Category Archives: Photos

New photos of Korean track development

The planned layout for the Korean Grand Prix

The planned layout for the Korean Grand Prix

The Korean Grand Prix will make its debut this year, and preparations are well underway.

At the moment, a few grandstands have been partially set up, and the pit area is also getting along well. The various centres have been the most developed, and should be completed within a few months. While the track is nowhere ready, you can see the outline of it in the photos.

From this, there doesn’t seem to be too much worry about it not being ready in time. However, that’s not to say that the track will actually be any good. I really don’t like the look of it, as it seems to be completely flat and lifeless, and the corners are all in a mess. It just doesn’t fit together at all. Overtaking opportunities? Only one, and it’s a long straight in between two (surprise surprise) heavy braking zones.

To top it all off, you’ll never guess who designed it. Put your hands together for (drum roll)…. Herman Tilke. The only decent circuit he’s ever made is Turkey, and that place is more expensive than La Rascasse.

A preview of the Grand Prix is available here:

New development pictures are available here:

How F1 cars have evolved from last year

As you all should remember, 2009 was the year of massive technical regulation changes, which hugely shoock up the order of the grid. Brawn GP were the best to learn from the regulations, which required a perfect aerodynamic balance. Since then, many teams have caught up, and the 2010 testing season has shown us that technical innovation  has moved on from last year. So, let’s have a look at what the teams have been inventing.

Accomodating larger fuel tanks

Wheelbase and fuel tank capacity changes

Wheelbase and fuel tank capacity changes

The main change to the 2010 regulations was that refuelling is banned. This meant that the fuel tank capacity has increased (2) from 120 to about 235 litres. This huge increase in size ensured that the teams would have to deal with two problems: 1) Adjusting the car’s balance and 2) Moving the mechanical components to facilitate this.

The inevitable solution was to increase the cars’ wheelbases. However, it was critical that the increase was not too big, in order to save handling, and thereby tyre wear. Through multiple innovations which we will now analyse, the wheelbase was only increased by around 15cm. This means that the extra 160kg of fuel has less effect on the weight distrubution of the car. However, the increased tank size meant that mechanical components had to be moved. It is believed that some teams have moved the oil tank  behind the fuel tank (since 1998 it has been ahead of it), to allow space to be saved, and therefore meaning minimal increase in the wheelbase.

Shorter gearboxes (5) save unnecessary wheelbase extensions

Shorter gearboxes (5) save unnecessary wheelbase extensions

Another innovation was to reduce the size of the gearbox, again to reduce the need of moving the wheelbase. This was combined with the fact that all of the other mechanicals were moved slightly more than the wheelbase adjustment. This space deficit was countered with a smaller suspension system (see picture above). Only Red Bull seem not to have gone down this route, instead choosing to keep its pullrod rear suspension, which moves further down the car.

More space for the double-decker diffuser

Ferrari's engine mounting allows more space for the diffuser

Ferrari's engine mounting allows more space for the diffuser

Like it or not, but the double-decker diffusers meant that the teams were looking to extract maximum downforce in the rear area. The front section was dealt with by the front wing, so the diffuser was the best area to work on. An interesting solution introduced by Ferrari replicated that on the very intelligent design of the Arrows A2, from 1970. Their F10 engine was mounted at a 3.5 degree angle (1). This meant that the exhaust pipes are located further forward than usual, which allowed for more space at the back for the diffuser. This solution was first done by the A2 in 1970.

All of that means that there is more space to play with in the back of the car. The concept of the double-decker diffuser was that there was a slot in the underside of the car, which fed a much larger diffuser on top. The extra space generated by the exhausts being moved forward means that the diffuser will be larger, meaning more downforce.

Higher gearbox positioning allows for more diffuser space

Higher gearbox positioning allows for more diffuser space

A more simple solution from Red Bull here. Adrian Newey’s idea was to elevate the gearbox instead of shortening it, which had the same effect without difficulties with the shorter gearbox afterwards. The yellow area in the photo shows the difference made by a simple adjustment. This explains why they retained their pull-rod suspension (see 3rd paragraph on larger fuel tanks) in stead of reverting to the traditional push-rod system. Since the pick-up points of the pull-rod suspension are now lower, it means that space for the diffuser is increased. These are two completely different solutions to the same objective: Make space at the back for the diffuser. This is why Formula 1 is such a great place to show technical innovation.

Rear aerodynamic airflow

McLaren's rear aerodynamic layout, which aims air at the rear wing and diffuser

McLaren's rear aerodynamic layout, which aims air at the rear wing and diffuser

As well as the diffuser, airflow management was important on the outside of the car. McLaren’s MP4-25 is the best example of this. First of all, completely the opposite of Ferrari, their exhausts have been moved further back (red arrow). The second part of this solution is to use the airflow of the airbox exit to cool the air from the gearbox radiator (blue arrow). The smaller red arrows show how these two airflow systems go over the diffuser, and the lower part of the rear wing, at certain speeds.

