Tag Archives: Robert Kubica

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:

11th February: Testing results

Kamui Kobayashi put in a low-fuel run near the end of today’s testing, to take the fastest lap of today’s running in Jerez.

Sebastien Buemi had led for most of the day, with a 1.20.026, but Kobayashi’s lap of 1.19.950 was enough to see him on top. However, there was concern at Virgin, where Timo Glock had a “front wing mounting problem”, which basically ment the front wing fell off. This was only after 11 laps, and even worse, there was a shortage of components, which meant that the team will have to wait until tomorrow to continue testing. Glock has managed a miserable 16 laps in 2 days, and has finished last on both occasions.

Back at the top, Jenson Button was behind Kobayashi and Buemi in third (1.20.618), and was followed by Hulkenberg, Liuzzi, Schumacher, Alonso, Kubica, Webber and then Glock.

There was another problem, however, in the form of yesterday’s intermediate tyres wearing too quickly. Many of the drivers were today complaining about excessive wear on the tyres, even when the track was saturated with water. Nico Hulkenberg said:

“Even though we were picking up a lot of water on the track they still seemed too soft. They were wearing a lot quite quickly.”

Jenson Button, however, believes the problem is with the Jerez circuit itself:

“It’s quite an abrasive surface here. The wet tyre felt like it would last forever but the intermediate had a much shorter lifespan. I think that was the same for everyone. It’s about keeping a balance so you’re not destroying one end. It is an abrasive surface and layout here and we saw the same thing last year.”

On another subject, Hulkenberg has said that there is definitely a power increase with this year’s Cosworth engine, compared to last year’s Toyota one. He said:

“It’s good, I’m very positively surprised about it. There’s been no issues with reliability and drive-ability’s very good. It feels better, it feels stronger [than the Toyota].”

Times from today’s test:

Driver Team Car Fastest lap Difference # of laps
1. K. Kobayashi Sauber C25 1.19.950 103
2. S. Buemi Toro Rosso STR5 1.20.026 +0.076 121
3. J. Button McLaren MP4-25 1.20.618 +0.668 83
4. N. Hulkenberg Williams FW32 1.20.629 +0.679 67
5. V. Liuzzi Force India VJM03 1.20.754 +0.804 80
6. M. Schumacher Mercedes W01 1.21.003 +1.133 124
7. F. Alonso Ferrari F10 1.21.424 +1.474 129
8.

9.

10.

R. Kubica

M. Webber

T. Glock

Renault

Red Bull

Virgin

R30

RB6

VR-01

1.22.003

1.22.043

1.29.964

+2.053

+2.093

+10.014

103

99

11

Pictures from today’s testing:

February 2nd: Testing results

Felipe Massa has finished top of the timesheets again in Valencia, as the second day of F1 testing concluded.

His best lap of 1m11.722 was faster than Kamui Kobayashi (1m12.056) and Lewis Hamilton (1m12.256). Kubica was much faster today than yesterday, his fastest lap being 2.5 seconds quicker than yesterday’s best. Nico Rosberg was 5th, followed by Rubens Barrichello and Sebastien Buemi. There is no news yet as to if Toro Rosso are still having downforce problems.

Robert Kubica stopped out on track, after just setting his two fastest laps. The red flag was out, and the session did not restart after that. This happened at around 16:00.

Robert Kubica after stopping out on track

Robert Kubica after stopping out on track

Another interesting thing to note is that both Kubica and Buemi put on different helmets today, to test aerodynamic efficiency.

We also saw McLaren’s secret new diffuser, without the use of spy cameras. This picture is included in the photo section.

Driver Team Car Fastest lap Difference # of laps
1. F. Massa Ferrari F10 1.11.722
2. K. Kobayashi BMW Sauber C29 1.12.056 +0.334
3. L. Hamilton McLaren MP4-25 1.12.256 +0.534
4. R. Kubica Renault R30 1.12.426 +0.704
5. N. Rosberg Mercedes W01 1.12.899 +1.177
6. R. Barrichello Williams FW32 1.13.377 +1.655
7. S. Buemi Toro Rosso STR5 1.13.823 +2.101

Photos from today’s test:

February 1st: Testing results

The first day of testing concluded in Valencia today.

We saw the launches of the Williams, Mercedes and Toro Rosso cars. Then, 7 of the teams headed out for testing at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit. Temperatures were around 12 degrees Celcius.

Felipe Massa finished top of the timesheets today, ahead of Pedro de la Rosa and Michael Schumacher. Massa completed the most laps (102) and set the fastest lap at 1:12.574. Mercedes were the onlt team to run both of its drivers, with Schumacher 3rd (1:12.947) while Rosberg was 4th (1:13.543). Robet Kubica was last, driving for Renault, lapping in a 1:15.000 as a fastest lap, 2.5 seconds slower than Massa.

The only red flag was for Rubens Barrichello, who spun while out on track at around 4.45 pm. Toro Rosso only got 18 laps in with Sebastien Buemi, because of a gearbox problem.

