Tuesday in Abu Dhabi saw 21-year old Robin Frijns get his first taste of driving a Formula One car on a proper race track. Before that the young Dutchman had only experienced a demo run. The newly crowned 2012 Formula Renault 3.5 World Series champion covered 78 laps at the Yas Marina Circuit, which is almost one and half times last Sunday’s race distance.
Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering: “We had a good day with Robin. He did fine. Physically he coped well and also, for his age, gave us good feedback. The mileage is a lot and the lap time is also good. We started with hard tyres and did some aero work in the morning before actually working on his lap time. Towards the end of the day we gave him an idea of different tyre compounds and went with a set of medium and a set of soft. But we never sent him out with a qualifying fuel level.”
Robin Frijns: “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. In the morning we started with installation laps so that I could get used to the car and the steering wheel, which isn’t that easy. In the afternoon I found it hard to understand the tyre compounds. I had only driven on Michelin tyres before, and with the Pirelli medium and soft compounds it was difficult for me after only one lap. I had the feeling the more careful I handled them the worse it became. 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.”
What comes next:
For Wednesday and Thursday the Sauber F1 Team’s test and reserve driver, Esteban Gutiérrez (22/MX), will take over driving duties.