At lower speeds, this air goes through the diffuser, to generarte low-speed grip. When the car becomes faster, and the front and rear wings become more powerful, this airflow then moves to the lower part of the rear wing (black rear wing section). This creates a certain amount of grip without the original drag of the diffuser. This solution shows how the car’s aerodynamic system can change between grip and speed as it gets faster.

Frontal aerodynamic airflow

McLaren's front nosecone splitter, which separates airflow

McLaren's front nosecone splitter, which separates airflow

Again, McLaren’s aero setup is noteworthy here, as it incorporates a solution used by Williams last year. The nosecone splitter (black arrow) changes the airflow passing over and under the front of the car, and thereby the entire aerodynamic layout of the car.

The Sauber C29's endplate system

The Sauber C29's endplate system

As well as this, the cars’ endplates are getting more and more complicated, as the teams look for more methods to divert the air away from the front tyres. Last year, it was more difficult, as the tyres were wider, and the endplates were therefore creating more drag as they pushed more air sideways in the car. This year, because the front tyres are narrower, the endplates now feature more sections to create as little drag as possible, while still ensuring that the tyres weren’t making turbulent air by mixing with the car’s airflow.

While most teams opted to push the air outside the front tyres, Sauber went for a mixture of two solutions: To move the air around as well as over the tyres. The inner part of the endplates is traditional in creating as little drag as possible while diverting airflow. However, the interesting section is the outer part, which moves air over the tyres. As well as having a dual layout system, it means that slightly more downforce is generated by the cars at speed.

So, as we can see, there have been plenty of new technical innovations for the 2010 season, and we haven’t even started yet! Hopefully, across the season, we will see some morenew inventions, which I will feature on the blog in several round-ups across the year.

A photo and video review of the testing season

So, as the Barcelona test concluded today, we have learned much about the upcoming season in 2 weeks time. For now, let’s have a look at some of the photos and videos that summarised this year’s testing season.

The Videos

Mclaren owned by Ferrari:

For the last few weeks, many of us have been worrying about the fact that most of the teams have been trying to hide their diffuser from the others. It’s been a hot topic: Will we see another diffuser battle? Mostly, cover sheets and boxes are used to stop other team mechanics stealing designs of the diffusers. But, in Barcelona, Ferrari went one step further (to the delight of the audience) to get the message through to McLaren.

For my childish side… PWNED!

Felipe Massa onboard head-cam:

Remember last year, when the Ferarri F60 was released, and we were treated to the great onboard footage of Massa’s first lap in the car? This year it’s even better, he’s driving in heavy rain conditions this time. Unfortunately the camera is pointing slightly downwards, so visibility isn’t great, but this video is still well worth a watch. Oh, and it’s also available in HD, which is nice :)

Life’s a Beach- Virgin Racing

I’ll get this out of the way, I’m not quite sure why they made this video! Still though, it’s got some nice shots of the Virgin car, as well as Lucas di Grassi’s attempts to sound badass, this time without the glasses.

The Photos

Putting on a brave face!

Putting on a brave face!

Like I’ve said before,there’s plenty of worry around the paddock of another diffuser battle this year. So, while most of the teams covered up the back of their cars and hid them away, Sauber put a smile on our face by making their diffuser more pleasant to look at! This is why I love privateers compared to manufacturers :D

The reconquest begins, apparently...

The reconquest begins, apparently...

Note the flags of Oviedo on the left and right. This picture was taken on one of the first days of testing, when Fernando Alonso made his first appearances for Ferrari. Also, the eagle-eyed F1 fans may notce the two aces of clubs and diamonds, the same that Fernando has printed on the back of his helmet, to symbolise his two championship victories in 2005 and 2006(note ’05 and ’06 written in place of numbers on the cards). Obviously, the Spaniards were out in force to greet their hero, and made their presence known. They seem to be very confident of an Alonso comeback this season, and I’m with them!

Brought back down to earth

Brought back down to earth

Like the last picture, this was taken on one of the first days of Alonso’s test with Ferrari. This time, the Spaniard was forced to stop out on track with a mechanical problem. Fernando seemed very dissapointed to let down his fans afterwards, but this is F1.

Drying out

Drying out

It seems so long ago to me, but the two Jerez tests were blighted by heavy rain.  Teams struggled across the 8 days to find time to do full-length race testing. Here, a Bridgestone technician checks the track to see are conditions improving. In fact, they were.

Spun out

Spun out

Back to the 18th February. It was another disastrous day for the Virgin team, as yesterday Timo Glock only got 10 laps in the wet conditions. This day, it got no better, with the German spinning out ar Turn 2. A mechanical problem was believed to have caused the spin, and the wet track didn’t help. After the front wing incident, it became apparent that CFD didn’t make the Virgin car bulletproof.

The news did get better for the team, but it took some time.

Subtle observation

Subtle observation

More McLaren eagle eyes this time (they never get bored of it do they?). Here, the Red Bull of Mark Webber is being brought back to the pits after a mechanical problem.  The McLaren engineers had been closer, but you can see a Red Bull engineer getting them well back. Damn straight :D

Set sail to Bahrain...

