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.
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