Youth is served: 4 drivers show what they can do in first of 2-day F1 in-season test at Barcelona


In the first of a two-day test at Circuit de Catalunya, four up-and-coming drivers either had their first experience behind the wheel of an F1 ride or added to the brief experience they’ve already had to date.

It was the first of two in-season tests (the other is after June’s Austrian Grand Prix) that F1 has sanctioned.

Sauber reserve driver Raffaele Marciello (Ferrari), along with Oliver Turvey (McLaren Honda), Pierre Gasly (Scuderia Toro Rosso) and Nick Yelloly (Sahara Force India) were among the nine drivers that took part in the test.

F1 veteran Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) not only clocked the best time of the day (1:24.374), but also the most number of laps (146).

As for the four young drivers, Marciello was the fastest of the group (and third overall of the nine-driver field), with a time of 1:26.648 (and ran 125 laps). Marciello had earlier running in the week during Free Practice 1 (pictured above) with Sauber.

Yelloly was sixth-quickest in the field (1:27.396) and ran 109 laps. He was not slated to test until Wednesday, but with Pascal Wehrlein under the weather, Yelloly’s schedule was moved up a day.

Before the day began, it was clear how excited Yelloly was.

Meanwhile, Gasly was seventh-quickest (1:27.639 and 131 laps).

More: Up-and-coming Frenchman Pierre Gasly has ‘exceptional’ first F1 test in Barcelona

The fourth first-time F1 driver, Oliver Turvey, rounded out the field but struggled to find speed that cut into his lap count (1:28.542 and just 66 laps), leaving him as the slowest of the nine drivers that took to the track.

McLaren opted to focus on aero work in the morning but was delayed by sensor issues. Turvey ran untroubled in the afternoon as the team focused on suspension work.

Jenson Button will take over for Turvey on Wednesday and attempt to squeeze out more speed and performance.

Rosberg fastest in opening day of Barcelona in-season test

NOTES: Legendary Australian driver and engineer Frank Matich passed away in Sydney. He was 80 years old. In 2013, Matich was named by Autosport magazine as one of the best 50 drivers to never have raced in Formula 1 (he turned down several offers to race in F1 to remain loyal to his native roots). … Also, Tuesday marked the 24th anniversary of the late Ayrton Senna’s win from the pole in the 1991 Monaco Grand Prix, the fourth of his record six wins in the principality.

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X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E

Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.