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Barcelona Day 2 – The Hulk shows his colours
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Barcelona Day 2 – The Hulk shows his colours
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Feb 2010   |  8:14 pm GMT  |  131 comments

Nico Hulkenberg topped the times today in Barcelona in the Williams Cosworth. The 22 year old set a time of 1m20.614, compared to Jenson Button’s pole from last season at 1m 20.527. He was fractionally faster than Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

The time was set on the second flying lap of a three lap run on super soft tyres towards the end of the day. It is the first time that Williams has really shown its colours this winter testing season. It has been fairly conservative up to this point, bedding in the new Cosworth engine in the early tests. A new floor arrived for the car last night and there are more upgrades coming over the next couple of days, as there are with many teams.

Picture 14
‘A fastest lap could be possible but I’m not sure about a podium, ” he said of his chances in Bahrain. “Unlike last year I hope we can carry forward our Friday pace into qualifying and the race. We have a good baseline with this car and the engine and my goal is to score many, many points.'”

Alonso’s time was set on the first lap of a four lap run on softs. Ferrari did 134 laps today, Alonso focussing on some race simulation work. Like McLaren and Red Bull they started their runs on used soft tyres, as if they had used those tyres in Q3, then at the pit stop, they changed to new sets of medium compound tyres. The exercise was slightly spoiled by a red flag for the Lotus of Jarno Trulli stopping with a steering rack hydraulic problem, which happened twice in the afternoon.

The Ferrari again showed strong pace on the long run, with laps in the low 1m 25s moving down into the 1m 24s with Alonso’s trademark consistency. It was widely agreed that the Ferrari looked very good again today. They had some aerodynamic updates on the car, including a shark’s fin engine cover and an update to the diffuser. Most of the teams are bringing new pieces to the car over the final couple of days of the test.

It was Alonso’s last day of testing and the team’s confidence is there for all to see, “In all it was seven days and I really do have a good impression,” he said. “I’m calm for the first races, because I know that we’ve done some great work. I think there are still some unknown factors, because the tests were limited: we’ll see what will happen in Bahrain. The key will be how the tyres will be used in the races.”

Hamilton’s pace was quite slow on his long run, with laps in the 1m26s and 1m 27s. McLaren is bringing new aero parts to the car throughout this test. Hamilton’s best time of 1m 22.152 came on the second lap of a six lap run, which did not look like he was running low fuel.

Michael Schumacher was also in action. He did a 1m 21.689 on the second lap of a four lap run around lunchtime. Asking around engineers from other teams, the feeling is that Mercedes is not sandbagging, but does have some issues, perhaps around the weight distribution. It seems that getting the tyres switched on for a single lap is proving tricky. If this is the case, it’s worth remembering that the Brawn had the same problem in the second half of last season.

“At the moment we are not perfectly in the position we would like, probably, to be competitive enough to win the first races,” Schumacher said. “But we are working hard, the season is long, and the main issue is not to be too far off. And it is difficult to judge right now what is the real picture.”

BMW Sauber had a productive day with Pedro de la Rosa, covering a practice, qualifying and race simulation. The qualifying performance yielded a 1m 20.973 on the second lap of a three lap run. His race pace was in the 1m 26s for the first part dropping into the 1m 24s for most of the second stint. It was De la Rosa’s last day of pre-season testing and he seems to be back up to speed now after a long lay off from racing.

It’s interesting once again to remind ourselves that the first half of the races are going to be pretty slow this season in comparison to what we are used to in recent times. The front running cars will be three or four seconds per lap slower in the opening phase than they were last season, due to all the extra fuel. Those in the second half of the grid will be relatively less slow, because they tended to run long one stop strategies anyway, with around 80 kilos of fuel in the car, around half of what they will use for a race this year.

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel covered 125 laps today. His fastest time of 1m 21.258 was set on the first lap of a three lap run, but he did not appear to be running low fuel in a full qualifying simulation. On his race simulation, the first stint was mainly in the 1m26s, the second part largely in the 1m 24s. The feeling about Red Bull is that the car is a little heavy on its tyres, as last season, which might not help it in races, despite looking like a pretty quick car.

