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Jerez Day 2: Virgin woes continue as Alonso flies
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Jerez Day 2: Virgin woes continue as Alonso flies
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Feb 2010   |  8:14 pm GMT  |  128 comments

Today was the first dry day of running in the second official test of the pre-season. Ten of the 13 teams who will contest this year’s world championship were in Jerez on the second of four days. Forecasts suggest it may turn out to be the only dry day’s running at this test.

After remarkable reliability in the first test at Valencia, today several teams lost time due to technical problems. The most extreme of these was Virgin Racing, which managed just 11 laps before the front wing came off. The team called a halt to testing for the day, pending some reinforcements from the factory in Oxfordshire.

Technical director Nick Wirth said, “This morning we experienced a front wing mounting problem which caused the wing to come off the car at the beginning of a run. The cause has already been identified. Unfortunately, we’re missing one or two spare parts which will hopefully arrive this evening, so we won’t be able to run for the rest of the day. In the short amount of running that we’ve achieved so far, we are very encouraged by what we’ve seen and we have gathered some vital aero data which is very much in the range of what we were predicting. We look forward to resuming the programme tomorrow morning.”

The team says that they expect to be back out on track tomorrow afternoon. They were reluctant to “risk” the car in yesterday’s rain, but as time is running out, they will probably be forced to send it out tomorrow to get some mileage.

Williams also lost time today due to a hydraulic problem in the morning and a driveshaft issue in the afternoon. Nevertheless Nico Hulkenberg covered 67 laps. At one stage this morning he set the fastest time through the sped trap, which wasn’t in the script as Williams’ drivers are generally running quite conservatively, particularly on the new Cosworth engine.

There is a quiet confidence about the performance potential of this package. One area of concern however is likely to be the exhausts of this car, as Williams had a lot of failures in this area the last time they used Cosworth engines. Williams make the exhausts themselves and this year they will be called upon to run very hot at times when the engine is being run lean for fuel saving reasons.

McLaren also had some reliability issues with Jenson Button stopping late on in the day due to “a warning light in the cockpit” according to McLaren. Nevertheless the world champion says he is now comfortable in the car and had a more positive experience than in Valencia.

Fastest today was Kamui Kobayashi in the Sauber, a time set right at the end of the day on low fuel after he had spent most of the day on high fuel loads. Sebastien Buemi in the Toro Rosso was second fastest. But it was the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso which caught the eye with a long run of 48 laps at a very strong pace.

“We’re really satisfied with what we’ve done during these two days, ” said Alonso. “We’ve driven many kilometres without any reliability problems, which is something that makes me really happy. We put many components under pressure over these five days and we didn’t have any problems at all.” He added that the car is “very easy to drive”. He now hands it over to Felipe Massa.

Picture 18
Michael Schumacher had a busy day in what may turn out to be the only dry day for Mercedes, covering a race simulation in the afternoon.

Red Bull and Force India both had their first day of dry running with their new car. Force India seemed the happier of the two. The car seems to be living up to expectations and like last year’s car it is slippery in a straight line. It was the fastest car through the speed trap today. Mark Webber covered 99 laps in the Red Bull and gave the car a cautious thumbs up, “We’ve still got quite a bit of testing to go before we get to Bahrain, which we are going to need to continue to understand the car and to find performance. We are off to a pretty solid start and we’ve got a great base to build on.”

Most teams have started to work on set up and are beginning to push the performance envelope. New specification Bridgestone tyres are being used in Jerez, which puts a greater strain on the tyres than Valencia.

Vitaly Petrov was replaced by Robert Kubica today, giving rise to rumours to that the Russian’s funding was in trouble. But the team says that Petrov will be back in the car again tomorrow, when more rain is forecast. Chief engineer Alan Permane described today as “very productive.”

Tomorrow many of the drivers will swap over and the line up will be as follows:
Red Bull – Vettel
Renault – Petrov
Mercedes – Rosberg
McLaren – Hamilton
Force India – Sutil
Williams – Barrichello
Ferrari – Massa
Toro Rosso – Alguersuari
Sauber – De la Rosa

THURSDAY TIMES
1. Kobayashi BMW-Sauber 1:19.950 103
2. Buemi Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:20.026 121
3. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:20.618 83
4. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:20.629 67
5. Liuzzi Force India- Mercedes 1:20.754 80
6. M.Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:21.083 124
7. Alonso Ferrari 1:21.424 129
8. Kubica Renault 1:22.003 103
9. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:22.043 99
10. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:29.964 11

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128 Comments
  1. Nathan says:

    James, check these out.

