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Jerez Day 1 – Lotus get off the mark in style
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Jerez Day 1 – Lotus get off the mark in style
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Feb 2010   |  11:55 pm GMT  |  150 comments

Lotus hit the ground running today as the second Jerez test kicked off in mixed conditions as 11 of this season’s cars were on track. Also getting some important mileage under his belt was Scotsman Paul di Resta in the Force India. But it was another fairly unproductive day due to intermittent rain.

On the whole the reliability of the new cars from the established teams has been very impressive, but for a new team to clock up 76 laps on its first day with no major problems is very good indeed.

This is a new team in the sense that the staff there have all been assembled from scratch by technical director Mike Gascoyne. I spoke to a few of them, familiar faces all, at the launch in London last week. It’s clear that Gascoyne has put together a very experienced crew, mostly former Super Aguri, Renault and Toyota people, all of whom have a lot of F1 experience. For that reason, one of them told me, the car went together extremely well and it has run well today.

It did enough mileage to give Malaysian driver Fairuz Fauzy his superlicence (300km) and now the serious business begins of seeing how fast it is. Here again the team has gone for experience with Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli in charge of developing the car. Both have real outright speed so Gascoyne will know exactly where his car is.

Suffering another day of frustration was the Virgin team, which lost most of the day to a hydraulic problem. They covered just 10 laps, without setting a representative lap time. Apart from one day last week where they got 45 laps in, they have not been able to exploit the extra week’s head start they have had over Lotus.

Of the other new teams, Campos seems poised to announce a package to save its future, but when we will see a car on the track is hard to assess at this point, while there are some very dark murmurs around about USF1, including on the Speed TV website, which is the network USF1 sporting director Peter Windsor has worked for these past 10 years.

Sebastian Vettel was fastest today in the new Red Bull, which covered 103 laps.
Picture 68

Paul di Resta was out in the Force India to get acclimatised. We will see the young Scot, who beat Vettel in Euro F3 a few years back, on track during the 2010 season, in a practice role, all being well. He is supported by Mercedes’ boss Norbert Haug. Mercedes supply the engine for Force India along with a gearbox from McLaren.

Be sure to check out the live coverage of the test starting at 10am CET on JA on F1 Tweets We have added auto refresh to the service now, so you can follow the whole thing as it happens. Be sure to send us your feedback and suggestions.

Headline lap times – Jerez Day 1

1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:22.593 103 Laps
2. Lewis Hamilton Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 1:23.017 72
3. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:23.204 72
4. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1:23.322 79
5. Pedro De La Rosa BMW Sauber 1:23.367 77
6. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:23.803 111
7. Adrian Sutil Force India 1:24.272 28
8. Paul Di Resta Force India 1:25.088 76
9. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:26.237 59
10. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1:27.320 109
11. Fairuz Fauzy Lotus 1:31.848 76
12. Timo Glock Virgin Racing 1:32.417 10

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150 Comments
  1. Dom says:

    James,

    Any inside info on any ‘magic properties’ the mclarens shark fin may have?

    Rumours on many forums of all kinds of hidden aero exotics on the wing/fin arrangement…

    1. James Allen says:

      It looks striking but it has a reasonably small effect – ie to change the behaviour mainly in yaw, and so the the size depends on how a teams car works in this condition.

      1. AP says:

        But isn’t it also a massive disantage when strong side-winds exist? E.g. at Turkey’s famous Turn 8?

      2. Ross Dixon says:

        Have you seen the small hole above the airbox???? I have heard rumours this is for cooling, channelling air over the engine then our under the shark fin. I have never seen this on an F1 car before

      3. Dom says:

        This is what i was refering to….air taken from the engine intake, channelled down the shark fin and then spat out at the back of the wing in a slot….

  2. Dan says:

    Was RB quickest based on fuel / track conditions or were there other cars out there in similar conditions ?

    I thought they would sandbag until last test :)

  3. whiner says:

    huge article..the most important part was only 1 sentence worth: “Sebastian Vettel was fastest today in the new Red Bull, which covered 103 laps.”

    the enthousiasm is beaming off of that sentence.

    seriously, being british doesnt mean u cant compliment german drivers. if it had been button fastest today u would start a monologue how his ‘smooth driving style made the angels weep’ or something in that fashion.

    when alonso was fastest in first test u had a lot more to say. knowing how u were in tears when he got his 1st championship, no surprise of course.

    less biased reporting would be much more appreciated.

    1. James Allen says:

      You’ve obviously not been following this site for very long, don’t know much about my writing and/or have a bit of a bias yourself.

      1. Adrian says:

        Yes, I feel I must back Jame up here. He is one of the most unbiased reporters on the web. In addition, when he does have a favourite he is open enough to state it.

        At the same time, this site is a blog, not a news site so there is no reason why James couldn’t show some bias if he wanted to.

        James. This site, along with F1Fanatic are my 2 main sites for keeping up to date on what’s happening in F1. Keep up the excellent work.

