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Jerez test Day 2: Schumacher rolls back the years
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Darren Heath
Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Feb 2012   |  5:17 pm GMT  |  161 comments

In today’s second day of testing at Jerez ahead of the start of the 2012 F1 season it was Michael Schumacher who set the pace, following on from Kimi Raikkonen’s performance yesterday. This test marks the first occasion the pair have shared a race track since 2006, when Schumacher retired and Raikkonen took his drive at Ferrari.

The seven times world champion was at the wheel of the 2011 Mercedes, the only top team not to bring its new car to the first test.

After some early fast laps by Red Bull’s Mark Webber, Schumacher lowered the bar set by Raikkonen yesterday to the mid 1m 18s, substantially faster than the same car managed at an early stage in 2011. This shows the development a car goes through in the course of a year. Red Bull’s Christian Horner has estimated the improvement of a car from a front running team at around two seconds from pre-season test to last Grand Prix of the year.

Schumacher was using the old Mercedes to evaluate the new Pirelli tyres and today soft and medium compounds were tried out by many teams. These are new tyres for 2012, with only the supersoft from 2011 remaining in Pirelli’s range this year.

Yesterday’s pace setter Raikkonen spent much of the morning in the Lotus garage after going off track into the gravel on an early run.

Webber was second fastest while Toro Rosso’s new boy Dan Ricciardo continues to go well in third ahead of the Force India car which was driven today by reserve driver Jules Bianchi. But the times are not yet really significant as there are various programmes at work in these early stages with the new cars.

Ferrari and McLaren continues to take their time to get up to speed. Everyone has different programmes to work through in these early days, depending on the nature of their car. Ferrari, for example, has more work than the others in terms of measuring the car’s behaviour and understanding it because it is a completely new design, a total break from the past. Most other cars are an evolution of a design philosophy from last year.


The teams need to make sure that the aerodynamic data on the track matches the data coming from the wind tunnel – this was an area where Ferrari struggled last year, for example at this early stage. Then there are new electronic systems to check over, loads passing through Ferrari’s radical new pullrod front and rear suspension need to be measured and understood. There is a lot to do before the team can start to chase some performance from it.

Exhausts
One area where there will be a lot of development for everyone over the next month is in the position of the exhausts. These have been moved by regulation, to outlaw the exhaust blown diffusers of the last two seasons. Now they must be placed, higher, further towards the front of the car and the exits must be round.

Everyone was cagey about this before testing started, with McLaren even launching its car with fake exhausts! Engineers say that the final position of the exhausts for most teams won’t be defined until the end of the testing season.

There are a number of different interpretations on view in Jerez, although nothing radical so far. Ferrari designer Nicolas Tombazis told Gazzetta dello Sport yesterday that there is nothing on any car which Ferrari hasn’t thought of.

Red Bull has the lowest exhausts, below the rear suspension arm, still working with part of the floor at least. Many teams are blowing across the bottom element of the rear wing, McLaren have their exhausts well forward in the sidepods, Lotus Renault have a straightforward exhaust exit of the kind we saw in F1 a few years ago.

Jerez Testing: Day 2

1 Schumacher Mercedes 1m18.561s 132 laps
2 Webber Red Bull 1m19.184s +0.623 97 Laps
3 Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m19.587s +1.026 100 Laps
4 Bianchi Force India 1m20.221s +1.660 46 Laps
5 Raikkonen Lotus 1m20.239s +1.678 117 Laps
6 Di Resta Force India 1m20.272s +1.711 69 Laps
7 Massa Ferrari 1m20.454s +1.893 95 Laps
8 Button McLaren 1m20.688s +2.127 85 Laps
9 Perez Sauber 1m20.711s +2.150 67 Laps
10 Maldonado Williams 1m21.197s +2.636 97 Laps
11 Kovalainen Caterham 1m21.518s +2.957 139 Laps
12 De la Rosa HRT 1m22.128s +3.567 64 Laps

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161 Comments
  1. Becken says:

    James: looks like Charlie Whiting gave thumbs up to McLaren´s and other exhaust variations.

    1. Dan Orsino says:

      doesn’t mean he can’t change his mind later….

      1. Jeff says:

        Naah!
        Charlie’s never done that before!

      2. Doobs says:

        especially if RB whinge about it ;)

    2. K says:

      nor does it mean McLaren will stick to the same exhaust design for the rest of the year.

  2. Obster says:

    Ok, if MS is using the 2011 car, does it still have the blown diffuser?

    1. Tyler says:

      I read somewhere else that indeed it does.

    2. kidVermin says:

      I read that it’s 2011 spec. And it makes sense for them to run the EBD on the 2011 otherwise the running would be nothing short of a waste.

      Out of interest James do the teams have a single chassis available to them at any given time and thus simply change the seats for each driver. If running a single chassis is a regulation then I don’t understand it, Why not allow the teams to maximise track time by allowing 2 cars during testing, testing is already non-existent as it is.

      1. James Allen says:

        To save money. It’s something they all agreed, like the whole testing restriction during the season

  3. Raz says:

    Brilliant, Nice way to send of the old car leaving the EBD aside etc, the car is way different from this time last year.. 12 days to go for the w03! it was really reminiscent of Michael of “the old” Pounding round Fiorano 132 laps!

