Jules Bianchi was the fastest driver on Day One of the three-day Young Driver Test at Magny-Cours.
The Frenchman, who completetd 87 laps for Ferrari, was one of a field of three drivers.
GP2 title contender Luiz Razia was second fastest for Force India, while Briton Sam Bird was third, albeit only about a second off the pace of Bianchi.
“Today we tried various aerodynamic components which are not big evolutions for the car, but things already tried on Fridays at the races and brought here to confirm some of the data” explained Bianchi.
“It’s the first time I’ve driven this year’s car and it was good opportunity for me to get some experience of it. I immediately felt comfortable, with a good pace, but right near the end of the session when I wanted to go for a time, we had a small electrical problem.
“Apart from that, it was a completely positive day: I really like driving this track and it’s characteristics are particularly well suited to testing.”
Razia, who completed 65 laps, had a few technical problems during the morning, but clearly enjoyed the experience today.
“It’s always valuable to spend time in a Formula One car and today has been really useful,” said the Brazilian. “It’s given me the chance to get to know the team and get comfortable in the car.
“The biggest challenge was getting used to all the switches on the steering wheel so that was good experience and I learned about all the car’s systems. I also got to experience KERS for the first time.
“There were some issues with the car in the morning so I did most of my laps in the afternoon and the track just got faster and faster as the track rubbered in. We made some improvements to the car during my runs in the afternoon and some balance corrections which worked well.
“I really enjoyed working with the team and hope I get the chance to build on this in the future.”
Bird, who with 95 laps completed was the most industrious of the three drivers, helped to evaluate Mercedes new exhaust package and other upgrades.
“We’ve had a very productive first day of the test today and were able to complete everything that we had planned on our programme,” he said. “It felt great to be back in the car again and I enjoyed every minute of it. I’ve driven at Magny Cours previously in a Formula 3 car and it was good to experience it today in a Formula One car. The layout here is nice and smooth whilst also being quite challenging.
“We’ve collected a lot of data today which will take some time to sift through this evening and I’m looking forward to another good day tomorrow.”
Magny-Cours Young Driver Test: Day One Times
|2||Luiz Razia||Force India||1:18.535||65|