Headline Lap Times Barcelona Day 2

1. Nico Hulkenberg Williams 1:20.614 99
2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:20.637 134
3. Pedro De La Rosa BMW Sauber 1:20.973 114
4. Tonio Liuzzi Force India 1:21.056 90
5. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:21.258 125
6. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:21.571 104
7. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:21.689 85
8. Lewis Hamilton McLaren Mercedes 1:22.152 93
9. Robert Kubica Renault 1:24.912 53
10. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1:25.524 70
11. Timo Glock Virgin Racing 1:25.942 52

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131 Comments
  1. Irish conor says:

    6 potential challengers 2 ferraris 2 red bulls Hamilton and schumi. All in all a great season hopefully.

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    1. timem1 says:

      I think Button should be included in that top 7. He’s driven the McLaren just as well as Hamilton thus far. At Jerez he actually drove faster. I think LH has a serious teammate on his hands this year.

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      1. bad cop, no donut. says:

        i doubt it.

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      2. timem1 says:

        You doubt what exactly? That JB had the better times in Jerez than LH? Check the stats friend.

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      3. monktonnik says:

        I got that feeling as well, in fact I am sure i read somewhere in Autosport that the engineers thought he was doing pretty well.

        As a JB fan I want to see this, but let’s face it, Hamilton is a very tough team mate.

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      4. timem1 says:

        Hamilton is a great driver. The only thing greater than his talent is the constant hype about his potential. Thus far he has realized a fraction of what his supporters claim he is capable of. Button won his WDC in much more convincing fashion than LH. This year Hamitlon will get a run for his money from Button. Anyone who thinks differently is not thinking, they are emoting.

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      5. Mike says:

        replying to timem1…. dude, just because someone thinks your a numpty and doesn’t like your ideas doesn’t mean they are not thinking ….. that being said I’d agree with you, I reckon button is doing quite well, his smoother style may prove useful this year.

        oh and go Hulkenburg!

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  2. F1 Kitteh says:

    James do you think Williams could get back into the winners circle this year ? They and Renault seems to be very low key but times are up there..

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    1. James Allen says:

      They are competitive , but whether it’s fast enough to win, it’s hard to say at the moment.

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      1. bad cop, no donut. says:

        hulk is too inexperienced to win, and barrichello needs the best car to do it, he always needed it. And the williams being good is not the benchmark.

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  3. Stu says:

    So it looks like the cosworth may be fairly competitive after all. That’s good news as it should offer the new teams some encouragement.

    Williams should be in the hunt for 5th then.

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  4. Jack_Torrance says:

    Im excited by the pace of the Williams! WHat a laptime versus the pace setting Ferrari.

    Mclaren does not impress at all at a track where downforce and balance is everything. If what seems to be similar fuelloads Hamilton is up to 2 seconds a lap slower than Alonso they will need a lot of updates to keep up.

    So far Ferraris decision to stop development of the F60 really early, seems to be a right one.

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    1. bad cop, no donut. says:

      i see the british fans very insecure about mclaren these days. I guess hamilton needs to put the car on top again to calm them down.

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    2. Henry says:

      McLaren will not be anything like 2 seconds off the pace of the Ferrari. As james has written a few times over the last few days, all of the established teams are going to be very close. top four within 0.7 second. How do you know their relative fuel loads?

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    3. TM says:

      Yes and as James said in the post, Hamilton’s best time was during a 6 lap run which ‘did not look like he was running low fuel.’

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  5. Chris Bird says:

    Nice to see Williams, Cosworth and ‘The Hulk’ (nice one James) setting decent times. I hope this can be translated into the races.

    Rookie of the year for ‘The Hulk’

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    1. James Allen says:

      Looks nailed on. Exciting driver

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      1. gil dogon says:

        Don’t forget Saubers and De-La-Rosa star performance today. Actually he seems to be most surprising comeback oldie of the year so far …

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      2. bad cop, no donut. says:

        agree. But they need cash fast, otherwise they’ll go backwards as fast, as their current laptimes.

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  6. george debenham says:

    James
    So far I get the feeling that McLaren seem to be running a quite low key test with regards to average speeds and number of laps covered.
    Is this quiet confidence or do you think they may have some issues? Is the feeling in the pit lane that they are still in the top three contenders at this stage?

