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Final F1 test, Day 2 – Vettel gives them all something to think about
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Final F1 test, Day 2 – Vettel gives them all something to think about
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Mar 2011   |  6:40 pm GMT  |  88 comments

On the second day of the final F1 test at Barcelona Sebastian Vettel went for a time, setting the benchmark in the high 1m 21s, some way clear of his opposition. Up to this point Red Bull have played their cards pretty close to their chest in terms of outright pace. Now the others have something to aim for.

Photo: Red Bull


I said at the last Barcelona test that engineers had told me they felt the RBR car was capable of a high 1m 21 and today it happened. There is clearly a tenth or two more to come as the lap was the first on a five lap run.

Vettel set the time early in the day and then worked on the car on different fuel loads and set-ups. Vettel got back into the 1m 21s on other runs during the day.

Michael Schumacher always used to test this way – go out and set a flat out time at the start and then use that as a benchmark for lap times set on set fuel load, evaluating set up changes as you go. It’s a way of working he got into when he was at Benetton with Pat Symonds and Frank Dernie.

Ferrari was out with it’s updated car, the details of which I posted yesterday. They feature new ultra low exhausts. Felipe Massa was at the wheel, but did not feel tempted to see what his car might manage in similar configuration to Vettel’s. That may or may not come by the end of the week.

Toro Rosso did a race distance today and set the second fastest time with a lap in the low 1m 22s, half a second off Vettel and similar to Red Bull’s time from yesterday. The Toro Rosso certainly has some pace and has made significant improvement since last season.

McLaren had more reliability issues, another hydraulic problem and an exhaust failure among them. He did not manage a race distance run but did set the fourth fastest time in the high 1m 22s, similar to Button’s pace yesterday.

Afterwards Lewis Hamilton told reporters that McLaren has a lot of work to do ” ‘Do I believe I have a car to win the world championship at the moment? I don’t, no,’ ” he said.

“But that doesn’t mean it won’t become a world championship-winning car. In terms of how long we can go in terms of reliability and our true pace, that’s an unknown factor for us because in the time we have had we’ve not been able to maximise things.”

Today the team announced that Perdo de la Rosa, has rejoined them as test driver, a role he had for many years before returning briefly to a race seat with Sauber last year. De la Rosa is valued for his engineering ability by team principal Martin Whitmarsh in particular.

Mercedes ran their new exhaust package and new bodywork, the results from which were “in line with expectations” according to the team, “I think we have some impressive developments, “said Nico Rosberg, “Even though we couldn’t test or show the full performance today as not all of the elements are on the car and working together yet. We had glimpses that showed that the full package should be a big step.” Team principal Ross Brawn indicated last week that the car had been around a second a lap off the pace in the early tests.

Williams also had a poor day’s running after a KERS fault in the morning, which required extensive repairs. Meanwhile Paul di Resta simulated a race weekend for Force India, with qualifying laps in the morning session and a full race distance in the afternoon, punctuated with proper full speed pit stops. Di Resta is making his debut in Australia in two weeks.

Tonight the drivers are meeting with the FIA’s Charlie Whiting to talk through the adjustable rear wings, give him their learnings so far and discuss safety. There have been concerns voiced about the safety of the devices, especially on wet days, with Rubens Barrichello arguing over the winter that there could be a case for disabling the device when the track is wet, to avoid sudden changes of downforce level on a slippery track.

BARCELONA TEST, Day 2
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m21.865s 112 laps
2. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1m22.396s + 0.531s 120 laps
3. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m22.670s + 0.805s 116 laps
4. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m22.888s + 1.023s 57 laps
5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m23.324s + 1.459s 101 laps
6. Paul di Resta Force India 1m24.334s + 2.469s 118 laps
7. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m24.436s + 2.571s 107 laps
8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m25.807s + 3.942s 100 laps
9. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m26.090s + 4.225s 98 laps
10. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m26.989s + 5.124s 29 laps
11. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin 1m28.982s + 7.117s 64 laps

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88 Comments
  1. Cyril says:

    Just bear in mind that Vettel’s fast lap was set on a 5 lap run… Fuel consumption and fuel effect at the Barcelona track anybody?

    1. Jon says:

      I was going to mention that as well, the Redbull can definately go quicker.

