Monthly Archives: February 2012

Jerez testing day 3: Rosberg keeps Mercedes on top

Rosberg kept the Mercedes W02 on top

Rosberg kept the Mercedes W02 on top

Nico Rosberg kept last year’s Mercedes on top of the timesheets for the third day of testing in Jerez.

Rosberg took over from Michael Schumacher, and beat his teammate’s time by over a second today. This concludes Mercedes’ running in Jerez, as they will not take part in testing tomorrow.

Romain Grosjean was fastest of the 2012 cars, finishing ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso made their first appearances in 2012 testing, taking 4th and 7th places respectively.

2012′s new rookies had a difficult day. Giedo van der Garde spun out with an hour to go, finishing 9th. His test was not as bad as Jules Bianchi’s though, as the Force India driver crashed on only his third lap, setting no fast laps. This prevented the team from running Nico Hulkenberg in the afternoon.

Times from Jerez day 3:

1. Nico Rosberg            Mercedes W02        1:17.613   118 Laps
2. Romain Grosjean         Lotus E20           1:18.419   117 Laps   +0.806
3. Sebastian Vettel        Red Bull RB8        1:19.297   96 Laps    +1.684
4. Lewis Hamilton          McLaren MP4-27      1:19.464   80 Laps    +1.851
5. Jean-Eric Vergne        Toro Rosso STR7     1:19.734   79 Laps    +2.121
6. Sergio Perez            Sauber C31          1:19.770   48 Laps    +2.157
7. Fernando Alonso         Ferrari F2012       1:20.412   67 Laps    +2.799
8. Bruno Senna             Williams FW34       1:21.293   125 Laps   +3.680
9. Giedo van der Garde     Caterham CT01       1:23.324   74 Laps    +5.711
10.Jules Bianchi           Force India VJM05   No time    3 Laps      N/A

Jerez testing day 2: Schumacher heads the field

Schumacher beat Webber to take top spot

Schumacher beat Webber to take top spot

Michael Schumacher was fastest in the second test day at Jerez.

The German, driving last year’s W02 was a second faster than yesterday’s time set by Kimi Raikkonen. Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo were fastest of the 2012 cars in 2nd and 3rd.

Jules Bianchi, new test driver for Force India, drove the VJM05 in the morning, going 4th. Kimi Raikkonen had an off in the morning, running into the gravel trap.

Felipe Massa and Jenson Button did not make much improvement on yesterday’s times, both focusing on higher-fuel runs. Massa is cagey on talking about the F2012, while Button has descibed the MP4-27 as better all round compared to last year’s model.

Sergio Perez took 9th, after replacing Kamui Kobayashi this morning. Pastor Maldonado was 10th for Williams. Caterham ran KERS on their car for the first time, and Heikki Kovalainen managed an impressive 139 laps without any technical difficulties with the new system.

Pedro de la Rosa was again last for HRT, albeit only 3.5 seconds off Schumacher’s time.

It is expected that we will see Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Giedo van der Garde get their first tastes of their 2012 cars tomorrow.

Times from Jerez day 2:

1. Michael Schumacher  Mercedes W02         1:18.561   132 Laps
2. Mark Webber         Red Bull RB6         1:19.184   97 Laps    +0.623
3. Daniel Ricciardo    Toro Rosso STR7      1:19.587   100 Laps   +1.026
4. Jules Bianchi       Force India VJM05    1:20.221   46 Laps    +0.660
5. Kimi Raikkonen      Lotus E20            1:20.239   117 Laps   +1.678
6. Paul di Resta       Force India VJM05    1:20.272   69 Laps    +1.711
7. Felipe Massa        Ferrari F2012        1:20.454   95 Laps    +1.893
8. Jenson Button       McLaren MP4-27       1:20.688   85 Laps    +2.127
9. Sergio Perez        Sauber C31           1:20.711   68 Laps    +2.150
10.Pastor Maldonado    Williams FW34        1:21.197   97 Laps    +2.636
11.Heikki Kovalainen   Caterham CT01        1:21.518   139 Laps   +2.957
12.Pedro de la Rosa    HRT F111             1:22.128   64 Laps    +3.567

Jerez testing day 1: Raikkonen leads first day of 2012 testing

Raikkonen posted the fastest time in the morning

Raikkonen posted the fastest time in the morning

In the first of a 4-day test session in Jerez, Kimi Raikkonen kicked off the 2012 pre-season testing by topping the timesheets.

