Tag Archives: Testing

Lotus pull out of Barcelona testing after chassis problems

Lotus will lose 4 days of testing due to a chassis issue with the E20

Lotus will lose 4 days of testing due to a chassis issue with the E20

Lotus have ceased participation in pre-season testing in Barcelona, after discovering a fault with both of their chassis.

Romain Grosjean drove the second E20 car today (named the E20-2) in Barcelona testing, but retired after only 7 laps, saying the car “wasn’t responding as it should”.

The Lotus team completed 404 laps in Jerez testing – more than any other team – but the problem with the chassis only arose today. Tests performed on Kimi Raikkonen’s E20-1 in the Enstone factory has revealed that the problem is not only on Grosjean’s car.

Team principal Eric Boullier has stated that a solution has already been devised by the Lotus engineers, but work will need to be carried out on both cars. Therefore the team will pull out of the 4-day test, and will probably return for the second test in Barcelona in a few weeks time.

Barcelona testing day 1: Vettel leads, while Lotus drop out after chassis issues

Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull sported an aero measuring device on the rear wing

Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull sported an aero measuring device on the rear wing

Sebastian Vettel led the first day of 8 testing days at the Circuit de Catalunya today.

However, the main news story of the day was Lotus dropping out of testing after discovering serious issues with their chassis. More details will be posted on the site later.

Vettel’s time of 1:23.265 was slightly faster than Nico Hulkenberg for Force India. Lewis Hamilton was 3rd for McLaren.

Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher and Sergio Perez were within a tenth of a second of each other. Romain Grosjean managed only 7 laps in the Lotus before reporting “strange” handling from the car.

Heikki Kovalainen suffered a rear suspension failure and a spin, leaving him 9th with only 31 laps set. Sauber were forced to retire their C31 after gearbox problems, while Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso came to a halt on track with an hour to go.

Charles Pic had his first run in the Marussia car, finishing last but setting 121 laps across the day.

Times from Barcelona day 1:

1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull RB8         1:23.265   79 Laps
2.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India VJM05    1:23.440   97 Laps    +0.175
3.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren MP4-27       1:23.590   114 Laps   +0.325
4.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso STR7      1:23.618   76 Laps    +0.353
5.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari F2012        1:24.100   75 Laps    +0.835
6.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes W03         1:24.150   51 Laps    +0.885
7.  Sergio Perez          Sauber C31           1:24.219   66 Laps    +0.954
8.  Bruno Senna           Williams FW34        1:25.711   97 Laps    +2.446
9.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham CT01        1:26.035   31 Laps    +2.770
10. Romain Grosjean       Lotus E20            1:26.809   7 Laps     +3.544
11. Charles Pic           Virgin MVR-02        1:28.026   121 Laps   +4.761

Mercedes reveal W03 in Barcelona

Mercedes' W03 features a large stepped nose

Mercedes' W03 features a large stepped nose

Mercedes are the final frontrunning team to release their 2012 F1 car, called the W03.

The Silver Arrows car has a distinctive nose design, featuring one of the highest steps on the grid so far. The bridge sections of the nose are particularly steep.

The W03 features a lower core weight than its predecessor. The Mercedes team noted that it took 4,500 parts to construct the W03, which is 200 more than the W02.

Over the last few months, the team have hired ex-Ferrari designer Aldo Costa, Renault engineer Bob Bell and Geoff Willis, who previously worked for BAR, Williams and Red Bull.

Vice President of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Norbert Haug has said that the aim from 2012 is to move into the top 3:

"2012 will mark the third season for our Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows works team, 
which was introduced in January 2010, and our target is to take a step forward in 
on-track performance.

A lot of work has been done throughout the last year, not just to design the new 
car but also to build a technical organisation that is capable of delivering to 
its full potential, with consistency. Our ultimate goal is to become regular race
winners and championship contenders, and so to write another chapter of success 
in the story of the Silver Arrows which began 78 years ago."

Team principal Ross Brawn called the stepped nose an “acquired taste”, but stated that the car is certainly a step forward from last year.

The W03 made its track debut in Barcelona today, with Michael Schumacher at the wheel.

First impressions from 2012 Jerez testing

Ferrari have made headlines with their F2012 already

Ferrari have made headlines with their F2012 already

As the first of 4 pre-season tests draw to a close, we are beginning to form an idea of how the grid might shape out this year. Several news stories have also added interest to the speculation, as teams try to hold their cards close to their chests.

Here is the summary of news and events from testing so far:

Ferrari doubtful over pace?

