As the third test session of 2012 draws to a close, we have only 4 more testing days before the teams roll into Melbourne. While many cars are still sandbagging in terms of pace, a clearer picture of the 2012 grid is now visible. Here is the latest news from the last few days:
HRT pass crash tests, but testing still in doubt
The HRT car has finally passed the FIA crash tests, allowing it to take part in pre-season testing.
However, doubts remain as to whether the team will be able to make it to the final test in Barcelona.
The F112 has been homologated by the FIA after passing the rollhoop test a few days ago. Despite this, the car is still not fully assembled, and sources within the team are only “hopeful” that the struggling team will be able to turn a wheel before Melbourne.
Massa: Ferrari back on track
Felipe Massa believes that Ferrari have finally found the key to unlocking the pace of their F2012.
The Scuderia have been plagued by disappointing pace so far in testing, as they struggled to adapt to the radical car. However, Massa has claimed that the team have found consistent pace:
"I think it's definitely the direction we need to follow for these last days of
testing we have, and I think today was a positive day, not so much in the morning
but in the afternoon.
I have to say that now we are a little bit more positive because we found the
direction to work and I'm sure now, having found the direction, we can see the
In the afternoon we were able to do more than eight/nine timed laps consistently.
The laps were very consistent and it was very positive. We still need to work a
lot but at least we found the direction to get a much better car to drive, not
just for laptime for also for consistency."
In the past we didn't have so many directions to follow. This year we have so many
directions, so many possibilities and the most important thing was to find the right
one, and I'm sure we found it."
Still, when asked, on a scale of 1 to 10, how prepared the team was for the upcoming season, Felipe only replied “more than 5”.
FIA to tie up ECU loopholes
In the latest attempt to clamp down on teams manipulating exhaust gases to achieve downforce, the FIA have tightened the stricter engine mapping regulations implemented for 2012.
Back in October, it was revealed that new engine mapping regulations would eliminate exhaust gas manipulation. However, an engine supplier has tipped off the governing body, saying that teams had found a way to improve the flow of gases by inducing a misfire.
It has been confirmed that the FIA have worked with this engine supplier to remove this innovation. A revised software package for the standard ECU unit will be introduced before the Australian Grand Prix.
Marussia fails crash tests, testing ruled out
Marussia, like fellow team HRT, have failed the crash tests for their 2012 challenger.
However, it comes at a much more critical time, as this means the MR01 almost certainly cannot take part in pre-season testing. As this article was updated, it was unclear what sector the car failed in, but the issue cannot be rectified before March 1st.
A statement from the team read:
"The Marussia F1 Team is disappointed to confirm that the planned first test of
its 2012 race car – the MR01 – has been delayed as a consequence of not passing
the final FIA crash test.
All cars are required to pass 18 FIA-observed tests for homologation to be granted.
Despite the fact that the MR01 has passed all 17 of the preceding tests, the
regulations require the car to have completed all of the tests before running
The team will now not take part in the final pre-season test in Barcelona later
this week [1-4 March] and will instead focus its efforts on repeating the crash
test at the end of the week."