The Finn set a 1:19.670 to put his Lotus E2o on top, one tenth of a second ahead of Paul di Resta in the Force India VJM05. Nico Rosberg was 3rd in last year’s Mercedes car.

Red Bull had a slow start to the first day of testing, with fog delaying the arrival of parts for Mark Webber’s RB8. He eventually set 51 laps, finishing 4th. Sister team Toro Rosso were delayed by an oil leak, although Daniel Ricciardo still made it to 5th place.

Michael Schumacher shared the Mercedes with Rosberg, taking 6th ahead of Kamui Kobayashi, Jenson Button and Felipe Massa.

Neither Caterham or Williams got much running of their cars, with Heikki Kovalainen and Pastor Maldonado finishing 10th and 11th. HRT’s Pedro de la Rosa was 0.3 seconds off the Williams in last year’s F111.

Times from Jerez day 1:

1. Kimi Raikkonen       Lotus E20            1:19.670   75 Laps
2. Paul di Resta        Force India VJM05    1:19.772   101 Laps   +0.102
3. Nico Rosberg         Mercedes W02         1:20.219   56 Laps    +0.549
4. Mark Webber          Red Bull RB8         1:20.496   53 Laps    +0.826
5. Daniel Ricciardo     Toro Rosso STR7      1:20.694   57 Laps    +1.024
6. Michael Schumacher   Mercedes W02         1:20.794   42 Laps    +1.124
7. Kamui Kobayashi      Sauber C31           1:21.353   105 Laps   +1.683
8. Jenson Button        McLaren MP4-27       1:21.530   62 Laps    +1.860
9. Felipe Massa         Ferrari F2012        1:22.815   69 Laps    +3.145
10.Heikki Kovalainen    Caterham CT01        1:23.178   28 Laps    +3.508
11.Pastor Maldonado     Williams FW34        1:23.371   25 Laps    +3.701
12.Pedro de la Rosa     HRT F111             1:23.676   44 Laps    +4.006

Williams reveal FW34 with revised livery

Williams are the last of the teams to reveal their car - the FW34 - before testing

Williams are the last of the teams to reveal their car - the FW34 - before testing

Williams are the ninth F1 team to show off their car for the 2012 season – the FW34.

The team hope to bounce back after a dismal 2011 season, where the team scored only 5 points. As well as the new car, the team have switched to Renault engines for this year.

The car was revealed just before the beginning of today’s pre-season testing in Jerez. A revised livery was also shown off, with the back of the car significantly darker than previous years.

Technically, the car appears to have continued on the theory of a tight rear end (no joke intended), as the sidepods are much shorter and dip down much quicker. The infamous stepped nose is similar to the Ferrari’s, although it is partially hidden by the darker colour.

Toro Rosso launch STR7

Toro Rosso released their STR7 today

Toro Rosso released their STR7 today

Toro Rosso are the final of today’s launches, releasing their STR7 to the public in Jerez.

It is the third car to be designed in Faenza, after the split with Red Bull from Milton Keynes. The team has overhauled its driver line-up over the winter, with Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne now driving.

The team have taken quite an elegant approach to the raised nose section, with the side sections raised at a much higher angle than the middle, which gradually evens out further up the nose.

With this, there have been 8 cars confirmed out of 12. Testing begins in Jerez tomorrow, with Williams showing off their car in the morning.

