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Jerez Test Day 3: Rosberg on top but Grosjean and Lotus going well
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Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Feb 2012   |  6:22 pm GMT  |  118 comments

Formula 1 has six world champions in the field this year and today three of them stepped out of their cars, having done the early test work while three others stepped in. It was the turn of Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton to get their first taste of the Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren respectively.

Meanwhile Nico Rosberg came in for Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes and continued to set the pace; the German running the same 2011 specification car with the blown diffuser as the team builds up data on the new generation Pirelli tyres.

Rosberg did his fastest time on a single lap run, edging out Romain Grosjean in the Lotus who did his time on the first lap of a six lap run. Grosjean covered 117 laps today and did a long run of 20 laps in the afternoon with times in the 1m 22s dropping to 1m 24s.

Everyone apart from Mercedes is coping with the loss of the downforce and rear end stability that the EBD brought. Of the 2012 cars on show the Red Bull seems to be handling as expected, able to knock off the lap times at will, without yet showing what it can do when pushed to the limit. Vettel set his time on the second lap of a four lap run and his long run pace indicated that at all stages he was carrying a lot of fuel.

Ferrari and McLaren are feeling their way, not even exploring the limits yet. Ferrari continue to make gentle progress with their revolutionary new car. Its engineers have been saying that some new things on the car, like the pullrod suspension, are working as expected, while others, like the exhausts are more complicated to understand and make the most of.

Alonso’s best today of 1m20.412s was set on the first lap of an eight lap run, while Hamilton’s 1m 19.464s was done on the first lap of a five lap run. Fuel loads are unknown in the case of all the short runs.

When he left Jerez yesterday, Felipe Massa told the Italian media that, “There is a lot of work to do, perhaps a little more than we had anticipated.” Massa spent much of his time data logging, but did observe that the F2012 Ferrari has less understeer than its predecessors and has “gigantic potential”. But there’s a lot of work to do to bed down a completely new concept before extracting those vital few final tenths of a second.

McLaren too has been taking small steps with its car, but today engineering boss Paddy Lowe said that Jenson Button had given the car a thumbs up as one he could “do business with.”

Bruno Senna took the wheel of the Williams and covered 125 laps, the most of any driver today. Caterham’s recently announced new tester Guido van der Garde got an outing today too, trying KERS for the first time. Heikki Kovalainen has given the new Caterham the thumbs up, saying that be believes it is closer to the midfield pace they have been hoping for.

FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting took the unusual step of attending the test to check on some of the interpretations of the new rules. He’s already intervened to ba Lotus’ innovative brake stabilisation system. But he gave the thumbs up to the exhaust exits on the Ferrari, which some rivals had questioned. He did however say that aero devices on brake ducts which channel the exhaust gases to the diffuser would not be permitted. This is a concept that some engineers were talking about during the launch season.

One whisper doing the rounds is that former Sauber technical director James Key has been linked with a move to Lotus Cars to work on their sportcar programme.

JEREZ TEST, Day 3
1 Rosberg Mercedes 1m17.613s 118 Laps
2 Grosjean Lotus 1m18.419s +0.806 117 Laps
3 Vettel Red Bull 1m19.297s +1.684 96 Laps
4 Hamilton McLaren 1m19.464s +1.851 80 Laps
5 Vergne Toro Rosso 1m19.734s +2.121 79 Laps
6 Perez Sauber 1m19.770s +2.157 48 Laps
7 Alonso Ferrari 1m20.412s +2.799 67 Laps
8 Senna Williams 1m21.293s +3.680 125 Laps
9 Van der Garde Caterham 1m23.324s +5.711 74 Laps

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118 Comments
  1. kevin green says:

    mmmmm like i have previously said Ferrari and Mercedes are up to something!

    1. Tealeaf says:

      Why are Ferrari up to something?

      1. kevin green says:

        Check the lap times this morning and NOTE the timing of the runs and more so the track temp. thankyou!

    2. jay jacob says:

      Vettel’s comment : “Now we wait for the Mercedes and then we know a little bit more…”

      This comment needs a bit more tinkering to understand what Red Bull is thinking about. JA, let me know if below is plausible or not.