  4. Armchair Expert says:

    “This test marks the first occasion the pair have shared a race track since 2006, when Schumacher retired and Raikkonen took his drive at Ferrari.”

    Wrong. 25th February 2008, test at Catalunya. Kimi and Schumi were both driving in F2008, Kimi was faster by a tenth.

    1. Josef says:

      Wow, you’re amazing.

    2. Dev3 says:

      Interesting but we can’t really read much into the test times as Michael&Kimi maybe tried different set up etc

    3. Syed says:

      I perfectly remember that test, Kimi was a tenth up but yes they could have been on different programmes.

  5. Hanah says:

    … and that’s how the master gets it done! Schumi 2012!! (Yes, I know I’m dreaming)

    1. Dev3 says:

      Dream often becomes reality :))

      1. Brisbane Bill says:

        No – dreams SOMETIMES become reality. I fear not in this case.

      2. Aussie Fan says:

        Based on??

      3. Brisbane Bill says:

        Well, the usual thing is for those having the dreams to have some actual influence on the achievement of those dreams. I am guessing that Hannah doesn’t have any involvement in the development or tuning of the Mercedes, so her dreams really are just that. As for Mercedes, they have failed to meet their own performance objectives for the past two seasons and they are late getting the new car to the track. I don’t usually follow much of the testing action but I can’t recall a car being late into testing and it turned out to be a winning car.

      4. Owhh..well I believe one RB7 was ‘late’ to pre-season testing and became the winning car….Ferrari in their winning streak even produced a car a the 3 or 4th race (in Brasil) and won the championship….those are from the top of my head.

        So you might start following the testing action then! ;)

    2. For sure says:

      Man it would be really like Rocky Balboa movie, if it happens

    3. franed says:

      Did you miss the part about it being last year’s car?

  6. eric weinraub says:

    I loved yesterday’s comments about how Schuey was past it, overrated, and should go find a pasture to disappear into. Well, here’s your answer!

    1. Katewise says:

      Yup. Those people should really check out the results from the Race of Champions in December where Schumacher was up there with Vettel and Button (Petrov and DC got embarrassing left behind)…

      It was particularly interesting between Button and Schumi, with either of them beating the other in each race by the tiniest fractions of time differences.

      1. kevin green says:

        Yeah thats where about’s i put Schumacher on driver ability/talent overall very good but NOT as great as his past results/titles suggest

      2. For sure says:

        Hate to disappoint you, but the drivers, F1 experts such as team principals’ opinions hold a lot more weight. We all know what the majority think.
        I find it funny when arm-chair experts know so much like “Oh this driver isn’t that good, it’s the other factors etc..”

        For me its simple, when I see a Ferrari, I know it is red, when I see Schumacher I know he is the best of his time.

      3. kevin green says:

        Sorry For sure but i always believed the only thing the other drivers and team principles etc always agreed on was that he was a purple helmet!

      4. Aussie Fan says:

        and the only reason they all have to try so hard today, because he set the bar so high re individual fitness, committment to the team, work ethic, focus & desire to win, more so than anyone has ever shown in f1 before. If everyone has stepped up a level in recent years, it is because of this.

      5. Brisbane Bill says:

        I’m with Aussie fan on this one – his approach to the sport changed it forever. He still has to be viewed as one of the greatest ever. I just think that in a sport so physically and mentally demanding as F1, age has to play its part and favour the younger drivers. OK – he may still fight at the top when it comes to the annual RoC competition but how relavant is driving a KTM Crossbow (or whatever it is called) around a tight and narrow circuit when it comes to comparing F1 performance? Hmmmm, I think nil.

      6. Dev3 says:

        @Aussie Fan +1

    2. Dan Orsino says:

      good luck to him, but if times were meaningless yesterday, why do they mean anything today??

    3. Mitchel says:

      Mind you, he is living in the past…by driving a ’11 car.

    4. wolf says:

      Only the best can take a ‘refined’ car against ‘development’ cars (which are probably sandbagging) and pull out a few quick laps. This is absolutely the best indicator of form for man and machine and means he will be at the front of the grid all year…
      Still past it, overrated and in need of a pasture.

      1. Brisbane Bill says:

        Correct (I love the sarcasm) – MS is in a 2011 car with EBD that had progressed by around 2 seconds faster by the end of the year than the start (i.e. well sorted) versus development cars that are not yet in their fastest states and whoese drivers aren’t yet driving them hard. Not sure he is totally past it but agree his time has been and gone and it should be time to exit F1.

    5. Wu says:

      Yup, the detractors are strangely silent today :D

      Seriously though, it just shows how much stock there is to be taken from testing times. It should be obvious that the 2011 car would be slower than 2012. So either Webber was on a higher fuel load, using lower revs, or a completly different programme. Red Bull have a new car to understand along with the tyres, Merc are concnetrating on only one thing – the tyres. They already know this car, so it should help understand the tyres better.

      Saying that, it was nice to see both Kimi and Schumi on the top where they belong. Maybe Fernando will be there tomorrow?