Set sail to Bahrain...

And, quick as a flash, it’s all over. Less than an hour after the chequered flag fell on the last day of testing, the teams were packing up to leave to Bahrain. Without a hint of delay, as I write this (the eve of the final day), most of the teams have already sent their trucks of equipment on their way to Bahrain. It’s kind of strange to see that the F1 world never sleeps.

28th February-Testing results: Hamilton concludes testing season

Lewis Hamilton at the final Barcelona test today

Lewis Hamilton at the final Barcelona test today

The final day of testing for 2010 ended today. For the next 2 weeks, the teams will now pack up and ship their equpiment to Bahrain for the season opener. So, for the last day in Barcelona, Lewis Hamiton topped the timesheets today.

The Briton set a massive 134 laps to get a best lap time of 1.20.472. The McLaren MP4-25 today received a new set of aerodynamic updates, which shows that the pace is very good for the team. In the morning, he focused on qualifying simulation, and then moved to race simulation (complete with 2 ultra-fast pit stops) in the afternoon. He was consistently fast throughout this simulation, which is great news for him and the team.

Behind Lewis was Mark Webber, who was only 0.024 seconds behind. As opposed to other days, Sebastian Vettel drove the RB6 in the morning, then handed it over to Webber for the afternoon. Vettel dissapointed, setting only the fifth fastest time in a low-fuel run. But, it must be noted that there were faster wind speeds and dust on thr track in the morning, so there was much less grip on a track which requires perfect aero setup. Webber, on the other hand, did a mixture of short and long fuel runs, to round off the teams’ preparations for the season.

Another very close effort here, as Felipe Massa was just 0.067 off Hamilton’s best time today. Again, like the McLaren, he did short-fuel runs in the morning and race simulation in the afternoon.  His race simulation was actually split up into 4 parts, which may have hampered his efforts. However, it still doesn’t quell the belief that Ferrari appears to be the strongest team after testing. Massa was very happy with testing in general, saying:

"I'm satisfied with the whole of testing, not just Barcelona.
Valencia and Jerez too - we did what we wanted to do, but it looks
like it will be a very tough and competitive championship.

We never expected to have an advantage and to go to the first race
and win in an easy way, definitely not. We expect to have a
competitive car, and this I think we have done. The car is reliable,
but also consistent, and that is what we want to start the season.
We are not here to be the champions of the pre-season.

We are here to work on the car, to try to have a good championship
and fighting for the championship."

Behind the top 3, Adrian Sutil was fourth in the Force India. His day was similar to Hamilton and Massa, so this shows significant improvement with the VJM03.

Sebastian Vettel was fifth, followed by Michael Schumacher. However, sixth wasn’t bad, seeing as he was only 0.273 seconds off Hamilton’s fastest lap. Again, his race simulation was the same as most of the other drivers.

Rubens Barrichello had an eventful day, after finishing seventh. In the morning, he spun out into the gravel, and in the afternoon stopped out on track with an unspecified problem. His best lap was only 0.398 slower than Hamilton’s.

Eighth and ninth went to Kamui Kobayashi and Sebastien Buemi respectively. Both of theses drivers focused on short-fuel runs across the day, and Buemi got a few mechanical tweaks across the day. Kobayashi was close, only 0.439 off the best time, but Buemi was 1.2 seconds behind Kobayashi.

Robert Kubica got some updates for his Renault, but was unimpressive, finishing tenth overall. The new teams completed the back again, with Heikki Kovalainen leading Lucas di Grassi this time. Kovalainen got a 1.25.251, while Di Grassi got a 1.26.160.

Lotus technical director Mike Gascoyne wasn’t too downbeat over the Lotus’ lack of pace today, saying:

"It was a game of two halves as they say; we had a good morning where
we were able to complete all our plans but a problem with the
programme change on the gearbox delayed us in the afternoon, which
meant we weren't able to do as much running as we wanted.

Overall, however, the test has been extremely productive - in
general we've had very good reliability, and the team is in very
good shape going to the first race.

Considering the length of time we've had to work on the project it's
a fantastic effort from the whole team. Everyone has worked
exceptionally hard over the two tests and we now have to work on the
pace of the car and improve that, but it's been a tremendous effort
from the whole team and I'm very proud of them."

Over the next few days, I will do statistics of all of the tests, as well as the best photos and videos from the paddock, which I should have up by tonight.

Today’s times:


Driver Team Car Fastest lap Difference
# of laps
1. L. Hamilton McLaren MP4-25 1.20.472 134
2. M. Webber Red Bull RB6 1.20.496 +0.024 61
3. F. Massa Ferrari F10 1.20.539 +0.067 114
4. A. Sutil F. India VJM03 1.20.667 +0.195 100
5. S. Vettel Red Bull RB6 1.20.667 +0.195 76
6. M. Schumacher Mercedes W01 1.20.745 +0.273 123
7. R. Barrichello Williams FW32 1.20.870 +0.398 84
8.

9.

10.

11.

12.

