MAGNY-COURS, France – Formula One 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 9 a.m. start, though the teams were able to complete a number of medium-length runs before lunchtime.
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 1:16.985 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 One 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 1:18.018.
Completing Thursday’s runners was Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Brendon Hartley with a lap of 1:18.671. 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 One machinery ahead of his 87-lap program.
Impressively, Thursday’s running was not interrupted by a single stoppage as all three drivers proved highly competent at the controls of Formula One equipment.