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  7. michael grievson says:

    I’m so excited for this year. I think Williams will be strong but in recent years they haven’t been able to keep with the development pace of the bigger teams

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  8. Patrickl says:

    Seeing how it;s a 3 lap qualy stint, why compare Hulkenberg’s time with the Q3 qualifying time? How about Barrichello’s Q2 time of 1:19.954?

    They are still slower than last year’s cars. With all the progress they were supposed to have made …

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    1. Banjo says:

      The cars are bigger, and, i believe they increased the minimum weight 30kilos to allow for KERS- to stop F1 becoming a jockey sport. Of course, FOTA have now outlawed KERS but the FIA haven’t so the rule still stands. There’s still updates to come, and two and a half months until the Barcelona race. It’ll be interesting to compare qualifying times then.

      Valid point for the Q2/Q3 time though, cheers for looking that up.

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  9. John Z says:

    James- you noted that Alonso set his best time on the first lap of a four lap stint. Do you believe that he was running on very low fuel? Thanks as always.

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    1. Frank says:

      I’d say the odds are good he was running 4 laps worth…

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      1. bad cop, no donut. says:

        otherwise, huston we have a problem.

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      2. Henry says:

        Well not necessarily, he could have any amount in there, all we know is he had minimum 4 laps.

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  10. Ben Miller says:

    James,

    Great to read your continued top notch coverage of this years testing, with some interesting features, analysis and inside views from the pit-lane. Other websites should takes note.

    A question for you please – I hear that there are some continued rumblings from within Red Bull in particular, about the MP4-25. There is talk that air from the inbox is being diverted not to the engine, but to the rear of the car to improve the aerodynamics. The contraption which the Mclaren ran yesterday, to measure presumably the air flow, perhaps heightens the suspicion that something is unusual with the rear of their car. Until they race with this car in Bahrain, the issue of whether it is legal or not will not be raised with the FIA, are you aware of any talk within the teams of whether there is likely to be a formal protest?

    Thanks again James.

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    1. James Allen says:

      Not heard much on that. Will look into it

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      1. Henry says:

        Its been done before and is not illegal. If they are using a blown rear wing it allows them to have a steeper rear wing angle without it stalling, giving extra downforce.

        http://scarbsf1.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/mclaren-innovative-rear-wing-and-shark-fin/

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    2. Ross Dixon says:

      From the pictures I have seen and the explanations I have read it is a blown slot in the rear wing. They are channelling air down the shark fin and through the slot to aid rear downforce. There are other teams trying blown slots but not to the extreme that Mclaren are. Its not illegal

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      1. James Allen says:

        It’s mainly about the car in yaw, I’m told

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      2. Ben Miller says:

        Thanks for listing this link, but if it is legal as you say why the chat to the contrary – surely there is a grey area which can be crossed to become illegal? Adrian Newey seems to think so, or is it more the case he is annoyed that he didn’t think of this solution? Also, when the car is in parc ferme, can the FIA inspectors gauge whats happening with the air flow, where its being channeled when the car is stationary?

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      3. Ross Dixon says:

        The reason I say it is legal is due to the fact that BMW had a blown slot last year. The link I posted below may be different if the driver is altering a valve with his braking foot. (Although I still think legal) However if air is being channelled from the airbox to the wing I see no issue with it.

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      1. Segedunum says:

        The stalled rear wing is by no means certain. It’s been discussed at length in various places and is just hearsay at the moment as there are varying opinions on what advantages it would bring.

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    3. Segedunum says:

      There’s been a lot of rumblings on this and a lot of speculation on what McLaren might be doing, but whatever, it doesn’t seem to be quite working.

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      1. CHIUNDA says:

        Clearly if McLaren perform this year, they will do so amidst the usual drama and politics

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  11. Morris Mao says:

    Looking forward the new season.

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  12. Pete says:

    Is it just me or has Massa kept himself to himself? I can see lots of quotes, press releases, etc from most of the drivers – but not much from Felipe. Is he always this quiet at the beginning of the season? Or is Alonso dominating the Ferrari press coverage for a reason?

    Maybe Felipe is adopting a boyish tactic: the dreaded Silent but Deadly?

    teehee

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    1. Ridwan says:

      I am quite sure its just about driver’s test schedule. Just wait till Massa appear in Barcelona and Alonso taking rest, Ferrari news and comments will come from Massa. Event Massa not a WDC yet (versus Alonso 2 WDC), I see him as a likeable lad, and from my perception, very cooperative with journalists.

