Just after the second day of testing on the Circuit de Catalunya, the news broke from the Marussia F1 team that he had signed Jules Bianchi for the 2013 season. He will be the newest teammate of rookie driver Max Chilton! Luiz Razia’s financial backing did not materialized; ending his dream.
The only team that still has Cosworth engines needed to find a driver as soon as possible considering that the first race is in two weeks, and there are only two days left of testing the new 2013 cars. Bianchi already has had his seat fitting in the MR02 and will take to the track tomorrow to get familiar with car.
The Frenchman will put in two full days. He said “I am thrilled to have secured a race seat with the Marussia F1 Team. Racing in Formula 1 this season has been my goal over the winter and after evaluating a number of options I am very excited to have this opportunity to demonstrate that I am ready for this next step in my racing career.”
Another Frenchman made the news when Romain Grosjean set the fastest unofficial hot lap today in Barcelona in the Lotus F1 E21 on another day that saw the rain in Spain. Grosjean’s best was a 1:22.716 with his Renault powerplant, and was followed by Vodafone McLaren Mercedes’ Jenson Button.
The rain opened the daylight hours and at times was quite heavy but the first storm left the area to allow for a dry track. It did affect the Formula One teams plans for the day which the Lotus team said “weather conditions continuing to frustrate the team’s test programme” and they were not alone in that regard. However the Pirelli Cinturato intermediate and wet tyres have been utilized a lot. Prior to the return to Barcelona, Pirelli commented in their press release “if needed”!
Even though the weather was far from ideal it was a pretty good day for us.
“Even though the weather was far from ideal it was a pretty good day for us and it’s certainly a better feeling to end the session with the fastest time on the board rather than the slowest! We had strong reliability again today and the E21 feels good in all conditions, which is very promising for the season ahead. Of course, I wish I could have more time in the car before the season starts, but if we’re in the same position on the monitors when we get to Australia I’ll be very happy indeed,” said Grosjean who also accumulated more laps on the E21 plus the team was able to evaluate a new rear suspension setup.
Button's best was a 1:23.181 but he also was testing the tyre compounds -- mainly on the medium Pirelli while the Briton and the McLaren engineers were searching for “a good balance for (the) MP4-28.
Pastor Maldonado had the Williams F1 team third fastest with a 1:23.628 and he added more laps to the FW35. “We didn’t manage to complete our entire programme because of the rain today, but we still did 75 laps with the track improving towards the end of the afternoon,” he said.
Today, Sutil was one of the team’s official full-season drivers. He put in 62 laps for his best time of 1:24.215. “It was a very interesting day with such a variation in track conditions, but it was ideal for me to practice in the sort of conditions we might experience in Australia or Malaysia. I ran the full wets, the intermediates and it was good to discover the crossover point with the slick tyres,” he said.
Like the rest of the teams, the weather did alter the plans they had made. “I only ran the medium compound dry tyres today, but it was difficult to do too much set-up work because the wind was affecting the aero balance quite a lot. Overall I felt positive today and whenever I went out on track the lap times were competitive,” added Sutil.
There are still two days remaining in Barcelona to prepare their new racing machines prior to the Australian Grand Prix. With Force India and Marussia now having secured their second drivers for the new season, and most now have in place their reserve (third) drivers. Alexander Rossi remains with the Caterham team as today he was announced as the reserve driver. "After many discussions this winter with Caterham F1 Team regarding my 2013 program, today’s announcement brings me even closer to my goal of racing in F1,” said the American.
|4||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:23.743||65|
|6||Adrian Sutil||Force India||1:24.215||62|
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso||1:25.483||61|
|9||Giedo Van Der Garde||Caterham||1:26.316||48|