K. Kobayashi

S. Buemi

R. Kubica

H. Kovalainen

L. di Grassi

Sauber

T. Rosso

Renault

Lotus

Virgin

C29

STR5

R30

T127

VR-01

1.20.911

1.22.135

1.23.175

1.25.251

1.26.160

+0.439

+1.663

+2.703

+4.779

+5.668

67

88

107

64

49

Pictures from the final test:

27th February- Testing results: Rosberg leads the penultimate test

Nico Rosberg in Barcelona today

Nico Rosberg in Barcelona today

Nico Rosberg finished the third day of testing in Barcelona as the fastest man on track for Mercedes GP.

For the first time of this test, rain did hamper the team’s runnings for a few hours in the afternoon, so his early time of 1.20.686 was enough to keep him ahead of Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi and Jenson Button of McLaren.

Nico was very happy with his car, saying:

"I think in general there's no absolute weakness with the car at the
moment.We just need to nail the set-up a little bit better to really
extract the maximum potential from the car, which I think we're not
quite doing yet. We're close and maybe tomorrow we can make another
step in the right direction."

Even better for the German, Mercedes have promised him and Michael Schumacher a host of new aerodynamic upgrades before the season opener in Bahrain in 2 weeks time.

"We have some upgrades here, but the big package is coming for
Bahrain - and it's going to be a big package. But I'm sure everybody
else has similar big steps, and then we just have to see where we
are."

Again, like yesterday, most drivers switched from short to long runs in the afternoon, as teams focused on race fuel loads.
There were many red flags out again today for stoppages out on track. Rosberg and Barrichello both stopped because of mechanical problems, while Buemi ran out of fuel after finishing a long-fuel simulation.
Behind the top three, it was Barrichello, Massa, Petrov, Sutil, Vettel, Trulli, Kobayashi and Glock. The Red Bull of Vettel fared poorly today, getting no running in the morning, and only completing 51 laps of 9 or 10-lap runs in the afternoon.
It was a better day for Trulli and Lotus, who completed 102 laps in total. His best lap was 9th quickest out of 11, and 4.3 seconds slower than Rosberg. On the other hand, Glock and Virgin had a very poor day. They only got in 31 laps, and the only properly fast lap was set very late in the afternoon.

Button was happy with his car, but believed more was to come, saying:

"There’s definitely more to come with this car. We went from having
high fuel in the car to going out and doing lower-fuel runs and it’s
very difficult because you haven’t done any set-up work. The day was
too short for me today, really.

Given another day of testing I know what I’d do to the car to
improve it. Hopefully Lewis will be testing a few things that are
useful tomorrow. Because to be out of the box with a package that’s
this consistent and with the pace that we’ve got, I’m very happy.

I don’t think we are at our maximum yet but we will do our best
tomorrow to get the maximum out of the car. The set-up changes the
team are thinking about for tomorrow could help us quite a lot and
improve the balance. It’s a good update but we’re not getting the
best out of it yet because we haven’t done enough laps."

Times from today:

Pos  Driver              Team         Time       Gap       Laps
 1.  Nico Rosberg        Mercedes     1m20.686s            128
 2.  Sebastien Buemi     Toro Rosso   1m21.413s  + 0.727s  106
 3.  Jenson Button       McLaren      1m21.450s  + 0.764s  105
 4.  Rubens Barrichello  Williams     1m21.975s  + 1.289s  101
 5.  Felipe Massa        Ferrari      1m22.344s  + 1.658s  115
 6.  Vitaly Petrov       Renault      1m22.523s  + 1.837s  68
 7.  Adrian Sutil        Force India  1m22.606s  + 1.920s  61
 8.  Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull     1m23.123s  + 2.437s  51
 9.  Jarno Trulli        Lotus        1m25.059s  + 4.373s  102
10.  Kamui Kobayashi     Sauber       1m26.216s  + 5.530s  105
11.  Timo Glock          Virgin       1m26.305s  + 5.619s  31

Pictures from today:

26th February- Testing results: Hulkenberg puts Williams on top

The second day of the final test in Barcelona concluded with Williams’ Nico Hilkenberg on top of the timesheets.

It is believed that the German was running qualifying simulation work when he knocked Fernando Alonso off the top, in the early afternoon. Earlier in the morning, he had been doing 19 and 27 lap runs, before going on a race-type simulation.

Later in the afternoon, while all of the other teams switched to race simulation, the Hulk (a Williams nickname, not mine!) did qualifying runs, which explains his 1.20.614 lap time. Nico later spoke about his day:

"P1 today is nice but means nothing, to be honest. We're not in
Bahrain yet! It's positive for the team, and for me, to know what
the  car can do, though. "We did a lot of set-up work today and
have found some interesting  things so I feel ready and confident
to go to Bahrain now."

Williams technical director Sam Michael was similar in analysing the day:

“Nico finished his last day of winter testing today with a good run
of laps. Our programme included the evaluation of a new sidepod,
starts practice and some additional work on the set-up of the FW32.
We’re making progress, but there’s still plenty to do.”