    2. Sabatha says:

      Other reports say it was the begining of a 7 lap run. The fuel effect is about 0.1s per lap.

      1. Jon says:

        5 flying laps + in and out laps, not 7 flying laps.. 7+ laps of fuel though

      2. James Allen says:

        It’s a very quick time allowing for the fact that each lap of Barcelona needs 2.2kg of fuel so for that run Vettel would have been carrying a minimum of 14kg of fuel. For a pure quali run he’d have around 6kg – a difference of 8kg. With Barcelona having a 0.4sec penalty per 10kg, means he would be around 3/10ths off his absolute qualifying pace. So the car is capable of a 1m 21.5, perhaps, on the assumption that he wasn’t carrying extra fuel as ballast on the run.

      3. David McVey says:

        Is the fuel weight per lap not affected by the lower drag cars this year?

      4. James Allen says:

        It will be slightly, yes, but these are baseline figures from 2010

    3. David says:

      The effect of fuel on lap times at Barcelona is rather high, I think. The Red Bull may have some more tenths in its pocket when it’s running with fuel for a single lap (or two laps, unless they want to run out of fuel in their in-lap).

    4. JC says:

      Cold track at the time… let’s wait until Friday at least, but most fastest times I think were set on 3 lap runs :(

  2. rodger says:

    It’s hard to judge but I’m a bit worried about Mercedes…they seem hideously slow. Maybe they are duping us?

    1. Nebulus von Hoxenberg says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see them closer to the pace than many expect come Melbourne, and most probably ahead of McLaren.

    2. Davexxx says:

      Let’s just hope so!!

  3. Sergey Matvienko says:

    James, what about Renault? Petrov managed to do quite a lot of running today, do you have any throghts on their progress?

  4. Dale says:

    What on earth are McLaren playing at? Time after time in recent years they start the F1 season off on the back foot and it just isn’t good enough (is Paddy up to it in today’s F1)?
    Even Senna could do nothing in his later years against the then Newey designed Williams being just too good which is why Senna left and he had McLaren running through him.
    I for one hope that no one car is way ahead of the others as all F1 fans will be the looser if that’s the case.

    1. CH1UNDA says:

      There is been a lot of talk blaming the engineering but i for one blame Martin Whitmarsh. Since Martin took over as Team Principal i have had my misgivings about his management style – he is too PR savvy for his own good. His politics biased management style has seen a flood of good employees leaving to Ferrari and other leading teams and now its costing the team where it matters – on the track.

      In 2010, I worried a lot about his strategic loss of focus by concentrating on managing the two drivers egos rather than going for the silver ware. I worry that he has focused more on cleaning McLaren’s image after Ron Dennis rather than beating the old fox where it matters – by winning championships. His strategic distructions need to be contained faster than the development rate of MP4-26 if the team is to salvage its quickly passing glory. At this rate i wouldn’t be surprised if he looses his drivers at the end of the season.

      For an organization with McLaren’s budget, its inexcusable to be languishing in the same league as Toro Rosso – indeed at the recent showing, the MP4-26′s reliability rating is no better than that for the new teams – this could be the year when McLaren sinks into a period of lack lustre performance of the Williams type. As i have pointed out before, he is the only new generation Team Boss of the top outfits that has not won a championship and that should be a credible rating of his abilities – McLaren cannot do with an Arsene Wenger; always shooting for second spot.

      1. Dale says:

        Hi
        Must admit I too don’t see Martin being a true winner (whatever it takes) man of the likes of Ron (who for those that don’t know or like him, he is a true racer and and a real winner).
        On Paddy, unless you’re a Newey all designers seem to me to follow the same old route as they suffer burn out of one type or another. As we agree it just isn’t good enough for McLaren (the same would apply to Ferrari) to start the season on the back foot as McLaren seem to do nowadays and as the BBC’s Benson says even when Alonso and Lewis were winning races and the championship their car wasn’t as good as the Ferrari and Paddy was the top man then too.
        On loosing the drivers, in my opinion it’d be a disaster for them if they lost Lewis and I hope it doesn’t happen but like Senna he’ll be off if McLaren fail to deliver (listen up Martin, all teams have a No 1 and you know who that is at McLaren – clue if needed – it ain’t Jenson)

  5. For Sure says:

    Hi James,

    Do you really think Mercedes have a chance to be in top three or we can write them off by now?