Despite Fernando Alonso leading the timesheets on day 4 of testing, the Ferrari team are remaining quiet on whether their car can compete against Red Bull. Felipe Massa refused to clarify how he felt on the F2012, and technical director Pat Fry said the team still had lots of work to do:

"I am not happy with where we are at the moment. There is a lot of room for us 
to improve. Reliability-wise it is good. Performance-wise I think we are okay.

But we can play around with the performance and improve the car in some corners, 
and some particular parts of the corner. But I would not say I am happy yet until 
we get the whole thing working."

Force India feeling positive

Meanwhile, the Force India team are very happy with their progress over the winter.

Targeting 5th place in this year’s championship, their VJM05 appears to have a solid baseline for the team to build on. After missing a day of testing due to Jules Bianchi’s mishap, Nico Hulkenberg was happy with their progress:

"The long runs were useful for that and it also allowed me to start understanding 
the new tyres. There is still a massive amount to learn and lots of data to look 
at, but it feels like we have a good baseline to develop from and I’m pleased with 
how the day went."

HRT to miss testing again?

HRT’s embarrassing 3-year drought of not setting a single lap in testing looks set to continue, as the F112 (more than likely the car’s name) failed the mandatory FIA crash tests last week.

This year, a new regulation forces the teams to have passed the 17 crucial crash tests before the car can take part in testing. However, HRT’s car only passed 14 of these. Reports suggest that the car failed the roll hoop and lateral nose tests by “a minor margin”.

However, this still means that the car will not be ready for the second test in Barcelona. While the team are still aiming to turn a wheel before the first race in Melbourne, it is not an encouraging sign for the fledgling team.

Until the new car passes crash tests, Pedro de la Rosa will continue to drive last year’s F111.

McLaren and Ferrari exhausts declared legal

After the reactive ride height controversy last month, the FIA’s Charlie Whiting has approved exhaust layouts designed by Ferrari and McLaren.

A ban on exhaust blown diffusers this year forced teams to make their exhaust outlets visible from above, and have no influence on the performance of the diffuser. However, other teams in the paddock were worried that Ferrari and McLaren had found a way to manipulate exhaust gases to benefit other aero sections of the car.

While this would appear to be against technical regulations, Whiting has given the green light to both teams. According to Sky Sport’s Ted Kravitz, this will prompt more aggressive exhaust designs for other teams in the Barcelona tests:

"I understand from sources in the pit lane that FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting 
has told the teams that he considers Ferrari and McLaren exhaust designs as legal.

Even though the way those two teams have packaged their exhaust outlets, with 
channels leading exhaust gases out to specific areas of the car and therefore 
appearing to have a beneficial aero effect, which is against new exhaust regulations, 
it seems Whiting believes that they comply sufficiently with both the letter and the 
intention of the law.

This has been accepted by the other teams, who launched with less aggressive exhaust 
concepts and it means that they will now effectively green light their own, shall we 
say more exotic, exhaust designs.

We can expect to see these in time for the third test in Barcelona, if not before."

 

Jerez testing day 4: Alonso ends Jerez test on top

Fernando Alonso showed some of the pace of the F2012 in the final Jerez test

Fernando Alonso showed some of the pace of the F2012 in the final Jerez test

Fernando Alonso concluded the 4-day test session at Jerez by going quickest in the Ferrari.

In a much colder day than previous days, Alonso set a 1:18.877, beating Jean-Eric Vergne and Sebastian Vettel by 0.7 seconds. The world champion got off to a slow start, being delayed by an electrical problem on the Red Bull RB8.

The top 6 drivers were separated by less than a second. Lewis Hamilton headed Romain Grosjean in 4th and 5th.

Kamui Kobayashi suffered a hydraulics leak in his Sauber C31, causing one of three red flags. Bruno Senna caused the other two when his Williams stopped out on track.

Jarno Trulli finished much slower than the other 8 drivers, but hailed his introductory day in the Caterham CT01 as his “best ever” first test. He also reported no problems with the car’s power steering – an issue he struggled massively with last year.

There will now be a 10-day break before the next test begins at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Times from Jerez day 4:

1. Fernando Alonso        Ferrari F2012       1:18.877   39 Laps
2. Jean-Eric Vergne       Toro Rosso STR7     1:19.597   80 Laps    +0.720
3. Sebastian Vettel       Red Bull RB8        1:19.606   49 Laps    +0.729
4. Lewis Hamilton         McLaren MP4-27      1:19.640   86 Laps    +0.763
5. Romain Grosjean        Lotus E20           1:19.729   95 Laps    +0.852
6. Kamui Kobayashi        Sauber C31          1:19.834   76 Laps    +0.957
7. Nico Hulkenberg        Force India VJM05   1:19.977   90 Laps    +1.100
8. Bruno Senna            Williams FW34       1:20.132   124 Laps   +1.255
9. Jarno Trulli           Caterham CT01       1:22.198   117 Laps   +3.321

Jerez testing day 3: Rosberg keeps Mercedes on top

Rosberg kept the Mercedes W02 on top

Rosberg kept the Mercedes W02 on top

Nico Rosberg kept last year’s Mercedes on top of the timesheets for the third day of testing in Jerez.

