Busy second day in Barcelona for Grosjean, Sutil and Bianchi

Romain Grosjean places Lotus on top of second day testing on Circuit de Catalunya. Adrian Sutil was in his new seat officially for Force India, and Jules Bianchi had photo shoot with his new Marussia ride.

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.

Jules Bianchi announced as driver with Marussia F1 Team
Jules Bianchi announced as driver with Marussia F1 Team

Photo by: Marussia F1 Team

Team Principal John Booth commented: “We are very pleased to welcome Jules Bianchi to the Marussia F1 Team. Jules is a proven talent who is highly regarded within the Paddock.”

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.

Romain Grosjean

“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.

Adrian Sutil, Sahara Force India VJM06
Adrian Sutil, Sahara Force India VJM06

Photo by: XPB Images

Adrian Sutil had already put the VJM06 through its paces last week on the Circuit de Catalunya during the second round of the Formula One Winter tests. At the time, both he and Bianchi were in full test mode to land the vacant seat for the Sahara Force India team.

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.

Unofficial times

Pos. Driver Car Time Laps
1 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:22.716 88
2 Jenson Button McLaren 1:23.181 72
3 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:23.628 75
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:23.743 65
5 Nico Hülkenberg Sauber 1:23.744 79
6 Adrian Sutil Force India 1:24.215 62
7 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:25.483 61
8 Max Chilton Marussia 1:25.598 75
9 Giedo Van Der Garde Caterham 1:26.316 48
10 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:26.655 120
11 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:27.878 102
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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Fernando Alonso , Nico Rosberg , Pastor Maldonado , Sebastian Vettel , Adrian Sutil , Nico Hulkenberg , Romain Grosjean , Daniel Ricciardo , Luiz Razia , Max Chilton , John Booth , Alexander Rossi , Jules Bianchi
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Force India , Toro Rosso , Williams , Lotus F1 Team , Caterham F1
Article type Breaking news
Tags barcelona, bianchi, button, circuit de catalunya, force india, grosjean, lotus, maldonado, marussia, mclaren, sutil, williams