      2. krad says:

        I do agree with james here

      3. Banjo says:

        Likewise, i also agree with James. It’s refreshing to have somebodies point of view come across rather than the events of F1 being reeled off at you. I wouldn’t say having his own point of view makes him bias though.

    2. Ross Dixon says:

      Considering James has tipped Vettel for the Championship a few times over the winter your observation is obviously rubbish.

      It could also be interpreted that James is not reading too much into this time due to the fact track conditions were variable while in Alonso’s case trck conditions were at least day.

    3. Steve Mc says:

      Whiner, if this comment doesn’t get the most replies on this thread I will be amazed.

      This isn’t a Fleet Street Hack’s blog – The main reason why most of us come here first, before moving on to all the other F1 sites for photos, etc, is because we do get an unbiased insight in to the otherwise inaccessible world of F1.

      I think James likes to leave all the overly biased and irrational opinions to us commentees!

    4. Antoine says:

      I’ll have to disagree with you here Whiner, I’m not British but neither do I see any bias on this site. I hope you next comment focuses on the analysis found in the article… Have fun :-)

      1. Alex says:

        It seems that every time people are not in ecstasy from Vettel, they are biased.

      2. Casey says:

        Agree entirely, James’ is the best. (I am not British either).

    5. Sam says:

      That’s a very unreasonable comment.
      James is a well-respected journalist, and in my opinion the most unbiased one ever.

      He wrote a book about driver who was largely misunderstood and criticized. In the book, all the facts, the good & the bad, were stated without any form of manipulation or critisim.

      Unlike most of the sites which merely copy and paste the interviews, the “he says she says” stuffs, James share insight information of F1 which is fantastic.

      Come on people please be a bit more respectful.

    6. GP says:

      Hey Whiner,

      You are just that, nothing more.

    7. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

      I think that James is the best informed and most objective F1 journalist in the business.

      You cannot form contacts and gather inside information unless you are fully trusted by the community in which you operate. If James was biased, then the majority of the teams would not co-operate with him….which is NOT the case.

      I don’t think that your comment is particularly objective and you obviously have an axe to grind against James Allen.

      Furthermore…..I think that your username says it all really.

      1. escobar says:

        i don’t agree.

  4. Raj says:

    Why are teams not resting outside Europe this season? I know in the past Ferrari have tested in Bahrain.

    1. James Allen says:

      Because testing is restricted now, by common consent, to four official tests. It’s a cost saving measure

      1. John F says:

        I’m sure next year all teams will press for the official test to be held where there is more sunshine guarantee.

  5. Dave P says:

    Dark rhumors about USF1 – you only had to look at the interviews done by ESPN at their so called factory to know they are going nowhere… they will never make the grid…

    If they did …. they would be so far behind…

    It shows how bad the FIA was in giving them a place yet somehow not giving prodrive a chance..

    1. Henry says:

      Yup it seems that the FIA have ballsed up again, no surprises there; if USF1 make it it seems it will be by the hand of god because everyone has given up on them! Prodrive would have managed fine, what I dont understand is the issues with Stefan GP. Bernie wanted 4 new teams last year, with Toyota dropping out there was space for one more, Stefan seem to be (with my huge lack on knowledge) fairly well funded and very eager to get involved, why wont they give them the grid space?

      I understand they can’t chuck out USF1 and hand over their space because they would default on their contract, but why can’t they give the extra space which they always wanted to fill?

    2. Henry says:

      Yup it seems that the FIA have ballsed up again, no surprises there; if USF1 make it it seems it will be by the hand of god because everyone has given up on them! Prodrive would have managed fine, what I dont understand is the issues with Stefan GP. Bernie wanted new teams last year, with Toyota dropping out there was space for one more, Stefan seem to be (with my huge lack on knowledge) fairly well funded and very eager to get involved, why wont they give them the grid space?

      I understand they can’t chuck out USF1 and hand over their slot because they would default on their contract, but why can’t they give an extra slot which would be exactly what bernie was arguing for last year?

    3. JF says:

      Prodrive got their slot and chose to not enter F1 a few years ago because they couldnt use the McLaren chassis.

      I think we’ve seen enough of David Richard…

      1. Dave P says:

        That is not true. Prodrive could not enter due to Frank Williams and others not allowing it. This was due to the fact that Prodrive would not have been a constructor – and thus Torro Rosso now have had to make their own car. This was more of another example of the FIA messing up in that they gave the entry to prodrive before checking they were allowed to do so.

        You can’t blame that on Prodrive..

  6. Martin P says:

    If Lotus is made up of say 98% experienced F1 bods, what’s the comparative make up of the Virgin, Campos and USF1 teams?

    Is there a clue there in their various states of readiness to race?…..

  7. Kevin says:

    i also read somewhere that lotus did not have their power steering unit installed yet. running in the wet was ok but when it dried out the steering became a bit too heavy. power steering would take another 3-4 secs. came you comfirm this James. thanks .

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes that is the case.

