Vettel on top for Red Bull whilst Lotus discovers serious problems on first day of testing at Barcelona.
Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 Team Race Driver: “We completed a few aero runs and then started timed runs, but I was very quickly aware that the car wasn’t responding as it should. It’s not ideal to lose track time, but fortunately we will have the chassis which ran perfectly in Jerez so I should get some good track time tomorrow. It’s far better that we have an issue like this now rather than in Melbourne.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “This morning was our first shakedown of our second chassis. Once the car was on track it was soon evident that everything wasn’t quite as it should be. As a precaution we are returning the chassis to Enstone for further investigation. Chassis E20-01, which we used in Jerez, is being sent over and we expect to be on track with that chassis tomorrow.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “This is a minor setback to our overall test programme. Fortunately we accumulated good mileage in Jerez. If this is the only issue we have during testing then we will still be well prepared for the start of the season. We’ll be back on track tomorrow with chassis E20-01 and assessing chassis E20-02 back at Enstone.”
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Vettel Red Bull 1m23.343s 38 2. Hulkenberg Force India 1m23.440s + 0.097 47 3. Hamilton McLaren 1m23.590s + 0.247 45 4. Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m23.618s + 0.275 45 5. Alonso Ferrari 1m24.100s + 0.757 37 6. Schumacher Mercedes 1m24.150s + 0.807 42 7. Perez Sauber 1m24.219s + 0.876 29 8. Senna Williams 1m26.188s + 2.845 56 9. Grosjean Lotus 1m26.809s + 3.466 7 10. Kovalainen Caterham 1m27.537s + 4.194 9 11. Pic Marussia 1m29.248s + 5.905 65
Portugal hosts first official GP3 test session of 2012
The long wait is finally over! GP3 series is back on track in 2012 with the first official test session in Portugal. Testing takes place over two days – 21-22 February at the Estoril circuit and gives teams and drivers their first opportunity to get a feel with the car – the GP3 10 and to integrate within their squad.
The test will feature many new faces and those drivers will be getting behind the wheel of a GP3 car for the very first time. This test in Estoril is one of three pre-season tests, with Barcelona and Silverstone to come over the next two months before the season commences.
Reigning Champions and newly named Lotus GP will be the team everyone will be watching. Their two confirmed drivers of Daniel Abt and Aaro Vaino will be in the car, along with American Conor Daly. Abt joins the GP3 Series highly rated and will be one of the newcomers keen to make a positive first impression.
New to the series for 2012 are Trident Racing, who will field four drivers over the two days including the recently announced, Vicky Piria. The young Italian will become the first female driver in the history of the Series. Trident have only revealed Piria so far as part of their line-up, so will be using the test as a chance to evaluate potential drivers for the season ahead which begins in Barcelona in May.
MW Arden and Marussia Manor Racing will be using their confirmed driver line ups, whilst Status Grand Prix will have Miki Wekstrom (making his debut in a GP3 car) and the experienced Alexander Sims testing the car alongside Marlon Stockinger, the latter having already signed for 2012 with the Irish squad.
Tech 1 Racing have one representative with Robert Cregan behind the wheel – who will also be making his debut. Jenzer Motorsport will be led by their new Romanian driver, Robert Visoiu, with Patric Niederhauser and Mateo Tuscher also testing for the Swiss team.
Carlin Racing’s Alex Brundle will be making his maiden appearance for the British team, with Antonio Felix Da Costa and William Buller also sharing the time in the car. Atech CRS GP will have Ethan Ringel (already confirmed) and Tamas Pal Kiss testing.
Thirteen drivers who will be testing already have their contract with GP3 for the coming year, with eleven drivers on show who will want showcase their ability in their hopes of landing a seat for the season. Warm temperatures are predicted at the coastal venue.