      1. james H says:

        this year the 2012 cars should be slower due to huge loss of downforce from the exhaust.Even newey said they have not yet got all the lost downforce back.

      2. kevin green says:

        Why is it obvious the 2012 cars should be faster?? F1 regulations are constantly fighting to slow the cars/keep it safe on a fine balance to a fair extent.
        In a lot if not most cases you would expect the end of last year cars to often be faster than the 1st of the next season cars with some of the development parts thrown on.
        And don’t forget the fact its early testing days with lots of random factors not to mention a not as good as suggested driver trying to save face constantly with his as ever attached other half and his team alongside!! mark my words from other posts and lets see what happens on race day and behond yawn yawn!

  7. Godfather says:

    I have a feeling that the Ferraris are not that confident or comfortable with their 2012 car.

    1. Kevin Green says:

      Not so sure if its that or just simply Massa.

    2. Syed says:

      They’re using a technology that was last seen 2001 which is the front pull rod suspension. Apart from that their car is radical and incorporates many different concepts to what they used in the past years hence they’re gathering data and understanding the behaviour of the car. They’ve admitted that they’re not yet chasing performance. Also today Alonso will step in, I reckon his feedback and contribution will take them ahead and in right direction.

  8. Joe says:

    Actually Ferrari’s got a very impressive, if not radical, exhaust system.

    http://twitpic.com/8gyhq5

    1. franed says:

      Yeah and it very clearly does not conform to
      5.8.4 d) as there is an outside wall hiding a small part of the imaginary cone from side view. But if they cut that body wall back a tad it would be ok.
      However from the photo it looks as if they have cut away both the top of the final exit pipe and the body above it. In that condition it (the pipe) does not meet the regs.So presumably they have a problem. This is also born out by the marks on the rear suspension struts.

      1. Brisbane Bill says:

        Yup – that looks like an “emergency modification” to me to mitigate a real problem they have. I hope that doesn’t compromise their new design philosophy and cause them to start the year on the back foot and then playing catch-up all year.

      2. Shiparch says:

        Does not conform but it has been given the go ahead by Charlie?

    2. Syed says:

      Are they trying to heat up the rear tyres from the exhausts?

      1. franed says:

        Maybe they are trying to achieve a Drag racing style burn-out, to get some grip from the rear ! :-)

    3. franed says:

      BTW Joe where did you get that pic?

      1. Joe says:

        I found it by chance on Adam Coopers twitter feed, as for what its supposed to do aero-wise, i vaguely remember reading somewhere that Ferrari are trying to channel what little exhaust gas there is left between the inside of the rear Tyre and the rear wing, that said i have found this,

        http://www.motorsport-total.com/bilder/2012/120207/z1328631091.jpg

        either they’ve changed the angle of the exhaust because its not working or because charlies been having words.

  9. zombie says:

    Hope this is a sign of great things to come from “The King”!

    1. Kevin Green says:

      Wet the bed get over it and waken up. Absolutely no chance Shumi will be 6th at best seasons end even if Rosberg pulls off 2nd lol lol lol :)

      1. Brisbane Bill says:

        ROFLMAO – Well said. MS in a well sorted car with EBD and others yet to put their foot fully to the floor in new development cars. Definitely still in the land of nod and dreaming.

      2. kevin green says:

        Cheers Bill! :)

      3. Dev3 says:

        maybe the wake up thing should be to you, For sure if Rosberg can pull 2nd Schumacher definitely also can be around there lets say top 3. Judging from the last season prove he still got the speed match Rosberg and sometimes faster than him in race, get highest spot which was 4th place for Merc. One thing that put his points behind Rosberg much because whether he pushed too hard in some races or DNF(that wasn’t his fault). In my opinion pulling out those circumstances he would already outscoring Rosberg last year.

      4. Kevin Green says:

        Lets see what this season Brings :)

      5. Aussie Fan says:

        Agree with you Dev3, nice response. So if Schu is past it then what is Rosberg’s excuse. Incidences aside, MS actually had a stronger season than ROS.

        Kevin, try you tubing this years RACE OF CHAMPIONS to see Schu against Vettel & Button etc if you want to see if he still has what it takes. It might make you change your argument somewhat.

  10. kevsuths says:

    can’t wait for the season to start!!

    I hope the cars will be bunched up this year and get some closer racing

    1. K says:

      I hope Vettel will be the last of the pack in that closed up bunch.

  11. Andrew Cumbria says:

    Its looking tantalising cant wait for last Barcelona test, as thats when we start to get an idea of form. But from the longer run pace it seems the Red Bull is still faster. Damn Adrian Newey

  12. Chris says:

    James,

    Any chance one day we could have some pictures of the different exhaust setups?

    1. K says:

      James gets his photos off Darren Heathe, so it’s better to ask Darren lol.

  13. goferet says:

    Hahaa always warms the heart to see the Kaiser top any timesheet but as things stand now days, the old boy is just blowing hot air.

    Am sure Mercedes won’t have the car to challenge for wins again for if Mercedes had the car, Schumi would without a doubt have won this year but as the F1 record books state, Schumi – 91 wins, Prost – 51 wins, Senna – 41 wins, Mansell – 31 wins, just show that Schumi is stuck on 91 wins for all the greats wins end with a 1 at the end.

