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F1 test chance for 2011 GP2 drivers

This week, several of the 2011 GP2 Series field are taking part in the F1 Young Drivers Tests in Abu Dhabi, including Jules Bianchi, Fabio Leimer, Sam Bird and Dani Clos.
F1 teams are using an extended three-day stay at the state-of-the-art Yas Marina Circuit facilities in Abu Dhabi to try out some fresh talent behind the wheels of the Grand Prix cars.

Among the GP2 stars to have an opportunity to impress F1 teams and managers was Fabio Leimer, who won the GP2 Final feature race at the venue on Saturday. He had the chance of trying out the Sauber-Renault car and set the fourth-fastest time on the opening day before Esteban Gutierrez took over on day 2.

"I didn't expect it to be so nice to drive. It is so stable and smooth when riding the kerbs compared to a GP2 car," said Leimer after his run. "It was a great day, full of new experiences."

Other GP2 stars from the recently-concluded season to appear include Max Chilton and Johnny Cecotto Jr. at Force India, Oliver Turvey at McLaren and Sam Bird with Mercedes.

Jules Bianchi had the Ferrari to himself for the testing, and he was happy with the first day's work: "I would say it was a good day. Especially this morning, when we worked mainly on aerodynamics," he said. Admitting that "my aim is to get into F1", he admitted that "Honestly, I don't know what I will be doing next year."

Although he finished third in the main GP2 season this year, Bianchi confessed to being disappointed with how 2011 had turned out for him. "A bit, because the aim was to win the GP2 title and unfortunately I ended up third," he said. "The early part was very bad, with too many mistakes, but then I redeemed myself. All the same, finishing two consecutive championships in a podium position is not that bad is it?"

Elsewhere, Rodolfo Gonzalez and Luiz Razia got the chance to test with Team Lotus, while Stefano Coletti and Kevin Ceccon got a taste of this year's Toro Rosso - with Alexander Rossi in line to take the car on day three.

Rumoured to have already signed a deal with Marrussia-Virgin in F1 for 2012, Charles Pic tested with them this week after cancelling an opportunity to turn out for Renault at short notice. Britain's GP3 star Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, who had previously taken part in the GP2 post-season testing in Spain, also tested with the Virgin team this week.

Dani Clos, Nathanael Berthon and Jan Charouz all turned out for HRT, with Clos particularly happy to have another chance in a Grand Prix car.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Fabio Leimer (SUI, Racing Engineering) during day 2 of testing at Barcelona in October 2011. [World Copyright: Drew Gibson /GP2 Series Media Service]
Dani Clos (ESP) during GP2 Testing at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain. [World Copyright: Alastair Staley/LAT Photographic.]
Jules Bianchi (FRA,Lotus ART) at Monza [Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
2011 GP2 Final. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. November 2011. [Photo credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.]
Marvin Kirchhofer (GER, ART Grand Prix) clinches pole at the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Friday 21 November 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) in action at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Friday 21 November 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Marvin Kirchhofer (GER, ART Grand Prix) clinches pole at the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Friday 21 November 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) celebrates after claiming the final pole of the season at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Friday 21 November 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix), Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) & Stephane Richelmi (MON, DAMS) after qualifying at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Friday 21 November 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Raffaele Marciello (ITA, Racing Engineering) at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Friday 10 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Marco Sorensen (DK, MP Motorsport) in action at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Friday 10 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Marco Sorensen (DK, MP Motorsport) celebrates in parc ferme after the Sunday sprint race at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Sunday 12 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Marco Sorensen (DK, MP Motorsport) celebrates on the podium after the Sunday sprint race at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Sunday 12 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Marco Sorensen (DK, MP Motorsport), Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) & Felipe Nasr (BRA, Carlin) celebrate on the podium after the Sunday sprint race at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Sunday 12 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Patric Niederhauser (SUI, Arden International) celebrates in Parc Ferme after race 2 at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS), Mitch Evans (NZL, RT RUSSIAN TIME) & Raffaele Marciello (ITA, Racing Engineering) on the feature race podium at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Saturday 11 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) in action at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Saturday 11 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.)
Dean Stoneman (GBR, Koiranen GP) takes the flag as he wins race 1 at Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia. Saturday 11 October 2014. (Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.)

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