Whilst the F1 news is set to be dominated by the Bahrain cancellation story for the next few days it’s worth remembering that the rather serious business of testing has been taking place in Barcelona. The four day test concluded today with Felipe Massa topping the times in his Ferrari, and Badger has had a quick look at who’s been showing well in Spain.
We’ve also got a full table of times from the test, with each driver’s best effort and total laps completed – all fully sortable. Added to that we’ve got photos – absolutely loads of photos – thanks to our friends at Octane. They’ve been snapping throughout the test and provided us with a plethora of great images – the rear-wing and diffuser galleries are of particular interst to the technically minded among you. Enjoy.
Circuit de Catalunya test musings.
First off, Red Bull are undoubtedly quick. The RB7 seems to be enjoying the same stability and grip through the corners that made the RB6 such a mighty machine and it’s hard to imagine them being much lower than the second row in Australia. Honestly, they’ve got to be favourites to take pole at Albert Park. Yes – Albert Park for the season opener. It just sounds right, doesn’t it?
The only team who currently look capable of beating them are Ferrari, whose rather conservative looking new car has been completing plenty of long runs with next to no problems in Spain. Both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa have been setting competitive times too, suggesting that the Scuderia will, as has been the case almost every year since the mid-nineties, be right up there.
McLaren meanwhile have been concerned by their lack of long runs, fearing that rivals Red Bull and Ferrari have stolen a march on them in this respect. Whilst the Woking-based outfit have posted competitive times over a short distance they have not done as much work as they would have liked on race distances, and will perhaps be pleased in this respect that Bahrain is off. A bit of extra time is just what Martin Whitmarsh and his team were looking for.
Elsewhere Mercedes aren’t entirely happy with their new motor, despite Nico Rosberg setting the fastest time on Sunday. He’s voiced some complaints but reckons problems are getting solved, whilst Michael Schumacher told the BBC he is “slightly concerned” by the car’s current pace. Overall Michael is very cautious about how his team will fare, especially early in the season. Renault’s Nick Heidfeld also been a bit worried his R31’s balance, but is nevertheless positive about the car he’s minding in Robert Kubica’s absence. It certainly seems to be giving him all the confidence required through the corners – a positive sign for the Enstone squad.
Toro Rosso have been showing well – Sebastien Buemi posting the third quickest time today – but just how representative this is we can’t yet tell. It’s not uncommon for teams of STR’s size (think Prost in 2001 or Sauber last year) to show much better in testing and then wilt in the heat of competitive action. We’re not saying this is the case for the Italian squad, it’s just a word of warning to anyone thinking of putting a few quid on Seb or Jaime to land a podium in Australia.
Lotus have been generally pleased with their efforts, Jarno Trulli expressing pleasure at the new car’s pace. However the team are believed to have reliability issues and missed much of today’s running after Trulli put the car in the wall. Still, we reckon Jarno’s optimism speaks volumes – the 36-year-old knows his time in F1 is short and is past the stage of talking up a slow car. The new Lotus may well be decent (though we’re not tipping it for the title).
F1’s testing circus hasn’t seen the last of Barcelona. The teams will return there on March 8th for another four day test following the cancellation of Bahrain’s Grand Prix and pre-season test.
The Complete Testing Times
|Driver||Team||Day 1 Best||Day 1 Laps||Day 2 Best||Day 2 Laps||Day 3 Best||Day 3 Laps||Day 4 Best||Day 4 Laps||Total Laps||Best Time||Rank|
|Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1'24.374||37||1'23.315||104||0||0||141||1'23.315||3|
|Mark Webber||Red Bull||0||0||1'24.995||139||1'23.442||69||208||1'23.442||4|
|Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso||1'25.638||57||1'23.519||97||0||0||154||1'23.519||6|
|Su008ebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso||0||0||1'26.155||31||1'23.550||90||121||1'23.550||7|
|Adrian Sutil||Force India||0||0||1'25.720||102||1'24.177||64||166||1'24.177||13|
|Paul Di Resta||Force India||1'26.575||26||1'25.194||80||0||0||106||1'25.194||17|
|Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso||0||0||1'28.329||42||0||42||1'28.329||25|
Our Barcelona Test Photo Gallery