Tag Archives: Renault

Grosjean targeting 2011 F1 return

Romain Grosjean is looking at a return to F1 next year

Romain Grosjean is looking at a return to F1 next year

Former Renault F1 driver Romain Grosjean has said that he is aiming for a return to Formula 1 in 2011, despite a poor start to his career last year.

Grosjean was dropped by Renault for this year, after failing to impress after driving for 7 races last year. He replaced Nelson Piquet Jr from Valencia onwards, but only recorded a best finish of 13th at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Even though he started decently, by qualifying 14th in his first race, he never really improved from there. He is best remembered for being involved in Jenson Button’s and Lewis Hamilton’s crash in Belgium, and for crashing in the exact same spot in Singapore that Piquet did last year.

Because of this, he was dropped for this year, and he is now racing in the inugural FIA GT1 World Championship, for the Matech team. However, he plans to return to F1 next year:

"I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. With all the problems 
around the team, it wasn't easy; they wanted to make a clean sweep 
of the past.

I'm not losing hope. When I see (former team-mate) Fernando 
Alonso's results with Ferrari this year, I think I deserve a place 
on the grid; my pace was far from being ridiculous - I was never 
more than two or three tenths off him in qualifying."

He is trying, as he is keeping in contact with Renault and contacts in other teams. But, I’m not sure would any team give him a chance again. I would, because someone who has won 4 races across 2 GP2 seasons is worth having a look at. Maybe if a small team gave him a chance to drive the car for a day alongside other new drivers, it would give him a better chance.

The problem is, there are many other former F1 drivers that teams would take other than Grosjean. Takuma Sato, for example, has been looking for a return to F1 in the last few months, as has Anthony Davidson. Jacques Villeneuve and Giancarlo Fisichella would also be drivers who would be given the opportunity before Grosjean. It’s unfair towards Romain, but I feel that’s whats going to happen.

I’m not saying that all of these drivers will return to F1, just noting that they too have been looking at a return, and they would probably be favoured compared to Grosjean.

Briatore and Symonds accept 3-year ban in Crashgate settlement with FIA

Pat Symonds and Flavio Briatore

Pat Symonds and Flavio Briatore

Both Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds have agreed not to pursue further charges, after a settlement with the FIA that resulted in both effectively receiving a 3-year ban from Formula 1.

In exchange for the FIA dropping charges against the two, they have agreed not to take any “operational role” in Formula 1 until the end of 2012, or any FIA competition until the end of 2011. However, it still seems that no charges are to be brought against Nelson Piquet Jr, the driver who conspired with Briatore and Symonds to cause a deliberate crash, and give Fernando Alonso a huge advantage in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

The full FIA statement reads as follows:

The decision handed down by the Tribunal de Grande Instance of 
Paris on 5 January 2010 at the request of Mr Flavio Briatore 
and Mr Pat Symonds, which the FIA has appealed, revealed a poor 
understanding of how the disciplinary procedure before the 
World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) works. In accordance with the 
undertakings made by the FIA President during his campaign, it 
will be proposed at the next General Assembly, at the end of 
2010, that a structural reform, on which the FIA Statutes Review 
Commission is currently working, be adopted to prevent other 
misunderstandings.

In the meantime, at its meeting in Bahrain on 11 March 2010, the 
WMSC decided on the one hand to adopt a Code of Practice to 
clarify the working of its disciplinary procedure, and on the 
other hand to give the FIA President full authority to seek a 
definitive outcome, whether judicial or extrajudicial, to the 
disputes with Mr Flavio Briatore and Mr Pat Symonds, best 
preserving the interests of the FIA.

After discussions between their lawyers and those of the FIA, 
Mr Flavio Briatore and Mr Pat Symonds have each made a settlement 
offer to the FIA President with a view to putting an immediate 
end to the legal proceedings.

Each of them recognising his share of responsibility for the 
deliberate crash involving the driver Nelson Piquet Junior at 
the 2008 Grand Prix of Singapore, as "Team Principal" of Renault 
F1 where Mr Flavio Briatore is concerned, they have expressed 
their regrets and presented their apologies to the FIA.

They have undertaken to abstain from having any operational role 
in Formula One until 31 December 2012, as well as in all the other 
competitions registered on the FIA calendars until the end of 
the 2011 sporting season.

