The final day of the Young Driver Test in Magny Cours today saw Jules Bianchi set the fastest time yet again, just like in the previous two days. He rejoined Ferrari for the final day. Rodolfo Gonzalez drove for Force India while Brandon Hartley took the wheel for Mercedes AMG.
Wet conditions this morning meant the Pirelli intermediate and wet tyres were required for the first time this week
At Mercedes, Hartley, one of the team's simulator drivers had his first chance to drive the team's Formula One car on track. In the afternoon, he ran on the dry track to use use the hard compound tyre for set-up work over longer runs.
At Force India, Rodolfo Gonzalez also enjoyed his debut in a Formula One car.
Brendon Hartley, Mercedes AMG:
"It was an amazing feeling to be back driving a Formula One car today, and I would like to thank the Mercedes AMG Petronas team for giving me this opportunity. The track was quite wet this morning so we lost some time but once it had dried out, we were able to get on with the test programme, using mainly the hard tyre. It was a successful day for both me and the team, and we completed the programme, despite the weather. I'm happy with my performance and pleased that it only took a couple of runs before I was on the pace as it's been three years since I last drove a Formula One car. I'm very grateful for the experience and really enjoyed working with the team today."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal, Mercedes AMG:
"Today sees the conclusion of a successful three day test for the team in Magny Cours with our young drivers Sam Bird and Brendon Hartley. This was an important test, allowing both drivers some important track time in a Formula One car, and enabling us to continue our development programme with the evaluation of our new upgrades. Both Sam and Brendon have driven very well, providing good and consistent feedback, and I would like to thank them for their efforts and diligence over the last three days. We now have a wealth of data from the test to study back at the factory over the next few days and in advance of the forthcoming race in Singapore."
Rodolfo Gonzalez, Sahara Force India:
“Today has been a great experience. The conditions were quite difficult to begin with because of the wet start to the day, but it was good to try out the wet and intermediate tyres. The other main task was getting used to the control systems and building my speed and feel for the car. I’m quite happy with my pace today, although I think there was more to come because it was my first time driving at Magny-Cours and my first time in the car. The team did a great job of making me feel welcome and comfortable, and I really hope to get another chance to drive a Formula One car soon. ”
Jakob Andreasen, Chief Engineer, Sahara Force India:
“A good end to our test in Magny-Cours and it was good to work with Rodolfo for the first time. We lost track time in the morning with the wet conditions, but the weather cleared up for the afternoon allowing him to run the hard, medium and soft tyres. So he was able to sample the car in all conditions, which is always valuable experience. We also made sure he carried out pit stop simulations and launches, as we did with Luiz earlier in the week. The other items on the job list included running different aero settings, which went smoothly. Overall it has been an excellent week with a super-human effort by the team to run this test alongside preparations for Singapore.”
Jules Bianchi, Scuderia Ferrari:
“In the morning, I did a few laps to get a feel for the car on the intermediate tyres and even though there was not much grip, it was no bad thing to get some experience in the wet, after two days of dry testing” said Bianchi at the end of the day. “After a few hours the track dried and we carried on with our programme, centred mainly on aerodynamic measurement and set-up evaluation. I feel I learned a lot from this test and I think the work was constructive for me and for the team. We tried to improve the balance of the car and looked at some things that could be useful in the upcoming races.”