  8. TG says:

    Good on ya Gascoyne. It’ll be interesting to see how many of the diehard Hethel mob warm to the team if they make a good showing.
    It might not be the same as the Chapman years, but it’ll still be success worth celebrating – both in Malaysia and in the UK.
    Now all we need is for Campos to show their true colours, so next year Ecclestone has less of an excuse to refuse ProDrive. An Aston team would be good for the sport – as would that rumoured VW Group team. Audi F1? On biodiesel? Would help FIA in its efforts to green the image of F1.

    1. Rick says:

      “It might not be the same as the Chapman years”

      you mean the car will last a full race and graham hill wont be going crazy about reliability?

    2. Kenny says:

      TG- This “diehard Hethel mob” member hss alreasy warmed to them. I was reluctant until the Chapmans, the Lotus Cars people, and Moss all showed up for the launch. If the new team is good enough for them, who am I to criticise? Go Lotus!

      Rick- Bad brakes are required on any racing car called “Lotus”. Heikki was testing them today and they failed perfectly. All’s well.

    3. aziwal says:

      It can never be like Chapman years. There was only one Chapman.

  9. Banjo says:

    Great website James.

    How worrying are the lap times being produced by Virgin and Lotus ? Both seem to be quite a bit off of the pace. Virgin were closer last week when they managed to get some miles under their belt, but they’re struggling to get much track time.

    It’s great to see some new teams actually making it to the grid though, hopefully they’ll be in the mix before too long.

    1. James Allen says:

      Look it’s early days for the new teams. It’s a massive undertaking to build an F1 car from scratch. Gascoyne knows what it takes and he says has managed expectations of what we can expect. I think the fastest new team will be a couple of seconds off the slowest established team. Remember how close the whole field was last season. The level of competence out there among the established teams is very high.

    2. iceman says:

      The fact that Virgin and Lotus are already getting into the same ballpark as the established teams seems like an impressive achievement to me.

      1. Banjo says:

        I’m pleased that there will be at least two new teams making it to the grid (no matter what the difference in lap times is!), that alone seems to have been a massive achievement. Lotus seem to have done a great job seeing as they’ve only had an entry five months!

        Realistically, what do people think the chances of Stefan GP making it to the grid are ? The news of USF1 haven cancelled their crash testing about putting their base up for sale does, subtly, suggest they’re not going to make it.

  10. Rob says:

    From the same Pete Windsor who said “We’re all complaining a little about everything closing down for the New Year but – believe me – America is currently much more industrious than the UK. Here, at our home base, we were quiet on Christmas Day (naturally) and then again today. The UK – and most of Europe – basically shut down on December 18 and will not stagger back to life until January 4. That’s 16 valuable days lost in the too-short life of the F1 European winter.”

    Although it’ll be a shame if his team don’t make the grid, I can’t help but enjoy the schadenfreude of his team not having a car ready after that statement. But then, what do you expect from an unproductive British person…

    1. P Byrne says:

      Peter Windsor is good at talking the talk but you only have to read one of his articles and compare them to the writings of James, Maurice Hamilton, Brundle etc. to realise he vastly over-rates his own expertise…

      1. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        I don’t like the way that Windsor has turned all American and avoids using the word factory ….he uses the word “shop”.

        He Just lacks a feather in his cap and to call it macaroni.

      2. Paul Kirk says:

        The word “shop” is short for “workshop”, (where the work is done). The word “factory” conjures up a vision of, say, sausage making, clothing, car assembly, foundrys, mass production, etc., so I’m sorry I’m quite comfortable with Windsor’s use of “shop”. And what’s wrong with “turning American” anyway, you wouldn’t want hin to turn Japanese would you?
        PK. (nz)

      3. i'll be nice... not says:

        and he is bias.

      4. Jomy John says:

        Make that anti-schumi biased. Thank god he isnt writing anymore.

  11. Sam says:

    Hi James Schumacher seemed to be far too slow. What can you share with us?
    Thanks

  12. Dale says:

    Poor Williams, it must be hard for a once such great team to just being second rate, they are a spent force if ever I saw one and I have been a follower of F1 since the late 60′s.
    Isn’t it crazy that one of Mosley’s last actions was to give second rate teams the new slots, both Campus and USF1 are a joke compared to Prodrive/Aston Martin and possibly Lola, I wonder if the truth will ever out as to why these better teams were snubbed, I only wish Richard’s had the guts to take his team’s snub to the courts as all was, in my opinion, not right with the FIA’s selection process :?:

  13. Adam Taylor says:

    Through all the uncertainty that is surrounding the USF1 and Campos teams, surely one of the big wigs has to come forward and make a decision about their participation. Both of these teams are making a mockery of Formula 1, particularly in the States where F1 has a hard enough time as it is. With whatever is going on within these teams, there is a team waiting to enter the sport, a team that has already sent its gear to Bahrain and has apparently got a full seasons finance. Come on boys, postpone one of the reluctant teams and allow a fully ready Stefan Grand Prix to participate.

    1. Simon A says:

      +1 especially if Villeneuve gets a seat as it is rumoured.