    It’s footage of the Virgin FW essentially just falling off.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTQflzH2amU#t=6m2s

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3n4ga35fSg

    It’s a shame, but I can’t understand the hate people are giving them for being “new and unprepared”, give them some time, for God’s sake.

    1. Bill Ware says:

      While there may be some who question the way Manor/Wirgin were selected by the FIA I think “hate” might be a little over the top. But I seem to recall that Roland Ratzenberger was killed at Imola 1994 when the front wing on his Nick Wirth designed Simtek failed… The pattern here is VERY unsettling.

      1. Alex Petrov says:

        Sorry, but as I remember front wing failed because it was damaged a lap before. It was just bad luck that front wing fell of just before the corner and went under tyre making for driver immpossible to turn…

      2. Trent says:

        That’s not a pattern – plenty of teams have had multiple wing failures over the years. And there’s evidence that Roland had an off that contributed to the failure. Be fair.

      3. F1 Dave says:

        Ratzenberger’s front wing failed as he had been off track & caught it on one of the high kurbs that were ran at imola back then.

        The failure had nothing to do with the actual design, had Roland not knocked it when he went off track the wing almost certainy woudn’t have failed.

      4. Josh says:

        yeah and don’t forget their online launch never happened because the stream never worked. Hardly the best birth for a car.

      5. Tim says:

        Ratzenberger’s front wing failed after it had been damaged on a kerb the previous lap. I don’t think there was any suggestion at the time that the design was fundamentally flawed.

      6. Woffin says:

        The footage has already been taken down by FOM. This is rather ridiculous isn’t it? I don’t know of any professional organization that captured the event so, once again, it looks like the fan is being screwed over by FOM.

    2. TheGreatCornholio says:

      I totally agree, its been such a long time since we’ve had a truly new team in F1 and they’ve all worked to a fairly tight schedule so this is a minor thing really. For me the new teams are gonna be one of the highlights this year regardless of how they perform! Thats my 2p worth:)

    3. Nick Someone says:

      Every one thinks Adrian Newey is a genius at the moment, but remember when a season or 2 back Coulthard’s suspension totaly fell to bits when he went over a bump?

      It’s the start of the season and Virgin are new. Stuff is going to go wrong. They will learn and adapt. …..probably.

  2. Sebee says:

    These tests are really hyping me up for the season start.

  3. Nik James says:

    My questions from this point in the testing process?
    What is the impressions of the Red Bull after today’s running?
    Why does something seem
    very much adrift at Renault?
    What is the latest view on who is quickest?

  4. Irish conor says:

    Although I am kimi’s biggest fan this just shows the difference in the two. Alonso is always at 10 tenths wile kimi isn’t although kimi in my opininon is the faster driver. But it’s good for being a Ferrari fan that massa will be fit to take up alonsos set up from the get go. Interestingly vettel and webbo drive pretty similary and nico and schumi have similar styles also and here is where I believe mclaren will have problems as lewis and jenson couldn’t b more different if they tried. Jensons rear end starts to move about and he is in trouble and lewis wants his to move so let’s see. I can’t wait for Bahrain

    1. Segedunum says:

      Sadly, I think Kimi would have been far faster in the current Ferrari. It’s more driveable, has more mechanical grip and is less reliant on aerodynamic grip than in previous seasons.

      C’est la vie. Ferrari look better than I expected and Massa looks comfortable as well.

  5. MrExasperated says:

    This comment is not really related to this post, but I was thinking about the points system mentioned in the rule changes. A lot of people were commenting on the pros and cons of a point for pole position.

    Then I had a thought, why not a point or three for the hat trick, pole, fastest lap, and race win. That way it wouldn’t be a saturday decider and it would also be a good incentive for the front runners to keep pushing, the race leader to get the hat trick, and the ones behind to stop them getting it!

    What does everyone think???