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s a long season, with a lot to develop

      1. JC says:

        I read that as an aye

      2. Jon says:

        The short wheelbase is very different from all the others (the pace setters), I’d be surprised if they are any stronger then last season.

    2. Jo Torrent says:

      you can write them off, nothing in their history showed that they can over-develop the others and they’re obviously starting a little on the back foot.

    3. Danny says:

      Never write off a team with Schumacher in it.

  6. Frankly, I’ll be a little surprised if Red Bull aren’t still keeping a little more than a tenth or two in their pocket. Roll that out at the end of the test, really put the frighteners on the opposition.

  7. Nandan V says:

    I think Alonso will close the gap. Not Massa

  8. Jeremy (CapeTown - SA) says:

    As a die hard Mclaren,I get a feeling thatLewis and Jenson are going to struggle in Australia!!!James, what seems to be the problem with the so called glamour MP26 ?

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      everything but the paintjob is wrong !

  9. Phil R says:

    Hi James

    You mention that the adjustable rear wings are going to be discussed with Charlie Whiting tonight, but have they actually tested them at Barcelona in the full race set up, as they were planning to do at the Bahrain test? I believed the purpose of this was to evaluate if the zone was the long enough to allow some overtaking, but not too long to make it too easy.

    Also in Melbourne, is it clear where the zone will be, as it is one of the tracks that doesn’t have an obvious place for it.

    Great blog always…

    1. F1_Dave says:

      hopefully that abomination gets banned before too long.

      its an absolute disgrace that such an atrocious gimmick was allowed into f1 to begin with.

      have a feeling that with kers, this stupid wing and the rubbish tyres that this year is going to be very bad for fans who actually enjoy watching some close,competitive racing.

      1. Jo Torrent says:

        If F1 taught us one thing is wait and see. Last year, we feared for a boring season. It was one of the best. Let’s give it a try, if it’s useless, too artificial or whatever it’s easy to get rid of it isn’t ?

      2. Jon says:

        disagree but they had nothing to lose, last season was horrible, these changes are a band aid fix for the already failed regulations changes

      3. F1_Dave says:

        why was last season horrible?

        we had more on track overtaking last season than any year since 1989.
        and we saw a close championship fight between 5 drivers in 3 different teams with 3 in contention at the final race.

        everyone seems to believe 2010 saw little passing, however all the stats show that 2010 featured a lot more overtaking than what we have seen for a very long time.

        creating passing with big speed boosts on straghts for only a following car, and huge differences in tyre performance isn’t racing, its contrived, artificial and unintresting.

        id rather just watch some actual racing, thats what f1′s always been about, racing, pure racing as ayrton senna once called it.

        can’t help but think that the real racers like senna, gilles villeneuve etc… would hate the contrived gimmicks we have in 2011.

  10. Andrew says:

    Mclaren look dismal once again producing a car that needs alot of work costing them the early part of the season ala 2004 and 2006. This idea that they have of two designers one working one year and the other the next simply does not work as previous years has shown and this year is proving.

  11. Nick says:

    Good to see the Renault is still looking competitive, for Heidfeld to get his first win. Looks stunning as well

  12. AlexD says:

    I think that Red Bull is indeed a lot faster than anybody. How come noone was able to do better than that? Not in test….but the car development…

  13. Sabatha says:

    Other reports say it was the begining of a 7 lap run. The fuel effect is about 0.1s per lap.

  14. Chetz says:

    James I read some comments from BBC commentators that McLaren use a different designer for their car every year from within their team. If true, isnt that something that would hurt them and explains why they have ended up playing catch up over the last couple of seasons? ‘Cos F1 cars when encompassed within a certain set of rules are more evolutionary. like the RB6 and RB7. Your thoughts?

    1. Drez says:

      With the lack of testing I believe this design methodology is now flawed and hurting them. That is if they still follow it?

  15. Luke Robbins says:

    Pretty worrying reliability for the Mclaren when it manages less laps than a Virgin car.

    They really do need 100+ laps in their next two days of testing.

    James – what will teams who wont be running tomorrow – eg mclaren – be up to?

    Thanks,

    Luke.

  16. Sebee says:

    So…
    Red Bull will kick the field.

    Helping themselves by helping Torro Rosso to better finishes to take more points off competition.