Also, Fernando Alonso did all of today’s running with a new shark fin engine cover, as well as other aerodynamic updates. Now, only Williams, Lotus and Virgin are the only teams to have not run the shark fin engine cover technique. The Spaniard eventually reached 1.20.637 with a short-fuel run near the end of the day.

Behind him, Pedro de la Rosa was third. It was another very solid day for him and the team, with short-fuel runs in the morning giving him a time of 1.20.973. He then went to race simulation in the afternoon, and his best times were in the 1.22 zone. Every day the Sauber looks better and better, and de la Rosa agrees, saying:

<pre>“Today was a very good preparation for the season’s start in Bahrain. The reliability of the car was perfect and I think the performance was also good, especially in the race simulation. It was a very good exercise and I feel we have now done everything possible to get ready for the first Grand Prix. It was also a big day for me because it has been a while since I last completed a race distance. I feel very well and also really confident now.”
</pre>

Vitantonio Liuzzi was 4th for Force India. Then the order was Vettel, Alguersuari, Schumacher, Hamilton, Kubica, Trulli and Glock. The Lotus of Trulli was still very slow today, as he reported the car as being 4 seconds off the pace of the leaders. His fastest lap was 1.25.524 after 70 laps. Timo Glock was similarly slow, with a 1.25.942 after 52 laps.

Two drivers who seemed off the pace today were Schuamcher and Hamilton. However, neither of these drivers went for low-fuel runs, and solely did race simulations, which explains their lack of fast laps. Schumacher had a raft of aerodynamic updates, and also worked on pit-stops and practice starts.

Robert Kubica also had his fair share of problems. His Renault R30 suffered suspension problems in the afternoon. Alan Permane explained this problem:

“Robert was in the car today for his first laps at Barcelona in the
R30. We spent the morning doing some set-up work, but in the
afternoon we had a problem with the suspension, which limited our
running. We’re still looking into the issue and will have the car
fixed and ready for tomorrow morning.”

Times from today:


Driver Team Car Fastest lap Difference
# of laps
1. N. Hulkenberg Williams FW32 1.20.614 99
2. F. Alonso Ferrari F10 1.20.637 +0.023 134
3. P. de la Rosa Sauber C29 1.20.973 +0.359 114
4. V. Liuzzi F. India VJM03 1.21.056 +0.442 90
5. S. Vettel Red Bull RB6 1.21.258 +0.644 125
6. J.Alguersuari T. Rosso STR5 1.21.571 +0.957 104
7. M. Schumacher Mercedes W01 1.21.689 +1.075 85
8.

9.

10.

11.

L. Hamilton

R. Kubica

J. Trulli

T. Glock

McLaren

Renault

Lotus

Virgin

MP4-25

R30

T127

VR-01

1.22.152

1.24.912

1.25.524

1.25.942

+1.538

+4.298

+4.910

+5.328

93

53

70

52

Pictures from today’s test:

25th February-Testing results- Webber fastest on day 1

Mark Webber gave his Barcelona test a flying start by ending the first day top of the timesheets. The Red Bull driver finished ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and Nico Rosberg.

This 4-day test in the Circuit de Catalunya will be the final test before the teams all travel to Bahrain, for the start of the season. So, the teams are now all concentrating on race set-ups and practicing pit stops.

Unlike most of the time in Jerez, conditions were almost perfect. Temperatures were good, and the very small threat of rain in the afternoon quickly faded.

Webber was on the pace all day long, and his fastest lap was an entire second quicker than the others. His time of 1.21.487 was the best of the day, followed by Hulkenberg (1.22.407) and Rosberg (1.22.514).

Pedro de la Rosa was 4th (1.23.144), ahead of Jenson Button in 5th. The McLaren team said that they were working an mechanical and aerodynamic set-up instead of race fuel loads, so his time of 1.23.452 isn’t to be taken as an indicator of performance. The Force India of Vitantonio Liuzzi was 6th with a 1.24.064.

Fernando Alonso was 7th with a 1.24.170, and even Ferrari themselves called the day “difficult”. Vitaly Petrov was behind him, setting a 1.24.173. Jaime Alguersuari set the most laps (111) and his best lap was 1.24.869. Lucas di Grassi and Fairuz Fauzy filled out the back with 1.27.057 and 1.28.002 respectively.

Red flags were out all day long, with 6 in total. Most of these were because of stoppages out on track for Alonso, Fauzy, Webber, Rosberg and Button. However, Lucas di Grassi crashed backwards into the barrier at Campsa corner, the same corner where Heikki Kovalainen crashed in Spain 2008. The crash ruined his entire day, but the Virgin team say the car will be ready for tomorrow.

Times from today:


Driver Team Car Fastest lap Difference
# of laps
1. M. Webber Red Bull RB6 1.21.487 109
2. N. Hulkenberg Williams FW32 1.22.407 +0.920 81
3. N. Rosberg Mercedes W01 1.22.514 +1.027 107
4. P. de la Rosa Sauber C29 1.23.144 +1.657 73
5. J. Button McLaren MP4-25 1.23.452 +1.965 100
6. V. Liuzzi F. India VJM03 1.24.064 +2.577 64
7. F. Alonso Ferrari F10 1.24.170 +2.683 74
8.

