Eleven of the twelve Formula 1 teams were out on track today at Jerez for the start of the second official F1 test ahead of the F1 season. Only HRT was absent. The team has opted to take part in a Pirelli filming event in Italy rather that test alongside the other teams this week in Spain.
Pirelli has all four of its current dry tyre specifications available to test this week, as well as the range of rain tyres. After the first test in Valencia there was some anxiety about the rate of degradation and it will be interesting to see how they behave at Jerez, which is a slightly faster track with warmer conditions. Today the track temperature was 33 degrees. The real acid test will come at the third and fourth official tests, however at Barcelona and Bahrain.
McLaren’s radical looking new car hit the track today for the first time with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. They are still working through the bedding in process of new systems, KERS and adjustable rear wing which their rivals did last week. They will be hoping that the work they have done in the simulator building a sophisticated model of the Pirelli tyres, has given them a head start in assimilating the tyres. “The car feels good compared to last year’s, which is positive. It feels like a good step over MP4-25,” said Hamilton.
Today it was also announced that McLaren has renewed its partnership with Exxon Mobil, securing yet another of its major sponsors for the long term. McLaren has certainly cemented its commercial position in the last few months.
Force India was also working with its new car as was Virgin Racing, whose MVR-02 managed 42 laps.
Renault had Vitaly Petrov on track today. The Renault team has indicated that the seat left vacant by Robert Kubica’s accident is Nick Heidfeld’s to lose. The team says it wants an experienced driver and it is giving Heidfeld the chance this week to show he’s the man for the job. Only if he comes up short will the team look to one of the other possible candidates.
“Nick is here to be evaluated,” said Renault team boss Eric Boullier. “Once we have finished our assessment of him, if we are happy with Nick, then we keep Nick. If this had happened in the middle of the season, then the car would have been developed, and you could give a young driver some miles to educate him in Formula 1. But we have to develop this car from scratch, so the obvious choice of driver is an experienced one.”
But the team has also indicated that official reserve driver Bruno Senna will get a run this weekend in the car.
Daniel Ricciardo was out in the Toro Rosso, alongside Jaime Alguersuari. The Australian is the reserve driver for the team this season, but is there to put real pressure on the two race drivers.
Williams managed just 14 laps today with Pastor Maldonado following problems with the rear wing actuator.
Meanwhile tonight Ferrari has reacted to the law suit issued by Ford over the use of the name F150, which clashes with one of Ford’s best selling pick up trucks in the USA. Ferrari pointed out that its F150 is not commercially available, but to avoid any problems it will refer to it from now on as F150 Italia in all communications.
Remember you can follow the action from Jerez as all the live Tweets come in from teams, drivers, journos and fans in the stands on http://twitter.jamesallenonf1.com.
JEREZ TEST, Day 1
1. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m20.709s 101 laps
2. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m21.483s + 0.774s 94 laps
3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m21.522s + 0.813s 94 laps
4. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m21.755s + 1.046s 36 laps
5. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m21.914s + 1.205s 58 laps
6. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m22.689s + 1.980s 42 laps
7. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m23.472s + 2.763s 28 laps
8. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m23.504s + 2.795s 57 laps
9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m23.963s + 3.254s 67 laps
10. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m24.458s + 3.749s 54 laps
11. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m25.086s + 4.377s 42 laps
12. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m34.968s + 14.259s 12 laps