Our second day of testing and the final one of the young driver programme. Jean-Eric Vergne was again in the cockpit and the team stopped testing, as planned, two hours before the end of the session, because Vergne now has to rush off to Macau, where he starts free practice at the famous street circuit at ten o’clock tomorrow morning.
The Frenchman’s morning session ended slightly ahead of schedule, when engine data revealed an engine parameter was not as it should be, so Jean-Eric was instructed to switch off and park the car. As this is a test, we are using engines that are near the end of their mileage life, therefore, there was no cause for concern and the engine was changed during the lunch break.
Jean-Eric Vergne: “These have been two special days for me, having my first drive in a Formula 1 car. My first run yesterday is something I will remember, with the high speeds being particularly impressive, especially through the corners thanks to the amount of aero downforce you have. It took me a couple of runs to adapt to my new surroundings before we actually started working through a test programme aimed at next year’s car. I was pleased that the first day also went well from my side in that I did not go off the track and there were no difficulties with my physical condition. I also got to do a long run which was an interesting experience, driving with such a heavy fuel load on board. Today, we did some set-up work, so that I could begin to experience the basic mechanism of how set-up changes affect the car. There is a lot to think about, with so much information to take on board, much more than I am used to and another aspect that felt strange at first was driving with the power steering. It’s been a very hectic but enjoyable time and now I head to Macau where I start free practice tomorrow morning.”
Franz Tost: "Jean-Eric Vergne put in a good performance over these two days and our engineers were impressed with the feedback he was able to provide. He completed a total of 154 laps without making any driving mistakes, gradually stepping up his pace over the course of the test. Today, Jean-Eric completed just 61 laps, as he now has to dash off to Macau for the famous Formula 3 race on the street circuit, which is a once in a lifetime opportunity for any young racing driver. We wish him the best of luck there this coming weekend and, based on his performance here in Abu Dhabi, I am sure we will see him in Formula 1 on a permanent basis in the future."
Testing resumes at the Yas Marina circuit on Friday, when Jaime Alguersuari will be driving the STR5 for the first day’s work on Pirelli tyres, who take over as sole tyre supplier as from next season.