    Now am pretty excited for it seems we have the old Iceman back for even though the Lotus turns out to be slow, it appears the Kimster has got his hunger back as judged by his threatrics today —> Good for the fans!

    Anyway it seems Red Bull have the jump on everybody again & now no longer care to hide the fact & as we have seen in past pre seasons, the cars that are fast out the box go on to be fast during the season, no question about it e.g. Brawn & Schumi’s Ferrari’s back in the day.

    Meanwhile worrying times at Maranello for despite the PR campaign by their Twitter feed to try & calm the fears, whenever that dreaded paint comes out & is smeared all over the wings = Alarm bells = No one really knows what the hell they’re doing.

    As for Williams & Caterham as for the times from yesterday & today, their times are pretty close & with both of them having the same engines, these two just might be joined at the heap all season.

    P.s.

    No doubt about it, testing F1 cars is flipping boring *Yaaawn*

    Can’t wait for it to end

    1. Dave says:

      So the two quick cars out the box the last two years, Sauber and Mercedes, went on to have awesome seasons?

    2. Wu says:

      Maybe he can still win 10 more?

      The day he announced his 3 year plan I immidietly thought he will try to take another record away from Fangio – the oldest driver to win the WDC. From things he said today, if Merc constantly improves this year, and Schumi’s form continues from last year (race pace anyway) I can see Schumi signing on for at least one more year. We’re months away from the decision he has to make. If all goes well I really believe he’ll sign up for more.

      1. Aussie Fan says:

        Thats exactly what I read into the “We might not be ready to challenge for the title this year, but I still want to challenge for the title” comments too :-) good stuff.

    3. Andrew says:

      “for all the greats wins end with a 1 at the end.”

      You seem to have forgotten a few greats in your assessment. What about Clark (25 wins), Stewart(27 wins) and Fangio (24 wins). Also, at the end of the 2011 season, Fangio had a winning percentage of 47.06 compared to Shumacher’s 31.6…

      1. goferet says:

        @Andrew You seem to have forgotten a few greats in your assessment. What about Clark (25 wins), Stewart(27 wins) and Fangio (24 wins).
        ————————————————

        Actually I was referring to the drivers with the most wins in the sport i.e. Schumi, Senna, Prost and Mansell.

        @ Wu

        No Way!

        A 40+ something winning 10 races with modern day F1 as it is, can’t see it happening

      2. Aussie Fan says:

        Why? Seriously, why? does he look stuffed getting out of the car? I just don’t get this attutide, if you are fit enough, you vcan do it, no question.

        60 year olds still win in Porsche cup, the only reason they can’t still drive f1 is that the physical g forces are too great for their fitness at that age, but if a driver is 40 + yet still getting out of the car at the end of the race physically ok, then all this “oooh he’s too old” talk is just pure rubbish.

  14. Wu says:

    The one area Merc has been dismal at is understanding their own car. Their strategy is one of necessity rather than a clever plan. I guess developing the car a little longer is a bonus, but make no mistakes – they want to understand the tyres as well as possible, and the best way to do that is to use the car they really understand – the ’11 car.

    This makes me a little worried for them. It seems the team lacks the skillset to understand and set up their car properly from the get go. Having less time with the new one makes this problem even more dire. What makes this even worse is development – if they can’t understand their car they’re more likely to develop upgrades in the wrong direction wasting time, and losing touch with the front runners.

    Merc have perfect ingriedients for success – both good drivers that push themselves and eachother hard, an excellent team boss, great pit crew, and the backing of a huge motoring company, and yet they still fall short. I think it’s about time to look for blame, and the blame seems to me lie with the Merc staff. Somewhere in the system there are people who don’t know what they’re doing, and those people should be replaced ASAP.

    1. John says:

      I think you may have hit the nail on the head. The Merc staff…

      The same thing happened when Mercedes took full control of Ilmor – the first thing they did was ignore everything the British engineers said and went back to first principles … before finally arriving back where the British engineers said they should be.

      Sometimes it seems hard to think the Mercedes team are, essentially, the same team that Honda put together and created Button’s championshio winning car.

    2. K says:

      I agree with Wu and John (John Wu / Woo?? heh).

      Considering the current Merc staff were effectively Honda in the old guise, what Honda did with their 2007 / 2008 dream cars totally cocked up their seasons back then.

      I recall back in 2007/2008, Jenson Button commented on his car saying the setup could never be right. If you try to adjust the front, the rear would be wrong, and vice versa, and seemed like the front and rear always ‘argued’ with each other.

      In 2009 when they won in Brawn guise, they only did due to a loophole they found which no other front running team found (yes Toyota + Williams did but they weren’t front runners, and failed to exploit that fully over the entire season). At around Spa or so, Jenson Button again commented on saying the car didn’t feel the same as the one he drove at the start of the season.

      There shows you something is definitely wrong in the design team, they just can’t get things right there. As said by Wu, there needs to be blame to be laid. If anyone I’d put it on the design team.

    3. james H says:

      before they were merc they had 1 good season with brawn and before that they were honda.They had all the same troubles then.Also I think using the 2011 car at first test is just because they could not get 2012 car ready in time.Maybe they have somthing new maybe they are having trouble.But mclaren did the same last year and we all know how there test time went.