    Ferrari looks like a challenger.

    Mercedes looks behind.

    McLaren will need some “spy” help to nudge them in the right direction – circa 07/08

    And hopefully Renault will throw a monkey wrench in there somewhere.

    If you were to enter the sectors and testing times into any season simulator I’m sure it would tell you that it will be a red male cattle that takes the prize in 2011. I just hope Vettel/Webber are knocking wheels until the finish line or every race.

    Suggestion to Red Bull: Build a sufficient lead at a race track with a wide start/finish straight (after you wrap up the championship) and throw that thing into reverse on the final stretch and take the checkered flag going backwards. Seems like you’ll have the race distance margin to get it done with ease. That will play on highlight reels for years, would be #1 YouTube motor racing video ever in a matter of hours. I don’t believe it’s against the rules.

    1. Jon says:

      lol it’s funny you mention the spy, they haven’t had a strong car since Spygate.

    2. kaz says:

      Hey, I do that all the time!
      In a game though.
      When I have enough lead, I try to spin my car so it crosses the line sideways or backwards.
      Always wondered why no one does this.
      In MotoGP, they will pull crazy wheelie across the line.

  17. jonrob says:

    “Michael Schumacher always used to test this way”
    That sounds a little sad nowadays, because when he did that he would already have spent a hundred hours or so in testing and knew the car and it’s handling characteristics inside out.

    I am beginning to change my view of the test ban, whilst it equalises, it also detracts from the concept of F1 being the pinnacle of race engineering. It does not allow the best to be developed nor those behind to catch up.
    Yes I know that in theory it allows the smaller teams to be closer to the front and saves money; but the resource agreement seems only to affect the small teams, while the front runners continue to have budgets of 3 or 4 times those of the tail-enders.

    The current system also favours the lucky, there is always an element of luck with a new design, Torro Rosso have it this year, McLaren do not. (Red Bull don’t need it, they’ve got Aid)

    With tyres good for only one lap, this year in quali it’s almost like going back to the one by one quali system of a few years back, that never suited some drivers, only now they will have to put up with other drivers on the track at the same time. Blocking will become a huge issue in qualifying this year.

    1. Dom says:

      And maybe Michael’s team-mate didn’t quite get the same amount of test time – I like the restricted testing regulations: same for everyone so in my view, luck will level out over a season or two.

      1. For Sure says:

        Well, that’s not the truth, some complained that his teammates had to do all the hard work and he enjoyed them.

      2. Dom says:

        Michael was the testers tester, famous for pounding out the miles.

        It’s good to see Nico being able to enjoy the same terms and conditions.

      3. For Sure says:

        Hi Dom,

        Any link to back that up? If not it looks like you are making that up. Plus none of his teammates ever complained of not being able to test as much as they want. May be they don’t want to do the chores who knows? So finally Nico gets the same treatment due to testing ban even though it’s the same boss?
        Don’t make me laugh man

    2. **Paul** says:

      I disagree I think the testing ban is rather good. It’s moved the whole pack closer together. What is also does is turns F1 from an engineering and testing sport to one that relies on engineering principles and design and not thousands of miles of testing. That to me isn’t a bad thing at all. Design of a good car isn’t about luck by any stretch of the imagination. Do you honestly believe that Adrian Newey and Nicholas Tombazis just happen to be lucky? Of course not, this is where the designers skills make a real impact. Sure some established teams appear to be losing out slightly, but that’s what happens when you have a more level playing field where teams can’t just throw money at a problem to resolve it.

  18. Nando says:

    Brundle said he was watching the Mclaren on track at the last test and it was handling horribly.

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, I was standing next to him

      1. JC says:

        if i was in the cockpit i’d be tempted to overdive it :)

      2. akuma says:

        “if”

        :-)

      3. Peter C says:

        Wow!

    2. Jo Torrent says:

      strange, LH said that the car was handling better than last year’s challenger but it lacks downforce and that was the issue besides the reliability of course.

  19. sean hastie says:

    hey james i was wondering if you could tell me what updates teams like lotus and virgin have brought? havent heard much news on their updates if they do have any? thanks

  20. Lilla My says:

    I think we’ve all heard what Martin Brundle said about McLaren. It doesn’t sound good, but for the sake of our entertainment I hope they will sort it out and do not lose too many points at the beginning of the season, so that the battle will be intense once again.

