Abu Dhabi Test Day 1: Magnussen tops the timing sheets

Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren MP4-27. Formula One Young Drivers Test, Day One, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Tuesday 6 November 2012.

Kevin Magnussen ended the day fastest in the McLaren MP4-27

Nov.6 (Reuters) Danish youngster Kevin Magnussen, whose father Jan raced in Formula One during the 1990s, put McLaren on top of the timesheets on the first day of a young driver test in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

Kevin Magnussen (DEN) talks with the engineers and Gary Paffett (GBR) McLaren. Formula One Young Drivers Test, Day One, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Tuesday 6 November 2012.The 20-year-old is a genuinely young driver in a session that also included the 31-year-old pair of Nicolas Prost, son of French former champion Alain, with Lotus and McLaren reserve Gary Paffett.

Speaking to reporters at last weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, McLaren’s team principal Martin Whitmarsh made no apologies for using the test more for development of the existing race car than to introduce fresh faces to F1.

“With the limitation on track testing, all teams play a different game,” he explained. “A lot of the small teams use young driver testing for revenue and a team like ours uses it largely for a range of technical developments.

Nicolas Prost, Lotus F1 Team. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Day1, Tuesday 6th November 2012“I’d be disappointed if we come out of that [test] without arriving [at the next race] in Texas with something we can put on the car or some better understanding that makes us quicker,” added the Briton.

There are two races remaining this season, the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, and the Brazilian GP in Sao Paulo. McLaren are battling Ferrari for second place in the constructors’ championship.

Paffet and fellow-Briton Oliver Turvey, 25, will do the bulk of McLaren’s testing over the next two days at the Yas Marina Grand Prix circuit.

Champions Red Bull had promising Portuguese driver Antonio Felix Da Costa, who was second fastest, in their car while Sauber tried out Dutchman Robin Frijns.

Da Costa looked back on his day in the world champion car,

“This was my first time driving an RB8 at a proper test, with proper tyres on a real circuit, and…wow! I was perhaps a little anxious beforehand, but ultimately the pedals and the steering wheel are in the usual places. There’s a lot to learn, particularly with the buttons on the steering wheel, and it took one or two runs to get completely comfortable with all of that – but I think we had a good day.”

Highly rated Formula Renault 3.5 champion Robin Frijns was in action for Sauber, setting the fourth best time and tallying up 78 laps during the day. Which he felt come the end of day one at Yas Marina, “Gosh this was hard work! Not in the beginning but then suddenly I felt it, especially from the brakes. I am really tired now and know I have to go and exercise more. There is obviously a lot to learn. On my fastest lap with the soft tyres I made a mistake, so there was more to come. The team did a great job during the day and I want to thank them for that.”

Prost, who was fifth fastest in the Lotus, said of his stint with the Abu Dhabi GP winning team, “For me it was like a real test driver’s day and we trialled a lot of parts. We only worked on the hard tyres, so were obviously not looking for pace, but we have been analysing the data and I have been comparing myself with Kimi and Romain’s telemetry. Obviously I’m missing a bit in some corners, but others are quite good. For my first day I think it’s very positive and I did the job the team asked of me, so it’s been a very good day.”

Sixth on the timing sheets was 2012 GP2 Series runner-up Luiz Razia in the Toro Rosso. The Brazilian summed up his day, “I enjoyed my first experience working with Toro Rosso, on a track I know well, having driven here in 2010 and 2011. In the morning, the team had various test items it wanted to work through and in the afternoon, we looked a bit more at establishing a base line on the car. As for all the buttons on the steering wheel, I had some time before driving the car to get used to them, so I soon got the hang of it. Overall, it was a good day as the car ran trouble free and I was able to do a lot of laps.”

Caterham ran Dutch driver Giedo Van der Garde, who is expected to be signed by the team for 2013, who ended the day at the foot of the timing sheets. He said, “I think the team’s happy with what I’ve done today and physically I feel great after running a good number of laps. After my FP1 session here in Abu Dhabi was cut short it was good to get some really decent time on track and the key thing for me is to keep developing my relationship with the team. There’s still a few tweaks we could make to the setup to suit my driving style a bit more but we have tomorrow to work on a few more setup options, as well as continuing to test parts and aero programs.”

Yas Marina Test – Tuesday, 6 November unofficial  times:

  1. Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, 1m 42.661s, 40 Laps
  2. Antonio Felix da Costa, Red Bull, 1m 42.717s, 79 Laps
  3. Gary Paffett, McLaren, 1m 43.407s, 44 Laps
  4. Robin Frijns, Sauber, 1m 43.775s, 78 Laps
  5. Nicolas Prost, Lotus, 1m 44.194s, 55 Laps
  6. Luiz Razia, Toro Rosso, 1m 44.691s, 67 Laps
  7. Giedo van der Garde, Caterham, 1m 45.936s, 57 Laps

Subbed by AJN.

  • Kimi4WDC

    I hope Kevin will enjoy more luck than his dad in F1. Jan was killing everything prior to F1. But Kevin looks very impressive overall and it’s a right team he got the test with, to show his qualities!

    All the best!