Abu Dhabi Young Drivers Test 2011: Full 3-Day Report (MGP)

As usual, Formula 1 teams are participating in an official test session for young drivers immediately after the grand prix held at Abu Dhabi. This year, GP2 talent Sam Bird took part in the event for MERCEDES GP PETRONAS and was in charge of the Silver Arrow for three days. His best result was achieved in the last day of testing through consistent work and pace: he ranked 2nd in the official standings, falling 2 seconds behind Red Bull's Jean-Eric Vergne.

Check out the full 3-day report after the break!


Two days after the 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Formula One’s Young Driver Test began at the Yas Marina Circuit this morning.

GP2 driver Sam Bird is driving for MERCEDES GP PETRONAS at the test and had the first of his three days in the car today.

- The team ran 2011 Pirelli tyres throughout the day whilst working on some development items for 2012
- A transmission issue cost some running time in the morning, however the lost time was recovered in the afternoon session
- Having used the team’s simulator extensively, Sam was quickly up to speed, and showed impressive pace and consistency
- The team plan to start evaluating the 2012 Pirelli tyres tomorrow

Sam Bird
“We did some good work today as the team began on-track preparations for the 2012 season. It’s fantastic to be behind the wheel of a Formula One car again, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself out there. I’m looking forward to the next two days and making a contribution to the team’s work for 2012. Many thanks to MERCEDES GP PETRONAS for giving me this opportunity.”


Pos Driver Car Time Laps
1. Jean-Eric Vergne Red Bull 1:40.011 83
2. Jules Bianchi Ferrari 1:40.960 85
3. Robert Wickens Lotus Renault 1:42.217 78
4. Fabio Leimer Sauber 1:42.331 67
5. Gary Paffett McLaren 1:42.912 41
6. Max Chilton Force India 1:43.016 81
7. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:43.118 71
8. Oliver Turvey McLaren 1:43.502 35
9. Sam Bird MERCEDES GP PETRONAS 1:43.548 53
10. Rodolfo Gonzalez Team Lotus 1:44.022 87
11. Stefano Coletti Toro Rosso 1:45.278 87
12. Dani Clos HRT 1:45.329 68
13. Charles Pic Marussia Virgin 1:46.930 30
14. Adrian Quaife Hobbs Marussia Virgin 1:47.292 32


On the second day of the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi today, Sam Bird continued his work at the wheel of the MGP W02 car.

- The team focused on 2012 Pirelli tyre evaluations throughout the day with short runs in the morning and longer runs this afternoon
- Consistent driving from Sam allowed the team to collect plenty of data, along with his feedback on the feel of the tyres
- Sam and the team will complete the test tomorrow on the third and final day.

Sam Bird
“We made some very good progress with the programme today and were able to achieve all of the goals that we intended. It was interesting to try out the new 2012 Pirelli tyres for the first time, and I enjoyed the experience. Overall it was a very good day for us and I’m looking forward to completing our programme of test items tomorrow.”


Pos Driver Car Time Laps
1. Jean-Eric Vergne Red Bull 1:40.188 43
2. Jules Bianchi Ferrari 1:40.279 91
3. Gary Paffett McLaren 1:41.756 71
4. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:42.367 88
5. Johnny Cecotto Force India 1:42.873 84
6. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:43.637 96
7. Sam Bird MERCEDES GP PETRONAS 1:43.734 94
8. Kevin Korjus Lotus Renault 1:43.776 70
9. Luiz Razia Team Lotus 1:43.944 89
10. Kevin Ceccon Toro Rosso 1:44.808 97
11. Jan Charouz HRT 1:46.644 56
12. Charles Pic Marussia Virgin 1:46.698 61
13. Nathanael Berthon Marussia Virgin 1:48.646 9


The third and final day of the Young Driver Test took place in Abu Dhabi today, with Sam Bird rounding off the test programme for MERCEDES GP PETRONAS at the Yas Marina Circuit.

- The team ran a 2012 exhaust position this morning and collected data to help develop our package for the new regulations
- This afternoon, we returned to a standard car specification and focused on developing the set-up of the car on the soft Pirelli tyre
- The three day programme has been extremely productive and enabled Sam to complete over 1394 kms of running

Sam Bird
“We again had a very good day today and were able to cover a lot of mileage with 104 laps in total. We were focusing on further development work for 2012 which went well and the team are very positive about the results gained. I would like to say thank you to MERCEDES GP PETRONAS for trusting me with the driving responsibilities for this three-day test. It’s been a very positive and enjoyable experience for me, and I’ve greatly enjoyed working with the team.”

Ross Brawn
“We have had a very good test in Abu Dhabi this week, and my compliments to Sam and the team at the Yas Marina Circuit for their efforts over the three days. The test has enabled us to make a good start to our 2012 preparations, and provided a wealth of data for our engineers to study. Sam has performed extremely well this week, providing consistency and accuracy in both his driving and feedback, and our engineers in Abu Dhabi have been very impressed with his contribution.”


Pos Driver Car Time Laps
1. Jean-Eric Vergne Red Bull 1:38.917 46
2. Sam Bird MERCEDES GP PETRONAS 1:40.897 104
3. Jules Bianchi Ferrari 1:41.347 106
4. Oliver Turvey McLaren 1:41.513 89
5. Max Chilton Force India 1:41.575 79
6. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:42.049 77
7. Mirko Bortolotti Williams 1:43.277 74
8. Kevin Ceccon Toro Rosso 1:43.686 35
9. Alexander Rossi Team Lotus 1:44.283 74
10. Jan Charouz Lotus Renault 1:44.470 82
11. Stefano Coletti Toro Rosso 1:44.545 48
12. Nathanael Berthon HRT 1:45.839 51
13. Robert Wickens Marussia Virgin 1:45.934 34
14. Charles Pic Marussia Virgin 1:46.348 49

* Official photo and details courtesy of MERCEDES GP PETRONAS *

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