    Re Red Bull… please don’t tell me that this is a forecast for the whole season… (nothing against Red Bull really, but I just don’t want any team to have a significant advantage over the rest, so that it won’t be boring and predictable).
    I hope Ferrari’s workaholism and this huge amount of kilometres they cover each day pays off and they will be competitive.
    All in all, it’s not really surprising what I see (maybe apart from McLaren’s struggle), is it? I’m still wondering whether we can expect some really big surprises when the season starts.
    Only 16 days left to Australian qualifying!

  21. michael blane says:

    i am looking forward to seeing alonso friday and saturday in the updated ferrari, james, is massa just as quick as alonso on the long runs? or is alonso trade mark consitentsy giving him the edge? i think alonso will be right on the tail of red bull at the start this season

  22. Chins says:

    I’m a diehard McLaren fan,its sad to see them struggling so far in testing. Hope they can find some speed very soon!

  23. Matt B says:

    McLaren have to be one of the most frustrating teams to follow in F1. They had a great platform at the end of last year. The car was not far off Red Bull, and certainly could have been caught with a few tweaks over the winter. But no. They have to be different. Theres a thin line between being brave and being unnecessarily risky. This season seems to have started as the latter.

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      I don’t think that McLaren’s issue is with brave moves or whatever. For years now, they’ve been unable to produce the fastest challenger. Since Ferrari took over and Renault joined them and now RedBull.

      McLaren is always there challenging for victories and coming with interesting ideas but never at the top.

    2. jonrob says:

      No you read it wrongly, I said that a team with Adrian Newey did not need luck.

      But in any case you are wrong, many new designs do not work as anticipated, McLaren’s this year for instance. Sauber on the other hand seem to have got it right. Are you then saying that Sauber’s designed are better engineers than McLaren’s? Or are they a bit lucky that their design worked first time?

      1. jonrob says:

        My reply above to **Paul** has appeared in the wrong place.

    3. jonrob says:

      “There’s a thin line between being brave and being unnecessarily risky. This season seems to have started as the latter.”
      So what you need there is a bit of luck! :-)

  24. Jack says:

    Last year Red Bull started out with a dominant car, but couldn’t capitalise it because of you reliability issues. It looks like they’ve got that completely nailed this year though, so I reckon we might see a bit of a whitewash reminiscent of the Schumacher-Ferrari days.

    1. James Allen says:

      No, I think Ferrari will give them a battle

      1. **Paul** says:

        I hope so, and I think the tyre degridation will really help turn F1 into even more of a team sport with tactical calls on pitstops becoming even more important.

        I’d love to see Renault back up there and Williams too, but I think initally we’ll see RBR and Ferrari leading the pack.

      2. Dave C says:

        If the speed difference of the Redbull and Ferrari were equivalent to last year then Vettel will win this championship easily, the car’s more reliable, Vettel has now matured and with that championship under his belt has the chance to prove he is the best driver on the grid I don’t think he will let that chance slip like Hamilton did in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
        I do think Ferrari are closer and the scrap between Alonso and Vettel will be the start of another great rivalry for this new decade.

    2. Jo Torrent says:

      those at least 3 pitstops are so many occasions to do something wrong, to find yourself in traffic that it doesn’t look like a walk in the park and RedBull.
      the qualies with a single try per session are also so many occasions for mistakes that this season will have more elements of unpredictably I sense

      1. devilsadvocate says:

        Well the wing should at least in theory help the unfortunate fever who comes out in traffic with the faster car behind some slow ones, we have yet to see if it works. I’m feeling the sane sentiment that James mentioned that I think it will be down to new tires vs old tires as opposed to trick wing.

        As for quali Alonso usually set his pole times on a first lap if memory serves me right with vettel occasionally needing a second flier to pip Alonso or whoever else was on pole, but generally being a wash between the two in terms of doing it right the first time. I felt like a lot of the others, there werent that many since vettel was there 10times, typically needed a second flier a lot more often to solidify their poles so they mitt be playing catchup. The real test will be preserving the tires while also tryin to get a good lead up in the first two laps before they turn the wings on.

  25. Fausto Cunha says:

    James, in what type of tyre was the 1:21.8 clocked?
    I read that it was on the hard tyre, can you confirm?
    Thanks.