They have also abandoned all publicity and financial measures 
resulting from the judgment of 5 January 2010, as well as any 
further action against the FIA on the subject of this affair.

In return, they have asked the FIA to abandon the ongoing appeal
procedure, but without the FIA recognising the validity of the 
criticisms levelled against the WMSC’s decision of 21 September 
2009, as well as to waive the right to bring any new proceedings 
against them on the subject of this affair.

Considering that the judgment of 5 January 2010 concerned only the 
form and not the substance of the WMSC’s decision of 21 September 
2009, and that the undertakings and renunciation of all claims 
expressed by Mr Flavio Briatore and Mr Pat Symonds are in line 
with what the WMSC is seeking, the FIA President has considered 
that it is in the best interests of the FIA not to allow the 
perpetuation of these legal disputes, which have received a great 
deal of media coverage and which, regardless of the outcome, are 
very prejudicial to the image of the FIA and of motor sport, and 
thus to accept this settlement solution, thereby putting an end 
to this affair.

If you actually read all that (bit heavy-worded wasn’t it?), you would also know that Briatore and Symonds have both rejected the £18,000 and £4,000 compensation packages that the FIA were forced to give to them in January, after a court ruled that their previous life bans were illegal.

Now though, they must bide their time, as they have to wait until the 2013 season until they can apply to get back into Formula 1. The question is, will anyone take them? Symonds might get in with a team, since he’s a nice guy, and certainly didn’t play as big a part as Briatore, though he still deserved the ban. Briatore might go back to driver managment, but it is unclear if any driver would want to work woth him after all of this.

However, the FIA have the option to turn nasty. A few months ago, the idea of driver managment liscences was suggested, to stop Flavio Briatore from getting back into Formula 1. If they were to bring it in, they could stop Briatore, without the threat of court action, since they are in the legal right this time.

Alternatively, we could just hope that the 2012 doomsday predictions are right, and they will never get into F1 again.

Renault allowed to make engine improvements

The Renault RS27 engine

The Renault RS27 engine

Renault has been allowed by the FIA to make changes to their engines, even though the governing body had previously rules out any power equalisation for this year.

The changes are believed to be to save costs and for reliability. This comes after Red Bull team principal Christian Horner complained to the FIA that not all of the engines were equal, after the engine freeze. He said:

"I think the problem is if you don't allow some development, then you freeze in an advantage for one team or a 
disadvantage for another.

So there has to be a balancing of that, otherwise we will end up with Mercedes-powered cars winning all the races - 
which I think is not good for F1. And other manufacturers may choose to leave F1 off of the back of that.

The engine isn't supposed to be a key performance differentiator and therefore hopefully the ruling body will balance 
out somewhat the differences there at the moment."

It has been understood that the FIA is moving away from engine equalisation because they do not feel there is enough power difference between the many engine types. Despite this, Renault has put in many requests to develop certain parts of their engine, for cost and reliabiliy reasons. These requests have been mostly accepted.

However, the FIA rejected the requests to make changes to help Renault’s fuel consumption, as they felt that it was purely for performance reasons. Already, teams who run Renault engines can carry about 10kg less fuel than anyone else at the start of the race. Therefore, any further fuel consumption improvements would mean too large a performance advantage to Red Bull and Renault.

At the moment, neither Red Bull or Renault are lacking in engine power – Robert Kubica got the fastest lap at one point in Bahrain don’t forget. But, the Achilles heel of these teams – the reliability – may be getting better, after these latest changes.

Renault now sponsored by Lada

The Lada logo on the new Renault car

The Lada logo on the new Renault car

The Russian influence appears to have crept into Renault, with the news that prestiged (not) car maker Lada is to sponsor the team for 2010.

The Renault F1 team owns 25% of AvtoVAZ, which manufactures Ladas. Also, Renault driver Vitaly Petrov won championships in Ladas in 2002 and 2005. This all seems to be playing into Bernie Ecclestone’s hands, as a large Russian manufacturer going into F1 edges the sport further and further into a Russian Grand Prix situation. If you need any more confirmation, just look at the fact that only Vitaly Petrov’s overalls will have the Lada logo on it, and not Robert Kubica.

The chairman of Renault, Gerard Lopez, said:

"Through Mangrove Capital we have been actively investing in Russia
over the last years. We know the country well, we have a high degree
of appreciation for it and, as such, it is an honour for our F1 team
to spearhead Russia’s entry into the sport and to carry the Lada
brand at the highest level of world motorsport. We look forward to
an exciting and successful season together."