Rosberg took over from Michael Schumacher, and beat his teammate’s time by over a second today. This concludes Mercedes’ running in Jerez, as they will not take part in testing tomorrow.

Romain Grosjean was fastest of the 2012 cars, finishing ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso made their first appearances in 2012 testing, taking 4th and 7th places respectively.

2012′s new rookies had a difficult day. Giedo van der Garde spun out with an hour to go, finishing 9th. His test was not as bad as Jules Bianchi’s though, as the Force India driver crashed on only his third lap, setting no fast laps. This prevented the team from running Nico Hulkenberg in the afternoon.

Times from Jerez day 3:

1. Nico Rosberg            Mercedes W02        1:17.613   118 Laps
2. Romain Grosjean         Lotus E20           1:18.419   117 Laps   +0.806
3. Sebastian Vettel        Red Bull RB8        1:19.297   96 Laps    +1.684
4. Lewis Hamilton          McLaren MP4-27      1:19.464   80 Laps    +1.851
5. Jean-Eric Vergne        Toro Rosso STR7     1:19.734   79 Laps    +2.121
6. Sergio Perez            Sauber C31          1:19.770   48 Laps    +2.157
7. Fernando Alonso         Ferrari F2012       1:20.412   67 Laps    +2.799
8. Bruno Senna             Williams FW34       1:21.293   125 Laps   +3.680
9. Giedo van der Garde     Caterham CT01       1:23.324   74 Laps    +5.711
10.Jules Bianchi           Force India VJM05   No time    3 Laps      N/A

Jerez testing day 2: Schumacher heads the field

Schumacher beat Webber to take top spot

Schumacher beat Webber to take top spot

Michael Schumacher was fastest in the second test day at Jerez.

The German, driving last year’s W02 was a second faster than yesterday’s time set by Kimi Raikkonen. Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo were fastest of the 2012 cars in 2nd and 3rd.

Jules Bianchi, new test driver for Force India, drove the VJM05 in the morning, going 4th. Kimi Raikkonen had an off in the morning, running into the gravel trap.

Felipe Massa and Jenson Button did not make much improvement on yesterday’s times, both focusing on higher-fuel runs. Massa is cagey on talking about the F2012, while Button has descibed the MP4-27 as better all round compared to last year’s model.

Sergio Perez took 9th, after replacing Kamui Kobayashi this morning. Pastor Maldonado was 10th for Williams. Caterham ran KERS on their car for the first time, and Heikki Kovalainen managed an impressive 139 laps without any technical difficulties with the new system.

Pedro de la Rosa was again last for HRT, albeit only 3.5 seconds off Schumacher’s time.

It is expected that we will see Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Giedo van der Garde get their first tastes of their 2012 cars tomorrow.

Times from Jerez day 2:

1. Michael Schumacher  Mercedes W02         1:18.561   132 Laps
2. Mark Webber         Red Bull RB6         1:19.184   97 Laps    +0.623
3. Daniel Ricciardo    Toro Rosso STR7      1:19.587   100 Laps   +1.026
4. Jules Bianchi       Force India VJM05    1:20.221   46 Laps    +0.660
5. Kimi Raikkonen      Lotus E20            1:20.239   117 Laps   +1.678
6. Paul di Resta       Force India VJM05    1:20.272   69 Laps    +1.711
7. Felipe Massa        Ferrari F2012        1:20.454   95 Laps    +1.893
8. Jenson Button       McLaren MP4-27       1:20.688   85 Laps    +2.127
9. Sergio Perez        Sauber C31           1:20.711   68 Laps    +2.150
10.Pastor Maldonado    Williams FW34        1:21.197   97 Laps    +2.636
11.Heikki Kovalainen   Caterham CT01        1:21.518   139 Laps   +2.957
12.Pedro de la Rosa    HRT F111             1:22.128   64 Laps    +3.567

Young driver test Day 3 – Three out of three for Vergne

Vergne topped the timesheets every day

Vergne topped the timesheets every day

Jean-Eric Vergne has topped the third and final young driver test in Abu Dhabi, similar to Daniel Ricciardo last year.

The Frenchman was only 4 tenths of a second slower than Sebastian Vettel’s pole position time here last week. He led Sam Bird and Jules Bianchi by well over 2 seconds.