  26. BMG says:

    I’m a little surprised Redbull gave away so much.Could not see Ferrari doing this.

  27. cjf says:

    Any McLaren fans still think that the car looks beautiful or that it was an ingenious strategy to delay it’s launch?

    I’ll be interested to see just how fast the Toro Rosso is and how quick the Renault is if they’ve finally got their trick exhausts working properly.

    Interestingly Ferrari have opted for a Redbull style super low exhaust this week rather than the front exiting one.

  28. Rich C says:

    I reckon the real ‘psych war’ runs will take place late on the last day.

  29. Will says:

    What’s the chances that if Mclaren realise they’ve made a complete mess of their car, they will have to make a mp4-26b? like they did back in 2004 with the mp4-19, or even worse have they got another mp4-18 on their hands and they end up having to race a upgraded version of last years car, I highly doubt its that bad though and I hope its on the pace.

    With the new Pirelli’s I think the races will get mixed up quite a lot for the first few fly-away’s and the fastest car is quite probable not to win, we have no idea how the cars and the drivers will react to the tyre degradation in full on race conditions and how long it will take them to adjust. We could be in for some surprise results, and in regards to Mclaren Buttons biggest advantage is his ability to judge his tyres and the race situation and conserve if need be, so you never know he may get some decent results, and Hamilton will probably drag it into the points too. So lets wait and see where everybody is in a month or two, with all these new factors- rear wing, kers and Pirelli’s, this year is either going to be really exciting or a complete dud, either way im really excited!!!!

  30. Ivan Julian says:

    In my opinion (not that any of you have asked for it but hey, that’s what messageboards are for!) Red Bull are where Williams were at in 1981 after Alan Jones won his World title. In that year, Carlos Reutemann took it right up to Alan Jones so hard that they both robbed each other of precious points which allowed Nelson Piquet to win the WDC in an ascending Brabham – notwithstanding that EVERYONE in the F1 paddock at the time agreed that the Williams FW07 was by far the quickest car on the grid.

    I see a great deal of similarity between the current superiority of the RB7 and the FW07 of 1981. Alan Jones should have easily retined his World title that year, and yet he didn’t. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that Webber and Vettel will skirmish amongst themselves to such a degree that they both open the door to a competitor from another team.

    I’m not writing off either Hamilton or Alonso in that regard. Lewis Hamilton in particular. Man, that guy is uber fast, and he consistently pulls off the best passes in motorsport.

    And don’t be surprised if Williams is a contender MORE than the testing would initially indicate, either. That Cosworth engine is not all that far off the pace, and the Williams hybrid KERS is arguably the most advanced system of all. Their new ultra low gearbox and transaxle is a very, very interesting development.

    1. Andy C says:

      While a McLaren fan, I still always follow williams as well.

      This was the team I grew up seeing winning, with some great drivers and engineers/design.

      I’d love to see their car and drivers do well this year. Fingers crossed

  31. SH says:

    “with it’s updated car” (you can delete this comment, just letting you know about the typo)

  32. Tony says:

    My worry about the rear wing is what happens if you have a three car train , will the two behind activate ? Can you imagine the battle could be dangerous.

    1. Rich says:

      I agree. What happens when two hard battling front runners come up behind a back-marker who can’t operate his rear wing and doesn’t have KERS? The speed differential could be huge and we saw what that could lead to in Valencia last year.

      1. Fausto Cunha says:

        It should be interesting in the opening laps of the race or on a restart after a safety car…let´s wait and see.

  33. giorgio0078 says:

    Last year’s first several races have been quite fascinating much owing to Mclaren’s know how F-duct and several memorable overtakings due this, hope this years’ start will not be alike train coaches either.
    One chanse for Red Bull with it’s slightly weaker engine vs Ferrari is to maintain superb aero package to offset HP deficit.
    But guess Newey will not fail to implement it’s task to beat rivals, if he could get right engine than outcome would be more predicable. His last car with Mers engine MP4/20 was unstoppable with Kimi behind the wheel.

  34. mo kahn says:

    Allen,

    There has been enough talks about the engineering aspect of F1 this year. Now lets talk about the human element. What I would like to know is who possess the most complete race craft to exploit the resources available to them in terms of KERS and Flexi-wings etc.

