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On the second day of the Young Driver Test at Magny-Course, Jules Bianchi continued to set the pace, despite switching from a Ferrari to a Force India.
Once again there were three teams on duty, Force India, Ferrari and Mercedes, indeed, the German had a special visitor, Michael Schumacher popping in to check on progress and talk with the engineers and test driver Sam Bird.
Bianchi completed 117 laps on his way to posting a best time of 1:16.467, 1.6s quicker than his pace in the Ferrari F2012 the previous day.
"A very enjoyable day and great to do so many laps," said the Frenchman. "I've done a lot of Friday practice sessions with the team, but when you spend a full day in the car you can do so much more and really start to find the limit. It was a chance for me to get more used to the control systems and experience the car on both high and low fuel. The team asked me to work on the set-up and we saw the lap times improve during the day. The time in the car today was very valuable and will allow me to help the team even more in the remaining seven races of the season."
"We've had an excellent day with Jules - he really stepped up to the task in hand and continued to impress all of us," added chief engineer, Jakob Andreasen. "Of course, we already know Jules well from running him during Friday practice sessions, but today he we was able to spend a full day in the car and demonstrate his potential.
"It was clear he felt comfortable in the car and we saw his confidence continue to grow with each run. The set-up programme went very smoothly and we focussed on trying to learn more about the car and how to extract more performance. We ran on the hard, medium and soft compounds and completed both long and short runs."
At Mercedes, Bird and the team continued to evaluate the latest developments, including a new exhaust and the double DRS system. The German team, which has has used the Pirelli soft tyres so far in the test, will switch to the hard tyre tomorrow when former Red Bull and Toro Rosso tester Brendon Hartley takes over.
"We've had a second very positive day at the test and successfully completed our planned schedule, including the evaluation of the performance items that we wanted to achieve," said Bird. "We're happy with the results that we've seen so far and there is a lot of information to go through to hopefully help improve the car. It was a great experience to be back behind the wheel of a Formula One car this week, and to help with the development programme, and I would like to thank the team for giving me this opportunity."
Making his debut with Ferrari, Davide Rigon (above) completed a mammoth 165 laps at the wheel of the F2012. The Italian, who has been on the books at the Scuderia for sporting and promotional purposes for two years, completed a busy programme. In the morning the focus was on aerodynamic measurements and in the afternoon, it switched to set-up testing, aimed at checking the correlation between these two areas and the work carried out in the simulator.
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