Mercedes will release their car in two week’s time, Marussia will miss at least the first test finishing their car, while there has been absolutely no news from HRT.

Update: Interestingly, technical director Giorgio Ascanelli has described the team’s nosecone as “too conservative”, and that they wil revise it as the year progresses.

Red Bull post first images of RB8

Red Bull's first images of the RB8

Red Bull's first images of the RB8

Red Bull are the second of today’s launches, posting pictures of their RB8 challenger.

After back-to-back drivers and constructors championships, the team have retained their winning formula, with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber at the helm. Adrian Newey continues to head the design team. Ex-Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi is the team’s reserve driver.

The most interesting innovation so far appears to be in the now infamous nose section, where the team have placed an air intake right in the middle of the raised section. It is currently unclear what section this intake serves, but it would most likely be for the driver.

More pictures and quotes from the team will be added as they arrive.

First pictures of Sauber C31

Sauber have shown off their 2012 C31

Sauber have shown off their 2012 C31

Along with Red Bull and Toro Rosso, Sauber have released their 2012 car, the C31, today.

Just days ago, technical director James Key announced that he would be leaving the squad, posting a massive blow before the season has even started.

Regardless, the C31 has been described as “revolutionary where we had fresh ideas” by chief designer Matt Morris. He also stated that he believes that the exhaust blown diffuser ban will help the team:

"Because of the new definition in the rules we know that the disadvantages we had 
last year with a lack of the strong exhaust effect will be less of an issue for 
us now. As a result we evolved further our directions from C30 regarding the 
overall aero development of the car."
Side view of the Sauber C31

Side view of the Sauber C31

He also noted that the car will appear quite different at the first race in Melbourne, as more updates are added to the car.

Similar to last year, the car will be driven by Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez.

Lotus post first images of E20

Lotus revealed their E20 car online

Lotus revealed their E20 car online

Lotus are the latest team to have taken the covers off their 2012 race car.

Their challenger is called the E20. The name comes from their factory in Enstone, as this is the 20th Formula 1 car to be produced there.

The car features a stepped nose like its competitors, though not as extreme as Ferrari’s yesterday.

Lotus underwent large changes over the off-season, being taken over by Group Lotus, and switching both its drivers for Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.

The team were known to be working on a reactive ride height system, though it was banned by the FIA last month.

The E20 was launched online, but the Lotus website has crashed several times under the pressure of thousands of viewers. Pictures are slow to be released, but they will be added as they arrive.

Here is the official video from Lotus:

Giedo can der Garde announced as Caterham’s third driver

Giedo van der Garde will move to Caterham after 3 years in GP2

Giedo van der Garde will move to Caterham after 3 years in GP2

Dutch racing driver Giedo van der Garde has been confirmed as the third/reserve driver for the Caterham team.

The 26-year-old will take part in several Friday practice 1 sessions throughout the year. He finished in 5th place in this year’s GP2 championship, having run as high as second in the closing rounds.

Van der Garde was a prospect for the final HRT seat, before he was beaten to the post by Narain Karthikeyan.

Despite missing out on a race seat, Giedo was full of praise for the Caterham team:

"The team [Caterham] is fresh, with some fantastic people here. Tony Fernandes is 
extremely ambitious and he has brought in a lot of very good people in to help 
grow this team for future success. I’m looking forward to learning and moving 
forward with the team in and out of the car.

It’s great for Holland that we again have a Dutch driver who is connected to 
Formula 1. Being the only Dutch driver now is very good for the sport in Holland, 
as the interest was perhaps on the decline since the [Jos] Verstappen years, 
however I hope to generate the same excitement for my country and really bring 
Formula 1 to them."

 

Ferrari reveal F2012 with “distinctive” nose design

The newly-launched Ferrari F2012 will win no awards for looks

The newly-launched Ferrari F2012 will win no awards for looks

Ferrari are the fourth team to show off their 2012 challenger, appropriately called the F2012.

