Posted on March 8, 2011
Final F1 test Day 1: McLaren tries to flex, Red Bull still on top | James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1

The final test session before the start of the new F1 season kicked off today in Barcelona with most, but not all of the teams running today. Ferrari, Williams and Mercedes did not run and we have yet to see the new HRT car on track. Saturday will be the final day of F1 testing until after the end of the season in November.

McLaren ran with a load sensing device on the nose of the car, with robust struts out to the outer parts of the front wing. This was a device to measure front wing flex and, given the thickness of the struts, may even have been able to cause additional flex to measure the aerodynamic effect and gain. It’s quite a public thing to do, McLaren were one of the teams critical of the loopholes last year which allowed Red Bull and to some extent Ferrari to get their front wings to flex. If you can do it legally, there is a significant lap time gain from it.

Button did a couple of laps in the hugh 1m 22s in a qualifying simulation, but this is still some way off the front runners’ pace. The qualified tone of Jenson Button’s comments after the session suggested that he’s not full of the joys of spring, as he contemplates the imminent start of the season and still plenty of catching up to do.

“The last couple of tests haven’t been perfect for us, and I think that’s partly due to us lacking set-up work,” he said. “But today I think we made some positive progress with MP4-26’s balance. I know there’s not much testing left – I only have one more day in the car – but, after today, I feel we can make further positive progress over the next few days. Given the limited amount of set-up work we’ve completed this winter, I feel we now have a good base upon which we can build.”

McLaren will do one more day tomorrow with Lewis Hamilton and then will have a day off the track, returning on Friday and Saturday.

Red Bull’s Mark Webber set the pace ahead of Button. The Australian did a 1m 22.544s lap, faster than Felipe Massa’s benchmark from the last test and set on a short qualifying simulation run. But neither Massa’s lap nor Webbers’ were set on minimal fuel. Engineers I’ve spoken to believe that both cars, certainly the Red Bull, are capable of a lap in the high 1m 21s. We may see that by the end of the week, hopefully. Ideally it would be good to establish the outright performance difference over a single lap between the two cars, certainly there doesn’t seem to be much between them in race trim.


Renault and Force India both split the day between two drivers; Renault had a new rear wing and a new floor to test. Nick Heidfeld had a cold and shared the driving with Vitaly Petrov while Force India gave test driver Nico Hulkenberg half a day in the 2011 car, his first run in it, with Paul Di Resta doing the afternoon shift.

Mercedes and Ferrari will be out tomorrow with significantly upgraded cars. Among the new things on the Ferrari, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, is a foot pedal operated rear wing adjuster, the team having tried buttons and levers. The car is believed now to have Red Bull style exhaust exits, which changes the sidepod profile slightly and it will have a new front wing, among the visible differences. So far Ferrari is the car which has covered the greatest distance in testing with 5,200km before this final test.

Lotus gave its Air Asia GP2 drivers Davide Valsecchi and Luis Razia a run out today, while Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi lost time in the morning with a failure on his car. Toro Rosso will again be worth keeping an eye on this week, as many feel they are one of the more competitive midfield cars.

For the very latest from Barcelona check this out – storifyaabarcelonaatesting
BARCELONA TEST 2, DAY 1
1. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m22.544s 97
2. Jenson Button McLaren 1m22.910s + 0.366 74
3. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m22.937s + 0.393 27
4. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m24.117s + 1.573 90
5. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m24.735s + 2.191 20
6. Paul di Resta Force India 1m25.039s + 2.495 38
7. Davide Valsecchi Lotus 1m25.406s + 2.862 50
8. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1m26.004s + 3.460 48
9. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m26.030s + 3.486 31
10. Luiz Razia Lotus 1m26.723s + 4.179 29
11. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin 1m32.060s + 9.516 57

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Final F1 test Day 1: McLaren tries to flex, Red Bull still on top
71 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: Iberian M.P.H.
        Date: March 8th, 2011 @ 7:19 pm 

    Yeah, we won’t know who’s who until after the first race of the season is over, provided there are no pile-ups or other “funny” circumstances (using the same adjective for the second successive comment in a row – wow!).

    It’s obvious saint Adrian outdid them all once again. I just wish they banned all these blown floors and ceilings, it was nice to be able to actually see the exhausts on the car, while now it’s all hidden. Having said that, the teams will probably come up with blown drivers’ helmets instead or more similar gimmicks.