      What do you think James?

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      1. James Allen says:

        Yes Massa is a very likeable man. But I have always liked dealing with Alonso, he’s very intelligent and easy to talk to.

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    2. bad cop, no donut. says:

      he is slowly but surely turning into a number two driver. Nothing he can’t change getting the pole at baharein. Can he do it? we’ll see soon enough.

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  13. Steve K says:

    James, The Mclaren looked so slow today and i am worried about slow speed corners with this car. Have you got any information or idea that suggests its not well behind the ferrari, red bull or indeed williams.

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    1. Banjo says:

      McLaren have a big aero-package coming today. So i’d expect their times to start tumbling by the end of the weekend. Fingers crossed anyway.

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  14. Al says:

    So it seems Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull are the ones to beat.

    Also, throughout all the tests, Sauber have looked rather good. Do you think they are doing low fuel glory runs or are actually pretty strong.

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    1. Martin Collyer says:

      I think you may have hit on something here Al.

      If this car was still being run as a BMW and these times were coming from Kubica and Heidfeld everyone would be saying BMW have got over their KERS problems and they are back about where they should be.

      However, this is a plain white, largely unsponsored car. It’s being driven by a very promising, but not yet proven rookie and a solid older driver, sorry but Alonso he is not, not so far anyway. It’s a perfect scenario for low-fuel runs on soft tyres to attract sponsorship. Yet, this doesn’t seem like the Peter Sauber way of doing things.

      I wouldn’t care to bet my house on wins or podiums but I sense Sauber may do well this year.

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  15. irish conor says:

    also the hulk looks and drives like a young kimi.potentially a future world champ

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    1. Banjo says:

      Agreed.

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  16. Andy C says:

    James,
    do you have any feeling from the Williams guys that they feel they have a good car this year?

    As I’ve said on a number of other occasions, I suspect they may surprise people with the Cosworth engine and what I think is as good a driver line up as they’ve had in a while.. I really hope so!

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    1. James Allen says:

      I think they are quite happy, Also very happy with the drivers – Hulk is very quick and Rubens is quick and technically brilliant

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      1. manos says:

        james,you always say that rubens is excellent technically.
        is this because of his experience?also with whom would you compare him with?

        PS.I m φρομ greece and propably we wont have
        a f1 broadcast here.Are you aware of any channels that broadcast live via internet?

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      2. James Allen says:

        No to the second question. As to the first, he is very experienced and has a strong technical understanding and he’s very proactive. The Williams engineers are really delighted with him

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      3. CharleyW says:

        @Manos,

        > You can get someone to broadcast it (legally) over the Internet to you. Buy a Slingplayer Solo (ca. £100) and get a friend in the UK (or US, Germany, Spain wherever) to connect it to both their Internet and their TV feed. Then you can log in from anywhere in the World on your laptop, iPhone or home computer and watch whatever channel you want as if you were sitting in their living room. It’s fantastic for expats and frequent travellers like me, and not just for Formula1. The only thing is that your friend needs to have a decent internet upload speed, otherwise it can be a bit too blocky to see the lap times on the screen.

        > However, you can simultaneously follow the lap time readouts from the Formula 1 website, but you have to register first: http://www.formula1.com/services/live_timing/registration.html

        > Finally there are other options (Internet TV streams, VPN tunneling), but I don’t know any that are definitely legal, so I can’t recommend anything(!).

        Good luck.

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  17. abulafia says:

    I beg to differ James. I have made an analysis (but it’s in Excel format), which paints quite a different picture of today’s testing. If you have an e-mail address I can send it to you, along with the comments. I presume you have my e-mail. I am sorry I can’t go into details here, but I can’t show graphs and stats in here.

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    1. Caan says:

      Please forward it to me, it will be interesting to see your analysis.

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    2. Josh says:

      Mind sending it to me too? I’m an excel nut.

      joshgeake [at] gmail.com

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      1. abulafia says:

        Caan, I don’t have your e-mail. Josh, I am sending it to you now. Mind you, it’s no rocket science – don’t expect any cool excel fiddling about and things like that. It’s just something I did last night – took me about an hour, so take it with a pinch (if not a spoonful!) of salt.