    1. Steve Earle says:

      rubbish!

      1. Dale says:

        Why not say wht you really mean?

    2. Stu says:

      So if you are out of the points coming towards the end you may as well get a fresh set of tyres on just so you can try and stop a competitor having the fastest lap.

      Sounds a bit silly to me.

    3. Adrian says:

      A points bonus for the hat-trick? Yeah I like that…

    4. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

      I wish that there had not been so much tinkering to F1 over the years. Every year they come up with some novelty to penalise those the fastest cars or the fastest drivers.

      What was so wrong with 10-6-4-3-2-1? We had some great battles using this system (1994,1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000).

    5. Josh says:

      I can imagine Hamilton’s next world championship being won by a single point having taken fastest lap on the last lap of Interlagos!

      But no really, interesting idea…I like it.

  6. MIKE LEA says:

    Hi James,

    just wondering why Sauber is still listed as BMW-Sauber? Brawn changed their name to Mercedes, so why can’t Sauber ditch the BMW? Seems silly having a BMW Sauber-Ferrari!!

    1. verstappen says:

      I’ve been thinking, that they’re doing that, ‘just in case’
      …I mean last year we also had a team, where a big manufactor pulled out, leaving the team with a totally other engine to fit in the car…
      and some people in Japan probably didn’t like the fact that they paid and didn’t get anything out of it..
      so maybe BMW leaves the name change for after the first few races…

    2. Simon says:

      I think its because they missed the cutoff day for changing the team name – I imagine they were leaving it as late as possible incase they found someone else willing to take over the team.

      1. Josh says:

        thats some nice work on your site there Simon.

    3. Felipe says:

      It’s just a technicality. In order for the team to be considered a valid entry in the Concorde Agreement, they had to keep its original “BMW-Sauber” name. There was an option for name change, but the buyout by Peter Sauber was so last minute that they didn’t have time to do it.

    4. Jeffrey says:

      It has something to do with the concorde agreement (which BMW did not sign if i’m correct) and the TV money. It’s a complicated story for sure but one thing is sure, it’s only about one thing: money…

  7. Sean Taylor says:

    You have to wonder if the VR car failure is linked to its lack of ‘real world’ testing – is it possible that a full wind tunnel test might have indicated a weakness at high aerodynamic loads?

    1. Adrian says:

      That front wing did look to be sagging (for want of a better word) a little towards the end plates just before it failed…

  8. Megan says:

    Would the warning light in Jenson’s cockpit be a fuel warning by any chance? Meaning McLaren are wisely choosing to test the true limits of the fuel tank instead of a reliability issue.

    1. S-D says:

      Rosberg has stated that last time he stopped out on track near the end of a session it was due to running out of fuel, so it’s likely that McLaren were running a similar test, I should think.

    2. Dale says:

      I hope not as Jenson wasn’t fastest which he should have been had he been running on fumes

      1. Megan says:

        @Dale – Not really, McLaren wouldn’t want to show their hand by setting a ‘fumes’ time. As such its a fairly logical conclusion that if they were testing the limits of the fuel system Jenson wasn’t pushing at the time.

  9. andyb says:

    How amusing. Virgin boast about not using a wind tunnel, and first time out the front wing falls off.

    Still, nobody is without reliability problems and even he big teams have had things like that break over the years. You have to start somewhere.

    Hopefully no more bits will fall off.

  10. jose arellano says:

    im so curious about virgins real pace…

  11. Vinay Pothnis says:

    Hi James,

    You mention “… Alonso flies” in the title. But there was no further detail in the article. Was wondering about it since Kobayashi had topped the time sheets.

    Thanks
    Vinay

    1. Vinay Pothnis says:

      Oops – sorry about that. You mention
      ” … But it was the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso which caught the eye with a long run of 48 laps at a very strong pace…”

  12. Stu says:

    According to the BBC Alonso set a 1:21.9 on his last flying lap.

    That is seriously quick on a set of tyres that really should be trashed at that point, especially considering he was lapping quickly throughout.

    As long as he didn’t start off with a full tank that is.