    Heidfeld for the title!

    [Reply]


  2.   2. Posted By: Galapago555
        Date: March 8th, 2011 @ 8:03 pm 

    Well, finally a good decision was made, IMO. It seems meaningless not to give the option to Pirelli to improve the tyres during the season, testing with the current season cars.

    Slightly off topic: on the same statement, it is announced that “The FIA also revealed the Circuit Design Group is to examine Grand Prix circuits to identify the possibility of increasing overtaking opportunities.” James, do you have any idea on what are they thinking of? More “overtaking areas” where using the moveable rear wing will be allowed? Thanks in advance!

    Btw, your tweet selection @jaonf1tweets is proving a fantastic option to follow all the news from tests – media, teams, fans – great!. Keep up the good work.

    [Reply]

    Russel Reply:

    Just make it where if they are within one second then they can use the wing when they see fit.

    If everyone knows where the pass is gonna happen they will just block the inside, like usual.

    [Reply]


  3.   3. Posted By: f1minichampions.wordpress.com
        Date: March 8th, 2011 @ 8:03 pm 

    I’ve noticed that Red Bull have dropped the shark fin cover (they sort of still had a small one when they first showed the RB7, although it wasn’t connected to the rear wing).

    Is Red Bull bringing some new updates or are they just waiting for the season to start? Because if Ferrari now has RB exhaust exits, new front wings & side pods, we can expect they will start the season in front.

    I can’t wait for the first race!

    [Reply]

    cee Reply:

    you can’t actually say ferrari will be in front because of the rb styled exhaust positioning and new front wing.

    the exhaust may not be as benefitial for them as it is for the rb.

    its most likely they are still even on race pace and quali but since its still testing everthing remains speculation.

    [Reply]

    JJ MUPPET Reply:

    I am currently not a happy MUPPET. Ron please get one lead designer and keep them. This dual system of one designer doing the car and the other doing the development and then switching every 18 months is not working.

    [Reply]


  4.   4. Posted By: Damian J
        Date: March 8th, 2011 @ 8:14 pm 

    Well done to McLaren for targetting more flex from their wings. Are you watching FIA?

    If FIA cannot or will not design a robust(dynamic) test to ensure that the degree of flex stays within certain limits, McLaren have no option but to do the same. It’s not hypocritical, they need to follow suit. No room for principles here…just like other teams implementing an F Duct in 2010 after criticising it.

    [Reply]

    JF Reply:

    Its always been like that. If they are unable to copy it then they try to ban it. That’s why Ferrari did not mind about the RebBull flexi wing and McLaren was in uproar.

    [Reply]

    Damian J Reply:

    Ferrari have their own rich history of making complaints to FIA about other team’s innovations so they are no different from the other teams, motivated by their own self interest.

    I would suggest that the only reason why Ferrari did not complain about the flexi wing was probably because they felt they were making good progress with developing their own flexi wing!

    For those teams that were off the pace with developing a flexi wing, it makes sense to challenge the flexi wing with FIA provided they have justifiable grounds.

    [Reply]

    Tom (London) Reply:

    I don’t think McLaren have ever successfully got anything banned. Ferrari on the other hand …

    [Reply]

    **Paul** Reply:

    The flexible floor Ferrari developed a few years back was banned after one race after a complaint by McLaren. They were the only team to complain as they happened to be the only team (other than Ferrari) with details of the Ferrari car thanks to the SpyGate scandle.

    Damian J Reply:

    So Ferrari were cheating by implementing a flexible floor that was outside the rules?

    mhmhmhmh Reply:

    The FIA has robust tests. Dynamic situations can be so different that it is impossible to test in them.

    People take photos of cars taking a corner and naturally the chassis will have roll around its longitudinal axis towards the outside of the corner, and then you see the edge of the front wing almost touching the ground or even touching the ground. Then you have a lot of people on-line pointing it out from the photo and saying “A-ha! It’s illegal!” Rubbish…

    … and that’s what actually happened many times last year at on-line discussion forums. I don’t think they were smart people who were commenting.

    [Reply]

    Born 1950 Reply:

    Misguided thinking.