9.

10.

11.

V. Petrov

J. Alguersuari

L. di Grassi

F. Fauzy

Renault

T. Rosso

Virgin

Lotus

R30

STR5

VR-01

T127

1.24.173

1.24.869

1.27.057

1.28.002

+2.686

+3.382

+5.570

+6.515

73

111

31

76

Pictures from the test:

20th February- Testing results: Button on top in final day at Jerez

Jenson Button in the McLaren in Jerez today

Jenson Button in the McLaren in Jerez today

The Jerez testing fortnight finally ended today. Note the “finally”, because the teams must have been completely exasperated by the horrible weather conditons we have had over the last 2 weeks. Nevertheless, Jenson Button finished the test on a high, as he topped the timesheets today.

The Briton’s time of 1.18.871 was the fastest of the entire testing fortnight,  ahead of Robert Kubica (1.19.114) and Kamui Kobayashi (1.19.188). The weather was excellent today, as shown by the fact that the 3 fastest times of the last 2 weeks were set today. Most of these fast laps were set in the morning, as everyone switched to heavy fuel running in the afternoon.

Unlike the other days, we didn’t have scrambling of strategies to suit the conditionsm as the teams focused mostly on long fuel runs. Therefore, we didn’t see as much action as we have over the last few days. However, one of the main causes of concern was for Mark Webber, who suffered a serious mechanical problem. This has not been explained yet by Red Bull, but his engine was changed as a precautionary measure. Also, the only other red flag today was for Timo Glock, who stopped after another hydraulic problem for the Virgin car.

In fact, before the problem, he was really on the pace, lapping the same as the rest of the midfield, before the hydraulic gremlins showed up again after only 28 laps. Jarno Trulli and the Lotus team fared much better. Although their best lap was 1 second slower than Glock, they managed 141 laps in total, the highest of any driver today.

The rest of the paddock all were as solid as Lotus. Jaime Alguersuari got in 139 laps, followed closely by Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso (137). Nico Rosberg got 130 laps, while Kubica and Kobayashi managed 117. Otherwise, Button got 108, Webber got 87 and Liuzzi got 80. Over the last 4 days, Nico Hulkenberg has got the most mileage in, with a mammoth 275 laps.

Statistics from the entire test will be up soon.

Today’s times:


Driver Team Car Fastest lap Difference
# of laps
1. J. Button McLaren MP4-25 1.18.871 108
2. R. Kubica Renault R30 1.19.114 +0.243 117
3. K. Kobayashi Sauber C29 1.19.188 +0.317 117
4. A. Liuzzi F. India VJM03 1.19.650 +0.799 80
5. N. Rosberg Mercedes W01 1.20.061 +1.190 130
6. F. Alonso Ferrari F10 1.20.436 +1.565 137
7. J. Alguersuari T. Rosso STR5 1.21.053 +2.182 139
8.9.

10.

11.

M. Webber

N. Hulkenberg

T. Glock

J. Trulli

Red Bull

Williams

Virgin

Lotus

RB6

FW32

VR-01

T127

1.21.194

1.21.919

1.22.433

1.23.470

+2.323

+3.048

+3.562

+4.599

87

137

28

141

Pictures from the test:

19th February- Testing results: Webber leads in the dry conditions

Mark Webber topped the timesheets today in a sunny Jerez

Mark Webber topped the timesheets today in a sunny Jerez

At last, the sun breaks through in Jerez, as Mark Webber makes full use of the glorius sunshine to top the timesheets today.

In fact, there were torrential downpours last night in the area, as many personnel struggled to even get out of the track. In the morning, although the track was slightly damp, the sun was out, so it would clear very quickly. Nearly everyone was confident of good weather today. In the first half hour, there were only a few installation laps to check the conditions, but not much else. But, at 08:30, Heikki Kovalainen stopped out on track with a clutch sensor problem. The team brushed it off as a small problem, but the Finn was forced to wait on the sidelines until 12:00 to get out again. Meanwhile, by 09:00, the sun was out in full force, track temperatures had risen, and the track had completely dried out.

Many drivers were lapping either cautiously or very heavy with fuel. The fastest times were in the 1.23 and 1.24 zone. At 09:40, there were reports that Lucas di Grassi had crashed at Turn 12. It soon  turned out that he didn’t hit the barriers, but only just avoided them. This was to be the second red flag of the day, after Kovalainen. However, once the session restarted, Kobayashi instantly brought the session to a halt again, but it is unclear what happened. It seems as though he simple stopped on track. Once the session restarted, it was time for slick tyres, with Alonso, Kubica, Sutil and Webber out to take the most from it. Webber’s 5-lap run left him in the 1.24′s, while Alonso, and then Alguersuaria and Schumacher, all got into the 1.23′s. Jenson Button headed out at 10:30, had the track to himself for a while, and immidiately got a 1.22.6 as his reward.