      Mercedes used its 2011 chassis to evaluate Pirelli’s new compounds and its effect to performance as a variable. When they use the new chassis, they will roughly know how much downforce loss is to be expected, setup the car based on the new tyres’ characteristics, and then tweak the package to extract max performance.

      Red Bull, McLaren and especially Ferrari have had a lot more new variables to contend with, and because of this, it’s probably more tricky to narrow down the new tyre’s contribution to performance.

      Back to Vettel’s comment above, Lotus is +0.8s ahead of Red Bull (RB) but it doesn’t sound like RB’s worried; if reports are true that RB ran with high fuel loads, then this gap is not worrisome.

      But, RB’s gap to Merc is +1.6s and this is a bit too much just due to fuel alone; maybe RB is keen to know how much downforce will be lost with Merc’s interpretation of 2012′s new regs.

      This is all speculation of course, but it’s interesting to discuss why Vettel made that comment; what’s clear is that RB has its eye on Merc’s developments.

      1. James Allen says:

        Yes but against that Merc have less time before the first race to bed down a new car. If the concept is different from 2011 model – as Ferrari’s is – then that will take time. Merc need something new because the 2011 car wasn’t good enough, too conservative

      2. jay jacob says:

        Thank you JA for the reply, appreciate you taking time to do so.

        Yes, Merc does have less time to develop their car and this may work against them. Hopefully, this will bring top-of-the-grid closer and more competitive.

        Cheers!

      3. Wayne says:

        The strongest early indicator for me is Hamilton’s obsession with commenting on the other cars. So far he has commented that the Ferrari, RBR and Lotus all look quick. With a reasonable yet still completely ephemeral idea of Hamilton’s mentality having watched him for ten years, this suggests that Hamilton sees something that worries him (he is terrible at hiding such emotions). He does not sound clamly and serenely confident like SV does at this point. I think Lewis might just implode if he starts the year with the third fastest car.

      4. Didn’t Button make pretty much exactly the same comments? And Webber? And pretty much every driver who’s been interviewed from the top teams. Standard testing blurb…

      5. kevin green says:

        I feel Mercedes are just frankly confident that what they bring to the table is simply going to work out of the box. Must be wondering about Ferrari now though!!

    3. Wayne says:

      I thought McLaren were up to something when they launched their “plastic” car, now I’m not so sure.

      James, how is it that HRT are continually allowed to get away with being a complete discredit to the sport? They will not even test their car until the third and final test session! That’s three years in a row these guys have launched their car ‘late’, this year it has failed two separate crash tests so far, an issue which brings me onto my next point. How can it be safe for teams to begin testing their car so late or even, as we have seen previously, rock up to the first race weekend and begin their test programme on a ‘live’ track? I absolutely support the entry of new independent teams into the mix, but these guys have had three years to get their act together and have made precisely zero meaningful progress as far as I can tell. Teams like HRT take up valuable advertising space and grid slots while giving absolutely nothing to the sport in return. There really should be a ‘minimum miles run’ rule to ensure that all cars on the grid are safe and are at least competent participants.

      Is this the farcical RRA showing it’s true, worthless, colours or are HRT just a pointless entity?

      1. Kevin Green says:

        Reckon HRT would be as well throw on a set of mud and snows and see how they fare in the WRC!! :)

        Catching up on them up them at the wrong time in the wrong place taking into account when each drivers pit stops pan out can be the difference between someone catching and winning the race etc etc so much variables can be created from it.

        Reckon a good rule that could work is if your lapped three times or possibly even twice (maybe harsh) your off back to the pits and out, if nothing else it would encourage the teams to get there heads down and develop and the drivers try harder (if there was scope to) more than anything would.

  2. veeru says:

    i went and read the Day 3 report at

    1. bbc.co.uk/f1
    2. skysports.com/formula1
    3. formula1.com
    4. autosport.com

    They all have info that is more than what is here, but the difference is they are all the same and mundane….blah blah….

    but here it is like we had a chat with a friend who has been actually at the circuit….

    way to go JA…

    1. Daniel Williams from Aust says:

      Agreed, always very informative JA! Keep it coming!