    The complaints I and other people had about RB’s flexible front wing was based on the on-board camera shot from behind the driver’s head. Ignoring suspension movement, the wing was clearly rising by about 50mm under braking when compared against the nose of the car — which was static in the shot whatever the loading. One didn’t need to be particularly smart to see this.

    No wonder other teams complained: it was clearly breaking the rules — though this is not the same as saying it failed the tests. The fact that the tests were tightened to use heavier weights is proof that what I’ve written is correct.

    [Reply]

    **Paul** Reply:

    This kind of thing is what F1 is all about, just like the F-Duct. It’s not illegal but it bends the rules slightly. McLaren have benefitted from these things in the past (e.g. the braking system when cornering) as have other teams (Renaults Mass Damper).

    It has to be said that quodos goes to RBR for this, and to some degree Ferrari for working out how to replicate it.

    [Reply]


  5.   5. Posted By: Sabatha
        Date: March 8th, 2011 @ 8:19 pm 

    This suggests that Webber still had 20 to 25 kg of fuel in the car when he set his time. Any idea how much fuel Button, Massa & Schumacher had when they set their times?

    [Reply]


  6.   6. Posted By: Will
        Date: March 8th, 2011 @ 8:39 pm 

    Cant wait for the season to start, a little bit better from Mclaren but it doe’s appear as though there going to be behind the Ferrari and Red Bull in Melbourne, however I suspect it will come down to whether or not they can get their radical new car tuned in before the European season starts as to whether they will be involved in the battle for the championships this year. If there playing catch up all year again a few heads might roll!!

    [Reply]

    Paul Reply:

    I think its all a game plan with McLaren, we will only know thier true speed at the first race.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Ah, the “cunning plan” theory!!

    [Reply]

    Marcus Reply:

    LOL! Baldric working for McLaren!

    James Reply:

    If that’s the case, then Jenson and Lewis are better actors than their advert work suggests.

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: Michael Prestia
        Date: March 8th, 2011 @ 8:45 pm 

    Everyone is saying the Red Bull car is the fastest but my gut is telling me that the Ferrari will be the car to beat.

    [Reply]


  8.   8. Posted By: Sabatha
        Date: March 8th, 2011 @ 9:01 pm 

    This suggests that Webber may have been carrying 20 – 25 kg of fuel. Any idea how much fuel Massa, Button & Schumacher were carrying when they set their times?

    [Reply]


  9.   9. Posted By: Jason C
        Date: March 8th, 2011 @ 9:06 pm 

    I don’t get the ‘legal’ flexing: the rule says the distance from the ground must be maintained ‘under any circumstances’, which suggests to me that last year and this, other teams could use the photographic evidence there was agains Red Bull and their wobbly wings, regardless of the results of the test during scrutineering.

    But we’ve had all that out last year, so it’s obviously settled to someone’s satisfaction.

    [Reply]

    mhmhmhmh Reply:

    No disrespect meant, but what you are saying is rubbish. Are the surfaces of the tracks so even that the cars never bottom out? NO THEY ARE NOT. Also consider chassis roll, surely the edge of the front wing looks to be close to the ground going 250 kph through a corner at Spa-Francorchamps for example, having loads of G-force and obviously the chassis is going to roll on such a situation. Combine that to the track surface not being even and your requirement is impossible.

    [Reply]

    Jason C Reply:

    You seem to be conflating rules laid down by the FIA and a post in which I mention those rules.

    [Reply]

    unoc vII Reply:

    Lighting, the car rocking foward, track undulations etc… all make photographic evidence not perfect and as such a test is done on the front wings to simulate the load.

    Everything will move a bit when force in applied so when doing the test there is a small window, and RBR and Ferrari to a certian extent have ensured that while they move only within the window when doing the tests, they are able to move in practice.

    i.e. there is something that the test does not simulate and that is what is triggering the wing to lower.

    It could tbe the wya that the air hits it, or maybe something to do with the air hitting another part etc… Or perhaps the material, i.e. how they are made the carbon fibre. Paper is quite weak and easily ripable one way but rotate it and it isn’t. Similiar concept.

    [Reply]

    Jason C Reply:

    Yes, indeed. I think James said that the peak loads on track are quite a lot greater than the test loads.

    So it seems that everyone will be flexing soon.

