan their car out to test driver Esteban Gutierrez, as well as Fabio Leimer. The Swiss driver won GP2’s feature race on Saturday. Scuderia Toro Rosso, surprisingly will run drivers not part of the Red Bull academy – Kevin Ceccon and Stefano Coletti.

Williams’s test driver Valtteri Bottas and F2 champion Mirko Bortolotti line up for the British team and Team Lotus will split their programme between Luiz Razia, Alexander Rossi and Rodolfo Gonzalez.

The team was set to run Charles Pic, although he is likely to be joining Robert Wickens and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs at Marussia Virgin after news emerged of his probable signing alongside Timo Glock next season.

Dani Clos is the only confirmed driver at HRT.


Red Bull: Jean Eric Vergne

McLaren: Gary Paffett, Oliver Turvey

Ferrari: Jules Bianchi

Mercedes: Sam Bird

Renault: Robert Wickens (Tuesday), Kevin Korjus (Wednesday), Jan Charouz (Thursday)

Williams: Valtteri Bottas (Tuesday/Wednesday), Mirko Bortolotti (Thursday)

Force India: Max Chilton (Tuesday/Thursday), Johnny Cecotto Jr (Wednesday)

Sauber: Esteban Gutierrez & Fabio Leimer (TBA)

STR: Stefano Coletti (Tuesday/Thursday AM), Kevin Ceccon (Wednesday/Thursday PM)

Team Lotus: Rodolfo Gonzalez (Tuesday), Luiz Razia (Wednesday), Alexander Rossi (Thursday)

HRT: Dani Clos (Days TBA)

Marussia Virgin: Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (Tuesday AM), Charles Pic (Tuesday PM, Wednesday), Robert Wickens (Thursday)

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