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Jerez Day 3 a washout – how do they stand now?
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Jerez Day 3 a washout – how do they stand now?
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 Feb 2010   |  10:30 am GMT  |  25 comments

It rained on Friday in Jerez, in the afternoon it rained hard enough for the track to be empty for stretches of time. So two of the three days so far have been washed out. Saturday is forecast to be dry however.

The same happened last year in the pre season tests, but this year it’s even more critical because there is so little track time available.

For Virgin, Red Bull and Force India, who are running their cars for the first time it’s a frustrating week. Frustrating also for Nico Rosberg who somehow seems to have ended up getting the wet days this week, while team mate Michael Schumacher slotted in for the dry day on Thursday.

Picture 60
Looking at the times from the dry running on Thursday, it’s still tricky to say with any certainty who is on top, because what is becoming clearer from talking to the engineers is that the field is pretty competitive at the front with only very small gaps in performance between the teams. They have a pretty good idea how much fuel each other is carrying and say that only a small variation in fuel loads would be enough to distort the true picture.

It is beginning to look like we might be in for the season everyone is hoping for, with several teams capable of winning. At this stage there is no team which looks to be a step ahead of the others. Beyond that, until they all go for a low fuel new tyre qualifying simulation it is hard to discern who is a tenth ahead or a tenth behind.

All the front runners are managing expectations too; not wanting to be branded the pace setter at this stage of the game. Observers tell me it was fascinating to see Alonso, Schumacher and Button all sizing each other up out on the track. Throw in Hamilton, Massa, Vettel, Rosberg and Webber to that mix and we really are in for a treat this season.

Alonso’s 46 lap long run yesterday was interesting. He started out on new tyres with at least 120 kilos of fuel in the car and was quick initially, with a lap in the 1m 23s, then the pace dropped off for a few laps, but then the final part of the run was very fast. His final lap was 1.9 secs faster than his first but he had burned off 120 kilos of fuel worth around 3 seconds par lap.

Schumacher did a 32 lap run on a new set of the same tyres, which started out in the low 1m25s and came down through the 1m 24s steadily. His final lap was 1.9 secs faster than his first. So he had burned off approximately 80 kilos of fuel, which is worth around 2.4 seconds per lap.

Most of the Friday running was on wet and intermediate tyres. However the dry running has been on the new soft and medium Bridgestone compounds.

Williams have had a few reliability issues with its car, but the engine so far has been fine. I understand that this is the same engine they have been using since the start of testing in Valencia and it is now well beyond its normal life and they are seeing how far it will go.

There are some positive noises coming out of Cosworth. They believe that they have as good a combination of power and fuel efficiency as any other engine out there. Time will tell.

Virgin received the spare parts they needed to get the car mobile again after the front wing failure on Thursday. The car managed just four laps on Friday.
“It was so wet this afternoon that we and all the other teams lost a lot of running later in the session when we were finally able to get going, “said Nick Wirth. “This was particularly annoying given the great efforts by Wirth Research who, rather than just dispatching existing parts from our Bicester base, designed and manufactured new parts.”

Meanwhile Sebastian Vettel had his first run in the new Red Bull car, the last of the front running drivers to get his hands on 2010 machinery.

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25 Comments
  1. alex m says:

    “It is beginning to look like we might be in for the season everyone is hoping for, with several teams capable of winning”

    As a fan of F1 more than any driver or team, this is the best news the Sport, the Fans, or I could ever ask for.

    As an keen observer for 25 years of F1, I do believe the most talented, exciting driver I have ever witnessed will win in the end and it will be one of his greatest Championships.

    Go Lewis !

    1. Freespeech says:

      I too am a great Hamilton fan but better than Senna :?: I think not, as good maybe at the same sage of their careers but better overall noway Hosay :) Given time though who knows.

  2. El Shish says:

    James,
    I notice that there is no single mention of the McLaren (apart from brief references to Button and Hamilton, not their times or performances). I noticed that throughout the week, there was very very little reported by any of the media outlets about times, performances, etc. For example, looking at your selected Twitter feeds, autosport and couple of the French and Italian live-timing sites, it seemed that there was almost a concerted effort to not report anything. I understand that’s unlikely but, given that lack of information, what is the feeling about how their challenger is shaping up. The tools and limited inclination to push the car a sign of concern or just a different, more disciplined approach to testing?

    1. Freespeech says:

      Well Lewis’s McLaren has just posted the fastest time of the week so they must be in fair shape :)

  3. caca says:

    james, do you think rbr is at a disadvantage after missing the test at valencia, and missing almost in full, the dry day at jerez?

  4. Stephen says:

    James, are McLaren in trouble again this year?