  3. AlexD says:

    James, you are around for many years…
    How can LDM claim that it will be a red season before anything started and now people see that Ferrari is not really shocking people in terms of speed or reliability. I know, early days…but some things become visible.
    I do not think it will be a winning year for Ferrari.

    1. James Allen says:

      Early days. I think the Ferrari will be very fast, but it’s so new

      1. Kevin Green says:

        +1 as will the Merc i reckon

      2. rob in victoria bc says:

        Luca says ‘It will be a red year’ every year, whether he thinks it will be or not.

      3. Kevin Green says:

        Don’t think he is too far from reality this time though rob, had a hunch on it since mid summer.

    2. bob says:

      Before testing even started, Alonso was saying to Spanish media that they don’t really expect the changes to pay off until the first European stint of the season.

      1. AlexD says:

        I do not know, I only know what LDM said – they expect to dominate. How exactly is yet to be seen. LDM talks way too much

  4. Vipin says:

    What if, it was a Brawn’s repeat for Lotus this year?

    1. Kevin Green says:

      ??? Then they would probably win in a similar fashion! lol

    2. Kl says:

      Would be exactly what F1 needs right now.

      For Kimi in a Lotus to grab the title would be an even better story than the Brawn one.

      But I a afraid it will be like 2011…a few good races at the start of the season, then fighting with Sauber and Torro Rosso.

      And Vettel easily beating the others because he is the man to beat (not just the car).

      1. mikee says:

        Dear K
        [mod] regarding vettle is great and not just the car
        yes he won in 2010 and 2011 and webber does not lose 1 second to vettle in a winter break
        ive whatched F1 since the like of Jackie Stuart and Graham Hill to present and no driver is ever 1 or 2second’s quicker
        it is the car plain and simple
        Vettle is a great driver and is within the reach of Clark – Senna – Schumacker – Alonso
        but to say he’s better is an insult
        sorry to be blunt
        My own son is in a Rotax Championship and i can tell you that once i bought him a newer chassi and new engine he found 2 seconds from his last kart on a lap
        Jeson won the Formul;ar ford championship because he had the only new chassi for that year
        I know because i know his team mates father who informed me of it
        and by the way at the same tracks Lewis raced on in Karts
        there were better drivers who never got the breaks
        Racing is 50% skill 20% brains and 30% luck
        if i had 150 grand my son could be on the podium in such events as Super one or Kart Stars
        its all in the equipment and having the skill to use it
        Looking forwartd to a four + fight for the 2012 F1 Championship
        Thats
        Alonso
        Vettel
        Hamilton
        Webber
        Maybe Button
        Cheers

      2. Kl says:

        Where did I say it is just Vettel?

      3. Kevin Green says:

        Almost agree with all that Mikee But the Shumacher bit perhaps regardless if wins/titles.

        hard to get a exact read on Vettel he is certainly not mid pack but at the same time would not simply put him in the top 5.

        Would not be ruling out Mercedes yet by any means ,reckon there up to something but fear it might be pretty much what Ferrari are up to (which is working) and they may have the jump on them and be better at it anyway.

        And of course Lotus maybe against even his own Belief Kimi has landed in the right car at the right time not to mention the apparently hot so far young team mate. Just maybe!

    3. JohnBt says:

      Then Kimi will be smiling and more talkative. But I do hope he gets a good car come race day.

  5. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    My first impression, Lotus is competitive for the start of the season.

    Both drivers got on top of the 2012 spec cars, regardless the programme they did.

    1. Jean-Christophe says:

      It’s early days. They looked competitive last year too. As did Ferrari and Williams while McLaren were all over the place. We all know how things turned out in the end.

  6. Godfather says:

    I can’t comprehend the purpose of Mercedes burning rubber and oil with the 2011 car. I can understand if they are running with restricted engine mapping and without the blown diffuser but with all that still activated, they are simply burning money.

    1. Kevin Green says:

      How do you mean they could be testing the engine transmittion and various versions of other parts that can be tested on/translated to the new car not to mention driver track time??? understanding the tyres??? so so much keeping the sponsors happy i.e. photo captures etc of there names on the cars etc etc could go on and on. But on that i reckon both Merc and Ferrari are up to something this season interesting to see what turns up between last few test days/1st race day.