    [Reply]


  10.   10. Posted By: JF
        Date: March 8th, 2011 @ 9:12 pm 

    McLaren seem to be in real trouble, the gamble didn’t seem to have paid off. I wonder how many kitchen sink they have left to trow at this car in Woking. It must frustrating to install new sink every year…

    [Reply]

    Jo Torrent Reply:

    remember that talk about the radical car before the launch and that we haven’t yet seen all the innovations, remember that spectacular launch in Berlin…
    Sometimes I wonder if they take the revolutionary road just for the sake of it. Revolutions are painful and don’t usually lead to a happy end (CCCP, KUBA, etc)

    [Reply]


  11.   11. Posted By: Luca
        Date: March 8th, 2011 @ 9:22 pm 

    i hear a lot from mclaren about them using a lot of the testing time to gather data for a more accurate simulator… are they going further down the Virgin Racing path of pure CFD design in the future or is this just an excuse for the poor running so far?

    [Reply]

    Martin Reply:

    With a simulator it is a way of making up for the lack of testing during the season. If a new part is designed, using CFD or CFD and a wind tunnel, once the CFD or wind tunnel numbers have been generated they can be used in the simulator. The thing that McLaren and the other teams will be doing is comparing the result they are getting with what the simulator predicts. Where the simulator gives a different answer the team needs to work out why.

    There are several factor that can influence the results. Calibration of the load, pitch, roll, yaw, air pressure, temperature and wind velocity sensors, correct measurement of the fuel mass in the car at any given time.

    The tyre simulators will have a few factors in them too. As the tyres change in temperature the overall shape will change as the internal pressure increases. For a given pressure, the tyre diameter will also increase at higher speeds as the sidewalls straighten a bit (dragsters use an extreme version of this in a controlled manner, effetively as a gear change). As the tyre deflects under aerodynamic load it changes the airflow around it, influencing the flow just as the front wing does. This is significant in corners and during braking with the weight transfer.

    Now if McLaren are having to spend extra time on getting the simulator calibration right, a possible suggestion is that something in the model isn’t working properly.

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: CarlitosF1
        Date: March 8th, 2011 @ 9:23 pm 

    I read this interview at autosport with an upbeat Heidfeld after today’s test, in which I think he gives away more than Boullier would like him to: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/89797

    James, do you think the Renault is this year’s dark horse?

    [Reply]

    CarlitosF1 Reply:

    What I mean is… I think he’s trying too hard NOT to give anything away, which is logical if you haven’t shown all your cards yet. Or am I just paranoid and in serious need of some actual racing???

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    It looks a good car, yes. But I’m sorry to say that Heidfeld isn’t Kubica – I know that NH fans will bombard me with counter arguments, but it’s true

    [Reply]

    Lilla My Reply:

    Yet Kubica fans will be ecstatic with that statement James ;-) . I don’t know which of the drivers have more fans though, so I don’t know if that pays off. However, I would risk saying that Kubica has more fans (especially after his accident, now that everybody wishes him well), so maybe, taking the wild satisfaction of RK fans into consideration, the bombardment won’t be that painful ;-) .

    p.s. I know what I’m saying – I’m pretty sure I’ll see that sentence of yours in at least one Polish newspaper or Internet site soon (maybe even tomorrow) with lots of comments from happy fans ;-) .

    [Reply]

    Anthony Reply:

    Please dont take this as a bombardment, but I would like to have an explanation because I’ve been wondering why people keep saying that, because the results (3yrs at BMW) says there’s not much difference.

    [Reply]

    unoc vII Reply:

    I’m not a NH fan, but I can’t resist the chance.

    NH and RK were about similiar during their time together. I don’t see how eople are thknning of Kubica as alonso level and Hidfeld as lucky to get a drive.

    I expect Hidfeld to do slightly worse that Kubica would have given hidfeld hasn’t hda the whole of last season nor been mentally expecting the season.

    But mostly it just depends on the car.

    2006 BMW Sauber – Kubica 6 but was only in for part of the season. Hidfeld in the same car scored more than 6 points in those races (10 points to be precise) – Hidfeld expected to be better over the same time. btw can’t compare points per race as different cars developed at different rates
    2007 BMW Sauber – Hidfeld 61 Kubica 39 – Hidfeld wins. Admittedly was Kubica’s first season and start of his second season, but Hidfeld still was ahead
    2008 BMW Sauber – 60 Hidfeld 75 Kubica – In the only BMW Sauber car to actual win a race Kubica was better in, and BMW did something very ungerman and backed Hidfeld (due to german) over Kubica (who was faster in said car)
    2009 BMW Sauber – Hidfeld 19 Kubica 17. Kubica now in his 4th season by the end scored slightly less points. The KERS didn’t help Kubica due to size but then the BMW KERS wasn’t that good and it will be used this year, so overall this year Hidfeld was barely faster.