  14. Lilia says:

    I guess Lotus have a clear advantage because most of there people know exactly what kind of work they are doing and don’t have to learn basic things during the journey.
    Campos looks optimistic about finding money. At least that’s the the way it seemed to me from what he said.
    USF1……………Shhhhhh………..No sound. Bad rumors all around and they don’t even bother denying them anymore. It seems that all the USF1 supporters won’t get there chance to say “Suck it up” to the people who never believed in them.

    1. Banjo says:

      “The future of USF1 has been cast in doubt as the rookie team has cancelled its crash testing, put its Charlotte base up for sale and is yet to announce any testing plans for its 2010 car or a second driver.”

      Does look good for USF1 does it ?

  15. Midnight Toper says:

    About a decade ago after a short and illustrious career I turned my back on mechanical engineering, went back too uni and joined a major oil company to work as a reservoir engineer.

    Since then I have been modelling fluid flow in reservoirs using a finite difference simulator. I haven’t kept up with progress in the CFD world but I struggle to believe that the technology is much better than what we use given that they are both high value industries. Besides which we don’t have an alternative.

    Fuel prices rising at the pumps, I hear a lot, but the oil industry are now spending in the region of 200MM USD to drill an 8 and a half inch hole at depths approaching 30,000 feet (15-20,000 psi). Regardless of the huge technological advances we have made we still see a surprise every time a well is drilled and simulation models always benefit from real data. In other words we rarely if ever get it right first time.

    Coming from this viewpoint (possibly a conservative one) I was amazed by Virgin’s all CFD approach and question what is it that Wirth thought he had over the competition? Or was it just Branson PR?

    Given the poor reliability of the Virgin so far should they persevere with this approach or initiate a contingency plan? I would be really interested to hear from some CFD operators and race fans alike on the validity of this approach.

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks for that interesting insight.

    2. Justin says:

      Interesting perspective. I also work in the oil industry (drilling and completion) and CFD, whilst high-tech and expensive, is used to model wells. The one thing that we always come back to, however, is that the model needs real data to calibrate it, define boundaries, etc. I suppose the question of all-CFD versus CFD plus real testing comes down to resources. In our industry the “real” testing to complement the models may be a relatively small fraction of the well cost. In F1 would the wind tunnel etc. be a huge percentage (e.g. doubling the costs)?

    3. Martin P says:

      Great post.

      Out of interest, does anyone know the comparative annual capital/revenue cost of running a (minimal) wind tunnel versus a CFD approach?

      I have no doubts that Wirth believes all he spouts, but as a team were they “forced” down that route simply because they can’t afford wind tunnels I wonder?

    4. Marc says:

      and this is why this site is such a good one its all you contributors and James himself with his knowledge that make this such an interesting and inciteful site I just wish James would be back on the tele and replace Mr Legard do you think he could do this and the tele ; )
      Thanks to all

      1. Ahlapski says:

        If I could just switch off Mr. Legard’s commentary I would. We need insights and experienced comments. Not just reporting what everyone can see on TV. We are not BLIND. How about the Red Button, BBC?? Martin is much, much better.

    5. Henry says:

      My father works in the oil industry as a drilling supervisor/engineer and has done for a few decades now, from what he tells me, curently operating over a couple of the newest rigs commissioned, with all the lastest models, is that it is still a bit uncertain as to what really is going on at those depths. Even with the most up to date models the reservoir can have unexpected properties, the rock can be more or less dense, there can be unexpected leaks etc…not trying to turn the forum onto the oil industry, but basically the flaws with that modeling has to be that the input information is not entirely accurate.

      This is the issue that I have read come up over and over again with CFD, it is not so much the technological brilliance of the system but the limitations are always with the human using it; creating the parameters, creating the inputs. So in F1 an experienced designer who can convert the actual requirements into the system, could expect reasonable success.

      Finally it is worth remembering that Nick Wirth has already designed a winning Le Mans car with purely CFD.

      1. Qiang says:

        Forgive me if I sound ignorant. The air and road surface F1 car has to deal with are probably more predictable than the earth beneath us. I am struggling a lit bit here to understand your logic. Hope someone can help me out a bit.

      2. Henry says:

        No thats what I was trying to say: in response to the origonal post by midnight trooper, the inputs into an F1 car will not be less complex than in the oil industry, but they will actually be coming from concrete, known, data. So yes. Sorry if it came across as a bit mangled!

      3. Midnight Toper says:

        That’s true, we are dealing with objects designed by nature that we can’t see. Our models evolve with time and the most accurate model (from a predictive sense) is likely to be the final evolution, i.e. just before you extract the last drop. Just like F1 has good designers, we have good geologists who rely on experience.

        In a sense F1 is the same, as the season progresses, data is collected and aero updates are made. We hear a lot about Wirth’s approach in American LeMans, but was it quick out of the box or were several updates made following extensive track time?

        I’m not sure of the risk and reward in F1, but I understand the basic priniciple in economics is to defer costs as much as possible. It seems to me that this is what they are attempting to do, cutting costs at the start of the season seems like a bold but high risk strategy.

