Monthly Archives: March 2012

Marussia MR01 revealed at Silverstone

Marussia reveal the MR01

Marussia reveal the MR01

Marussia are the last team of 2012 to show off their 2012 car, called the MR01.

Like HRT, Marussia failed the FIA crash tests, meaning they could not take part in pre-season testing. However, they used today’s launch to get some track time as part of a promotional event.

The MR01 marks Marussia’s first attempt at using a wind tunnel to build their car, after the disaster of their CFD approach over the last 2 years.

As rumours anticipated, the car has followed McLaren’s lead in not using the stepped nose design.

New HRT F112 launched in Barcelona

HRT showed off their F112

HRT showed off their F112

HRT have finally unveiled their F112 car in Barcelona today.

After failing their initial crash tests, the financially troubled team will take part in a filming day today to shake down the car. However, the F112 has still lost out massively from not completing any realistic test laps before Melbourne.

The livery has again been revised from last year. 2011’s design proved to be a hit with the fans, though this may not be the case this year. The base of the car is white, with deep red and gold lines along the side.

The F112 appears to have a stepped nose like many of its competitors, but the lack of front-end pictures makes it difficult to analyse.

A team photo afterwards revealed that Vitantonio Liuzzi was to stay with the team, undoubtedly as a reserve driver.

Barcelona testing day 4: Raikkonen ends testing on top

Raikkonen finished testing on top

Raikkonen finished testing on top

The final day of pre-season testing concluded today, with Kimi Raikkonen finishing testing the way he started it – on top of the timesheets.

The Lotus driver set a 1:22.030 in the morning, followed by Fernando Alonso. Bruno Senna finally showed a glimpse of Williams’ potential pace in 3rd.

The entire field was within 1.5 seconds of the leader, as most teams opted to set low-fuel runs in the morning. The afternoon running saw most teams switch to race simulations.

Kamui Kobayashi and Vitaly Petrov caused today’s two red flags, both drivers stopping out on track during the day.

Sebastian Vettel spent the entire day at the bottom of the timesheets, as Red Bull continued to do setup changes. His running in the morning was delayed by a problem with the pre-existing setup, and not the new package installed yesterday. Similar to yesterday, the car was covered in mechanics and umbrellas as it entered the pits.

The only team with the ability to do any more running is HRT, who want to test out their car tomorrow at a filming day. Marussia, who also have not turned a wheel this year, will not be able to test until Melbourne, as they still have not passed the FIA crash tests.

Times from Barcelona day 4:

1.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus E20          1:22.030   121 Laps
2.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari F2012      1:22.250   115 Laps    +0.220
3.  Bruno Senna           Williams FW34      1:22.296   53  Laps    +0.266
4.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India VJM05  1:22.312   101 Laps    +0.282
5.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber C31         1:22.386   72  Laps    +0.356
6.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren MP4-27     1:22.430   115 Laps    +0.400
7.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham CT01      1:22.795   101 Laps    +0.765
8.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes W03       1:22.939   100 Laps    +0.909
9.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams FW34      1:23.347   48  Laps    +1.317
10. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso STR7    1:23.393   100 Laps    +1.363
11. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull RB8       1:23.608   23  Laps    +1.578

Barcelona testing day 3: Perez leads rain-affected session

Perez headed the timesheets in Barcelona

Perez headed the timesheets in Barcelona

Sergio Perez was fastest on the second-last day of testing in Barcelona.

The Mexican set the fastest time in the morning, edging out Jenson Button by 0.009 seconds. During the afternoon, rain began to fall, meaning that Perez’s time of 1:22.094 would stand as the fastest. Nearing the end of the day, there was reports of hail at Turn 1.

As opposed to the top two’s soft tyres, Daniel Ricciardo set his fastest lap on super-soft tyres en route to 3rd place.

Felipe Massa was 4th for Ferrari. The Italian squad raised eyebrows today after announcing that their drivers will not be talking to the media at any point during the weekend. The team’s Twitter account claimed that “The decision has been taken to keep the whole team fully focused on the job and there is not any polemic [controversial] intent behind it.”

Red Bull were the team to watch today, testing a heavily revised RB8 featuring a new exhaust layout. Mechanics were seen swarming around the car once it entered the pits, to block any photos of the new layout. Mark Webber was half a second off Perez with the updated car.

The front 9 drivers were separated by 0.8 seconds. Only Kimi Raikkonen was drastically off the pace, struggling with his steering in the morning, and setting only 43 laps across the entire day.

Meanwhile, HRT have confirmed that they will not be appearing at the final testing day tomorrow. The team still hopes to turn a wheel before Melbourne though, by doing a filming day next Monday.