  13. Hi James, hi everyone. Well, good to be back from holiday after three weeks. Looks like heaps happening already in the F1 world. So far the test shows Ferrari and Fernando are going to be the strongest combination to beat. Schumacher isn’t far off either. McLaren seems to be the 4th team in my opinion. Who knows what happens. It is very difficult to predict who is favourite. Alonso has to be the happiest man to have the package he had been looking for last few years. So maybe the battle between Schumacher and Alonso is on again.

    Virgin did what most new teams are supposed to experience really. They are not fighting for the world championship. But it will be interesting to see how the introduction of low budget and innovative technology pan out for Virgin F1 team through out the season. Would’ve been nice to see USF1 there too. My prediction for the 1st half of the season is Alonso, Schumacher, Vettel and Hamilton. What’s yours James?

    1. James Allen says:

      Still too early to say. There’s some sandbagging going on

      1. S-D says:

        Confirmed sandbagging, or rumours thereof?

      2. Dale says:

        How do you know this? What evidence is there that some (who) are doing this?
        A reply here would be very interesting.

      3. Med says:

        I think he speaks to engineers from the various teams to get an idea of what’s going on – as such, I doubt he’s going to say who’s saying what, since the teams tend to want to play their cards close to their chest; as soon as James starts talking, the teams will stop.

        Yeah, it’s frustrating, but it’s the nature of the game.

        Maybe.

      4. Wow!!! Sandbagging already!!! I’d like to know the details too or at least have some idea

      5. Freespeech says:

        How on earth can you or anyone else know for sure if a team is sandbagging :?: :?
        Last year right at the last test some were saying McLaren were sandbagging – we all know they they most certainty were not.
        This year it’s far more than just pace that matters, it’d be better to have a slower car that looked after its tyres than a rocket ship that eat them.
        The hot lap teams put in during testing don’t tell anything like the whole story.

  14. JL says:

    Hi James,

    Any long-run comparative times between SCHUMI, BUTTON,ALONSO, and WEBBER? Any paddock talking with the engineers? Thanks in advance.

    1. waiting for allen... says:

      thank for nothing as you can see.

      1. Robert says:

        Leave off James mate, he already answered the question above. The answer is he doesn’t know. No one does until they get to the grid of the first race of the season. In the meantime you will never know for sure who is what tyres in what state with what fuel load with the engine tuned in what manner.

      2. Matthew says:

        How dare you James!!

      3. Martin P says:

        This isn’t an on-demand F1 Q&A service. It’s journalistic blog on a par with the very best out there today, prepared for us in between other journalistic commitments, travel, family time, social time and of course research.

        Just be glad we get such a plethora of high quality articles, completely free and in such a timely manner. Any questions answered are a bonus, but don’t expect the guy to find time for every ill thought out inane question we can come up with.

      4. yos says:

        i think nobody can tell for sur as the weather is messing up things not to mention the variations on fuel loads each teams works on. But Vettel says that there maybe 2 tenths separating Ferrari, Mclaren and mercedes but he is not sure about where belongs Redbull.

  15. Henry says:

    Why would the exhaust temperatures be higher when the engines are running lean?

    I hope virgin get some better testing, It would be sad to see the new teams crumble.

    1. James Allen says:

      All the temperatures are higher apparently

      1. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        With engines running on liquid fuels a higher fuel/air ratio (richer ratio) should lead to lower combustion temperatures due to the condensing effect.

        Hence a lower fuel/air ratio (leaner ratio) implies increased exhaust temperatures.

      2. Med says:

        If you have a richer fuel mixture coming into the engine, it won’t all burn and the excess remaining provides some amount of cooling; if you run lean, there’s less fuel coming into the combustion chamber, which means that it can all burn and without the cooling effect of the excess fuel, the temps run higher.

        Conversely, I think I’m right in saying you can get more power this way since the combustion is more explosive, so it’s a balancing act between the 2; also, the firing sequences have to be altered when switching fuel mixtures to keep combustion occurring at the correct point in the cycle, otherwise you end up with a lovely white plume of smoke that we don’t really seem to see anymore…

    2. Dren says:

      When the engine runs lean, there is less gas to cool the intake charge. Also, richer mixtures burn quicker compared to leaner ones. The mixture may still be burning when it is exhausted, heating the exhaust more.