    Now I know that that is only a rough guide, but to suggest that ‘Hidfeld isn’t Kubica’ as you put it doesn’t seem fair to Hidfeld.

    Hidfeld should, by all expectations do ABOUT the same. If the car is more of a 2009 then Hidfeld will be slightly faster, if 2008 then Kubica.

    Since we can’t judge the car to be closer (although you could argue the KERS makes it more of a 2009, but weight distribution wise of the two BMW Sauber cars is unavailable and hence we don’t know if that is more akin to this years Renault challenger).

    Ergo, straight conparison, no ‘he smashed a rookie who never showed heaps of promise’, no ‘teams are about the know more than we and are basing it on this despite not having BMW Sauber’s data’, just a ismple comparison shows that

    Hidfeld ~= Kubica

    [Reply]

    Lilla My Reply:

    I’m no Heidfeld fan and I do belive that Kubica is overall a better driver. And though I get your way of reasoning and comparison, I think even the points sometimes don’t tell it all.

    “I don’t see how eople are thknning of Kubica as alonso level and Hidfeld as lucky to get a drive.” – I think this is a misinterpretation. Nobody says that Heidfeld is lucky to have a drive (though theoretically he was lucky with Kubica’s misfortune). I think it’s a bit different: Kubica is a really good driver, he might fight for the championship one day if given a right car, while Heidfeld is a solid driver. Not a bad one, with lots of experience and skill, but he simply misses that spark, that makes a driver great.

    It might be a bit far-fetched but I would risk a comparison between a craftsman and an artist doing the same jobs: a craftsman is definitely good in what he’s doing, but though his work is fine and solid it misses that little factor that an artist possesses. Heidfeld, IMHO, is a craftsman, while drivers like Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel and Kubica are artists.

    However, I do believe Heidfeld’s been unlucky not to have a permanent seat in F1 lately – he’s way better than some of the drivers racing e.g. last season.

    unoc vII Reply:

    I see where you are coming from LILLA M, but where are you getting this Kubica is around Alonso and Hamilton while Hiedfled isn’t?

    Surely if there is a line between the two it is very small and I’d put money on Hamilton and Alonso beating Kubica is the same car (i.e. stick Kubica in Massa’s car or Button’s car) and I think we would see Hamilton and Alonso further ahead in the WDC standings.

    I guess my general point in all of this is…

    ‘What has Kubica done to prove that he is more of an Alonso than a Hiedfeld’.

    Back at the end of 2009 not much between them, then a few good performance in high downforce circiuts in an easy to drive renault and he is suddenly top stuff. I don’t follow.

    btw The last the the ‘driver’s circuit’ known as the Monaco Grand Prix was own by a driver not in the fastest car was back in 2004!
    RBR in 2010, Brawn 09, Mclaren 08 and 07, Renault 06, McLaren 05


  13.   13. Posted By: Dr Paul
        Date: March 8th, 2011 @ 10:08 pm 

    Good to see McLaren exploring flexi-wings but its surprising to see them do it so publically. One has to wonder why they didn’t do this during straight line testing. Presumably their schedule is too tight to find the time.

    Interesting comment by Eddie Jordan on McLaren’s design process (yes really!) about them using alternate designers to design consectutive cars. He basically says that this leads to less evolution between cars and explains why they may be behind when launching new ones. (The comment can be found in the first season preview video on the bbc formula 1 site)

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Mmm. Well it didn’t do Renault much harm when they won back to back titles in 2005/6..

    [Reply]

    Becken Reply:

    Interesting, comment from Eddie, James, you must have to admit. I have the same opinion and I think that in the great reformulation made in the aero rules in 2009, McLaren was still looking for an aero concept. Until 2008 they was still relying in the concepts that Adrian Newey created there, specifically with the MP4-19B.

    It is a pity. They have amazing resources, but are, maybe, over burocraziting their creation process, mainly in the aero field.

    Just a thought.

