Daily Archives: February 17, 2010

Hydraulics problems for Virgin team

Timo Glock in the Virgin VR-01 today in Jerez

Timo Glock in the Virgin VR-01 today in Jerez

Today the Virgin team managed only 10 laps in Jerez, which is no improvement over last week’s disaster, also at Jerez. Today, it was revealed that the team were absent for most of the afternoon because they were attempting to fix a hydraulic problem.

The team believed that they had finally evaded the wet weather that had dogged them last week, before they spent the afternoon today in diagnostic mode. This is where the car undergoes a series of out-laps, then returns to the pits. Each time, a different hydraulic setup is used, to try and fix the problem. This also explains why Timo Glock made so many installation laps before entering the pits today. As a result of all this diagnostic work, the team was only able to complete 10 laps of the Jerez circuit today.

Technical director Nick Wirth said:

“We have experienced a sequence of hydraulic problems which were tricky to diagnose on a new car. This caused us to suffer long and frustrating periods confined to the garage and when we did venture out on track it was purely to conduct a series of exploratory out-laps to try to understand if we had cured the problem. We eventually discovered the real issue, albeit rather late in the day. “

“Nonetheless, having fully identified the problem, we can fix it tonight and look forward to what we hope will be a more constructive day of running for Timo (Glock) and the team tomorrow.”

Here’s the thing: how much longer can things go wrong for Virgin? Glock and di Grassi must be sick of so many precious testing days wasted because of faults with the car. The changing weather is unavoidable, but this and last week’s front wing failure is hugely damaging to the team’s preparations for Bahrain.

17th February: Testing results- Vettel leads

Yet another wet day of testing at Jerez, as Sebastian Vettel gets his Red Bull RB6 to the top pf the timesheets today.

Unlike the other days, today was mostly made up of heavy showers and persistent dampness, meaning no properly fast laps could be set. The best time to be out on track was in the early afternoon, where Vettel set his lap of 1.22.593.

The day started out quite damp, with the cars lapping cautiously around the 1.30 mark. Minutes into the session, Lewis Hamilton caused the first red flag of the day, stopping out on track. Then, only 4 minutes after the green flags came out, Paul di Resta spun his Force India, and stopped the session again. The track was empty while the removal trucks got rid of the VJM03.

Paul di Resta after spinning out on track

Paul di Resta after spinning out on track

When the session resumed, the track was still damp. Massa’s lap of 1.30.327 was the fastest at around 9:00. Air and track temperature was around 13 degrees at this point. Light rain fell soon, and we were still waiting for most of the cars to come out for the first time at around 9:30. Fairuz Fauzy took out the Lotus for its first laps, running a very heavy fuel load, and lapped in a 1.39, 7 tenths slower than Hamilton’s best so far. Let me say that I’m impressed with the Lotus team so far. They have achieved far more today than Virgin did all last week.

Fairuz Fauzy in the Lotus

Fairuz Fauzy in the Lotus

Vitaly Petrov made Renault’s first appearance of the day at 10:00, but the rain suddenly increased, forcing him back into the pits immidiately. Although the sun came out quickly enough, the track was still wet. During a 6-lap run, Pedro de la Rosa set the fastest lap of 1.27.8at 11:00. The final car to leave the pits for the first time was the Virgin of Timo Glock, at 11:00, when the track was beginning to dry out. However, he only did one installation lap before pitting again. Track conditions soon improved, with a dry line starting to appear and track temperature around 23 degrees.

Rubens Barrichello brought out the third red flag, stopping out on track after he ran out of fuel. This seems to be a new tactic for many teams: run the car until it runs out of fuel, so as to get better fuel usage telemetry. However, the constant red flags are very infuriating for the others. By 12:00, lap times were falling fast, with Hamilton in the 1.24 zone after a 21-lap run, and Massa in the 1.23’s after a 5-lap run. Then, Felipe runs out of fuel (tactical), and brings out the fourth red flag.