    My Evaluation is that Michael and Alonso way ahead of the field in this department. Vetel is the new Kimi Raikkonen, for you put him in any car and he’ll drive the wheels off it. Button is very evolved thinker behind the wheel, while Lewis is fast and erratic and so is Rosberg excluding being erratic. Massa is quick but it would be interesting to know just how he will be able to use the degradable Pirellis, Waiting for Kubica while Nick is no slouch, will be missing Hulk, so it would be interesting to see how Di resta would fare.

    Your comments will be appreciated.

    Regards
    Mo.

    1. James Allen says:

      Intelligent drivers who can multi task will benefit, but it’s also a team game and the strategy will be very important, to pit before your rival, ideally, and get the tyre degradation calculations right.Ferrari have invested a lot in this area, thinking it will help them this year.

      1. Ivan Julian says:

        And now we’re morphing from what Formula One “used to be about” into what “NASCAR already is” – namely, a form of racing in which pit stops and pit crews determine a given racing outcome as much as, if not more, than a racer’s ability to race.

        In itself, this isn’t a bad thing, but it does tend to dilute the primary distinguishing factor which traditionally separated F1 from it’s competition – namely, a Grand Prix is supposed to be either a 300km race, or 2 hours maximum – whichever comes first. Tyre stops became quite de rigeur in the mid 1980′s, however, they weren’t obligatory. Teams were able to choose their compounds, and their life cycles, based on their knowledge of known tyre wear etc. In 2011, however, the rules now force tyre changes onto the teams, including the choice of compunds – and in doing so, the rules have forced pit stops onto the teams regardless of whether their car has to make that change or not. And that, right there, is why the current rules aren’t the same for everyone, notwithstanding that at first glance, they appear as though they are. A very good example of this is Sebastien Vettel’s drive at Monza last year when he pitted on the last lap simply because the rules said he had to – otherwise he would have finished in a much stronger position on one set of tyres for the entire Grand Prix. In my view, Red Bull were penalised that race. Their chassis was sufficiently kind to run one set of tyres for a whole Grand Prix and yet they coughed up a very strong position (2nd place if I recall correctly) for no reason other than the rules said they had to.

        There isn’t an easy solution to this, obviously. There is a “sweet spot” between viewing numbers and technological innovation that the FIA are hoping to occupy, but the net result is that F1 continues to become closer to the NASCAR racing model, and NASCAR already occupies that space very successfully it seems to me.

  35. Jonathan Barker says:

    Hi James,

    Reb Bull are certainly looking very strong again, but along with many I am concerned by Mclaren’s problems. I read on another website that some people were pointing the finger at Mclaren’s policy of ‘using a different designer every year’. That seems amazing, and not something I had ever heard before. Would you be able to offer any further info on this, as I find it hard to believe they would have such a ridiculous policy in place.

    Many thanks

    1. cjf says:

      Renault used and as far as I know still use two design teams, one working on the following years car and the other developing the current car with manpower shifted between the two as needed.

      Worked for them in 2005/06 however they are a smaller team, I wonder if the size and nature of McLarens organisation makes it harder for the two design teams to exchange ideas and achieve continuity.

      1. Jonathan Barker says:

        Yeah, it certainly worked for Renault. Is that the case at Mclaren then with two design teams alternating, or is it more complex? I read that Eddie Jordon had lamented this approach recently, and was wondering how exactly Mclaren work: it certainly appears that since 2007/08 they’ve gone off the boil, every year starting with one problem or another.

  36. Andy C says:

    James,

    I’ve been interested to read in many places that McLaren are in big trouble. I’m not sure I totally agree.

    They are certainly off the pace, and Lewis said the balance was pretty good in the car (you’d expect that with forced weight distribution though).

    In my non engineer mind, the current car is a large departure, both in terms of rear suspension layout, and in terms of Aero from last year.

    Its clear they havent nailed it straight out of the box, but I think they can expect some bedding in time.

    There is nothing to say the car handles like the 09 one, but they do say that a slow car that handles well is really worrying. I’d much prefer a bad handling very quick one ;-)

    Great to see PDR back at the Tech centre soon. An excellent development driver.

    So James, temporary blip, or a year in the doldrums?

    P.S If I were a betting man, I wonder whether Toro Rosso might spring a surprise this year. in terms of winning a race or two.

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