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    3. monktonnik says:

      errrr me too.

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  18. TheGreatCornholio says:

    James, i read a report today that Alonso is saying that he feels 4 teams will be in with a shout this season. Do you think he’s been told to start playing down his chances by Ferrari to lower the weight of expectation on the team?

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    1. James Allen says:

      No, it’s a long season and I think he’s right.

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  19. David H says:

    James what is going on with Mclaren. They appear to be wasting time taking 2 hours to send Hamilton or Button at the start of testing. Then they don’t really concentrate on really long runs like Ferrari.

    When they do start to get to work the red flag comes out. I’m starting to wonder if they might no be as fats as we 1st thought.

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    1. James Allen says:

      I think they are. McLaren are in pretty good shape

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  20. John Pugh says:

    Some of Nico Hulkenberg’s performances last year in GP2 showed him to be an intelligent manager of tyres which may be a skill in demand next year.

    One of the enormous number of ‘things of interest’ in the coming season will be to see how close he is to Rubens.

    I accept the mantra that we can’t judge anything until Bahrain but I think his performance to date has been most impressive.

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    1. Banjo says:

      His performance has been impressive, i expect him to out qualify Rubens on some occasions this year. He seems to have settled into the car very well all ready and with more time he’ll only become more comfortable and at home in an F1 car.

      Whether he beats Rubens or not, he’s gotta be better than Kamui Kobayashi, surely?

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  21. AmandaG says:

    I would really love to know who is going to be in front.

    I wonder if it will be obvious in Bahrain or whether it will take a few races to see where we are in the grand scheme of things.

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    1. James Allen says:

      I think there will be in front in quali and then in front in the race and the two may be different to start with.

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      1. M__E says:

        I take that to mean

        in front in Quali

        Red Bull
        McLarens
        williams
        sauber

        in front in race

        Ferrari
        Mercedes

        something like that James?

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      2. James Allen says:

        I think Ferrari will be at the front in quali too. Sauber are 3/10ths off, it looks like.

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      3. manos says:

        if sauber is 3/10ths off,then how about williams?
        the same?closer to the front?

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  22. Tony says:

    Good article, I’m a italian fan of Formula 1, and I follow your blog. Complimeti. excuse my little proper English, bat I’m italian.

    Tony.

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    1. James Allen says:

      Salve, e grazie

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      1. Owen says:

        Last year while staying in Rome and watching the GP’s on Italian TV I was amazed to hear James being interviewed and speaking fluent and immaculate Italian – bravo!
        Am enjoying the insights on this site – nevertheless whatever spin one puts on it,our favourite Italian racer, Jarno Trulli is in for a long, trying season at the back of the field – he will have to be really professional to keep his motivation!

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  23. Trent says:

    I wonder if there’s any chance that a driver might have to ‘nurse’ the tyres in the opening laps. This was something we often saw in the late 80s, leading to some interesting situations where one driver goes for broke early on at the expense of performance later in the race. I hope it’s the case – it adds a strategic element and ensures that the passing is on the track, not in the pits.

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  24. Ian Blackwell says:

    Excellent analysis. It looks like 2010 could be a fantastic season. At the moment Ferrari, Red Bull and Mclaren look too close to call at the top and Williams look like a real surprise in fourth ahead of the fancied Mercedes factory team. It looks like the Cosworth engine has plenty of grunt and has managed to go three whole tests without exploding. As dark horses this season, who would you rate higher – Williams or Renault?

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    1. Banjo says:

      Williams to begin with, but as the development race takes off – Renault.

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    2. Jeffrey says:

      A really dark horse for me would be Sauber. I actually expect Williams to be close to the front, with hopefully a win or two. I think Barrichello could be crucial in the set-up and development of the car. I don’t think Rosberg was ever that good in this area, though he’s pretty fast. Hulkenberg is a big talent, and I think in 2 years he could go head to head with Vettel for the WDC.

      Renault is hard to read. I think Kubica is a good driver, but if the car is not really competitive I he might be looking for other options next year. I think it could be another though year for Renault, though I hope they could be up there with Williams, sometimes fighting for a win.

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  25. jaad says:

    I am new in this site but i gotta tell u this site is the best i’ve seen
    But i have a question james if u dont mind is ferrari using the new diffuser or they will wait till bahrain and does it give ferrari big advantige or just minor ?