    4. kevin green says:

      Penny not dropped yet WU thats why Shumi is there from Mercedes/Brawn point of view car development the ONE thing he is outstanding for. If he does well on race day its simply a bonus nothing else

      1. Dev3 says:

        “If he does well on race day its simply a bonus nothing else”
        Simply a bonus???? Are you work in Mercedes AMG Petronas or Schumacher’s 2nd manager lol lol

      2. kevin green says:

        If he does not win the title finish in the top 3 behind Rosberg or finishes behind Rosberg pretty much full stop pick this up again at the seasons end. Bets im right FINAL season if even that far!

      3. Dev3 says:

        He can win or not much depend on what Merc can bring for this year car and how he finishes can depend on some circumstances such as mechanical failure etc that shown in last season.
        Now kevin green a fortune teller

      4. Aussie Fan says:

        So should Rosberg retire if MS finishes in front of him in the points this year too? lol…

      5. Brisbane Bill says:

        Yes, I would say so.

  15. Sammy's says:

    Hi James,

    I’ll be heading to Barcelona in 2 weeks to watch F1 testing.
    Do you know if there’s a chance to have a walk in the pitlane or paddock?
    Thanks,

    1. Katewise says:

      I’d really like to know this too, as I’m going to be in Barcelona on the 21st (the first day)!

      Maybe I’ll see you there :)

  16. CarlH says:

    Interesting to hear that the top teams can improve the car by up to 2 seconds per lap between the first test and the last Grand Prix. I had always imagined it to be a bit less than that.

    I wonder how much improvement the likes of HRT and Marussia can manage?

    1. K says:

      I bet you if you put their old cars up against today’s front-running team cars, they’d still be a lot slower.

      1. CarlH says:

        Definitely. I’m struggling to see what HRT are trying to achieve in F1, they don’t seem to be improving.

        At least Marussia are trying to go down a different route after the link-up with Wirth Research failed.

  17. Eduan says:

    I believe 2012 is a breakthrough year for Schumacher and Mercedes.

  18. Wu says:

    James, Schumacher said something eye catching today.

    “I don’t think we can realistically achieve a championship car immediately from where we started last year, we have to build our way there,” Schumacher explained.

    “I am confident we can do that, but let’s take it step by step. We work longer on our car, but if this was the only secret we should have shown all the cars later.”

    “I’m still around to fight for the championship. Whether we can or cannot do that is something to be proven this year – or whenever.”

    Isn’t this confirming he’d rather stay in the sport after this year? OK, Merc’s performance and level of improvement are probably very important to Schumi’s decision, but to me it seems the motivation and the desire is still there. What’s your take on this?

    1. Dev3 says:

      I hope Schumacher still race in 2014 as it will be the revolution in F1

    2. Kevin Green says:

      Schumi WONT be racing a F1 car next year unless Rosberg jumps to Ferrari Redbull or Mclaren and i cant see that. Odds on i reckon De Rista takes his seat next yr yet of course unless he gets a better offer. Reckon even in Shumi’s eyes the key reason he is there is for car development the one thing he has been certainly good for with Brawn over the years but of course with the hope of doing well. The latter has not worked and will not work not good enough!

      1. Wu says:

        Whatever your opinion of him, I’m sure everyone will agree he has a scary self belief. Take last year, there was a question posed to him, who in the team was faster, he said it was him. Now, maybe it was true during races (on average), but the margin wasn’t as big as his gap to Rosberg during qualifying.

        Drivers like Schumi are very good at having blinkers on. Last race of 2010, Schumacher was inches away from death, when Liuzzi (I think) tried mating his car with Schumacher’s. The car came chillingly close to Schumi’s head. He never gave it a second thought. (I remember some celebrity saying they had a conversation with him soon afterwards and he really did act like the incident never happened)

        A similar, but negative thing concerns the Barichello Hungary incident. I doubt Schumi ever saw himself at fault, or even that he was driving dangerously.

        So to end the long-winded riposte, no, Schumacher will never be scared off a team by Rosberg or anyone else, because in his mind he’s simply better.

      2. kevin green says:

        What are you rattling about?? i doubt he will want to carry on if not in the top 3 this season and even so anyway i reckon he will be removed from the seat anyway.
        Unless of course he wins the title which HE wont.

        Never got a scare after the Liuzzi close shave?? bloody right he did in the post incident interview i and im sure most others seen something quite different in his face/body language not to mention eyes than usual no matter what he said!!

      3. Kevin Green says:

        Well devvy the facts will be the facts come the seasons end :) But dont be surprised to see him flung out of that seat BEFORE the seasons end :o

      4. John Z says:

        Kevin, if Schumacher decides to continue in 2014 for Mercedes, he will. It hasn’t been a winning car and that is not down to Schumacher. Rosberg has won 0 times just like Michael. Rosberg has been superior in qualifying but he doesn’t have many podiums to show for it. Mercedes is very happy with their drivers. They have one who they believe is a future superstar and they have another who has won 91 times. Unless Vettel is coming to Mercedes, Schumacher won’t be pushed out on anything less than his own terms.

