Youngsters on the test track

Youngsters on the test track

This winter's Formula One test sessions are seeing some young talent being tried out, both well known and not so familiar names. 20 year-old German F3 runner up Christian Klien tried out for Jaguar in November with the result of the team signing...

This winter's Formula One test sessions are seeing some young talent being tried out, both well known and not so familiar names. 20 year-old German F3 runner up Christian Klien tried out for Jaguar in November with the result of the team signing up the Austrian to race alongside Mark Webber in 2004. Others may not have the same immediate success but we could well see them competing in F1 in the future.

Nelson Piquet Jr. and Nico Rosberg with their respective fathers standing behind them Nelson Piquet and Keke Rosberg, pose with the WilliamsF1 BMW FW25.
Photo by BMW PressClub.
Williams had a pair of famous surnames behind the wheel at Jerez this week; Nelson Piquet Junior and Nico Rosberg, sons of former champions. With their father's achievements, perhaps there may be some extra pressure on the youngsters but the duo acquitted themselves well. "Nelson and Nico did a good job and worked well with the team, as well as showing themselves to be technically competent," said Williams chief operations engineer Sam Michael.

Rosberg Junior was happy with the test, saying: "Of course there was a lot of pressure, but I decided not to worry about that and just to do the best I could. I was particularly happy that I managed to understand the car and work out how it was behaving, and after that I managed to set a good pace."

Piquet was also satisfied, despite adverse weather conditions: "It was difficult with all the anticipation that my first day had a couple of interuptions and we lost maybe two hours. But otherwise it went really well, particularly today despite it being wet for some of the time, and I was quite satisfied with how I got on."

Jordan also took to the test track at Jerez and had 20 year-old Jarek Janis behind the wheel. For the Czech, who competed in F3000, it was his first time in an F1 car: "The first thing is to get used to the car and I really enjoyed it," he said after his first day. "It was fantastic to drive in F1, everything went alright and I did a couple of tests with aerodynamics and tyres."

Renault tried out Jos?-Maria Lopez, the Argentinean being one of the team's Driver Development (RDD) programme hopefuls. "It was an unforgettable experience," Lopez enthused. "It was very intense, and represented another first in my career." Renault also tried out another of its RDD drivers, Finn Heikki Kovalainen, who competed in Formula Nissan in 2003 and was runner up to Renault F1 test driver, and Gabord teammate, Franck Montagny.

"Both Heikki and J-Lo did a very good job with their first Formula One experience," said Pat Symonds, Renault's executive director of engineering. "They built up speed slowly, and adopted a very mature approach. We were very impressed with both of them."

Kovalianen and Lopez are due to test for Minardi next week at Vallelunga, Italy, along with Euro3000 runner up Fabrizio Del Monte and another Formula Nissan driver, Narain Karthikeyan. 21 year-old Chinese Ho-pin Tung, who competed in Formula BMW Asia, is due to test for Williams next week.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mark Webber , Franck Montagny , Narain Karthikeyan , Nelson Piquet , Nelson Piquet Jr. , Keke Rosberg , Nico Rosberg , Heikki Kovalainen , Christian Klien , Jarek Janis
Teams Williams , Minardi , Jordan