      4. Jay says:

        I don’t mean to be rude, but I think that last sentence is a bit misleading. It’s true that Wirth has designed a winning LMP with nothing but CFD, but it had front tyres as wide as its rears (yet to be repeated/imitated in the LMP era). Not to knock the effect of aerodynamics, but the biggest influence on a car’s performance comes from its contact [patches] with the tarmac.

        I’ve yet to be convinced with Wirth’s words. The need for a realistic base to start with cannot be overestimated, otherwise you will waste the potential saving by having to run iterations for too many scenarios/positions. Ditto the corroboration with some track-obtained data, but thankfully this doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg!

      5. Paul Kirk says:

        Excelent comments by all ! And I agree that to use CFD to design a car from scratch, i.e. the very first car, would probably be unsuccessful, (in terms of race results), but we have to remember Worth has been designing, building, and racing cars of differing types with differing success rates for decades, so that invaluable experience combined with his CFD capabilities could concievably produce a design nearing the optimum, which with developement, could be successful. Dunno, but I wish him and team success anyway!!!
        PK. nz.

    6. Ahlapski says:

      That is very interesting, thanks. I think the majority disadvantage of using CFD over other teams is over (i.e. design stage). I don’t think there is a need for contingency plans. The base is set. What Wirth needs now is a rapid development plan; this is up to the drivers to give feedback to the engineers. And how well they interpret these feedbacks and make steps.

      James, could you confirm that wind tunnel testing is banned as well ?

      If so, then all the teams are on equal footing in terms of development of the car. If anything Wirth might have an edge over other teams using CFD because he is an expert in this field.

    7. GP says:

      In the past week or so, both Adrian Newey and Mike Gascoyne have made it clear they do not believe CFD alone is sufficient to design an F1′s aerodynamics.

      It will be interesting to see what Nick Wirth has to say in the coming weeks.

    8. F1GreenEyes says:

      Very, very interesting point Midnight Toper, has me thinking. Thank you

  16. D. says:

    James, do you get a sense that the RBR may be right up there w/ MacLaren, at least on pace (if not tyre maintenance), given Vettel’s run today ? Or is there not enough data to support this yet ?

    1. James Allen says:

      Early days yet, but I’d be very surprised if the RBR wasn’t as fast as anything else out there.

  17. Dave c says:

    It seems like that the Redbull is coming on strong now and Vettel is going to be 1 hard nut to crack for the past and present world champions this season.

    The worries of these tests so far lie with the Virgin team, Mercedes and Jenson Button.
    Ferrari and Mclaren seems to evenly matched at the moment and the fight between Alonso and Hamilton is shaping up nicely with Massa and Button in the supporting role

    1. CHIUNDA says:

      I stand to be corrected but that McLaren doesn’t look convincing in wet running

  18. DanielC says:

    Yes the USF1 rumors are pretty worrying, James does it even seem possible that their shakedown run could be friday practice in Bahrain?

    1. James Allen says:

      If at all. I really hope things work out okay. But for Speed Channel website to carry that story about one of their own is telling.

      1. Adam Taylor says:

        Especially when they may have an inside source such as Peter Windsor. Worrying times for Formula 1 in the states.

  19. Darren says:

    Bet we see a couple of 3rd places for Lotus,

    1. Ahlapski says:

      I don’t think so…. may be a few points. But that is quite a achievement though from a new team set up from scratch.

      There might be as much as 2-3 seconds off the worst established teams in the first race. You need a hell of a lot of development to crawl back 2-3 secs. And you have to remember the other is not standing still.

      What do you think, James??

      1. James Allen says:

        Could be. It’s very close among the established teams, though. Very close indeed

    2. i'll be nice... not says:

      keep dreaming.

  20. Kedar says:

    James,
    Dont you think this season will develop into to two championships? The real one with Ferrari, Mclaren, Mercedes and Redbull and then the other with all the other teams?
    How much ever people try to hype the new entrants (Lotus for all the history with the name and Virgin for revolutionary CFD based design) and some of the old war horses (Renault, Williams and Sauber) I think I can bet my bottom dollar that on a regular race day its only going the be the big teams that will win or even fight for the podiums.
    Do you agree? :)

    1. Banjo says:

      I read an interview with Trulli earlier this week, and he was saying the exact same thing! Strategy, crashes, reliability and the weather should help mix things up at a few of the races, and i wouldn’t be surprised to see Rubens, Kubica or either of the Sauber boys on the podium at least once. However i do think the podium will be heavily dominated by the big four.

  21. Midnight Toper says:

    James, a quick thought. Will the 107% rule apply in qualifying this year? If so Rubens would only have just made it yesterday and the Lotus and Virgin are well outside the margin.

    1. Martin P says:

      It doesn’t, I’ve asked that one before.

      From memory it was brought in for safety reasons? Surely those reasons are as pertinent today in an enlarged grid, but then it’d ruin the spectacle if the last six can’t qualify I guess.

