Jules is the team’s third driver and has completed seven free practice sessions for the team already this season.
Former Jordan and Jaguar designer Gary Anderson has singled out Lotus and Force India to impress in 2012.
The Irishman stood trackside at the Barcelona test on Thursday and later told the German-language Speed Week magazine that Mark Webber in the Red Bull suffered from “a bit too much understeer” in the new title-defending RB8.
While the smiles in the Lotus pits are obvious at Jerez, the same cannot be said of ‘grandee’ outfits Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull.
Lewis Hamilton had his first try of the MP4-27 on Thursday and said the new McLaren felt “pretty good”. “My initial feelings are pretty positive,” he added. “The car feels reasonably quick.” But with every other 2012 car featuring a radical ‘step’ in its front nose, some reports believe McLaren may have missed a trick by opting for a conservative solution.
Contrary to reports, Williams has not yet debuted its 2012 car.
It was said the British team ran the unlaunched FW34 at the Idiada facility near Barcelona, with tester Valtteri Bottas at the wheel. In fact, “the shakedown could not take place due to bad weather conditions,” a spokesperson is quoted as saying in the German press.
McLaren was left the odd-one-out on Friday, as Ferrari and Force India joined Caterham in launching new cars with ‘ugly’ noses.
The odd feature – a quirk of new regulations – is the centrepiece of Ferrari’s new F2012, launched on Friday morning at Maranello, and the Mercedes-powered Force India VJM05, whose covers were pulled off in the chilly Silverstone pitlane.
Sahara Force India unveils the VJM05 at Silverstone
They were joined by reserve driver, Jules Bianchi, as the team’s new car was presented for the first time. The VJM05 is the second car to be created under the watch of Technical Director, Andrew Green, as the team seeks to build on its on its sixth place finish in the constructors’ championship and take the fight to the teams that lie ahead.
‘Friday’ driver plan not for top teams – Szafnauer
Force India has acknowledged it will not challenge for the world championship until the team is bigger. Otmar Szafnauer, who is the Silverstone based team’s chief operating officer, told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport that the former Jordan, Midland and Spyker team’s head-count is currently 310.
Adrian Sutil deserves to keep his formula one race career alive.
That is the claim of Nico Hulkenberg, the driver who is replacing his German compatriot at Force India in 2012. Sutil, 29, has failed so far to secure an alternative seat, and days ago was dealt a further blow with a Munich court convicting him of grievous bodily harm for an assault on Lotus team executive Eric Lux last year.
Sahara Force India is pleased to announce that Jules Bianchi has joined the team as its reserve driver for the 2012 season.
The 22-year-old Frenchman will be integrated in the team’s programme and will participate in a minimum of nine Friday practice sessions during Grand Prix weekends. In preparation for the 2012 season, Jules will get his first run in the VJM05 during pre-season testing next month.
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