Lucas di Grassi after crashing at Turn 12

Lucas di Grassi after crashing at Turn 12

Kamui Kobayashi after stopping on track

Kamui Kobayashi after stopping on track

Track temperature was now 22 degrees, and there was less wind than yesterday, so fastest laps were estimated to be nearly as quick as the ones last week. Lucas di Grassi did one installation lap, to inspect for any damage to his car, and pitted quickly, and many believed the car was fine. At 10:30, Fernando Alonso got a 1.21.969, after a 7-lap run. Button got back out again, and by 11:00 got a 1.21.435. Webber and Alonso soon got 1.21.7 and 1.21.8 repsectively, which meant the track had rubbered in well. After 6 laps, all of Button’s laps were in the 1.21′s, which shows he was really on the pace. Webber was 5 laps into his stint, all in the 1.22′s, when he stopped out on the straight, with a suspected mechanical problem.

At 11:30, it seemed that Nico Hulkenberg was mixing lap times with pit stop practice, but only getting into the 1.25 mark with his laps. This, however, was believed to have been a full race simulation, which means he would have been full up on fuel.  Soon though, Button broke into the 1.20 zone, as part of a 7-lap run. By 12:30, Adrian Sutil was the next to improve his times, getting a 1.22.5. Schumacher, after a 10-lap run, got a 1.21.9, with most in the 1.22 or 1.23 range. At 13:00, Alonso went back out, and was suddenly firing on all cylinders, getting straight down to 1.20.115, then 1.20.1, 1.20.6, 1.20.5, 1.20.6, and 1.20.7. This great consistency shows the Ferrari has true pace this year. Kovalainen was out at 13:00, to test two different types of tyre compound rather than fuel,but his fastest lap was only 1.26. He soon had to pit though, because of a cracked exhaust.

At 14:00, Webber got a 1.19.3, putting him 7 tenths clear of the rest of the field. He soon managed a 1.19.6 before pitting. At 14:20, Lucas di Grassi caused another stoppage, this time at the Dry Sack hairpin. When the session resumed 20 minutes later, Webber immidiately got a 1.19.299. Kovalinen got back on track at 15:00 after his exhaust problem, and got a 1.24.924 on one of his first laps out. From then until the end, it was just race simulations, so no new fast times were set. The session was ended 3 minutes early, after Hulkenberg stopped at the Dry Sack corner, but we’re not sure what the problem was this time. Despite this, he managed the most laps today, with 138, ahead of Alonso on 132, Alguersuari on 120, Webber on 115, Button on 101 and Kubica on 100. Di Grassi only got 34, while Kobayashi got 28.

All of today’s times:

Today’s times:


Driver Team Car Fastest lap Difference
# of laps
1. M. Webber Red Bull RB6 1.19.299 115
2. F. Alonso Ferrari F10 1.20.115 +0.816 132
3. J. Button McLaren MP4-25 1.20.394 +1.095 101
4. N. Hulkenberg Williams FW32 1.21.432 +2.133 138
5. M. Schumacher Mercedes W01 1.21.437 +2.138 79
6. R. Kubica Renault R30 1.21.916 +2.617 100
7. A. Sutil F. India VJM03 1.21.939 +2.640 69
8.

Red9.

10.

11.

K. Kobayashi

J. Alguersuari

L. di Grassi

H. Kovalainen

Sauber

T. Rosso

Virgin

Lotus

C29

STR5

VR-01

T127

1.22.228

1.22.564

1.23.504

1.23.521

+2.929

+3.265

+4.205

+4.222

28

120

34

68

Pictures from the test:

18th February- Testing results- Barrichello storms through the rain

Today in Jerez, we again saw the weather hamper runnings, but not without some good news. For example, Barrichello proved he has pace in the Williams, and the Virgin finally got up to speed.

Once again, as the session started at 8, the track was damp and required intermidiates. Unlike the other days, all the teams are pessimistic about the forecast. Inside Ferrari simply says on Twitter: “Nothing new at Jerez: just rain, rain and more rain to come…”

The good news is that Timo Glock was straight out of the pits today in the Virgin, and within half an hour had set 15 laps. But, he speared off at the Michelin corner (turn 2), and the red flags were out while his car was being recovered. When the session resumed, Felipe Massa led the way with a 1.30 time. At 9:00, Heikki Kovalainen made his first laps for Lotus, made 3 installation laps, but failed to set a time, and returned to the pits soon after. Yesterday’s power steering issue had been resolved, so the team were confident. Worryingly enough, Glock’s off was more serious than anticipated, as the doors to the Virgin garage were locked off as the car was taken apart for repairs. He didn’t actually hit anything when he spun, but it is believed thata mechanical problem of some sort caused the spin.