    2. Ben says:

      They had to be in Jerez to do the tyre testing and comparison’s between the new compounds, in giving the 2012 car more development time they had to use the old car here but the advantage is they have a ‘direct’ comparison between the old and new rubber and the differences between the new compunds on a car that is ‘sorted’. It was the 2011 spec car’s last day anyway so I imagine many parts will be high mileage and ready for the scrap.

      Was an awful lot of laps they covered so I agree to an extent… but racing teams like to race and whats the point in turning up in spain hauling all that freight to not pound round lap after lap. Oh the envy!

    3. Brisbane Bill says:

      I agree – if it was genuinely for cpmparison of tyre performance then surely one day would have given them the data they needed and time to move on. Seems like they are HAVING to run the old car to keep sponsors needs met whilst they ron out some problems with the new car. Doesn’t look promising.

      1. Aussie Fan says:

        Fail they have already announced they want data on the new tyres + they are testing some new components. Mercedes will be the only team with a DIEECT comparison of this years tyres vs last years on the same car effectively. So it actually is a smart decision.

      2. Kevin Green says:

        Rubbish! its more so to test cars keep drivers on the pulse HIDE THE NEW CAR thus far. why compare the old car??? its out of regulation. Testing parts/tyre data more like and as i said keep the drivers on the pulse not to mention sponsors happy and there own operating name in the spot light!

    4. Ohm says:

      Perhaps they’re comparing this year’s tyre compounds to last year’s?

    5. Dizzy says:

      Not really, There getting data on tyres.

      There 2011 car is a known quantity, By testing that car this week there gathering data on exactly how the new tyres have altered the old car.
      They can then look at that data & even with only 2 weeks could make changes to the new car to better suit the new tyres.

      Had they not bothered testing at all this week they would have given the other teams a 2 week head start in terms of understanding the new tyres.

    6. Wu says:

      Like I have stated in other threads, Merc has a bad history in understanding their car. It makes sense to deal with one unknown at a time. Understand the new tyres first on a machine they should understand very well by now. With enough data and general feeling for the tyres they’ll be in a better position to see what’s what with their new car. Besides, this gives them more time to develop the new car while others have already shown their hand.

      Ideally they should be doing the same thing others are doing, but I believe this is the right strategy for them considering their perdictement.

      I don’t think anyone at Merc is under illusion their car will be able to fight for wins let alone the championship, but if they can close the gap from last year and build on that during the season, this year will be a relative success for them.

  7. Matt Devenish says:

    James, any specific comments/analysis/rumour around the new Williams?

    I read Maldonado’s positive comments about the Renault engine, but is there any public or private comments in the paddock that think the team’s now heading in the right direction?

    1. James Allen says:

      Bit early yet. Midfield looks close and some movers there, probably. Barcelona will tell us

    2. Kevin Green says:

      Stagnent to backwards i reckon, as allways see what happens race day.

      1. Rich C says:

        I just don’t see how you con buy the dominant engine and tranny (and kers?) and *not make progress??

      2. kevin green says:

        In an ideal world either can i! been studying the testing times so far??? if not you maybe should and im quite sure Williams are one of the teams that are NOT masking anything!

  8. John says:

    I think that everyone should accept that we won’t know the true running order until the practice sessions in Australia. So much is going to come down the pike for most teams at the Barcelona test, let alone until the Australian Grand Prix. Red Bull have seemed to have gotten it right again so far.

  9. Dan Orsino says:

    James, there seems to be an odd situation currently at Lotus, with Boullier talking about how frustrated and disappointed the team is with Charlie’s reverse decision, but at the same time James Allison is saying “nothing wrong with that decision, happens all the time..”
    Do you know if they see eye to eye as colleagues in the same team?

    1. K says:

      I think everyone, fans, team members within Lotus etc all dislike Boullier for his [mod] way of bad-mouthing people, especially last year.

  10. goferet says:

    Uh looking at those names that par- took in testing today, it’s like a spread sheet of the number 1 drivers in each team (or at least the drivers that will come up on top this year especially the new teammates battles) —> We shall see.

    Anyway at least this testing session was a bit more interesting especially the morning when it seemed like Lewis & Vettel had decided to get on the 2012 battle in earnest this early.