    [Reply]

    S Quilter Reply:

    “bureaucratizing” is the word you are struggling for I think.

    Becken Reply:

    You´re QUITE right, Quilter. ;)

    Ivan Julian Reply:

    Sometimes I rather think that Charlie Sheen could give a more coherent, articulate assessment of an F1 car than Eddie Jordan can. If ever a guy mixes every 2nd sentence with emotional bias and past bitterness, it’s that bloke.

    Oh wait, am I still talking about Eddie Jordan, or am I back to talking about Charlie Sheen? SOMEBODY SAVE ME! They’re one and the same!

    [Reply]


  14.   14. Posted By: Malcolm
        Date: March 8th, 2011 @ 10:22 pm 

    The load sensing device to measure front wing flex should be very heartening for Mclaren fans to see, because it clearly show how clever that their thinkng maybe, towards trying to resolve a serious deficit that the MP4-25 may have had.

    [Reply]

    unoc vII Reply:

    Indeed who clever, seeing one team do something and then following them!

    Downforce with less drag is what all teams want.

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: ACB
        Date: March 8th, 2011 @ 11:12 pm 

    Thanks for an excellent report James. Good to hear Ferrari’s bringing their A game. What’s your impression of STR?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Car looked nice when I saw it at the last Barcelona test, drivers need to take advantage and get some points on the board early on

    [Reply]


  16.   16. Posted By: Lilla My
        Date: March 9th, 2011 @ 12:16 am 

    I find it quite amusing how with every test the teams keep on saying that we will know “something more” with yet next test. In Valencia they said we had to wait till Barcelona, in Barcelona – until Bahrain (which then became second Barcelona). Now we have the final tests and they say that we have to wait until Melbourne. I guess in Melbourne they will tell us to wait a few races to have the real packing order clarified. Anyway, I’m sure they already know who’s fast, who’s sandbagging and who’s faking ;-) . And even us, fans, have some idea who’ll be the team (teams?) to beat this year…
    I hope McLaren and Mercedes will sort their problems out so the battle will be more interesting and intense. I personally want to see what Renault and Toro Rosso can really do. Renault, because they seem to have moved forward quite a bit and Toro Rosso, because I heard Alonso saying lately that they look strong. It would be great if these two could mix with the front runners.
    Re tyres: I don’t know if I’m correct but I think that the tyres can still surprise the teams to some extent in Australia. I mean, Barcelona isn’t as warm as Bahrain at this time of year, so it’s impossible to test how the tyres work in warmer conditions and to see their wear rate. And that, apparently, has been everybody’s concern lately.
    The season just can’t start soon enough!

    [Reply]


  17.   17. Posted By: Luke A
        Date: March 9th, 2011 @ 1:17 am 

    Hi James,

    Nice article.

    Are you suggesting in your article that whilst Webber had more fuel he could take out, Button didn’t?

    Do you think Button went out on fumes?

    I don’t think all is lost for McLaren. Last year they were over a second slower than RB/Ferrari at Bahrain and then 7 tenths down at Melbourne. Come Malaysia and China they were much closer.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Not necessarily, but the McL isn’t that close to RB

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Not necessarily, but I don’t think the McL is that close to the RB on pure pace.

    [Reply]

    unoc vII Reply:

    Webber is saying that RBR isn’t sandbagging… looks like the definition of ‘sandbagging’ might be even more cloudy that than of ‘moving front wing’

    Maybe they had extra fuel but that was all, nothing extra he was meaning.

    @ JAMES, as F1Fanatic reported, the Japanese Times has announced that Suzuka will remain on the calender for 2012.
    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/sp20110309a2.html

    That means as I said a little while ago, 19 circuits from 2011 > 2012. Add US, presuming Indian runs of course. That = 20, which means that Turkey looks to be out. Is this right or is 21 races the new magic number?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    I think and hope, 20 is the limit. There are a few European venues struggling to make it work, plus you forgot Russia as well as USA coming in.

    unoc vII Reply:

    But for next year….

    19 from this year (20 minus Turkey yet to be signed) + 1 (USA next year) = 20.

    THen when Russia pops in as well… as you said.

    Do you know why Bernie E still wants to keep Europe on the calender? Valencia say they don’t want it anymore, it’s another race in europe and it’s 2 in one country, and it’s deadly boring to watch, surely the smart thing is just to drop it and replace with anything else.