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    1. James Allen says:

      Sounds like they have an updated diffuser but not a new one a la Toyota – not 100% clear at the moment

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      1. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        James, have you heard as to whether Stefan will have the “Toyotafuser”?

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      2. James Allen says:

        Not sure they’ll have much choice if he’s using the cars.

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      3. Mike says:

        What exactly is so special about the Toyota one? I keep hearing about it.

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  26. Sharans92 says:

    Hi,
    I was wondering if you have an idea of how much difference there is between all of the teams.
    I know you said 7 tenths in your last analysis, do you think that still holds?
    Also, what’s the difference between the top 4?
    Thanks

    PS: I love your composite twitter feed.

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    1. James Allen says:

      It’s close. We’ll know more on Sunday, when all the new parts have been run (except Merc’s Bahrain aero kit)

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  27. jaad says:

    hi this is my first time to me on this blog but i gotta say it is the best
    james can i ask u a question if u dont mind is this ferrari new diffuser will give them big advantage or just minor and can bring it to bahrain if they dont test it this week?

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  28. Dave P says:

    Hmmm… I noticed at lunch time ‘Autosports headlines on how dominant Ferrari were’ Well that soon changed.

    Sometimes I wonder about the quality of journalists… Everyone got carried away the previous day about Mark Webbers time….

    For me we will only know the true picture in Bahrain…. great isn’t it…

    But even then it will be 4 or 5 races before we really know because of
    1. development
    2. Stratergy
    3. Outside temp variations
    4. Getting used to the unknowns

    Its going to be a great season…

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  29. Darren says:

    looks like lotus are picking up the pace, and starting to look like renault are going down the field 😉

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  30. Toni says:

    I’ve just read the Spanish sports reports for today’s testing in Montmeló and some short interviews with Fernando where he maintains that the F10 is the best car he’s ever driven. He also added to that remark that even though it’s the best car he’s driven, that it doesn’t mean that it’s the best car and that, that will only be made known in Bahrein and the opening races of the season. He also said that the team had tried different tyres as this detail is so important this season and that pushing the car to it’s limits on long stints with heavy fuel loads has been very important and that the car felt like a dream. He also maintains that he feels the mIn rivals will be McLaren, Red Bull and maybe Mercedes.

    Obviously from my point of view I hope that Fernando really does have a competitive car as he provides the fans with great moments when on top form and without a competitive car, you ain’t got no chance in F1.

    It’s gonna be interesting for sure!

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    1. krad says:

      Best is also very subjective. I could be the best just because its a Ferrari

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      1. Toni says:

        I think all he’s saying is that for him it’s the most complete car HE has personaly driven in F1… There’s nothing wrong with that or contravertial I think.

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  31. JohnBt says:

    Thanks James for the reports provided. Testing has been a mysterious event this month. Everyone’s getting excited about whom theyre supporting. Reading your article gives us a better clue to who’s where at the moment. Been watching the live timing at Williams which is helpful too. But all in all it’s still testing. In race situation it’s going to be another story all together. 19 races will decide who’s the best.

    Noticed that Ferrari has been using some sort of a wheel cover but not protruding out like 2009. I wondered if that’s against the rule. Would appreciate if you could clarify this or if you have heard any protest on it. Thanks.

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  32. Ridwan says:

    Very surprising pace from Hulk and Williams car!!
    I’d love to see him on podium. Well, one of Williams’ car should grab pole and steal all the attention away from the big teams.
    And I’ll be very satisfied if Hulk can perform better than Rosberg in Williams.

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    1. it wasnt me, it was my sister says:

      he has more potential i think. We’ll see.

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  33. Ryan Eckford says:

    I think there are some teams that are hiding their true pace at this stage, which highlights the confusion among many people to who is fastest at this stage.

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  34. Nick Pauro says:

    1. I love the BBC coverage but as so many have said, thanks be to god for this site Mr A! Completely changed the whole perspective of the sport for so many I rekon…

    its like the season never ends! in a GOOD way!

    2. I can’t yet decide who to bet on?!

    I love Felipe and would love him to tump a field of class…

    I used to loath Alonso but have grown to be so intrigued by him… and he’s a Ferrari man now so obviously….