    3. kristian says:

      Engines and exhaust run hotter when lean, especially exhaust valves, because there is less liquid to absorb heat energy from metal components. Air is not as good at cooling. There is still unburnt fuel and other byproducts of combustion in exhausted fumes.

    4. Martin says:

      I’m not certain on this but I think it could relate to the cooling effect of turning liquid petrol into petrol vapour. To turn petrol into a gas takes energy drawing in heat. With less petrol the fuel air mix starts at a higher temperature. Higher temperature leads to a faster reaction rate (if I remember my chemistry from 15 years ago). This means that the impulse on the piston (force x time) is over a shorter period and I don’t think this is as efficient, ergo less heat is transferred into mechanical energy and more heat goes out the exhaust pipe.

    5. smellystudent says:

      Increasing the amount of air in the fuel/air mixture causes it to burn hotter. Think of it as blowing on a fire.

  16. Brian Harvey says:

    I don’t think we will see everyone’s hand until the first GP. Since the teams know what fuel they are running and can extrapolate the difference in time between fuel loads, they do not need to run light at this time. The rain running tells alot in that you can watch the updraft from the rear of the car, a couple of them looked to shoot the roost straight up very quickly.

  17. Moog says:

    Are teams only allowed to test one car?

  18. Rob says:

    Hi James I was just wondering if you have seen the new pit lane lights Mercedes used today and whether you think this will benefit Mercedes with faster stops or there with be another fiasco with them?

    Bottom left picture http://www.formula1.com/gallery/testing/2010/484.html

    1. Med says:

      I think at the end of the day, it still all comes to a human action to decide whether or not to release the driver, so lollipop or lights, there’s an equal chance of them getting it wrong.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the drivers just gun it as soon as they feel the car hit the ground since they don’t have to wait for fuelling to finish now.

  19. Noelinho says:

    It’s not a great start for Virgin, is it? Were they not about 9 seconds off the pace before the incident too? Were they really expecting to be that slow, or are they just being very conservative?

    1. waiting for allen... says:

      they must be sandbagging…

  20. Dale says:

    Virgin racing are showing us all they really are virgin racing.

    1. Freespeech says:

      Really they should have painted their car white :)

  21. Spencer says:

    Hi James. Thanks for another good days round up. My question is, all be it still very early, but where do the insiders see the pace?

    I was at Valencia and most of the teams seemed to be doing the same sort of programs. Jerez has come about and reliability issues have struck, some teams are running long, some short. Sauber are still looking for sponsorship so it would seem obvious to do a little show boating, but then so were Brawn GP last year!

    Who has made the biggest impact for you so far this year?

    1. waiting for allen... says:

      buemi and kovayashi

  22. Peter says:

    Hi James

    Do you know how the pace of the Mercedes went today? It seems Schumacher didn’t do any worse than Alonso.

    1. Icarus says:

      Alonso was doing low 1.22 at the end of the 47 lap stint, while Schumi was doing low 1.23 at the end of 35 lap stint so he was doing alot worse.

      1. Peter says:

        Erm sources?? Or did you make it up?!

    2. waiting for allen... says:

      evenly matched

  23. Eric Weinraub says:

    Amazing how little 1.5 tests have told us about performance. With so little known about fuel weight and speed I think its going to the 3rd test that tells us who’s on top.

  24. michael grievson says:

    I wonder if redbull are sand bagging like they did last year?

    That Ferrari is a nice looking car

    1. Tim Lamkin says:

      Nope they are not!

    2. Ali Unal says:

      Last year, we already knew that Red Bull would be fast.

  25. Toby Bushby says:

    I don’t think anyone’s going to know who’s on top until after Bahrain.

    This year much has been said about fuel consumption and good/bad looking cars, but to my mind tyre management will be the clincher for the season. Yes, a good all-round package will still be needed, but if one driver/car combo is gentler on it’s tyres (in a dry race scenario especially), this will potentially give that combo a one pitstop advantage over rivals. That’s probably an average (over all circuits) of 20 seconds in the bag. The fastest car will be nowhere if it can’t look after it’s tyres very well, in my opinion.

    Having said all that, it means to me that the Ferrari is looking pretty mighty at the moment.

    I believe we will see a greater disparity between driver pairings than in previous seasons due to tyre management also.