      5. kevin green says:

        Yeah happy with half the package for development purposes But that can only be the case for so long. (got a feeling the car will be good this season) anyway seasons end Shumi is gone regardless WAIT and see!!

      6. Dev3 says:

        @Kevin Whether Schumacher stay or not for next season down to himself, If he decided to stay i believe Mercedes will grant it as he is a big name and very value for the team in many aspects. As Tost said “”Michael brings so many other advantages that outweigh that. Do you think Mercedes would still be so much in the spotlight if Michael Schumacher left?”

      7. kevin green says:

        Sorry dev it does not matter how much a driver brings to a team in development purposes if the team ain’t right on the winning pulse either through that driver or the team mate it is simply not a justifiable situation year after year simple as!. that is why this WILL be his last season unless he remarkably wins the title (sure he wont by a margin) or say Rosberg does and he finishes top 3 or 4 which is also unlikely! Odds on thats Paul’s seat next yr But there’s obv possibilities on other depending on the end of yr musical chairs.

      8. Dev3 says:

        Sorry Kev have to totally disagree with you, to build a winning team takes time as Schumacher showed in Ferrari for sure if the team get in the right direction this year saying in top 3 or 2 and if Schumacher himself wants to stay beyond this season i am sure Mercedes will be very happy to extend his contract, we are talking about Schumacher here not a rookie or any average driver beside his big name that for sure attracted more sponsor and boosting the Mercedes team than an average driver he show he still got the speed. Michael kind of giving a hint that he would stay beyond this year: Asked whether he still believed he could win a record eighth drivers’ crown, Schumacher said: “Absolutely. I’m still around to fight for the championship. Whether we can or cannot do that is something to be proven this year – or whenever.”

        As for your post:”unless he remarkably wins the title (sure he wont by a margin) or say Rosberg does and he finishes top 3 or 4 which is also unlikely!” Have to totally totally disagree with this one, if Rosberg can win the title for sure Michael can be in top 3 or 2 or even fight the championship with Rosberg judging from his last year pace(especially in race). Saying Rosberg can win title and Schumacher can’t be in top 3 or 4 just really devalue your post imo.

      9. Dev3 says:

        And from the chairman himself:
        New deal for Schumacher possible admits Zetsche-”He is still a motor sports icon,” he added. http://motorsport.nextgen-auto.com/New-deal-for-Schumacher-possible-admits-Zetsche,36643.html

      10. Kevin Green says:

        Cant wait to pick this topic up for a update at mid season for an update and the seasons end. defo one to reflect on :)

  19. Dan Orsino says:

    James do you know if Schumacher was using last year’s blown diffuser on last year’s car?

    1. Tyler says:

      Im not James….sorry to interject, but I did read on another site… F1Planet maybe.. that he did have the blown diffuser on the car.

      1. RodgerT says:

        PlanetF1 is good for inflammatory headlines, regurgitated stories from other sources, and flame wars. But I wouldn’t rely on it for accurate information. Doesn’t keep me from going there for entertainment value of course. :-)

        However I’ve seen it said in multiple places that they are indeed running the EBD.

      2. Tyler says:

        THAT is a true statement…ive come to realize your right on the money there.

    2. bob says:

      The pictures I saw had the exhaust moved up to comply with the new regulations. It’s still the old nose and wing though.

    3. Aneesh says:

      Yes,I read on Autosport that he was driving the full spec 2011 W02

  20. Rich C says:

    Pretty sensible, if you ask me, to be testing the new *tires with a known car for a benchmark.

  21. type056 says:

    Hi James.
    If the aerodynamic data on the track do not matches the wind tunnel and CFD data then what is the matter?

    1. K says:

      Then the results from the wind tunnel aren’t correct, with a consequence of what you saw last year with the Ferrari.

      ||-____-”””

  22. Max Wright says:

    Who is Renualt, I see Lotus, Caterham, Red Bull and Williams, but no Renault team?

    1. Katewise says:

      Lotus is (Renault) :)

    2. Richard D says:

      The team formerly known as Renault is now Lotus. The team formerly known as Team Lotus is now Caterham!

    3. Siva Rambala says:

      Renault is only supplying engines this year and they don’t have any association left with Lotus. Red Bull is their works team for 2012 and beyond

    4. Kevin Green says:

      PMSL enjoy your coma????

    5. Brisbane Bill says:

      …and Bridgestone have been replaced by Pirelli and Max Mosely has been replaced by Napoleon Boneparte and Bernie Ecclestone has been replaced by Dobby. Or am I still drifting in and out of my own coma?

    6. K says:

      Not your fault, this is quite damn confusing to be honest.

  23. Sebee says:

    I can’t can the image of cutlery out of my mind every time I see these noses at the angle of this Lotus picture. It’s a sad day when F1 designers get their aero ideas from forks. I don’t think I’ll come to terms with this look.

  24. KGBVD says:

    James, any plans to do a comparative technical feature describing the different solution teams have come up with for the various current challenges, e.g. noses, exhausts, etc.

    There are so many tech questions for 2012: What the impact of McLaren’s conventional nose? Ferrari’s sidepods? RedBull’s air intake on the step? Mercedes’ front wing?