    My ‘former’ hero, the rainmeister, is back….

    I have a feeling its between Vettel and Alonso, plus Hamilton harrasssing….

    Sig. Enzo deciding the victor from above!

    cheers James Allen and roll on the new season!

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  35. Sam says:

    Hmm it’s ashame that Mercedes are clearly off the pace. I don’t think schumi never tries to top the time. I am worried that he does a Luca boder next year. James what do u think of MS performance.?

    It’s hard to convince that he is up to his pace.

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    1. Banjo says:

      Personally, i think he’s still got the speed. I’m not a Schumi fan, but, i’d say he’s still got it. Badoer was never on the pace through out his entire career in F1. Schumi has been known to do all right. If Mercedes can deliver, so will he.

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    2. Jeffrey says:

      He’ll never do a ‘Luca Badoer’. He might not be able to be as dominant as before, but he’ll be competitive, and he’s been able to squeeze wins out of cars not normally up to the challenge, so he’ll be at the front, but it’s gonna be interesting to see if he’ll right at the top.

      MS is a 7 times WDC, Badoer never won anyu points let alone made it to the podium. Their in a different league.

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      1. it wasnt me, it was my sister says:

        you are right. He’s got more talent on a toe nail, than badoer on his full bodie. And i am not sure mercedes, is so far off the pace. He is very dangerous still. he’ll beat rosberg , i dont have any doubt about it.

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  36. Ginger says:

    I’m not sure about McLaren this year. It seems that they will be playing catch up again. Ferrari to lead the way it appears.

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  37. Paul A M says:

    Morning James, could comment on the below article from Speed TV website and do you think there is any truth in these reports.

    There have also been some insider rumblings – most notably from within Red Bull Racing – about the design of the new McLaren MP4-25 car.

    It is believed that some of the air flowing into the air box above Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button’s heads is being channeled not to the engine, but also to the rear of the car for aerodynamic purposes.

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  38. Paulo says:

    Hi james,

    Theres not been much said of force india or sauber, how have they been doing?

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  39. Thalasa says:

    James, Ben Miller (comment no 10) mentions: “The contraption which the Mclaren ran yesterday, to measure presumably the air flow, perhaps heightens the suspicion that something is unusual with the rear of their car.”
    In a previous test week (probably last) you said that it wouldn’t be a good thing if McLaren were using this kind of devices in the last tests of the pre-season. Do you maintain that, or is this particular device a different question?
    I’m surprised that we don’t see any other team using devices like McLaren or green paint. Well, Mercedes did use the green paint yesterday but… they are Mercedes like McLaren.

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    1. parafone says:

      No, what the comment you are referring to is talking about is the piece of bodywork on top of the monocoque, which *appears* to let air flow past the driver’s knees and through to the rear wing.

      The “device” has been speculated as being simply a way to measure such a piece of bodywork. Because of that, people are suspicious that McLaren may be doing something “illegal” within the monocoque, concerning the airflow that is being guided to the rear wing.

      I haven’t explained well, sorry, but some people think McLaren have found a cunning way around the regulations, and some people think they’re just being thorough.

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  40. F1ART says:

    Hi James
    Any plans for a fantasy f1 comp on this site, with the high quality of readership it would be extremely competitive and fun.

    Last year my 7 year old daughter beat over 400 adults to win our local fantasy f1 and she would like some better completion this year?

    News article http://www.thisisguernsey.com/sport/fantasy-formula-1/

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  41. it wasnt me, it was my sister says:

    james, Don’t you get the sensation that massa is being left aside, little by little, and alonso is getting most of the attention, and the best luck. Less mecanical problems, more dry running, etc.
    It is like the champion’s luck is again with him, and it is going to be almost imposible for massa to overcome that.
    It is just my feeling.

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    1. James Allen says:

      Being a champion is about making things happen for yourself – in races, in qualifying, within a team and with perceptions in F1 and the public. Simple as that

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    2. Peter Hermann says:

      Massa had one more day for testing, and Fernando didn’t say a word about it though the team and the car is totally new to him, and they expect a lot of him too. You are just Antialonso and looking for something negative to say.

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  42. alban says:

    hi james! i’d like to know the difference in times between supersoft and soft tyres.thank you.

