I’ve found an interview with Jules from Canada and I’ve added two new photos to the gallery. Click here to read the interview.
At the end of the three days of testing at the Yas Marina circuit, the workaholic prize among the young drivers, if one looks at distance covered, goes to Jules Bianchi. Three of them, Jules, his fellow countryman Jean-Eric Vergne in the Red Bull and English driver Sam Bird in the Mercedes, were almost always out on track, from nine on Tuesday morning to five this afternoon and Jules is the one who covered the 5.554 kilometre track the most often, 282 times to be precise, which is almost three times the distance from Maranello, where he lives, to Brignoles, the region of Provence his family comes from. And all of this in a cockpit where the temperature exceeded the 50 °C mark.
“I am pleased with these three days of testing: being able to work continuously with the team is very important for my growth as a driver,” said Jules speaking to www.ferrari.com at the end of the day. “However, even more important is the realisation that I was able to help the team gather so much data which, I hope, will be useful for the development of the car.”
While Jules may have won the French derby match in terms of time on track, it was Vergne who was quickest on all three days. Today, the Red Bull youngster got down to a 1.38.917, while the Ferrari man’s best was a 1.41.347, a time also bettered by Bird (1.40.897.) “I honestly don’t know what type of tyre the others used over the three days, given that Pirelli had also provided teams with the Supersoft and Medium compounds, as well as the Soft,” said Jules. “We only used the experimental Soft, because that was the priority for the team. It’s hard to say how they differ from the standard ones used during this actual championship: for our part, it was important to begin to understand their behaviour to try and get the best out of them next year.”
Among the tasks entrusted to Jules today was exploring some set-up solutions that were rather different to the norm. “Yes, this morning, we did a few runs with what was an unusual set-up on the car for us,” explained the French driver. “One has to make the most of these few chances we have to test to explore new areas of development, because on the Friday of a race weekend, there is not much time for this work.”
Now, Bianchi has a moment to draw breath: one trip to Brazil, to be on hand for the Scuderia for the final race and then it will be time to concentrate on the future. For that, he has one clear objective – Formula 1 and this test has confirmed that Jules is ready for it.
When a driver goes too long without driving, a sense of frustration builds up: having a steering wheel between one’s hands and being able to press the accelerator is what they like best. If Jules Bianchi had been feeling this malaise, then Abu Dhabi has provided just the right cure. Over the course of two days, the Frenchman has come close to rattling off a thousand kilometres, after adding another 91 laps of the Yas Marina circuit today to the 85 from yesterday, staying glued in the cockpit pretty much throughout the entire time. “In testing, reliability is the key because it means you can work through everything planned by the engineers,” explained Jules at the end of this long day. “Today, we divided the work into two parts: in the morning we concentrated on new components relating to next year’s engine mapping, while in the afternoon, we had an in depth look at the experimental tyres that Pirelli has supplied to all the teams for this test. From what we could see, there is not that much difference compared to the 2011 tyres, but obviously, it is too early to draw any definitive conclusions.”
Jules made significant progress in terms of his lap times, improving on yesterday’s performance by around 7 tenths (from 1.40.960 to 1.40.279.) However, this was not enough to put him at the top of the timesheet, because once again today, his fellow countryman, Jean-Eric Vergne was fastest in the Red Bull, even if by only 91 thousandths. “I am a racing driver and therefore I always want to be quickest,” was Jules’ honest admission. “But I understand that in testing, lap times are not so relevant. I was pleased I was able to improve in terms of my performance, because it means that I am doing a good job, but the most important thing is to bring home useful data: there are only a few opportunities to test on track and one has to make the most of them. Tomorrow, we will continue to work on the tyres and apart from that, we will have to wait and see what the team will put on the agenda at the evening meeting.”
Of one thing, Jules can be certain: the engineers will always find a reason to put the car through its paces, because like the drivers, they too can’t get enough of it.