      But do we really want to go back to the days of back-markers being lapped twice each race?

    2. Jeffrey says:

      Testing isn’t qualifying, so it hardly makes sense to compare these times. Everyone’s running different fuel loads, the weather is very changing. I wouldn’t read much into these times. Even if the rule would not apply though I hope Lotus and Virgin will be inside this margin. Lotus looks pretty good, they still have to be quicker of course, but it seems quite solid out of the box, Gascoyne seems to have done quite a good job considering they only got their entry in september! Respect! Virgin seems more worrying, the car has a lot of technical issues, and haven’t done a lot of running. I hope that they can build a solid car for Bahrain, one that doesn’t fall apart on the track and isn’t too slow… I think Lotus will beat them hansomly this year, but we’ll see…

    3. i'll be nice... not says:

      no 107 rule.

    4. Banjo says:

      That’s a good question, does anybody know the answer?

    5. Jomy John says:

      The FIA have come out with a statement saying that slow teams will not be allowed to race. Now the big question is how much slower?????

  22. Jon says:

    Enjoying the JAonF1 Tweet site, but have to admit the auto-refresh add-on was a bit annoying to be honest. When reading older tweets, you are suddenly flung up to the top of the page every two minutes, only to have to find where you were again and entering a vicious circle.

    Sorry, not meaning to moan and nitpick – I am (and I’m sure everyone else is) very grateful for the work that’s gone into the twitter page and the blog. In fact it annoys me when people seem to come on here just to have a go at you for some reason or other (and to inevitably proved wrong).

    Good stuff, J

    1. Alex says:

      Completely agree on the twitter page auto-refresh issue. It is very annoying.

      (just feedback, James. Everything else is great, keep it up)

    2. like2cf1 says:

      One man’s meat is another man’s poison. Jajaja.

  23. Jon says:

    *be proved wrong

  24. Noelinho says:

    James, is there any particular reason why Peter Windsor is struggling with USF1 when he is such an experienced man in F1 circles? I would have expected him to have a good grasp of how to make a new team work if any of the new teams did. Does he just lack a core business strategy, or is it something deeper?

    1. James Allen says:

      It shows how incredibly hard it is to run an F1 team and that gives you an idea of how much harder still it is to win in F1

    2. i'll be nice... not says:

      no money dude. Without it dreams rarely happen.

      1. James Allen says:

        You are welcome on this site, but please read the “Rules of the blog” Some of your comments aren’t in the spirit [mod]

      2. escobar says:

        like the double diffuser?

  25. robert says:

    so santander is now at both mclaren and ferrari. but i saw during testing that the santander logo is nowhere to be found on the mclaren. what’s that about? it appears only on the driver’s equipment?

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes they only sponsor the drivers, not the car

      1. escobar says:

        a legacy of the 2007 fiasco?

  26. Ahlapski says:

    James, I read elsewhere that Force India is aiming for 5th in the Constructor’s Championship. This means they are aiming for the best of the rest. Fighting with the likes of Williams, Sauber, and Renault. And Torro Rosso is looking pretty good too.

    Do you think they have a chance??

    I think they are in for a pretty tough fight. What do you think ??

    1. James Allen says:

      I do think they have a chance, yes. They have been building up and are in the mix with the teams behind Ferrari, McLaren

      1. Martin P says:

        James, how does a team like Force India get the Mercedes engine/McLaren gearbox combo, Red Bull get Renault and Torro Rosso get Ferrari while Williams is having to use factory Cosworths?

        Is it right place right time or do the big boys not want to help/ wake a sleeping giant like Williams? Or something else…..

      2. James Allen says:

        It’s their choice to do that. Force India did a deal which is permitted in the rules and which helps them a lot, RBR’s deal with Renault is a straight customer deal and so is Williams’ with Cosworth. Don’t write off Cosworth, they know what they are doing and could turn out to have one of the best engines out there.

      3. Karthick says:

        be suprised if they win in monza, spa, montreal which suits them the best. thank you kimi for choosing WRC atleast adrian will fell good

  27. Richard Mee says:

    Ridiculous! – same place, same time and what a surprise – it’s pissing down again.

    Given the time of year and the mobility of the teams I would have thought somewhere southern hemisphere or at least equatorial would make far more sense…

    Why is FOTA not kicking furniture about in Todt’s office?!? They should not be penalised for FOM or FIA contractural agreements on testing locations.

    1. Martin P says:

      Or you could look at it another way….

      1. It’s cheap, therefore it’s achieved the cost reduction objective

      2. It’s a level playing field… so does it really matter if they don’t get perfect running? It’s not like one team has the advantage. They all got the same prep time, the same track time and the same weather….

    2. Jomy John says:

      Actually its great that the teams are having a torrid time with the testing conditions. So by the time we reach Bahrain, everybody is still struggling to get things right and reliability will be an even bigger question mark. Bodes well for what is bound to be the ultimate championship in the history of Formula1. Its got all the right ingredients I say!

