Friday, September 16, 2011

Perez and Bianchi battle for future Ferrari seat

Sauber rookie, Sergio Perez tested for Ferrari yesterday at the team's Fiorano track in the so called duel with current Ferrari reserve driver Jules Bianchi. Both drivers piloted a 2009 Ferrari F60 as per testing restrictions. In going straight to the lap times, Perez did 46 laps with a best time of 1:00.650, but Bianchi was four tenths quicker clocking 70 laps with a best of 1:00.213. Admittedly the testing times in and of themselves do not matter as the drivers can be on different programs, using different fuel loads or different compound tires. Moreover, what was consistency level of a particular stint. 

Ferrari had some nice things to say about Perez's performance which should be expected even if he was terrible: "Sergio proved to be aggressive and quick right from the start and was able to adapt to the car in a very short space of time," said Ferrari Driver Academy chief Luca Baldisserri. "He is very mature for his age, displaying an understanding that goes beyond the time he has spent driving single seaters."

However, Bianchi is certainly going to put up a fight to remain in the mix for a future F1 race seat. He was pleased with his performance and looks forward to the young drivers test in November where he will drive contemporary cars with DRS and KERS. Nevertheless, Bianchi can set the world on fire but he does not get that second seat. Ferrari are simply paving the way for Perez to be the number two in 2013. Ferrari team principal, Stefano Domenicali is on record about his ideal line-up being an experienced driver (Alonso) paired with a talented young driver. Well, Perez is talented, he is young plus he has F1 experience not only with the cars but with work levels. Bianchi will have to look elsewhere for a F1 seat. With the likely return of Romain Grosjean to a race seat, Bianchi's ability to play "F1 needs a French driver" card will be reduced. This week Grosjean tested a two year old Renault in preparation for Singapore GP and official reserve driver duties.

Short of having a Mexican Grand Prix back on the calendar, but with the US Grand Prix on the horizon in the American southwest what kind of marketing opportunity would it be to have a talented Mexican driver with the most iconic motorsport brand/manufacturer in the cockpit? Clearly, Perez has the goods, but drivers need not only to go fast, they need to have money or be very marketable. More opportunities rest with Perez in my opinion than with Bianchi on that side of the equation. Perez is slated to be with Sauber in 2012 when USGP rolls around and I think that is going to produce a lot buzz. Imagine the buzz in 2013 when he comes with Ferrari and follows in the steps of the iconic "Hermanos Rodriguez". It may pave the way for a future return of a Mexican Grand Prix, something currently be worked on by Carlos Slim Domit, son of THE Carlos Slim. The same Carlos Slim that sponsors Sauber via Telmex for which Perez drivers for.  

1 comment:

Dex said...

Thanks!, I was looking forward to know the outcome of this test!

Good analysis professor!