Pictures of the slightly less good looking Renault:

Petrov: Grosjean made huge mistake

Vitaly Petrov at Jerez testing last week

Vitaly Petrov at Jerez testing last week

Vitaly Petrov, the new Renault second driver alongside Robert Kubica, believes that Romain Grosjean should have bided his time, instead of jumping into Formula 1 halfway through the season.

Grosjean joined Renault after Hungary last year, when Nelson Piquet Jr was dropped after failing to score a point after 10 races. However, he struggled as much as Piquet, and failed to score a point either for the rest of the season.

Petrov spoke to Auto Hebdo, saying:

“Grosjean made a huge mistake by entering F1 mid-season.”

“There was much more to lose than to win, especially with a car that even Alonso failed to find any good in. One of the F1 teams asked me to step in mid-2009 but I refused and my father supported me; we must start when a season begins, not step in en route.”

When Petrov says he was offered a drive halfway through last year, he must mean either Renault or Toro Rosso (or Ferrari, but that’s highly unlikely). I must say I’m impressed by Vitaly’s maturity to wait until next year, when he might not have been able to get a drive.

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:

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:

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:

13th February: Testing results – Hamilton just on top

Lewis Hamilton set multiple late laps-believed to be a low-fuel run- to finish the final day in Jerez on top.

The Briton set a lap time of 1.19.583, the fastest lap of the entire 4-day test at Jerez. However, this day of testing was not without another set of weather difficulties.

When the track opened at 8:00 this morning, the track was still fully wet from yesterday’s rain, and had plenty of standing water. Air temperature was a very low 7 degrees Celcius. Light rain was still falling at this point. While intermidiate tyres were being used, times were still about 9 to 10 seconds slower than the fastest of the entire test.

By around 9:00 the track was becoming more greasy than wet, as the drivers got used to the conditions. The first red flag of the day was out at 9:02, as Sebastian Vettel stopped out on track, after a run of 22 laps. The track continued to dry as the session restarted and continued, and by 10:30 dry patches were appearing around the circuit. There was a lull in action, as the teams pondered going onto slicks. Vettel’s tyres appeared very bald at this point.

An engineer tests the track as the circuit slowly dries out

An engineer tests the track as the circuit slowly dries out

Felipe Massa was the first to go onto slicks, and set a time of 1.24.022 at 11:00. This prompted everyone else to make the change, and the times started to fall. Track conditions were rapidly improving now. Within 15 minutes, Rubens Barrichello had slashed the fastest lap to 1.22.319.  Michael Schumacher went out on track at 12:35 and set a time of 1.20.971 within 5 minutes. However, the German’s car slowed to a halt 10 minutes after this, bringing out the red flags.

While Schumacher's car was fixed, the team tested their new electronic lollipop

While Schumacher's car was fixed, the team tested their new electronic lollipop

The track reopened at 13:10, with Lucas di Grassi finally getting out on track in the Virgin. He had made an appearance earlier, but only set 12 laps. But, he was well off the pace, with a fastest lap of 1.25.683 at 14:00, when everyone else was lapping in the 1.22′s and 1.23′s. He improved slowly, however, and was down to 1.22.912 by3:15. He set more than 50 laps across the day.

The real pace was being shown by Felipe Massa, who had been going on marathon runs all day long. More than 160 laps (500km!) over the afternoon showed how heavy he was running, and his fastest lap was 1.21.485. It is obvious that he was racing most of the day with a race fuel load. He did stop out on track in the morning, but it didn’t affect his running that much.

Felipe Massa after stopping out on track

Felipe Massa after stopping out on track

For the last half an hour, the focus was on low-fuel runs rather than race loads. Sutil, Kubica, Massa, Hamilton and Vettel all broke their personal records of today’s test. The fastest lap of the day was set by Hamilton, a 1.19.583, 5 minutes before the session ended.

Adrian Sutil impressed all day long. Like Massa, he seemed to be running heavier than the others, but still described the car as “nice to drive” and “pleasant”. Today he was working on brake and race set up. He also said that he is thrilled with the performance of the VJM03 and has never felt so confident going into a season before.