      1. James Allen says:

        It was like this last year, if you recall

    3. Henry says:

      Its all part of the cost cutting measures that the FIA is so keen on; and also ‘green’ measures.

  28. Pierre says:

    James,
    After these few testing days, have you been able to collect some informations about the engines fuel consumption or not yet? Any figures from different engineers?

    1. iceman says:

      James posted a bit of info about fuel consumption last year:
      http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2009/11/analysis-of-f1-engine-performance-in-2009/

      Also some good analysis here:
      http://f1numbers.wordpress.com/2009/12/23/2009-in-review-fuel-use/

      It will all still be valid due to the engine freeze.

    2. iceman says:

      Just to add: the one unknown is the Cosworth engine – how economical have they been able to make it? They’re the only ones who have had the luxury of designing an engine with the refuelling ban in mind.

    3. escobar says:

      in autosprint this week, they are saying that ferrari didn’t fix the fuel consumption problems. In the british press, you don’t hear anything about it.
      Any info that your italian friend journalists, have told you about it, james?

      1. James Allen says:

        In sense that there is some concern there, but I also know that Shell has been working very hard with them to improve the situation

      2. la oreja de lauda says:

        they are saying that the difficulty to solve the problem wouldn’t be so hard to solve if they could change the electronic injection system, but they have a very limited maps to work with, due to the standar electronic unit. Luca marmorini is working on the fuel lines from the injection system, but they say it is a serious problem.
        I read somewhere that the chief engineer at renault said, that when an engine is born thirsty, there is nothing you can do about it.
        And even less with this very restrictive rules.

  29. Tom L. says:

    Jerez Day 1 – Lotus get off the mark in style.

    Jerez Day 2 – Lotus get off the track in style!

    1. Martin P says:

      Well it made me chuckle.

    2. KNF says:

      Just like the old days???

  30. Irish conor says:

    I have to say James when u were commentating on itv there wasn’t any doubt on who you wanted to win. So biased for Hamilton it was untrue and espically obvious when lewis passed dc into turn 8 at Singapore and u let a big roar of whoah outa u. But I have found your writing on this to be interesting and straight up the middle. Forza ferrari

    1. escobar says:

      but he is saying that he is not bias.
      Who do we believe. An irish, or an english.

  31. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    James, separate question on JA on F1 Tweets.

    Could you please create an identity icon so that it looks pretty on the task bar on web browsers?!

    Great info received through the site…although some of the tweeters are more obsessed with posting stuff on their own movements as opposed to F1.

    Thanks again for creating this site.

    1. Rich C says:

      “although some of the tweeters are more obsessed with posting stuff on their own movements as opposed to F1.”

      But isn’t that the idea behind Twitter?
      To share each and every banal and boring detail of your banal and boring life with the whole world so that it will appear to mean something?

      1. James Allen says:

        We have a filter which only picks out F1 related tweets from the users we select. There shouldn’t be too much of the “I’m having a cheese sandwich” kind of stuff

      2. Martin P says:

        James, this REALLY isn’t a criticism of it – I think it’s a landmark service and it’s the first time I’ve ever had the patience to read “tweets”, so you’ve dragged me into the 21st century, but a couple of suggestions I’d throw in as “a reluctant tweet reader” are;

        1. At first it was great – but the number of tweets and tweeters are now so high that’s it’s becoming “information overload”. It’s a question for the techies, but is there any way of choosing favourites to display/exclude? i.e. I’d love to be able to pick four or five tweet threads to follow.

        2. (and this is the big one for the techies!) Having picked my “four favourites”, can they be displayed in four columns across the screen, so as the screen refreshes each tweet thread is stlll displayed in author sequence, making it easier to follow. The whole page can still be refreshed as if any particular author hasn’t added an update then their column would look unchanged – but it would give the appearance of just updating the single thread and resolve the points the others raise above (the refresh will make more sense and they can deselect those tweeting about cheese sandwiches).

        That’s only a quick thought and I’m sure there are technical challenges, but it would make it a peerless service beyond anything FOTA, FOM or anyone else has delivered.

      3. James Allen says:

        Thanks for the feedback

      4. Rich C says:

        LOL
        I didnt mean to imply anything negative about *your twits… I mean tweets! Just my general attitude about Twitter.

      5. Rich C says:

        ps: being out of coffee atm I am having a hot choc whilst reading about F1 ;D

      6. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        Jake Humphrey is the prime culprit.

        This morning he talked about getting a plumber round to get his drains unblocked. Yesterday it was about his breakfast meeting with kids TV superstar Andy Peters.

        James, I wish that these pseudo F1 aficionados would make way for you to come back on screen.

        The best tweets are from Cooperman and Noble.

  32. Wish Bone says:

    Firstly – James thanks so much for this site, longer time lurker, first time poster – you are the best F1 writer on the net and I only wish you didn’t have a personal life so we could get more articles from you.