  25. RichardB says:

    i know it’s very early days and all were running different programs but mclarens pace looks a bit worrying already

    1. HansB says:

      Ohh common.. they are only 2 days testing now… don’t be fooled by the speed of the cars just yet. Remember in what position McLaren was last year compared to ferrari f.i. and see how things changed at the first GP.

    2. james says:

      they’re sand bagging. by feeding jenson steak 3 times a day the extra weight accounts for 0.8s, enough to keep up with webba in the rb

    3. Ross Dixon says:

      Ridiculous statement to make!!!!!!!! Ferrari were slower on day 1 so are they worse off??????

      No one can say yet!

      1. K says:

        I agree that it was a riciculous statement lol… casual viewers most probably.

      2. RichardB says:

        wow you guys know how to over react. admittedly i’m a bit of a worrier but it’s only because i want them to do well. i did emphasize I know it’s early days, keep your pants on

  26. Kris Grzegorczyk says:

    Are you in Jerez, James?

    If so, am very interested to know if you can tell anything from driver demeanours.

    Obviously most drivers are either cagey or towing a company PR line so early in tests but, having been in and around this environment for so long surely it’s possible to get a sense from drivers as to how happy they feel and whether they have good or bad feelings about a car.

    Anything like that to pick up on this year?

    1. Aussie Fan says:

      You mean keith?

      1. Aussie Fan says:

        haha whoops, no you don’t! My bad.

  27. franed says:

    The exhaust rules are fairly well defined but do leave a large volume of space permissible for the exit points. They do not need to be visible at all, but a cone of space immediately behind them does, vis:

    5.8.3 The last 100mm of any tailpipe must in its entirety :
    a) Form a thin‐walled unobstructed right circular cylinder whose internal diameter is no
    greater than 75mm with its axis at +/‐10° to the car centre line when viewed from above
    the car and between +10° and +30° (tail‐up) to the reference plane when viewed from
    the side of the car. The entire circumference of the exit should lie on a single plane
    normal to the tailpipe axis and be located at the rearmost extremity of the last 100mm
    of the tailpipe.
    b) Be located between 250mm and 600mm above the reference plane.
    c) Be located between 200mm and 500mm from the car centre line.
    d) Be positioned in order that the entire circumference of the exit of the tailpipe lies
    between two vertical planes normal to the car centre line and which lie 500mm and
    1200mm forward of the rear wheel centre line.
    5.8.4 Once the exhaust tailpipes, the bodywork required by Article 3.8.4 and any apertures
    permitted by Article 3.8.5 have been fully defined there must be no bodywork lying within a right circular truncated cone which :
    a) Shares a common axis with that of the last 100mm of the tailpipe.
    b) Has a forward diameter equal to that of each exhaust exit.
    c) Starts at the exit of the tailpipe and extends rearwards as far as the rear wheel centre
    line.
    d) Has a half‐cone angle of 3° such that the cone has its larger diameter at the rear wheel
    centre line.
    Furthermore, there must be a view from above, the side, or any intermediate angle
    perpendicular to the car centre line, from which the truncated cone is not obscured by any
    bodywork lying more than 50mm forward of the rear wheel centre line.

  28. JimmiC says:

    I love how the cars evolve over such a relatively short space of time. I remember one expert in the late-90s highlighting this by saying that a Minardi used at the end of season Japanese Grand Prix and sent back in time would be fast enough to win the opening Australian Grand Prix of that season

    1. K says:

      Yes, unfortunately for them they are always one year behind, and can never make two year-jump ahead to keep up.

  29. Robin says:

    Read earlier that Mercedes’ plan to run the old car is they have an interesting front wing for 2012 that they didn’t want to show until later….

  30. Your_mum says:

    Looks like Ferrari are struggling. Excellent, should bring them down a few pegs.

    1. Doobs says:

      But still ahead of Maccas..

    2. John Z says:

      If they were bringing out red flags and breaking down on the track, you might have a point. They haven’t had any failures and they have completed their planned testing programs over the first 2 days in Jerez. And somehow during all these supposed struggles, Massa set a faster time than Button. McLaren have been every bit as underwhelming this early as has Ferrari. Red Bull are clearly the team to beat.

  31. AlexD says:

    It looks like it is again Red Bull followed by McLaren and LDM might not exactly be right to call this year a “red year”…at least not because of Ferrari dominance.
    Ferrari is not showing anything good…

    1. KRB says:

      This is the FIRST test! You can’t tell anything from this. As the BBC said, the fastest times in the Jerez practice session last year were set by Massa, Heidfeld, Schumacher, and Barrichello. Two are now out of F1, while the other two ran second to their teammates. All had fairly underwhelming seasons.

      Teams like Ferrari and McLaren can do the bounceback from testing to first race. I was frankly amazed last year how much McLaren improved from testing to the first race last year. I would never discount Ferrari.

      So far, I think the Red Bull looks good, but it seems that they are partaking in what I call “loser talk” more than they have in previous seasons. That was usually McLaren’s territory, saying things were great until having to recant and say things were crappy. Who knows, maybe Button is deluding himself, but it just seems to me that McLaren this year are not talking trash like in previous years. Whereas Newey’s comment yesterday about McLaren not raising their chassis in ’09 being a mistake, just seemed to me to be something that wouldn’t have been said if there was any real advantage to letting a rival continue down a fruitless path.