    Right from what I picked up from today’s running:

    1. The morning session seems to be used as a gauge for qualifying pace by teams like Renault & Mercedes but the top teams are going for out right qualifying times whilst the afternoon session is for full tanks run assessments

    2. Mclaren & Red Bull are mighty close in pace with both less fuel & heavy fuel runs, the difference in time is a result of the fact that Mclaren usually run more fuel than Red Bull as shown by the free practice sessions of 2011.

    3. The Ferrari car is seriously off the pace & maybe unreliable too (teething problems or not) and it seems we are going to have a repeat of 2011 where Alonso drags a truck by sheer will power like what happened today.

    4. Kimi looks like he will have his hands full for it appears we have another smiling assassin in Grosjean who isn’t interested in playing games & is determined in cementing his mark on the sport.

    5. The Force India drivers must be worried sick for the third driver (who is supposed to carry on third driver duties) seems real green & F1 just maybe out of his league, I mean how could he crash the car in just a couple of laps twice, reminded me so much of Chandhok.

  11. Your_mum says:

    Oh dear Ferrari. Long season ahead for you I see.

    1. Dizzy says:

      People were saying the same about McLaren this time last year.

      Alonso made comments today that suggest the car feels good but with so much change (Especially in the suspension) its taking longer to figure out what setup changes work best for this car. Once they figure all that out he feels confident the car will be very fast.

  12. Let’s see how McLaren goes tomorrow.

  13. christos pallis says:

    http://www.planetf1.com/photo-gallery/7499691/Day-Three-Pics-From-Jerez#photo=14

    This pic shows the Mclaren exhaust exit on that bulge they have designed. To me this looks like a device to direct the flow of gas leaving the exhaust. that is surley ilegal as they are not allowed to use any appendiges to re direct the flow of gasses for aerodynamic purpose. Any thoughts anyone?

    TA

    Chris

    1. Brisbane Bill says:

      Yes, certainly seems to direct the flow into the fast moving air stream that would come round the side-pod. This is one for Charlie to take a view on. Also, still no decent shots of the Red Bull slot and whether it is exiting the air in top of the chassis (as I suspect) or it is being directed elsewhere. Do Red Bull have a deal with photographers not to take shots of the car from certain angles?

    2. No bodywork is allowed within a three degree cone that starts at the exit of the exhaust pipe, extending to the rear axle line.. You must also be able to view this cone from a specified angle.

      A three degree cone is pretty much NOTHING on this scale. Mclaren only need to make the slot-exit a few centimetres wider than the exhaust pipe and the whole thing is legal.

      Charlie Whiting has approved the design, so it should be ok with the FIA.

      Here are the regulations that govern bodywork in this area :

      **********************************************
      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.
      **********************************************

  14. Steve says:

    If Hamilton set his best time on the first lap of a five lap run and Vettel set his time on his second of a four lap run, with only two tenths between there times, that says to me they were running a similar test, maybe Mclaren ever so slightly heavier on fuel and this could hopefully mean they are at least neck and neck on outright speed. Hoping for a much closer season this year!

  15. vic says:

    Hello James, you didn´t comment on the Jules Bianchi´s accident. Do you think Force India let Jules to drive again in Barcelona or he will be out the car for “some” (long) time? I guess that Jules may have a minimum number of test driving in his contract but can be this number modified by his performance? Thanks for you great blog (and work)

  16. Dmitry says:

    Hmm, interesting pattern we see in test.

    BUT. If last year’s first (and even second) tests are something to ponder, then we clearly haven seen NO relevant lap times from top teams.

    I’m waiting for Barcelona (even maybe the second test there) before coming up with any conclusions.

    Anyway, McLaren FTW!

  17. james H says:

    i think its starting to look like we got a good f1 year ahead.(sky will be happy)

  18. Mocho_Pikuain says:

    I don’t like what’s going on at Ferrari with the car. They were very happy with it at the beggining but day after day comments are getting worse. Look what Pat Fry said today:

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/97453

    1. azac21 says:

      Thanks for the link.

      James,
      is it true that ferrari has an old spec wing in Jerez?