    Reading all the posts on forums etc and most people seem convinced the MP4-25 is dog.

    Flow fiz and weird looking measuring devices are making me nervous!!!

    1. James Allen says:

      Nothing to worry about at this stage, I think. Just taking care of details

    2. opposite lock says:

      he is right, hamilton fastest today at jerez

  5. Andrew S says:

    This should be a good season!

    James – If the test days are completely washed out will/could the FIA add a session for safety for teams to ensure the cars are safe/wont fall apart? Or is it a case of tough luck (as everyone is in the same boat) and just wait for the first race?

    1. James Allen says:

      No these sessions are all

  6. Nick Someone says:

    Great. Thanks James. This seems to be the only place where there is some info on how well each team is doing. I wish all the other sites would talk about how many laps the driver did in row and how the times evolved in a run.

    Ta.

  7. Mani says:

    hi James,

    Can you tell us two things: 1. Why the Mclaren is using the fluminescent paint and sensor on the sidepod for measuring aerodynamic flow structures and the other teams aren’t? I know Mclaren say it’s nothing to worry about but that’s not so easy considering last year and the fact I’m a huge Mclaren/Lewis fan!

    I checked the times Lewis was setting today (13th Feb at about 1PM) and Lewis was matching Massa’s long run pace, although Schumacher brought the red flag and Lewis had to pit so we couldn’t see his fuel level.

    2. Why the Mclaren doesn’t have the V-chassis like the Red Bull, Ferrari/others…thx

  8. Morris Mao says:

    Before Alonso started that long run, he had collected 31 laps, then, after he backed to the garage, it showed he collected 79 laps.
    There are different stories: 46laps,47laps,48laps, so, how a driver’s laps should be calculated?

    It’s good to say he could keep the tyres last so long and in good condition.

    Anyway, it seems ferrary by now is not bad.

  9. Lewis Fergusson says:

    James, do you know what shape McLaren is in? I know they have been doing a lot of long runs but if they actually have any pace or not I was wondering about.

    1. opposite lock says:

      yes they have the pace. Hamilton fastest today at jerez

  10. opposite lock says:

    anybody out there?.

  11. Nick H says:

    So Alonso’s fastest lap was 1.1s slower fuel corrected, albeit doing 14 laps longer than Schumacher. Whilst Schumacher’s fastest lap was 0.5s slower fuel corrected, but over a shorter distance.

    Can we conclude then that the Mercedes may be conserving it’s tyres slightly better than the Ferrari?

    Either that or 14 laps of Jerez takes a good half second out of the lap-time due to tyre wear.

    1. Peter says:

      Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time today and the McLaren is quick. If I was a betting man I’d say the McLaren will be the best not because I know much about it but because it’s just a blind guess! It certainly looks the best – a car fit for a king! Beautiful. However I think some teams like Mercedes and Red Bull may be sand bagging but Ferrari are more keen to show their real pace which is competitive – that’s just what I think! Whatever is going on no one can tell who is fastest. It really is exciting!

    2. Saip says:

      This information is a little worrying! 1.1s slower is a lot and I do not think 14 laps will cause half a second degradation. Imagine what might happen over 110 laps!!

      What might be relevant is the first 20 laps or so with 120 kilos of fuel effect the tyres much more than the tyres starting with 80 kilos of fuel. I really hope so. Alonso for WDC!!

      1. Z says:

        110 laps? Where the hell would they run that many? :P

  12. R.B. says:

    I think today(Saturday) McLaren could not resist to clear the situation regarding speed. Lewis just smashed all testing times by half a second at the end of the test. Great news as far as I am concerned.

    Hopefully a great season is ahead.:)

    1. R.B. says:

      and I am finally convinced the green paint and all the aero gadgets were not a sign of doom:)

  13. Stephen Kellett says:

    Impressive from Wirth, the fact that they made new parts rather than just replaced them.

    James: I notice the alt=”” for the picture is non-descriptive. It just says “Picture 60″. That isn’t helpful for:
    o Text-only readers of your blog
    o Blind readers of your blog
    o Search engines
    o Not terribly helpful to me, as sighted reader, I was hoping it would say something relevant about the picture I may have missed.

  14. Steven Simes says:

    I do not understand why the teams insist on testing where they know the weather is likely to prevent them from getting on track. It may cost more to go elsewhere (further south) but how does that compare with hundreds of highly paid team members sitting around waiting for the rain to stop. With no testing during the season, winter testing has become more important than ever before, the teams should all agree to head for Bahrain (without sandstorms), or at least somewhere where the weather is more predictable.

  15. Z says:

    Man, that picture is awesome!

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