Bird tested 2012-spec exhausts for Mercedes, which do not feature any off-throttle blowing of the diffuser like this year.

Oliver Turvey drove the McLaren all day, replacing Gary Paffett from yesterday. Max Chilton was 5th, ahead of Esteban Gutierrez and Mirko Bortolotti, who was testing for Williams.

Kevin Ceccon was 8th for Toro Rosso, ahead of Alexander Rossi for Lotus. Jan Charouz drove a Renault today, taking 10th, while Stefano Coletti was ahead of Nathanael Berthon. Virgin again split their running between Robert Wickens and Charles Pic, with both drivers finishing at the back.

Teams ran using a mixture of 2011 and 2012 Pirelli tyres on a variety of fuel loads.

Times from day 3:

 1.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Red Bull-Renault       1:38.917
 2.  Sam Bird             Mercedes GP            1:40.897
 3.  Jules Bianchi        Ferrari                1:41.347
 4.  Olivier Turvey       McLaren-Mercedes       1:41.513
 5.  Max Chilton          Force India-Mercedes   1:41.575
 6.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari         1:42.049
 7.  Mirko Bortolotti     Williams-Cosworth      1:43.277
 8.  Kevin Ceccon         Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:43.686
 9.  Alexander Rossi      Lotus-Renault          1:44.283
10.  Jan Charouz          Renault                1:44.470
11.  Stefano Coletti      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:44.545
12.  Nathanael Berthon    HRT-Cosworth           1:45.839
13.  Robert Wickens       Virgin-Cosworth        1:45.934
14.  Charles Pic          Virgin-Cosworth        1:46.348

Young driver test Day 2 – Vergne still on top

Vergne finished day 2 on top again

Vergne finished day 2 on top again

Jean-Eric Vergne again headed the timesheets for the young driver test in Abu Dhabi.

A time of 1:40.188 in the morning was enough to secure the Frenchman top spot, despite sensor and KERS issues in the afternoon.

Ferrari test driver Jules Bianchi was again 2nd, but this time was only 0.091 seconds behind the Red Bull. Gary Paffett drove the McLaren for the entire day, and was 3rd, albeit 1.5 seconds slower than Vergne. He caused the only red flag of the day, when his McLaren spilled oil on the track.

Valterri Bottas was 4th for Williams, ahead of newest F1 debutant Johnny Cecotto Junior, driving for Force India. Sauber reserve driver Esteban Gutierrez was 6th.

Sam Bird was 7th for Mercedes, ahead of newcomer Kevin Korjus, driving for Renault. Luiz Razia was 9th for Lotus, with Kevin Ceccon 10th for Toro Rosso.

HRT split their running between Jan Charouz and Nathanael Berthon, who finished 11th and 13th respectively – Berthon only driving for the final half hour. Virgin shoe-in Charles Pic was 12th.

Times from day 2:

 1.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Red Bull-Renault      1:40.188
 2.  Jules Bianchi        Ferrari               1:40.279   0.091
 3.  Gary Paffett         McLaren-Mercedes      1:41.756   1.568
 4.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Cosworth     1:42.367   2.179
 5.  Johnny Cecotto Jr    Force India-Mercedes  1:42.873   2.685
 6.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari        1:43.637   3.449
 7.  Sam Bird             Mercedes GP           1:43.734   3.546
 8.  Kevin Korjus         Renault               1:43.776   3.588
 9.  Luiz Razia           Lotus-Renault         1:43.944   3.756
10.  Kevin Ceccon         Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:44.808   4.620
11.  Jan Charouz          HRT-Cosworth          1:46.644   6.456
12.  Charles Pic          Virgin-Cosworth       1:46.698   6.510
13.  Nathanael Berthon    HRT-Cosworth          1:48.646   8.458

In-season testing to return to Formula 1 in 2012

Ferrari's own circuit will play host for in-season testing next year

Ferrari's own circuit will play host for in-season testing next year

All Formula 1 team bosses have officially signed off plans for next year’s testing schedule, which is confirmed to have a single in-season test in Mugello.

Many teams, as well as FIA president Jean Todt, have been pushing to return a limited amount of testing to the sport, after 2 years of only pre-season tests.

With this agreement, the teams will be obliged to three tests in Jerez (Feb 7-9) and Barcelona (Feb 21-24, Mar 1-4).

Then, a new test session will take place in Mugello on May 1st, which takes place after the first 4 flyaway races of the 2012 season. This will mean that teams will be able to re-evaluate and develop their cars before the Spanish Grand Prix two weeks later.

Mugello last played host to an F1 car in January 2009, when Felipe Massa unveiled the Ferrari F60.

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