Times from Barcelona day 3:

1.  Sergio Perez        Sauber C31          1:22.094   13  Laps
2.  Jenson Button       McLaren MP4-27      1:22.126   44  Laps    +0.009
3.  Daniel Ricciardo    Toro Rosso STR7     1:22.361   131 Laps    +0.061
4.  Felipe Massa        Ferrari F2012       1:22.447   122 Laps    +0.319
5.  Paul di Resta       Force India VJM05   1:22.828   108 Laps    +0.352
6.  Bruno Senna         Williams FW34       1:22.836   111 Laps    +0.386
7.  Heikki Kovalainen   Caterham CT01       1:22.893   64  Laps    +0.536
8.  Mark Webber         Red Bull RB8        1:22.978   70  Laps    +0.568
9.  Nico Rosberg        Mercedes W03        1:22.932   129 Laps    +0.838
10. Kimi Raikkonen      Lotus E20           1:25.379   43  Laps    +3.285

Barcelona testing day 2: Grosjean leads heavily disrupted session

Grosjean continued to lead proceedings

Grosjean continued to lead proceedings

Romain Grosjean stayed on top in today’s heavily disrupted testing session in Barcelona.

The session was stopped no less than 8 times – several times for fog in the morning.

Grosjean set 124 laps today, posting a 1:22.614 to take top spot. Jean-Eric Vergne was set to post a faster time on super-softs, before his Toro Rosso stopped out on track.

Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso were a tenth of a second apart in 3rd and 4th, posting their times on medium and hard tyres.

The next 5 drivers – Kovalainen, Kobayashi, Hulkenberg, Schumacher and Hamilton – were separated by less than 0.3 seconds. Michael caused 2 red flags, while Kobayashi and Hulkenberg had hydraulic and driveline issues respectively.

Williams continued to fill the bottom of the timesheets, with Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado 10th and 11th.

Times from Barcelona day 2:

1.  Romain Grosjean     Lotus E20           1:22.614   124 Laps
2.  Jean-Eric Vergne    Toro Rosso STR7     1:23.126   31 Laps     +0.512
3.  Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull RB8        1:23.361   85  Laps    +0.747
4.  Fernando Alonso     Ferrari F2012       1:23.447   125 Laps    +0.833
5.  Heikki Kovalainen   Caterham CT01       1:23.828   104 Laps    +1.214
6.  Kamui Kobayashi     Sauber C31          1:23.836   77  Laps    +1.222
7.  Nico Hulkenberg     Force India VJM05   1:23.893   33  Laps    +1.279
8.  Michael Schumacher  Mercedes W03        1:23.978   79  Laps    +1.364
9.  Lewis Hamilton      McLaren MP4-27      1:24.111   65  Laps    +1.497
10. Bruno Senna         Williams FW34       1:24.925   48  Laps    +2.311
11. Pastor Maldonado    Williams FW34       1:25.801   20  Laps    +3.187

Barcelona testing day 1: Grosjean puts Lotus back on top

Grosjean overcame last week's chassis issues

Grosjean overcame last week's chassis issues

After suffering chassis issues at the last test, Lotus returned in fine form, with Romain Grosjean leading the first day of the final test in Barcelona.

Despite most drivers continuing to focus on long-fuelled runs, the timesheets were much closer at the top – the top 8 were covered by less than a second.

Lotus were forced to strengthen their front suspension after the chassis problems last week, adding 1kg in core weight. However, the solution hasn’t slowed the E20, with Grosjean setting a 1:23.252. Jenson Button was two tenths further back.

Sergio Perez ran out of fuel at the end of his run, but was still 3rd. Mark Webber spent most of the day on prime long-fuel runs, setting a 1:23.820 later in the afternoon, going 4th. Nico Rosberg set 128 laps en route to 5th.

Heikki Kovalainen did not take part in today’s test after falling ill with food poisoning. Vitaly Petrov took his place, setting 123 laps, but stopped out on track during the day.

Williams had another disappointing day, with Pastor Maldonado last, setting only 58 laps. Onlookers at the Circuit de Catalunya have continually reported seeing the FW34 suffer from chronic understeer around the circuit.

Times from Barcelona day 1:

1.  Romain Grosjean     Lotus E20           1:23.252   73 Laps
2.  Jenson Button       McLaren MP4-27      1:23.510   64 Laps     +0.258
3.  Sergio Perez        Sauber C31          1:23.820   118 Laps    +0.568
4.  Mark Webber         Red Bull RB8        1:23.830   102 Laps    +0.578
5.  Nico Rosberg        Mercedes W03        1:23.992   128 Laps    +0.740
6.  Jean-Eric Vergne    Toro Rosso STR7     1:24.216   113 Laps    +0.964
7.  Paul di Resta       Force India VJM05   1:24.305   98  Laps    +1.053
8.  Felipe Massa        Ferrari F2012       1:24.318   105 Laps    +1.066
9.  Vitaly Petrov       Caterham CT-01      1:24.876   123 Laps    +1.624
10. Pastor Maldonado    Williams FW34       1:25.587   58  Laps    +2.335
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