    Is will he only drop it knowing that there will definately be 20 races and hence no more is possible without backlash. i.e. Keep as an insurance plan to keep more money

    An idea I had earlier, and this is opne to debate, is that while the circuits are chosen and designed they are looked over by a panel of exdrivers and experienced people.

    Just as we have an exdriver on the stwerards panel during a GP weekend and most thinks that is a good idea, why not do similiar the circuits.

    Surely if someone showed some ex F1 drivers (maybe Prost, Hill etc…, people who made a name for themselves as F1 drivers) could look over it and think of the camber and turns and such and point out to tilke that Abu Dhabi isn’t so great.

    Sure it may not be perfect to predict, but exdrivers would be able ot see these things much better and point out and be listned to that long straights followed by chicance is boring and not so good for overtaking.

    Choosing circuits is a bit harder as there is money involved, and I personally think it’s more Bernie E’s ignorance and unwillingness to listen to anything more than his wallet that has caused Valencia, Bahrain and Abu DHabi to be on the program over Magny-Cours etc….

    Since the money lost by the few not watching F1 anymore is less than the differnce paid by Bahrain compared to France we can see what is going to happen, but couldn’t we atleast have someone saying
    ‘Hey Bernie, suzuka is awesome, don’t chuck it, Australia’s good too, and Spingapore should be on it, but you can drop from a drivers perspective ……’

    **Paul** Reply:

    McLaren (along with Mercedes) are likely to have the best KERS system again if past performance is anything to go by. That’ll help make up for some of their cars troubles.

    [Reply]


  18.   18. Posted By: Nick H
        Date: March 9th, 2011 @ 1:17 am 

    James, do you know if Perez cutting the chicane is the sole reason he did a 1:21.1 in the Sauber right at the end?

    It was struck off the records but was just wondering if there was any real pace in there.

    [Reply]


  19.   19. Posted By: james b
        Date: March 9th, 2011 @ 1:45 am 

    Curious to see if anyone thinks this is a good bet!? Each way bet on Felipe Massa 25/1 to win the title E/W 1/5th the odds. Based on the fact that on current times it is between Red Bull and Ferrari he is basically racing Webber for 3rd place?

    I think this is outstanding value but also factor in the fact that Massa will be much more competitive this year I think this bet is a steal? I also don’t see Mclaren and Mercedes catching the top 2. Any thoughts?

    [Reply]

    unoc vII Reply:

    AS much as I want massa to come back to 08-09 form, he wont be number 1 at ferrari or equal unless something massive happens.

    Ferrari will always appoint a no1 at some stage based on who is further ahead and it looks like unless Massa can be there with Alonso a bit behind at that stage then Massa will never get the jump.

    Button, it really just depends on tyres. If they suit him then he could be a good dark horse, if not then Hamilton best for McLaren.

    Vettel VS Webber at RBR is close. Webber is definately a much great shot than either of Massa or Button. RBR as much as they do, don’t want to give the impression that the favour Vettel and as such Webber will most of the time be equal. Webber is also quite close to Vettel with less than half of one tenth average between them in quali throughout the year. If the tyres suit one more than the other, remembering that while Vettel prefers overtsteery SLIGHTLY more than Webber, Webber has altered his style and has much more experience, he also is less rough shall we say on his car.

    It’s not a Massa vs for 3rd as the cars at the start don’t = the cars at the end. Ferrari and McLaren were using swapping each other for speed in race or so throughout the year.

    The tyres will have a massive effect.
    If Massa can outqualify Alonso then he is golden.
    If Button can pit less and sorts out his quali then he is good
    Webber needs about 0.04 or so on average throughout the year in quali to be scoring pole over the dirty side of the grid.

    Alonso is strong in the team and unlikely to mentally faulter, but does (see 2007 and early 2010)
    Hamilton can destroy tyres in less (and has said so several times about these Pirelli’s) that the difference between MW and SV
    Vettel barely beat Webber last year and Webber was the betting favourtie for quite a while being the only RBR to lead the chamionship before the end of Abu Dhabi. While Vettel had mechanical faults (Bahrain, Australia), so did Webber (Germany, Britian, Brazil etc…) and a teammate (Turkey).