  26. Buck says:

    Judging by the testing so far, it is obvious that the fastest car is: USF1
    They are obviously sandbagging to a degree that no one else is. There are rumors that one of the cars entered in this weekend’s Daytona 500 is a USF1 car with a hologram of a regular stock car generated around the car to conceal the F1 car beneath. 500 miles of secret testing will be very valuable.

    1. M__E says:

      However Molder and Scully are investigating whether this is in fact true, for their new series the conspiracy files.

      1. Buck says:

        Somehow I just know “the smoking man” is somehow involved.

  27. Jake says:

    Very little said about Button and Mclaren considering they were third fastest. To me it seemed as if no-one wanted to talk about them today. Is that because they are not doing any decent times with decent fuel loads? Does their pace seem lower then the top teams?

    Jake

  28. Marty Harris says:

    James – from your experience, at what stage of the testing cycle do the teams really start going for times?

    All this sandbagging is fine but surely at some stage the teams and drivers want to know how the car behaves at the limit on ALL fuel loads?

    I want to know when I need to start paying close attention to test times. This guesswork is making me impatient for racing!

    1. James Allen says:

      Well it’s a little different this year with the no-refuelling rules, which make it harder to see a pattern in performance and easier to sandbag. But by the next Jerez test and certainly Barcelona we will see some cars on low fuel laps looking to see outright pace. Not least because they need to get an idea of how to set a car up for that and then for a race distance on high fuel with no changes allowed between.

      1. M__E says:

        Yes its too early to tell anything from these tests, however if nothing else surely if one is at the testing sessions and standing on corners and analysing how the cars BEHAVE coming into and out of corners, how they are riding kerbs and the like, then we can get an idea of which cars look hooked up and which are struggling with less smooth handling characteristics.

        James,

        with this in mind and given your first hand experience at the tests, can you shed any light on who’s hot and who’s not
        regarding the above points.
        From video Ive seen linked to here it looks like the Ferrari is a smooth car to drive, in contrast to say the Virgin Racing team which looked very twitchy anywhere near corners.

      2. James Allen says:

        There’ll be a post on this shortly

  29. James H. says:

    Is there a current rule similar to the old 107%? Lapping an inexperienced driver in a car that is at best 5 seconds a lap slower might cause some grief, if not tragedy. Very nice to have new teams, so long as they are not unpredictable, semi-stationary obstacles.

    1. Stu says:

      No 107% rule but the marshals could black flag a car that is dangerously slow.

  30. Andy C says:

    For goodness sake give virgin a break. I doubt aero had anything to do with the mounts failing.

    This is clearly a teething problem for a new team. We’ve seen suspension failures and rear wing failures from established teams in the past. I didn’t hear anyone asking for brawn to stop racing when the spring came off Rubens car (accidents happen).

    I have no link to the team, I just wish them and all of the new teams well.

  31. snoozer says:

    Anyone noticed that big hole at the back of the engine cover (below the sharkfin) on the Red Bull? Can’t miss it really – it can be clearly seen from the rear end shots.

    It’s probably to assist engine cooling but none of the other teams have it so clearly it’s an innovation.

    Or maybe Newey has secretly fitted a small jet engine?

    1. ginello says:

      Well, what ever it is….It is not working.

  32. PaulL says:

    We’ll get a clearer picture of McLaren’s pace when Hamilton drives it.

    1. Freespeech says:

      We surely will as he is the man :!: :)

  33. lip_iceman says:

    There’s some interesting talk of the ferrari engine being mounted at an angle (the gearbox end is slightly elevated) so that the diffuser gets fed with a larger volume of air.

    Thats the kind of innovation I expect would give them the pace they’re showing, especially on the long runs (more downforce makes the car easier on its tyres). But then, who really knows how much the other top teams are pushing on their long runs.

  34. Arya says:

    James, we all had been eagerly waiting for the RBR car to roll out. I, somehow, do not see it to be the best out of the box. What do you read into its running so far? Are they sandbagging?

    1. James Allen says:

      Early days yet and some technical problems on day 1.

      1. si te pica te rascas says:

        there is not much more time left until the first race.
        If they are not fast by barcelona, they can start the season with some catching up to do..