    2. Brisbane Bill says:

      I wouldn’t read too much into those comments. Even if they were topping the time sheets the engineers wouldn’t be happy until they knew exactly what tweaks resulted in what changes to the car. That is what they mean by “understanding the car”. Given it is a radical change to prior designs then it is going to take some time and effort to understand the car but the pressure comes from there being such limited time to do this before racing starts in Australia.

      If they get to Australia and they are still in a position of guessing whether they have the right set-up then that is no good to them. They need to know that they have it 95%+ sorted and then tweak the fine tuning during the warm-ups and qualifying.

      In reality, seldom does a team arrive at the first race fully knowing their car and confident of where their performance is at. The exception being that man Adrian Newey.

  19. C.George says:

    Looks like in Ferrari are a bit disappointed, the car does not handle cornering in some places well, PF has said they are under press to improve. It’s KR’s karma or something other, Lotus looks fast enough.

  20. db4tim says:

    Sure not looking good for Ferrari

  21. More Harm says:

    Great to see Lewis near the top, although not much can be read into these lap times.

    On another note James, it seems like for the second season in a row, we’re going to be robbed of a race because of Bahrain. Can’t the race just be dropped easily and another one put in its place?

    1. Brisbane Bill says:

      Not easily but it can be done – and has been done before – Donnington switched back to Silverstone, although that was intra-country. I am trying but cannot recall if it was even done inter-country before. Did Spa get replaced by another Spanish event a couple of years back when the organisaers ran into financial trouble?

    2. K says:

      If it were to be dropped, then BE would have to pay a lot to the middle-easterners for compensation in voiding a multi-year contract lol. Surely not something that BE likes doing =)

  22. “Gigantic potential”. Yes please.

    1. Russell says:

      He’s talking to his paycheck.

      Gotta pay the rent.

    2. Brad says:

      Don’t think he was serious at all… media pleaser that boy… :-P

    3. Brisbane Bill says:

      Just being the good corporate employee. Everything always has gigantic potential until it is proved otherwise. How well do we trust his judgement on such development matters? Here you go, have a share of my gigantic pinch of salt.

  23. Sebastian says:

    Shouldn’t it be possible to determine the weight of the car by analysing how the engine note changes during acceleration?

    1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      You should know gear box ratios for that.

      1. Brisbane Bill says:

        And fuel mixture, and KERS settings, and how old the tyres are. A little more complex than just listening to the engine note as so many parameters can, and do, get changed in between runs.

  24. Mike says:

    Need to proofread more

    1. Brisbane Bill says:

      Is that proof-read?

      1. Mike says:

        Sorry, I was being vicious. I love the blog and really respect all the great info that James puts out. My apologies.

  25. mo kahn says:

    No to Lotus and Yes to Ferrari. Charlie Whiting… we the fans are not naive to know what exactly is happening here… Good Luck to you and your Bosses – The Ferraris.

    I cheered for Ferrari and Alonso last year… Since, Kimi’s return… only a fool would cheer for anyone else :)

    1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      You can say “No to Lotus and yes to McLaren” as Maccas also had some controversial system,
      or “Yes to Res Bull and no to Lotus” as last year blown diffuser was declared legal, or even “Yes to Lotus and no to the rest” as Mass dumper was “legal” for a year and a half, or…

      And yes, you can call me a fool.

    2. JohnBt says:

      [ I cheered for Ferrari and Alonso last year… Since, Kimi’s return… only a fool would cheer for anyone else ]

      Somehow I agree with you. But I don’t mind being a fool too.

    3. MISTER says:

      Why would I cheer for a guy who doesn’t say much to the media, hit a hit accidentaly a child in the paddock but keeps walking..

      Kimi doesn’t do it for me.

      1. Quattro_T says:

        Same here. I was disgusted by watching him just continue walking away, even though he looked back and saw the child had fallen down after being hit by mr Robot… Sorry to say, but I do not respect such “champions” lacking the most basic social competense

        Scandinavian are often, incorrectly, percieved as very good at “controlling” their feelings and acting rationally. In reality it has more to do with their insecurity/fear to open to others, than anything else…

  26. Patrick Byrne says:

    Hard to know what to make of Ferrari. Did the throw the baby out with the bathwater? They were quick in British GP when the double-diffuser was banned. Was it necessary for them to be quite so aggressive?