Timo Glock after spinning off

Timo Glock after spinning off

By 9:20, Ferrari were reporting a problem with Massa’s car, saying: “We have a technical issue: the stop will not be short… Nothing serious but it will take time to sort it out.” The rain soon got heavier, and more was forecast for later today. The rain got so heavy that all of the electricity sockets in the media centre lost power, because of electrical problems. Lewis Hamilton made the call for extreme wets at 9:40, and his fastest lap in his 5-lap run was a 1.36, showing how bad the conditions had become. By 10:00, the red flag was shown, not for an incident, but because there was so much standing water on the track. While the teams regrouped, it turned out that there was a problem with Kovalainen’s Lotus. It is unclear what happened, but a picture was taken, so you can see for yourself.

A problem in the Lotus pits

A problem in the Lotus pits

In fact, by 10:30, the weather was so bad the teams couldn’t even practice pit stops. The media centre apparently didn’t even have lighting, the journalist’s laptop lights were the only brightness in the room. Let’s make it clear, though, that this is nowhere near the monsoon we saw at Malaysia last year. Vettel, Kovalainen, Glock and Buemi all went out soon, but didn’t manage much, although Glock and Vettel did get good mileage in the conditions. By 11:30, Glock had finished a 13-lap stint, leaving him with 40 laps already under his belt. Plenty of cars braved the conditions, but few set good lap time, mostly in the 1.35 range. At 11:50, Kovalainen ran off at Turn 3, after an 8-lap run, and got stuck in the gravel. His front wing was badly damaged, so Lotus were forced to evaluate the damage to the car.

Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus being towed after his crash

Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus being towed after his crash

By 12:30, conditions were slightly improving, with no rain falling, but the track still wet and windy. Vitaly Petrov managed a 1.30.6, a good lap in those conditions. Everyone was still on extreme wets at this point. Rubens Barrichello was alternating betwen very fast and very slow laps, getting a 1.27 and a 1.35 in the same 17-lap stint. His best and worst times were 9 seconds apart, showing you how varying the conditions were. It wasn’t the rain that was hampering the team’s efforts, it was the wind. Inside Ferrari reported: “The wind is making the day even more troubled…” The good news was, the track was improving, as Petrov got into the 1.27.8 by 13:00.

By 1, everyone knew that the Lotus would be out of action for the day. Kovalainen was apologetic on his Twitter account, while Mike Gascoyne said: “Slight off for Heikki. Knocked off the front wing. Spare on its way but will not be here until 2am in the morning so no more running today” . “Conditions drying up so a shame not to get any dry running today”. Up to about 14:00, there was little change at Jerez, at the track still wasn’t drying out enough. Paul di Resta handed over his car to Vitantonio Liuzzi at 2, and he got stuck in immidiately, setting a 1.30.6 after 9 laps. Many teams had given up on conditions, such as Ferrari, who decided to practice pitstops, as the Williams crew watched them sometimes.

Pit stop practice for the Williams crew

Pit stop practice for the Williams crew

At 14:30, Timo Glock went out, and was the only man on track for 15 minutes, before Petrov joined him. Glock finished an 8-lap run, his fastest lap being 1.31, and getting up to 46 laps. He pitted, went straight back out, and instantly set a 1.30.4, only 3 seconds behind Barrichello. This pushed them up to 8th in today’s standings. Unfortunately, by 15:00, most of the teams were either practicing pit stops or testing race preparations. While many cars went out at the end for a final run, they were nowhere near the pace they needed, so it was a frustrating end to the day for everyone. Barrcihello’s earlier lap of 1.27.145 was the fastest of the day, followed by Petrov, Vettel, Rosberg, Massa, De la Rosa, di Resta, Glock, Liuzzi, Hamilton, Buemi and Kovalainen. Barrichello set the most laps, with 98, while de la Rosa only got in 8 in the morning. Barrichello’s fastest lap meant that 6 different teams have topped the timesheets in as many testing days. This is very good news for this season, even if most of it was in the wet.

The predicted floods never arrived, but it was close to it in the morning. The good news is, better conditions are forecast for tomorrow.

Update: Virgin have released a video of their day in Jerez. Clearly they had nothing better to do while it was wet :P (extreme Virgin joke reference possibility!)

Today’s times:


Driver Team Car Fastest lap Difference
# of laps
1. R. Barrichello Williams FW32 1.27.145 98
2. V. Petrov Renault R30 1.27.828 +0.683 56
3. S. Vettel Red Bull RB6 1.28.162 +1.017 70
4. N. Rosberg Mercedes W01 1.28.515 +1.370 71
5. F. Massa Ferrari F10 1.28.879 +1.734 92
6. P. de la Rosa Sauber C29 1.29.691 +2.546 8
7. P. di Resta Force India VJM03 1.30.344 +3.199 33
8.

9.

10.

11.

12.

T. Glock

V. Liuzzi

L. Hamilton

S. Buemi

H. Kovalainen

Virgin

F. India

McLaren

T.Rosso

Lotus

VR-01

VJM03

MP4-25

STR5

T127

1.30.476

1.30.666

1.31.633

1.32.678

1.33.554

+3.331

+3.521

+4.488

+5.533

+6.409

72

24

57

57

30

Pictures from today’s test:

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