      But, as I said at the outset, this is the first test … nothing concrete can be gleaned from the results so far.

    2. Jeff says:

      Way too early to tell. As an example, Day three of last year’s first test finished in this order:
      Renault
      Force India
      Mclaren
      Red Bull
      Ferrari
      Virgin
      Williams
      Sauber
      Mercedes
      Toro Rosso
      HRT
      Lotus

      Not exactly a good indicator of final championship positions. We won’t really start getting a good idea of where they stand until Q1 of the first race

    3. Doobs says:

      Ferrari(7th) and then Maccas (8th) propping up the field. Testing times eh..?

  32. Andy says:

    So, did Schumi’s car have the blown diffuser or not???

      1. Kevin Green says:

        Which says quite a lot regarding todays times Schumi lovers, Unlucky!

      2. Anil says:

        Huh? Obv it was going to have the EBD otherwise they couldn’t directly compare the tires. People are excited about Schumi’s times because of what he did yesterday in terms of his driving..check out peter windsors blog, he explains it quite well there.

      3. kevin green says:

        Suppose he is going to be crap on race day because he cant be bothered is he???

      4. Aussie Fan says:

        must be, meanwhile its the devil’s fault hamilton is not going well.

  33. proxomos says:

    i know it’s very early days and all were running different programs but mclarens pace looks a bit worrying already

    lol ;)

    Mclaren are on it, them and red bull most consistent so far. Lewis tomorrow hopefully he won’t give too much away.

    1. KRB says:

      Is the adage “if it looks good, then it will be quick”, or “if it looks quick, it usually is”? If it’s the first, then McLaren will storm away. If it’s the latter, then there are others that look quick.

  34. Pete says:

    :)Nice to see where schumacher belongs, 1st.
    8wdc!! C-mon

  35. jT says:

    The cars sound so much better when they’re not ‘farting’ through the corners. I’m really going to miss the v8′s in 2014.

  36. Anup Kadam says:

    Last year at Jerez Williams set the fastest time of all the 4 days test session. but they were not fast enough when the season began. SO please don`t read into the testing times…

  37. Syed says:

    Wonder if other have noticed or not but I have noticed that many teams have gone with stealth black rims on their cars, noticeably Mclaren, Sauber and Toro Rosso with Ferrari going with bright silver and same for Red Bull. But boy black looks real good especially on Mclaren and Toro Rosso, perhaps inspired by Lambo’s Reventon or Aventador!

  38. Paul Mc says:

    Not getting too over excited with the lap times, as Schumi was fast last year in testing and look what happened.

    Really excited as i will be at the next test in Barcelona. 16 years watching the sport and this is the first time ill get to see an F1 car in action. If anyones there ill be a walking Mercedes advertisement and ill be tweeting from there hopefully so say hi! (@SoSchuMe)

    Bring it!

  39. Brian L says:

    James

    While testing, are the teams required to comply with all the technical regulations that apply during the season?
    Can a team make adjustments that would temporarily make a car appear more competitive than it will be in race trim?

    1. James Allen says:

      No, but they do have to pass the crash test before testing now.

      1. kevin green says:

        On that James do all the teams (or most have crash testing rigs onsite ??

      2. James Allen says:

        No, it’s done at a special centre

      3. Kevin Green says:

        That must be somewhat restricting, Surprised at least some would not have there own Duplicate crash test facilities to keep things flowing more so on the pulse as far as design goes.

      4. Brisbane Bill says:

        Why? Is there a requirement for the nose cone to pass a specific crash test? If so, then that would make sense. If it is only the chassis/tub that needs to pass the test thenthat rarely gets changed during the year so no need for re-tests as all the bits that change are bolt-ons.

  40. Firezombie says:

    Schumi should have never come back. Deep down I think he came back just to p@s off Barichello and take on his record for most appearances in F1. :) haha

    1. Aussie Fan says:

      yeah a guy that can still beat his 1/2 age teammate whilst hating the handling of the car must be past it hey….wow@haters.

      1. Dev3 says:

        @Aussie Fan Nice one

    2. Kevin Green says:

      Yeah Firezombie but you have to give credit to the guy for doing the honourable thing and coming back to let EVERYONE inc the blind understand exactly how average a F1 driver he really is.

      I really admire the guy for that. Hats off :) :)

      1. Brisbane Bill says:

        No. As much as I think it is time for MS to retire, he came back more to have a go at Ferrari for forcing his premature retirement and enabling that particular story to be told. He couldn’t say anything all the time he was a Ferrari ambassador. He is still a quick driver and clearly needed for his development skills as Rosberg doesn’t seem to be cutting it there. He is just a quick driver when given a quick car (plenty of those around).

        There was a faint dream that he could write a fairytale ending to his F1 career but that seems unlikely now. Merc still need him until their car is sorted and they secure Hamilton or another younger driver with car development skills. Then Rosberg will go too.

      2. dev3 says:

        @Kevin Green an average driver with 7 WDC and consider one of the greatest.
        Hats off to you

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