    But as somone who hasn’t put bets on F1 in his life I have to say that putting money on right now before we even see pace is a bit hard.

    [Reply]

    iceman Reply:

    I think based on current times it’s Massa vs. Alonso for 3rd, not Webber; and unfortunately that’s a race Massa is unlikely to win.

    [Reply]

    james b Reply:

    Interesting guys. I agree Alonso will beat Massa but I think that the reason it’s a good bet is I don’t think any of the teams will catch up with Red Bull and Ferrari. Therefore I rule out Button/Hamilton! I also don’t see Red Bull running away with it. They are too fragile a team where as the Ferrari is bullet proof.

    Also, this isn’t an even bet Webber is 8/1 and Massa is 25/1. This is a huge difference in odds for what is for me a relatively even bet as I expect Massa on these tyres to be significantly stronger!

    Thanks for the comments though!

    [Reply]

    TheLegend Reply:

    Based on current times… ¿What? Wait for Saturday 26 to say this. MAYBE RB is the fastest now, but Ferrari will be closer than last year, plus the FA factor.

    [Reply]

    iceman Reply:

    I’m pretty sure that you can say “based on current times” at any point when there are current times. If you’re right about Ferrari being close, then you should bet on them now – as more testing times come in, they will confirm that the Ferrari is fast and the odds will shorten. And if you do that, what are you betting on but the information currently available? Such is the nature of sports betting.

    James B – on reflection I like your bet. Personally I don’t think Massa will be in the top 3 but at 25-1 it’s a good value bet. My online bookies have him at 14-1! Massa is definitely better value than Hamilton at 6-1. Webber at 8-1 still looks like an OK bet but I’m happy I got him at 11-1 a few weeks ago!


  20.   20. Posted By: Rudy Pyatt
        Date: March 9th, 2011 @ 2:05 am 

    It’s interesting that Ferrari has gone to pedal actuation for the rear wing, with no word that others have done the same. Given the reports that teams and drivers are worried about information overload via an excessive number of buttons on the steering wheel, I’m surprised that no one else has taken that approach.

    The effectiveness of this setup was proven, long ago, outside of F1. See,

    http://www.chaparralcars.com/2e.php

    and

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcIAxk4KApk&feature=relmfu

    Needless to say, this car was way ahead of its time. Note the radiator location, appearing years before side mounting became standard practice in F1.

    James, does anyone in F1 (admit to) getting any ideas from sports car racing these days?

    [Reply]


  21.   21. Posted By: F1a
        Date: March 9th, 2011 @ 6:43 am 

    I really can’t understand all the continued negativity (not by JA, but by press, fans, and JB) to McL still.

    How on Earth is 0.3 second gap, in testing, meaningful? Also bearing in mind they have a brick on the nose?

    3 days full testing is a lot more testing. I think they have made improvements and escaped massively with Bahrain being off.

    [Reply]

    F1a Reply:

    Which reminds me – imagine if McL win in Bahrain in November, when they could not have done in March (assuming)?

    would be slightly controversial! (though totally fair, that’s life and sport)

    [Reply]

    Sossoliso Reply:

    If that happened during a tight Championship, I can already see Ferrari demanding the results be struck off the championship…and if they do not get their way threaten Legal Action.. One worth Watching! Good Spot.

    [Reply]

    **Paul** Reply:

    I think there is just a bit of genuine surprise at McLaren pace. You have to remember that many people in the press were praising McLarens car for all kinds of odd reasons without it turning a wheel. That kind of praise wasn’t given to any other car on the grid, not even ones with clever ideas like the Renault or the Red Bull which is bound to be quick. It’s like Man Utd turning up to defend their premier league title and getting hammered in pre-season and the charity shield – people would start to question whats going on.

    [Reply]


  22.   22. Posted By: Silverstone79
        Date: March 9th, 2011 @ 10:48 am 

    Listening to the BBC F1 preview, Martin Brundle said of what he saw of the Mclaren, “it couldn’t stop. wouldn’t turn in, couldn’t get the power down..it was a mess”

    If it is all an aero problem then there is a chance to do something…..if the weight distribution as defined by the FIA just doesn’t work on this car then they are in trouble because they will not be allowed to change it, making changes in wheel base, if needed very difficult as the wieght distribution would have to be changed too and there would be no gain, would there ?

    I am sure a techie out there might know !

    [Reply]

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