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Tag: Rodolfo Gonzalez

Jules BianchiFormula 1 testing concluded at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours this afternoon following three trouble-free days for Scuderia Ferrari, MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS and Sahara Force India at the French venue.

Morning running was limited after light overnight rain left track conditions damp for the 9am start, though the teams were able to complete a number of medium-length runs before lunchtime.

And though dark clouds continued to linger above the track no further rain would fall, ensuring the remainder of the session took place on a dry circuit. In fact as running continued into the afternoon there were increasing expanses of blue sky and sunshine above, allowing the teams to up their workloads and add further mileage to that accumulated earlier in the week.

Of chief interest during the final day was Frenchman Jules Bianchi’s bid to complete a clean sweep of the test after topping the timesheets on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

The 23-year-old switched back to Scuderia Ferrari after spending yesterday aboard Sahara Force India’s VJM05 and once again proved unbeatable, recording a 1m16.985 late in the session to ensure his dominance of the test. Bianchi ran a total of 138 laps before quickly departing the circuit en-route to his crucial Formula Renault 3.5 race weekend in Hungary.

Second fastest was GP2 Series competitor Rodolfo Gonzalez who made his first appearance for the Sahara Force India outfit at Magny-Cours, though the Venezuelan could call upon previous Formula 1 testing experience as he acclimatised to his new equipment. The 26-year-old worked through 79 laps in the Mercedes-powered machine with a best effort of 1m18.018.

Completing Thursday’s runners was MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS driver Brendon Hartley with a lap of 1m18.671. It was a significant day for the 22-year-old New Zealand-born driver as he made his first appearance in an official test session for the German manufacturer, though like Gonzalez the Kiwi had prior seat-time in Formula 1 machinery ahead of his 87-lap programme.

Impressively, Thursday’s running was not interrupted by a single stoppage as all three drivers proved highly competent at the controls of Formula 1 equipment.

Jules Bianchi, Scuderia Ferrari: “After these three days of testing I feel ready to race in Formula 1. I grew up a lot and learned a great deal driving with Ferrari and Force India, so it has been a good experience all-round. As it was damp this morning we just ran checks. It was my first time on intermediate tyres, so I was familiarising myself with the track and car in those conditions. Driving in the wet was cool, though obviously there was not a lot of grip out there on the inters. Overall I think this has positive test for me and I feel even more prepared for Formula 1.”

Rodolfo Gonzalez, Sahara Force India: “Today has been a great experience. The conditions were quite difficult to begin with because of the wet start to the day, but it was good to try out the wet and intermediate tyres. The other main task was getting used to the control systems and building my speed and feel for the car. I’m quite happy with my pace today, although I think there was more to come because it was my first time driving at Magny-Cours and my first time in the car. The team did a great job of making me feel welcome and comfortable, and I really hope to get another chance to drive a Formula One car soon.”

Brendon Hartley, MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS: “It was an amazing feeling to be back driving a Formula One car today and I would like to thank the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS team for giving me this opportunity. The track was quite wet this morning so we lost some time but once it had dried out we were able to get on with the test programme, using mainly the hard tyre. It was a successful day for both me and the team, and we completed the programme, despite the weather.”

Day 3: Times/Laps/Distance covered
1. Jules Bianchi (Scuderia Ferrari) – 1m16.985 – 138 laps – 607.2km
2. Rodolfo Gonzalez (Sahara Force India) – 1m18.018 – 79 laps – 347.6km
3. Brendon Hartley (MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS) – 1m18.671 – 87 laps – 382.8km

You can keep up to date with the test by following @MagnyCoursTrack and liking the circuit’s Facebook page.

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Rodolfo GonzalezRodolfo González is the latest addition to the Auto GP grid, just a few hours before the start of the Championship’s second event at Hungaroring.

The driver from Venezuela, a GP2 regular with Trident Racing this season, found an agreement with the Spanish team to step-in for Adrian Campos Jr, who suffered a back injury in a Free Practice crash in Monza and is now trying to recover in time for the last events of the 2011 season.

Born in Caracas 25 years ago, Gonzalez already knows the Auto GP car as he contested the whole Euroseries 3000 season in 2009 with Fisichella Motor Sport, clinching a commanding win in Zolder and three podium finishes. Furthermore he raced in British F3, in F.Renault 2.0 at the start of this career and has two full GP2 seasons behind his back, a résumé that makes him one of the most experienced drivers on the grid this weekend.

Carlin Motorsport will take drivers from both its British F3 team and F3 Euro Series team to the RTL GP Masters of F3 Zolder this weekend. The British based squad, who are the only team to run cars in both the British and European championships, will be represented in Zolder by Red Bull duo Brendon Hartley and Jaime Alguersuari and Euro Series racers Rodolfo Gonzalez and Richard Philippe.

Hartley and Alguersuari have been two of the front runners in this year’s British F3 series, taking six wins between them so far this season. Hartley will be one of the only drivers in the field to have experience of both the British and European championships, having raced at the Nürburgring round of the Euro Series last month. It will also be the young Kiwi’s second visit to the Masters, following a successful debut last year that saw Hartley come home in an impressive fourth place.

Spain’s Jaime Alguersuari makes his debut in the F3 Masters this year, but has experience of the Zolder track from his time in Formula Renault Eurocup. The 18 year-old rookie has been one of the revelations of the 2008 season in Britain, taking a race victory in his first ever F3 event. Alguersuari’s consistent string of results means he currently leads the British F3 Series and is a strong contender for a podium finish at Zolder.

Carlin’s F3 Euro Series drivers will also be heading to Belgium next weekend, but it will be a new experience for both Richard Philippe and Rodolfo Gonzalez, who will make their first visit to both the Masters and the Zolder circuit.

F3 Euro Series driver Rodolfo Gonzalez said, “I’m really looking forward to this weekend, it should be interesting to see how we compare to the British guys. It’s my first time at the Masters, and I’m pleased to be taking part this year. I’ve never been to Zolder before, but I’ve heard that the track is very quick in some parts and technical in others, but I think we have enough time to get to grips with the track in practice. The team already have experience at Zolder so I’m feeling quite confident.”

British F3 racer Brendon Hartley added, “To be honest I’ve got quite high expectations this year, last year I finished fourth, so I’m aiming to improve and be on podium this year. The Masters is normally a real challenge for the British teams, but I think with the knowledge gained through Carlin’s Euro Series team and the way the team is performing in the British Series at the moment, we will be pretty strong.”

Team Principal Trevor Carlin added, “We want to measure ourselves against the best in Europe and the F3 Masters is still the premier European event at this level. For the first time this year, the team will be represented by cars from the British and the European championships. The F3 Masters is an extremely competitive event, which pitches the best drivers and teams against each other, but we are hoping to gain some advantage due to the work and knowledge gained through our F3 Euro Series team. The British squad are on a high after some fantastic results at Spa and by bringing together the knowledge of both the British and European teams, we will be aiming for the podium.”