Red Bull’s latest rising prospect Antonio Felix da Costa moved the world champion team ahead of McLaren on the second day of the young driver test in Abu Dhabi.
The 21-year-old from Lisbon, who was signed to Red Bull’s young driver programme earlier this year and won four of this season’s final Formula Renault 3.5 races, improved his second-fastest time from day one by a mere 0.038s to 1m42.679s but that was still enough to set the pace as none of the other six runners could match Kevin Magnussen’s day one effort.
Da Costa completed 62 laps during typically sweltering morning and early afternoon conditons at the desert venue with Red Bull appearing to be running a new rear wing on the RB8, the part caped in flow-vis paint during runs.
McLaren, meanwhile, was again the only team to split its running between two drivers, Oliver Turvey taking over from Magnussen alongside Gary Paffett, with the former second fastest after 62 laps in a best time of 1m43.176s.
After running Nicolas Prost on Tuesday, Lotus gave an F1 debut to 25-year-old Italian DTM driver and former two-time Macau winner Edoardo Mortara and his third-fastest time in the E20 was seven tenths quicker than the Frenchman on day one.
Prospective 2013 driver Esteban Gutierrez maintained his 100% appearance record at F1’s young driver test since 2009 with his first of two days behind the wheel of Sauber’s C31 following Robin Frijns first-day run-out. The Mexican drove the car as recently as the first practice session in India so was far more familiar with its controls than Frijns and duly completed more laps than anyone (94).
Sauber’s head of track engineering Giampaolo Dall’Ara reported: “We basically ticked off everything from today’s job list. In the morning and early afternoon the focus was on aero work with a set up change over the lunch break. Later in the afternoon we repeated the programme we did yesterday with Robin, giving Esteban a set of medium compound tyres as well as a set of softs. In the end he did a high fuel run on medium tyres. For tomorrow we have some brake testing and suspension work on the list.”
Johnny Cecotto Jr racked up 76 laps for Toro Rosso on his sole day in the car while Caterham tester Giedo van der Garde completed his second and final day in the CT01 on more aero runs along with set-up comparions and, finally, afternoon long runs. Towards the end of the day, the team gave the Dutchman an FP3 style short-run during which on soft tyres he set his fastest time of the test (1m45.106s).
YOUNG GUNS TEST – Abu Dhabi, Day two
1. Antonio Felix da Costa Red Bull 1m42.679s 62 laps
2. Oliver Turvey McLaren 1m43.176s 62 laps
3. Edoardo Mortar Lotus 1m43.418s 75 laps
4. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m43.485 94 laps
5. Gary Paffett McLaren 1m43.771s 41 laps
6. Johnny Cecotto Jr Toro Rosso 1m44.569s 76 laps
7. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m45.106s 72 laps