The standout feature of the F2012 is undoubtedly the horrendously ugly stepped nose design. Unlike other teams, who sloped the step between the two nose sections, Ferrari’s is at a near-45 degree angle at one point.

Chief designer Nikolas Tombazis describes the nose as “aesthetically not very pleasing”, which most fans have already considered to be one of the understatements of the year.

Chassis director Pat Fry noted that most of the team’s development would be focused on aerodynamics:

"We’re working on upgrading the aero, mainly. There will be an update for the 
third test and the first race. And then, in reality, it’s just a constant aero 
development all through the year.

The biggest differentiator is aerodynamics, still. I think there’s a lot less 
you can do now with engines affecting the aerodynamics.

The engineering side of engine performance moves back to actually producing 
horsepower and making it fuel-efficient, rather than the opposite that we had 
been doing. I think it is just going to be a constant aerodynamic development 
all through the year, really."

Aside from the nose, the most interesting innovation is the pullrod front suspension, which hasn’t been seen on an F1 car since the days of Minardi. Despite the fact that it is a mechanical system, it has been incorporated onto the car for mechanical reasons.

At the launch, Tombazis did a quick walk-through of the adjustments and innovations on the F2012:

"The front wing is an evolution of the wing we introduced in the 
last races of last season [tested in Indian GP]. That was introduced 
in order to learn some initial lessons about this subject and we 
understood quite a lot and we have further developed it, and there’s 
going to be further development at the third test before the start 
of the season.

The nose has a rather ungainly shape on the top. That is the result 
of the regulation which requires us to have the nose quite low, and 
an aerodynamic desire to have the lower part of the chassis as high 
as possible. So even though it is aesthetically not very pleasing, 
we believe it is the most efficient aerodynamic solution to that area 
of the car.

Going slightly further back, we get into one of the innovations of 
this car, which is the front suspension. For mainly aerodynamic 
reasons we have selected the pull-rod solution.

It took us quite a lot of work in the structural and design office 
and vehicle dynamics departments, in order to regain all the mechanical 
characteristics that we wanted the front suspension to have. We believe 
we’ve achieved that, but we also have, I believe, an aerodynamic 
advantage out of the solution.

Moving back, we reach the area of the sidepod inlets. There we have 
reviewed completely the project and we have changed out philosophy for 
the lateral crash structures. The crash test we had to do was much more 
difficult to homologate the car. But it has left us with some aerodynamic 
advantage in the area of the main turning vanes and the vertical profiles 
that lie next to the sidepod inlet.

Going further back we have a much more narrow profile especially at the 
low part of the ‘coke panel’. That has been made possible out of the 
repackaging of the chassis and engine rear part, and also out of the 
gearbox that has been completely reviewed and made narrower.

Whereas in the upper part of the sidepods we have a fairly wide solution 
because we have to host the new exhausts which are a result of the new 
regulations regarding exhausts.

So we have had to abandon to low exhausts of the previous years because 
of the regulations. We spent quite a lot of resource and time in 
investigating the new exhaust scenarios and in fact it will be an area 
we will research during winter testing before we finalist the exact 
configuration for the first race.

Regarding the gearbox, we have obviously got the external shape which 
is new and narrower but we have two different approaches from our side.

One of them is the rear suspension we have adopted, like quite a few of 
the others in recent years, a pull-rod solution. But we’ve also hosted 
part of our radiator cooling on top of the gearbox so as to reduce the 
cooling area required at the lateral part of the car.

The rear wing is basically similar to last year’s, but we have refined 
it and pushed the sections of the aerodynamic profile small, in order 
to produce more downforce.

The F2012 has a relatively small amount of carry-over compared to 
previous cars. The very desciptions I made indicate we have reviewed
almost the whole car. So components that are either physically the same 
as last year or conceptually the same are much fewer, therefore we’ve 
had to work much harder in the technical office and in production in 
order to be able to do all this work."

Finally here is the official launch video from the event:

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