      2. Arya says:

        You don’t sound as confident as you did a week back. :P Do you?

  35. Dale says:

    Give us dry running and Lewis in the McLaren, then we’ll have a better view how well McLaren are really doing.

  36. Harvey Yates says:

    I was, or at least tried to be, in the vanguard of criticism of the selection procedure for the new teams but for them it was the only game in town. We should not, perhaps, blame those selected for having to take part in the only game in town.

    As for Virgin, at least they are testing with a real car. That is a much better performance than the other new teams even the end did fall off.

    I’m a bit worried about any team that runs cars that haven’t seen the inside of a wind tunnel. It will be compulsive viewing though, rather like a bungee jumper who boasts that he’s tied a slip knot – you know you shouldn’t watch and only half hope everything will be alright.

    I’m with Seebee: I’m getting quite excited. I normally ignore this part of the season in the same way as I ignore the pre-match interviews of a rugby or football match. It’s all hype and clarifies nothing. In fact the whole intent seems to be to confuse and obscure. But I do have the feeling that this will be a fascinating season.

    So let’s not criticse Virgin for a system which they were not part of other than as a participant. Have a go at its creator.

  37. Paul Mc says:

    Its very difficult to predict how fast the cars actually are, if i were Ferrari ,or any of the other top teams, i would be definitely sandbagging the car. Ferrari in particular dont seem to want to have the “Fastest Car” tagline in the media and are quick to play down the test times.

    Schumacher will no doubt be very happy so far. The car looks good and he is putting in some full race distances in variable conditions.

    1. Harvey Yates says:

      Ferrari tend to start each and every season with a dramatic press release to the effect that the new F1 car has lapped their own testing circuit in the fastest time ever.

      Whilst tactics do play a part in testing, it is at a fairly subtle level and just putting in lower lap times than the car’s capable of is a bit crude.

      The teams have to service their sponsors and poor times is not necessarily good press, especially when so many teams are still looking to sell advertising space.

      Ferrari has the additional problem of the tiffosi. Whilst they may live up to their press image of sophisticated and intelligent fans, the only thing they are interested in is Ferrari coming out on top. They, together with the press, are ravenous beasts and need feeding or else they will turn on their keepers.

      But, of course, I agree with the basic premise of your post: the lap times are all but useless in gauging the competiveness of teams. That said, if, rather clown-like, bits fly off the car this is, in my experience, a bad sign.

      1. ginello says:

        Facts are exactly showing the opposite of what you say though.

        It is true that on majority of previous seasons ferrari was banging fastest laps from day one, but it was also the case that the car was faster than the previous one and fastest over all for real. results speak supported the case.
        So, they were not dressing up lap times, for the press.

        Again, all this mythology of tifosi being very demanding is mostly exactly just a myth coming from the British press always ready to bash at any opportunity.
        Tifosi are definitively enthusiasts of their team, yet they can take defeat when is the case. they got use to it during 21 years of wait.

      2. Harvey Yates says:

        To be fair, there are few other supporters who will leave en masse when their team’s cars have been eliminated and further, whilst I agree that for many years Ferrari were, on and off, in the doldrums, their cars still put in pre season headline grabbing laps at Fiorano and then proceeded to wander aimlessly around the circuits.

        Perhaps I was being harsh on Ferrari supporters as a whole but I was rather lenient on the Italian press.

    2. si te pica te rascas says:

      i agree. If they start blowing everybody, the race starts at the fia headquarters.

  38. alex m says:

    We are all dying to know how 2010 will shape up, but I seem to remember the first couple of races being dismissed with “Wait till we get to XXXXXX, then we will see the true relative performance of the cars”….. I seem to remember Hamilton in Melbourne somehow getting the then useless McLaren onto the podium !

    1. Freespeech says:

      That says a lot about Hamilton, the very best can always drive beyond the car.

      1. Red Andy says:

        ….Then lie about it afterwards.

      2. danish Hanif says:

        he was in a podium with a lie

  39. Is there any concern over the safety of the virgin car? If it hasn’t been tested in a wind tunnel and already bits are flying off it, is this a small sign of things to come?

    Or I’m I just being dramatic?

