Daily Archives: February 21, 2011

Barcelona Day 4: Massa ends test on top

Felipe Massa topped the final day of this test

Felipe Massa topped the final day of this test

Felipe Massa led the final day of testing in Barcelona today.

He set the quickest time out of all four days – 1.22.625 – after a successful day running various set-ups and fuel loads.

Trulli's Lotus is recovered after his crash

Trulli's Lotus is recovered after his crash

He was 8 tenths of a second ahead of Mark Webber, while Sebastien Buemi continued Toro Rosso’s good form in 3rd.

Nick Heidfeld was delayed with a KERS issue, but was 4th. Lewis Hamilton made up for losing ground on his rivals in recent days, by setting over 100 laps to take 5th.

Pastor Maldonado was another driver to suffer KERS problems, relating to the water pump, which left him without the device for most of the day. Nevertheless he set the most laps today (121) and was 1.4 seconds behind in 6th. Adrian Sutil, Sergio Perez, Jerome D’Ambrosio and Michael Schumacher were 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th respectively.

It was a disaster for Lotus today. Little more than an hour into the test, and Jarno Trulli crashed at Campsa corner. He had only completed 18 laps, and the car was stuck in the garage for the rest of the day.

Despite his crash, Trulli was still pleased with Lotus’ progress:

“It's obviously disappointing to have the test cut short like this but these things 
happen in motor racing. We started the day well and until the accident happened I had 
picked up where I left off yesterday.

The car has good balance, pace we can build on and has the potential to help us take 
the fight to the midfield, so I'm leaving here feeling confident about the season 
ahead and am looking forward to the next test, wherever that will be."

Times from Barcelona Day 4:

Pos  Driver             Team                   Time       Gap     Laps
 1.  Felipe Massa       Ferrari                1.22.625           121
 2.  Mark Webber        Red Bull-Renault       1.23.442   0.817   69
 3.  Sebastien Buemi    Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1.23.550   0.925   90
 4.  Nick Heidfeld      Renault                1.23.657   1.032   95
 5.  Lewis Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes       1.24.003   1.378   107
 6.  Pastor Maldonado   Williams-Cosworth      1.24.057   1.432   121
 7.  Adrian Sutil       Force India-Mercedes   1.24.177   1.552   64
 8.  Sergio Perez       Sauber-Ferrari         1.24.515   1.890   74
 9.  Jerome D'Ambrosio  Virgin-Cosworth        1.26.501   3.876   50
10.  Michael Schumacher Mercedes               1.27.079   4.454   114
11.  Jarno Trulli       Lotus-Renault          1.29.992   7.367   18

Bahrain Grand Prix called off

The 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix has been postponed

The 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix has been postponed

After a week of violence in Bahrain, the country’s prince has decided that the 2011 F1 season opener will not take place.

Instead the season will commence in Melbourne, Australia, on the 25th-27th March.

The announcement was made earlier today by the Crown Prince of Bahrain Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa:

“We felt it was important for the country to focus on immediate issues of 
national interest.

Bahrain’s priority is on overcoming tragedy, healing divisions and rediscovering 
the fabric that draws this country together to remind the world of the very best 
that Bahrain is capable of as a nation once again united.”

It is currently unknown whether the race will take place at a later date, or be cancelled entirely. However, an FIA statement has referred to the race as being “postponed”:

“The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile supports the decision of the 
Bahrain Motor Federation and the Bahrain International Circuit to postpone the 
scheduled first Grand Prix of the 2011 season due to be held in the Kingdom of 
Bahrain on March 11-13.

This decision is the outcome of the close co-operation between the FIA, Formula 
One Management, the Bahrain Motor Federation and the Bahrain International Circuit.”

Similarly, the pre-season test in Bahrain, on the 3rd of March, has also been cancelled. Barcelona will organise another test on the 8th-11th March to take its place. Also, the two-week gap where the Grand Prix should have been may also play host to another test elsewhere.

After the horrific violence seen in recent days, there is no doubt that this was the right decision. Even if clashes quell soon enough, the time taken for the country to repair will take weeks or months, and it would be of no service to the people to host a Grand Prix during that time.

In F1 terms, focus will eventually switch to when the race will (probably) be rescheduled. While the event may be moved to the final round slot, I feel it should take place on the 6th November, a week after the Indian Grand Prix, and a week before the Abu Dhabi GP. The thinking behind this is that the close proximity to Abu Dhabi will eliminate the problem of 3 Grands Prix in 3 weeks.