F3 Champ Impresses On F1 Bow


British Formula Three International Series champion Jean-Eric Vergne enjoyed his first taste of driving an F1 car, testing for Scuderia Toro Rosso at the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi.

“I wasn't really nervous, the preparation beforehand has been good and so all I had to do was jump in the car and drive,” said Vergne. “The team, working with so many people, they are all so professional – so my first time in Formula 1 has been a really good experience.”

The 20-year-old was ninth fastest on track, completing 61 laps as the team are already working towards the first race of 2011, only days after closing out the 2010 campaign.

“Today we did some development of the car for next year and I'm pretty happy because I thought it would be hard to do this,” Vergne added. “I was quite surprised that we were able to do the whole programme.”

The test was dominated by Daniel Ricciardo, driving for Red Bull. The Australian was seven-tenths faster than the next best runner – Renault tester Jerome D'Ambrosio.

Following the completion of the test Vergne travels to Macau for the Formula Three showpiece event, the Macau Grand Prix. The event will be Vergne's final appearance in an F3 car, running for the Carlin team that backed him to the British championship.