    C

    1. Freespeech says:

      Really, you are a drama queen :lol:

    2. si te pica te rascas says:

      you are, but it is the f1 culture, that moesley tried to implement.
      It was all blown out of proportion last year, but now they are sensible enough to start talking about it, and damage the reputation of a new team like VR.

      1. James Allen says:

        Mod – general message to users – Please use proper names when leaving a comment. Do not employ user names which are phrases in Spanish or any other language. We have to translate them to ensure they are not abusive ( as some have been) and we haven’t got the time. From now on any comment from a new user name which uses a foreign language phrase rather than a name will not pass moderation. Thank you. Mod.

      2. rafa says:

        I am spanish and got to read some of the names some were using. Not the best taste, but hardly worth moderation.

    3. ginello says:

      Overly drammatic.
      We have seen Mclaren and Ferraris losing wings and suspensions parts, throwing their drivers on the walls and ending in the emergency room a few times in the past.

  40. simon says:

    When drivers spout ‘positive’ and ‘for sure’ every other word, who do you think they’re trying to convince? Jenson Button: “In a positive way I feel really at home in the car”…is there a negative way to feel at home in the car? Please drivers, if you haven’t got an original thought, just bung a looped tape on that says “I’m positive and for sure about everything, all of the time”. We get it.

  41. Amritraj says:

    Hi James,

    Have you bee able to glean any information as to what the Ferrari engineers are thinking of Alonso’s performance in the car?

    Regards.

  42. simon says:

    Hi James,

    as a long standing F1 fan (’bout 35 years), hearing the latest news that the FIA have completely contradicted Todt and Bernie, I’m getting to the point where I’m wondering why anyone puts up with them. That coupled with the fact that you can’t even find an area on their website to ask them why they so utterly incompetent. Who are these people? Is it not the job of paying fans to stand up and be counted? They’re ruining a perfectly good sport with lies, deception and downright stupidity? Thank God Todt does this for free…if he was being paid you’d have to sack him! Idiots the lot! You’re in the inner sanctum…what can we do…tell us please?

    Regards,

    Simon.

    1. Freespeech says:

      You mean you are only just coming to this conclusion?
      FOTA should have made the jump last year.

      1. simon says:

        No I don’t think that they should have. As James pointed out at some point last year, team run series don’t work well. His point at the time was that a benevolent dictator is a better bet. What we have is an FIA similar to the European Parliament…a joke. The point is, we as fans hold the key…money. Unfortunately motivating everyone worldwide to vote with their feet is not really an option, so what do we do? Without us, there is no F1. We, the customers, should be given a shout. I like the idea of the FIA, just not the way it’s run (or not) presently. Get some professionals in.

  43. Mirage says:

    James you claim Alonso flew, but is there any verification that his long stint was genuinely super fast? How did his pace compare to Michael and others exactly?

  44. Lol freespeech!

    Yeah, but it did get me thinking that if the VR car has had part stuck on subject to real life simulation ie a wind tunnel how do they know the brackets holding on parts can take the forces.

    It’s prob all fine but it did get me thinking, I just thought after massa’s accident last year some might be touchy towards safety of components.

  45. Thalasa says:

    Hi, does anyone know what it means all those implements on the McLaren car? I mean not only today but all these days.
    Last year it seemed to mean problems. Why nobody else make use of something similar?

    I don’t know whether McLaren is sandbagging, but looking at past tests, I think that the only time Hamilton is not topping the board is when he can’t.
    The rain in Spain falls mainly on… Jerez.

    1. James Allen says:

      They are measuring the wake from the new narrower front tyres – it’s a critical area for 2010. No worries at this stage but if they are still doing it in final test then worry!

  46. AMSG says:

    So are Virgin in trouble, are we going to see another Lola and a pull out after the first qually or earlier
    Seperate Q James. What happened about the whole Stepney affair with the white powder.
    Was this just a Ferrari smoke screen to keep him from writing a book about skeletons in cupboards etc. All sounded very odd ???

    1. James Allen says:

      Good question. It’s all gone quiet there.

  47. Sławomir Górka says:

    Kubica today – 1.21.916., About 5.9 seconds better than yesterday. It does not seem to RF1 deserved attention to the lack of “Cinderella” rate.

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