Full testing results:

Driver Team Car Fastest lap Difference # of laps
1. F. Massa Ferrari F10 1:12.574 102
2. P. de la Rosa BMW Sauber C25 1:12.784 +0.210 74
3. M.Schumacher Mercedes GP W01 1:12.947 +0.373 40
4. N. Rosberg Mercedes GP W01 1:13.543 +0.969 39
5. G. Paffett McLaren MP4-25 1:13.846 +1.272 86
6. R.Barrichello Williams FW32 1:14.449 +1.875 75
7. S. Buemi Toro Rosso STR5 1:14.762 +2.188 18
8. R. Kubica Renault R30 1:15.000 +2.426 69

More photos of testing today (more photos in the individual car launches):

Renault R30 launched, Kubica’s new helmet, Petrov, Tung and D’Ambrosio confirmed

The new Renault R30

The new Renault R30

The Renault R30 has been released in Valencia today.

Since ING and Mutua Madrilena pulled out after the crash-gate scandal in Singapore, Renault were free to go back to their old 1980’s livery, just as many anticipated. Personally, I think it looks great. Reminds me of the Jordan “Buzzing Hornets” design of 1999/2000! The only problem is the red endplates on the car are still red.

Comparison pictures of this and last year’s cars are available here.

Now, on to the car. The nose cone is a bit different to the other cars, lower and thinner. The “coke bottle” rear end design has been only partially implemented, and the front wing has been remodelled. The rear wing looks similar to the last one.

Also, Vitaly Petrov, Ho-Pin Tung and Jerome D’Ambrosio have been confirmed as Renault’s second and reserve drivers respectively.Petrov has raced in GP2 for the last 3 and a half years (read more about him here). Ho-Pin Tung and Jerome D’Ambrosio are only drivers because they are part of Eric Boullier’s driver managment agency.

In more Renault news, Robert Kubica has revealed his new helmet that he will be using with Renault this year. Also, Petrov has revealed his new design.

Only one bad piece of news. My fears about another diffuser row have been heightened, because now Renault’s diffuser has been blocked away as well.

Also, the Renault team’s new website has been published. You can view it here.

You can view the team’s studio video here:

Kubica and Petrov’s team photos:

Vitaly Petrov and his new helmet

Vitaly Petrov and his new helmet

Robert Kubica and his new helmet

Robert Kubica and his new helmet

Pictures from the launch:

Renault set to unveil Petrov

Vitaly Petrov

Vitaly Petrov

Renault are ready to reveal Russian Vitaly Petrov as their second driver, alongside Robert Kubica, for the 2010 season.

He apparently had his seat fitting in Enstone yesterday, and signed his contract today.

The Russian is known to have around €10m in backing from sponsors such as Gazprom and the Russian government, who are keen to have their first Russian in Formula 1.

It seems, however, that there was more than sponsor backing that may have helped this deal. Gazprom, his main sponsor, is owned (50%) by the Russian government. It is understood that there was a deal between Gazprom, the Russian government, and Petrov, regarding the Renault seat. To give you an idea of how powerful Gazprom is when it comes to these negotiations, their little-known chairman from 2000 to 2008 was Dmitry Medvedev, who then became president of Russia. Why Gazprom is so interested in Petrov, I don’t know. However, it is rumoured that the Russian government and Bernie Ecclestone were (supposedly) looking for a Russian Grand Prix in the future.

But back to Petrov. He finished 2nd in the GP2 championship last year, behind Nico Hulkenberg. He may be good, but he certainly is nowhere near as good as Hulkenberg, in my opinion. Having said this, it’s good to see him given a chance. Kubica will almost certainly beat him, but that’s not the point, as it will be his first year, and it’s only an indicator of how good he will be in the future.

Also, I hear that he will be a great addition to the paddock. Unlike so many other PR robots in F1, Petrov speaks his mind and has a wicked sense of humour.

Petrov will probably be unveiled tomorrow, at Renault’s launch of their 2010 R30 car in Valencia.

Kubica may start testing alone

Eric Boullier with Robert Kubica

Eric Boullier with Robert Kubica

Renault team boss Eric Boullier has said that first driver Robert Kubica may start the testing season alone, if the team does not find a second driver in time.

The Renault R30 will be released on the 31st January, and will begin testing the next day. However, there are still many doubts regarding the second driver.

Boullier told Autosport:

“It’s not decided yet, very frankly.”

“We are still looking at several drivers available on the market. Two of them are experienced, two of them are rookies. We are now the last established team [without two drivers] and the situation is very different than in July, when you could discuss with everybody.”

There are many rumours that Nick Heidfeld would rejoin Kubica at Renault, having spent 2 years with him in BMW Sauber. Boullier refuses to deny these rumours, saying:

“It would be a lie to say ‘no’. Definitely it’s a different question because he has spent so many years with Robert; the question mark is if we want to put them together again or not – but he is on the list.”

Apart from this, it is known that Ho-Pin-Tung, who tested for Renault in December and is part of Boullier’s driver managment business, is also being considered for the seat.

However, in my opinion, it would be madness to throw away a talent like Heidfeld for someone who finished last at all 3 tests out of 11 drivers.Nick comes with years of experience, and is incredibly reliable as well. Yet, he continues to be ignored, even when he beats stars of the future like Kubica. It would be terible not to see him in F1 next year.

Kubica visits Renault factory

Robert Kubica visits the Renault factory in Enstone

Robert Kubica visits the Renault factory in Enstone

Robert Kubica has made his first appearance at the Renault factory in Enstone, before he makes his debut for the team in testing next month.

Also, Robert met new team principal Eric Boullier at the trip. Their car, the Renault R30, will be launched on January 31st, and will first test on February 1st. The second driver has not yet been announced.

Also, looking at Robert’s fleece, hopefully that is an indicator towards Renault’s team colours this year. I would personally love to see the old black and yellow livery back.

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