    Still early days though – Williams were quick at last year’s first test and Ferrari got caught out by BR sandbagging.

    McLaren seem quietly confident and the appointment of a sensible old goat like Didier Coton might keep Hamilton’s feet on the ground.

    1. Robert s says:

      good point about ferrari

    2. Panagiotis says:

      Exactly, therefore if someone considers Ferrari’s aero fundamentals are the same (see high nose=down force=stepped nose, even more tight packed rear end) like last year, then the reds should be in front. Unless otherwise their “stated aggression” to choose to go for an all pull rod suspension car – I can’t recognize any other form of aggressive innovation from last year- might hold back the car’s potential. Apart from that, all teams had to figure out the best place to locate exhausts, which in turn it has been widely accepted to be limited or and have minor possible contribution to the car under the new rules. From the other hand, RB8 doesn’t look to enjoy that little extra thing yet, like it did the previous years, whereas McL is up there and bound to prove, their obsession for a lower nose – lcg, to be at last the recipe of success… At the same time I wonder, what is Aldo up to?

  27. Russell says:

    Thank you for all the information James.

    I wonder what’s behind the late launch for Mercedes: they’re just late, panic served with problems, cagy, prefer to test the tires with the old car?

  28. Qiang says:

    Hello James,
    After today’s test, can you tell us who is quick who is slow? I think you might have an idea already. Many thank!

  29. Andy says:

    I’m struggling to see what’s so radical about the Ferrari.

    It’s copied the Red Bull front wing, put an ugly step in the nose, copied Mclaren’s dual airbox from last year, and still has a rear end which is nowhere near as neat as the RB7 or 8.

    Apart from the pull rod front suspension, they’ve just nicked ideas. Pkus the overall car looks ugly. Unimpressed. Bring back the brits to take charge of ferrari!!!

    1. tim says:

      It’s radical … for Ferrari. Were it a Red Bull it’d be seen as evolutionary.

      To me, two things are clear in 2012:

      One, McLaren have the guts to stick with their designs rather than following RB et al.;

      Two, the Toro Rosso and McLaren are far more interesting than the rest of the field. Ferrari is slightly less interesting for its pull-rod front suspension, too. The rest of the grid, well … meh.

    2. K says:

      When Ferrari dominated in early to mid 2000s it wasn’t a Brit who designed the car.

    3. DingBat says:

      Ermmm, last time I checked a Brit was in charge of design ;-)

      1. Andy says:

        Not brits plural though, too many italians in the mix now!! :-) Pat Fry doesn’t count :-), I still can’t see him as being Ferrari after his eternity with Mclaren!! Ferrari did best when it was run by foreigners (to Italians!) Would like those days back again. I wish Luca would quit too and stop saying the same old thing year after year. Rant over…

  30. Pankaj says:

    “He’s already intervened to ba Lotus’ innovative”

    to ba what ?

    1. Wallers says:

      ‘ban’

  31. Brad says:

    “They were quick in British GP when the double-diffuser was banned. Was it necessary for them to be quite so aggressive?”…I agree that an evolution would definately have worked better, but because of pressure of underperforming and results of the last 2 years, they thought radical. Well, they’re sure making noise about that… like radical would solve everything. Newey’s comments that the RB8 would follow the path of previous models did’nt wake Ferrari up at all

    1. Brad says:

      Was a reply to Patrick Byrne comments, but the computer and my wacom “decided to do funny things”

  32. Andrew Kirk says:

    Early days yet and it is nearly impossible to judge as even now new parts are being designed and sent to the cars out there testing. I remember BMWs coming from nowhere after testing to qualifying and racing high up the grid in 2008. Question James when are Mercedes launching their new car?

    1. James Allen says:

      For the next test starting 21 Feb

  33. Kevin Green says:

    That Ferrari’s will suddenly Burst into life late testing/1st race wait and see. And Im not in particular a Ferrari fan just had a pretty good hunch things were happening just after mid season last yr.

  34. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    James – any indication Mercedes are “hiding” a radical car by not taking it to the first test?