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  43. Tim Lockhart says:

    James, while across the internet the McLaren fanbase is in meltdown you seem to be uber confident about the MP4-25’s chances! :) Why so?

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    1. James Allen says:

      Not really, I was observing that the long run was slow yesterday. I don’t think they are in trouble, but I also don’t think they are as quick all round as Ferrari

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      1. AlexD says:

        Today’s comment from Button were that he think they can win in Bahrain. Strange thing is that in Autosport the first article’s title was – Button thinks McLaren can win Bahrain and several minutes after that they have changed to Button delighted with final preparations.

        This year, like never before I have no clue who can really go to Bahrain as favorite….incredible:-)

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  44. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    Looks like Nico gets the rough end of the weather lollipop yet again!! Rain today and forecast to be fine tomorrow for MS.

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    1. it wasnt me, it was my sister says:

      the same for massa. Are the speed gods already deciding who is number one and number two?
      They must be excited of the coming season, like us ,mere mortals.

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  45. D. says:

    James, I had asked earlier this week why this year the advantage goes to a driver who pits first. I received 3-4 responses, all of which said the same thing, which (a) is very obvious in itself and (b) does not really back up the thesis. The response was that a driver who pits first will then be quicker than the others since he will have new tyres and same fuel load as them. This response is at the very minimum incomplete. The counter-response to it is that (a) the driver who pits first will also lose 20 or so seconds and fall behind some of the others who did not pit, and (b) once the other drivers pit, they too will have new tyres and also an even lighter fuel load on the new tyres than the driver who pitted first had on his new tyres. So I can see an advantage for drivers who actually pit later. I would appreciate a complete response from your staff.

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    1. James Allen says:

      From talking to engineers, this year they will be watching each other more closely than ever. New tyres will always be a lot faster than old ones so the first lap on new tyres will be worth something like 3 secs then the next few will be faster too. So if you are in a direct fight with another car, the advantage lies with the one behind, as when he pits it’s already too late for the lead car to enter the pits. So in a situation like that, around a pit stop window, they will be playing games with mechanics running out at the last minute

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      1. M__E says:

        I just had a vision of that one and it looked funny in a bennyhill kind of way!

        James,

        is there a ‘rule’ that you (one) can only respond to one of your comments once per thread? its just that once or twice it has happened that after you have kindly responded to one of my comments, for some reason the reply to part on your next comment is left out, is that a bug or on purpose?

        thanks.

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      2. ahlapski says:

        yer, James, me too.

        I just thought you censored it. Then again I didn’t think there was anything to censor though.

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  46. Jesus says:

    James, seems the new aerodynamic update from McLaren has put them at the same pace as Ferrari. Long run from Button today is miles faster than Lewis yesterday.

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    1. James Allen says:

      Indeed. It’s a big upgrade.

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      1. Dale says:

        Do you think from what you’ve seen so far that McLaren are showing their full hand?

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  47. P.Beenkens says:

    James , Ferrari have been using black and silver wheel-rims the last few days.
    Do you know if the coulour-difference is tyre related ? For instance :
    black = soft tyre compound ,
    silver = hard tyre compound ?

    Total votes:
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  48. CharleyW says:

    James, is there anything behind the fact that BMW Sauber is still not shown in the team-roundup on the Official Formula1 website?

    http://www.formula1.com/teams_and_drivers/teams/

    Of course not, but odd, don’t you think?

    Total votes:
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    1. James Allen says:

      No, that list was published some time ago, they have been granted an entry, the FIA confirmed at the time, so the list should get updated

      Total votes:
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  49. sean says:

    James
    Can you tell me if the 107% rule is still in effect.Having followed the latest testing times the new teams may not even make the race 5 second’s off the pace can’t be good

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  50. R.B. says:

    Today Jenson was doing consistent 1min 28s. Howerver his fastest time was 1min 21s later on.

    Having heard that one can be 5 secs slower being full, how is it possible that Jenson had this time up to 7 seconds.

    How much is the difference(high fuel-low fuel) by the latest observations. any thoughts?
    thanks

    Total votes:
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  51. Meeklo says:

    Any story on Cosworth making Williams its primary development team? Will all the cosworth teams have the same level of engines and/or updates simultaneously, if allowed.

    Total votes:
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