There will be a few days for the teams to analyse the data from this test, before testing resumes here in Jerez on the 17th. Until then, I’ll write up an analysis of the last few days.

Times from today:

Driver Team Car Fastest lap Difference # of laps
1. L. Hamilton McLaren MP4-25 1.19.583 113
2. A. Sutil Force India VJM03 1.20.180 +0.597 84
3. R. Barrichello Williams FW32 1.20.341 +0.758 90
4. R. Kubica Renault R30 1.20.358 +0.775 85
5. M. Schumacher Mercedes W01 1.20.613 +1.030 84
6. S. Vettel Red Bull RB6 1.21.203 +1.620 90
7. F. Massa Ferrari F10 1.21.485 +1.902 160
8.

9.

10.

P. de la Rosa

L. di Grassi

J. Alguersuari

Sauber

Virgin

Toro Rosso

C29

VR-01

STR5

1.22.134

1.22.912

1.24.072

+2.551

+3.329

+4.489

105

63

98

Pictures from the test:

12th February: Testing results

Jaime Alguersuari at today's testing

Jaime Alguersuari at today's testing

Jaime Alguersuari went fastest in today’s test at Jerez, as heavy rain yet again hit the circuit in the afternoon.
Half an hour before the test session began at 9 in the morning, light rain began to fall. Temperatures were as low as 9°C throughout the day. However, by 9, the water on the track had mostly dried out. The session was quickly stopped though, because after only 8 minutes Pedro de la Rosa pulled over because of an unspecified problem. He was able to rejoin half an hour later.
But, the rain came back at 9:50, which gradually increased across the next half an hour. The conditions still diminished after this, and Rubens Barrichello was the first to be caught out, spinning at Turn 14 and bringing out the red flags for the second time.

Rubens Barrichello after spinning at Turn 14

Rubens Barrichello after spinning at Turn 14

Rain continued to fall for the next few hours. By 1:00, the cars were beginning to kick up spray behind them. It became very apparent that the morning times were going to be the fastest of the day. The falling conditions were well shown by Nico Rosberg, who was the first to switch to extreme wet tyres, at around 2:00. Very few cars were running after this.
From 2:30 until 4:30, conditions were at their worst, with very heavy rain now pounding the track. Rubens Barrichello summed it all up, saying the track was “like a river and undriveable”. Adrian Sutil spun off at 2:45, causing a third red flag of the day. The Force India car remained in the pits for the rest of the day, because of the team having to repair an electrical problem. The team said afterwards that they were looking to have another flying lap, but didn’t have enough time.
The Virgin team had yet another torrid day, with Lucas di Grassi at the wheel. On Wednesday, they were caught out by the rain, and yesterday Timo Glock had a front wing failure. Today, the Virgin car was forced to wait in the pits until 3:40 (6.5 hours), because the team were still redesigning the front wing after the failure yesterday. A shortage of components hampered their work. Di Grassi made 1 installation lap, before having to return to the pit lane again. He managed another 7 laps over the rest of the day. Since all of his laps were in the wet, his fastest lap was a miserable 1.37.107, more than 17 seconds behind Alguersuari. The Virgin team have managed only 25 laps across 3 days.
The Spaniard’s fastest time was a 1.19.919. He was followed by Pedro de la Rosa (1.20.736) and Adrian Sutil (1.21.428). The rest of the drivers, in order, were: Felipe Massa, Sebastian Vettel, Vitaly Petrov, Nico Rosberg, Rubens Barrichello, Lewis Hamilton, and Lucas di Grassi.

Times from today’s tests:

Driver Team Car Fastest lap Difference # of laps
1. J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso STR5 1.19.919 76
2. P. de la Rosa Sauber C29 1.20.736 +0.817 48
3. A. Sutil Force India VJM03 1.21.428 +1.509 48
4. F. Massa Ferrari F10 1.21.603 +1.684 72
5. S. Vettel Red Bull RB6 1.21.783 +1.864 59
6. V. Petrov Renault R30 1.22.000 +2.081 68
7. N. Rosberg Mercedes W01 1.22.820 +2.901 53
8.

9.

10.

R. Barrichello

L. Hamilton

L. di Grassi

Williams

McLaren

Virgin

FW32

MP4-25

VR-01

1.23.217

1.23.985

1.37.107

+3.298

+4.066

+17.188

120

68

8

Pictures from today’s testing:

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