  35. Nic Maennling says:

    Hello James, Thanks so much for the informative news. It keeps us alive during the winter !

    Please allow me this general question here as I could find a location to send a general question:

    In the list of 2012 Grands Prix the countries for each race appear on the list except for Spain which has two. The American GP was known as the US GP for all of its life (I have the programs !). The Canadian GP is called just that. Canada and the US are in North America. There is no such country as “America”. Why the change ?

  36. JohnO says:

    Merc are surely up to something the others are not. I can’t think of any other reason as to why they would delay the car till Barcelona, i’m thinking the car has been ready for sometime..

  37. Michael S says:

    Lotus looks GREEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!

  38. JC says:

    James, what is your overall opinion of Toro Rosso so far?
    BTW, really enjoy your reports for Aussie TV, hope you continue to do them in the future.

    1. James Allen says:

      Looking okay. Barcelona will be the judge. You don’t learn much at Jerez. Looking forward to continuing the reports on 10 Sport

  39. cory says:

    I dont know bout everyone else but i have too say that I dont really notice the ugly noses now

  40. Andy says:

    Hi, what do the teams get from running their reserve driver in tests?

    Would teams and race drivers not get better knowledge of the car and be able to tailor the development route better?

    1. James Allen says:

      Sometimes its a financial imperative because they bring sponsorship. Sometimes it so they get to know the real car before being confined to sim work

  41. kevin green says:

    And to add to that it was his very 1st 3 lap run of the day. I read that as not just him not just the car but BOTH!

  42. Naoise says:

    Apart from Grojean in the Renault (1m18.419s), Alonso has put in the fastest time of any new car (1m18.877s) at the Jerez test this morning. Webber is the next closest with a 1m19.184s lap on Wednesday. Encouraging stuff.

  43. Nathan says:

    Interesting point you made James this years first test times were a second faster then last years after a session at Valencia so would that indicate anything or not

  44. val from montreal says:

    Did’nt history teach us anything about Ferrari ?

    Since the demise of the dream-team , Ferrari have won only 1 drivers championship ….LDM sees now , what special times the team once had … Jealous of Todt and Schumacher , I hope he’s happy now ….But he should’nt worry becuase his Santader sponcered driver is Alonso … The guy who brought 5 tenths to McLaren ,, who was supposedly going to make Renault world champions again ….

    Im betting huge Mercedes will have made more progress to their car than Ferri did to theirs.. my prediction for the whole of the season :
    Red Bull ,
    Mclaren ,
    Mercedes
    Ferrari

    In that order !

    1. Quattro_T says:

      You could very well be correct regarding possibility of Ferrari (once again) failing. What you are disregarding though is that a driver of Alonso caliber can make a (substantial) difference and sometimes make a (below par) team achieve what is generally percieved to be impossible. I will never forget what that man accomplished 2010, when he kept telling he would become WC that year, even though (certain) media were laughing at him. He (and the below par) Ferrari arrived to last race as world champions (remember?) and nearly beat the nearly ~1 second faster RB.

    2. Kevin Green says:

      Quite interesting that Val I don’t believe you have a single one of that suggested orders correct!

  45. Aussie Fan says:

    wow zero negative comments about Rosberg topping the sheets in last years car, compare that to the amount of negative personal comments when Schumacher was fastest yesterday.

    Biased audience much lol?

    1. Kevin Green says:

      No I think its just people picking up on the disillusioned/tainted past success and the likewise Shumi fans out there that go on and on!

      1. Dev3 says:

        No, Success breed popularity and every successful people pretty much got haters unfortunately some haters just need to “get a life” :D.
        That’s what fan for

    2. Brisbane Bill says:

      No – nothing much to add. It wasn’t an attack on MS but an attack on Merc for running last years car. Rosberg’s times are equally irrelevant.

      1. Kevin Green says:

        On that bill if it is what i think and they believe there car to be so good they feel there better of running it late as possible then hats off to them for taking the gamble.

        Reckon the car as such is going to surprise quite a few. As also prev said i reckon its going to be Ferrari and Merc that’s the notable movers of the top 4.

        Hope Lotus have got correct spanner to lob in the works just to mix it up a bit! :)

      2. Dev3 says:

        No of? What are you point from that?

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