When the green flag came out again, Sebastien Buemi was instantly on the pace, setting a 1.24.810 as his fastest lap so far. He was improving on his lap times every lap, so it was more good form for him and the team. Sebastian Vettel made a 24-lap stint work well for him, only 0.017 off Massa’s time. The German then set three fastest laps in a row at 13:00, his fastest lap being 1.22.593. This was the fastest lap of the day. Michael Schumacher finished a 24-lap run, but failed to set any fast laps, and his best got him into sixth place.

Timo Glock finally got out of the pits, but the rain started falling just then, and he pits once again. He manages an installation lap minutes later, but pits straight after. Fairuz Fauzy then went out in the Lotus, but without power steering, and Mike Gascoyne explains this is becasue of a supplier issue. He still set a lap time of 1:37.494, after 18 laps, in the wet conditions. The other drivers were inable to get near Vettel’s lap time, because of the wet conditions. Rubens Barrichello stopped out on the back straight, at 15:45. The session resumed with 12 minutes to go, and the usual scramble for fastest laps started. Times were improving, with most times in the 1.23’s and 1.24’s, but nobody beat Vettel’s time.

Wet conditions in the afternoon

Wet conditions in the afternoon

So Vettel was top, followed by Hamilton, Massa, Buemi, de la Rosa, Schumacher, Sutil, Di Resta, Petrov, Barrichello, Fauzy and Glock. Timo only managed 10 laps across the entire day. On the other hand, Lotus fared much better, with Fauzy managing 76 laps, but mostly in the wet, so he was 9.2 seconds off the fastest lap.

Times from today:

Driver Team Car Fastest lap Difference # of laps
1. S. Vettel Red Bull RB6 1.22.593 99
2. L. Hamilton McLaren MP4-25 1.23.017 +0.424 72
3. F. Massa Ferrari F10 1.23.204 +0.674 72
4. S. Buemi Toro Rosso STR5 1.23.322 +0.729 79
5. P. de la Rosa Sauber C29 1.23.367 +0.774 76
6. M. Schumacher Mercedes W01 1.23.803 +1.210 111
7. A. Sutil Force India VJM03 1.24.272 +1.679 28
8.9.

10.

11.

12.

P. di Resta

V. Petrov

R. Barrichello

F. Fauzy

T. Glock

Force India

Renault

Williams

Lotus

Virgin

VJM03

R30

FW32

T127

VR-01

1.25.088

1.26.237

1.27.320

1.31.848

1.32.417

+2.495

+3.644

+4.727

+9.255

+9.824

74

55

109

76

10

Pictures from the test:

Abu Dhabi circuit sold to government

The Yas Hotel, right in the middle of the Yas Marina circuit

The Yas Hotel, right in the middle of the Yas Marina circuit

Yas Island, which includes the Yas Marina circuit, has been sold off by Aldar Properties to the Abu Dhabi government.

Note that this is not just the circuit, but also the other features on the island as well. On Gulf News, Aldar’s chief financial officer Shafqat Malek said:

“This includes roads, utilities on the Yas Island, Yas Marina Circuit which is home to the Formula 1 race track, Yas Marina and the Yas Yacht Club.”

“The sale will improve Aldar’s liquidity position and help the company settle its debts this year of around Dh4.5 billion (about £ 720 million),” said Nabil Farhat, partner with Al Fajer Securities. “They will also have enough cash to complete their projects.”

The Yas Marina project is a $36bn development project by Aldar Properties. 1,700 hectares of the 2,500 have been claimed for development. This development includes a Warner Bros. Movie World (a theme park), Ferrari World (another theme park), the famous Yas Marina hotel, a water park, the Yas Mall, golf courses, lagoon hotels, and much more. And the Formula 1 circuit of course!

It was such a huge project, it was named the World’s leading tourism project at the World Travel Awards in November 2009. However, Aldar Properties has invested far too much into development projects over the United Arab Emirates, around $78bn. Therefore, the property crash in the UAE has prompted them to sell off their assets, to stay afloat. It is unclear whether the Abu Dhabi government will keep the Yas Marina facilities or not, but I’d say they will sell it off in a few years.

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