    I think it’s great this year to have some new blood – gazza and his lotus boys are a great new team and I hope they they manage to at least break into the midfield. Wirth deserves a shot at F1 with his novelties. USF1 – after so much time to prepare and so much talk it looks like they wont be making Bahrain, sadly, something has gone wrong there – big american mouth and no trousers?. Campos – never heard of them but hope they make it too. If the TV can keep up with 26 cars then that would be brill (excitement in the minows racing for the 1 point)

    (Thirdly, someone please start a petition to get Leggard (IS IT GONNA BE GOOD ENOUGH? ANSWER – NO, IT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH) off my F1 and someone (eg James, or second choice Croft, or third choice the guy of Eurosport (who sounds like Jeremy Vine)) back on – I am having to watch the races on the red button for croft and davidson commentary – and this also means I can’t pause my sky+ to go for a wee – this is seriously lowering my quality of life)

    1. Paul Kirk says:

      I liked Damon Hill when he commented a couple a times!
      PK. (nz)

  33. Jason says:

    If Campos and US F1 don’t make it (and if Stefan doesn’t get an entry), will the points structure be re-evaluated, since there are now only 22 cars versus 26?

    1. James Allen says:

      Very good point. I doubt it.

    2. free sarajevo says:

      if either team don’t make it, stefan will have an entry. Do you think they would have sent all the material to the first couple of races, without talking to bernie first.
      Don’t worry about that.

      1. Rich C says:

        Well they sent *something to Bahrain. But it could have been a load of old rubbish for all we know.

      2. la oreja de lauda says:

        and to australia and malasya. Very expensive to be sending rubbish all over the world, for no reason.

  34. Till Manecke says:

    Hi James, just read an article by Sarah Holt on the BBC website, about the first test at Valencia. She had the following to say: ‘However, there was one key difference between Schumacher and the rest of the field. Sector times showed that he had operated close to his full potential and could have extracted only 0.009 seconds of extra pace out of his car per lap. In comparison, Massa could have eked out a further 0.163 seconds, and Rosberg an extra 0.127.’
    Im asuming she means that his sector times were super consistent lap after lap?
    Perhaps you could elaborate on how one might evaluate how close a driver is their full potential.
    Thanks for the interesting site that is my favourite read on f1.

    1. James Allen says:

      Perhaps you should ask her!

    2. Neil says:

      You take each drivers best Sector 1, add best sector 2, etc to get the “theoretical” best lap.

      You can compair this to the drivers recorded best lap, and work out a notional improvement.

      However, I think her conclusion might be flawed. I’m not sure the data supports her.

      Eg Using tyres to max sector 1 might prohibit getting a max sector 3.

      Neil.

    3. free sarajevo says:

      trying to look knoledgable. Very tipical from someone who doesn’t know a hole lot, and is commited to impress.

    4. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

      I think that this simplistic analysis is seriously flawed and comes from someone who obviously doesn’t know too much about how a lap is put together.

      You can’t simply just tot up the best sector times to get a best lap. Corner entry, cornering and exit speeds have an exponential effect on the entire lap time. Tyre wear and fuel loads are also hugely important factors that have to be taken into account.

      How many pole laps have been perfect theoretical laps over the last 10 years?…i.e. the pole time posted consisted of the three fastest sectors of all drivers during qualifying 1, 2, and 3. I cannot recall any straight away….perhaps there were a couple during the Schumacher dominance of 2002 or 2004?

      I wish that the BBC would get someone proper to do their analysis. If it can’t admit its mistakes by firing Legard and some of the other lightweights then it should look to hire an ex-race engineer in the form of a Gary Anderson or Steve Matchett.

      The BBC has to do better. This kind of drivel really makes me mad (sorry!).

      1. Rich C says:

        Bring back Murray “I say obviously because I can’t see it” Walker !!

    5. Paul Kirk says:

      Who the hell is Sara Holt? Wot’s she done involving F1 and motorsport in general? She should stick to women’s stuf and not encroach on real sport. Her boyfriend probably hill climbs a Mini so she thinks she knows everything!
      PK. (nz)

      1. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        Prepare for the backlash!

      2. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        I notice that Sarah’s blog intro on herself if a little bit defensive.

        She immediately states that she “is a fully paid up member of the F1 circus” because she’s been there a WHOLE year…WOW. Come March that will be THIRTEEN MONTHS – or 56 whole weeks.

        Who says that the BBC don’t employ the very best experts?

      3. la oreja de lauda says:

        she is a woman. It says it all. I don’t understand what she is doing there in the first place. Isn’t there any clothing sale somewhere, so she can get distracted.
        There is a grid walk on youtube by itv or bbc, where you see a tv girl waiting in line to talk to vettel, and martin doesn’t wait for any turn. Sorry lady, a pilot talking to another pilot, you wait.

  35. me says:

    Has Jenson Button given up driving?

    Seems like LH is always on the timesheet for testing but not seen JB the last couple of times I have checked the timings?

    1. James Allen says:

      He was out there today

    2. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

      He did a post test interview with Autosport today.

      Thinks that Ferrari are ahead and that the Mercedes sometimes looks twitchy.

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