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Jerez test day 4: Alonso strikes early to end week on a high
Scuderia Ferrari
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Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Feb 2012   |  7:03 pm GMT  |  113 comments

Much had been made of Ferrari’s relatively low-key start to pre-season testing with the new F2012 but Fernando Alonso ensured everyone was talking about the new challenger in a more positive light today as he ended the final day at Jerez fastest of all.

Red Bull, meanwhile, ran into their first reliability setback of the year after an electrical problem struck early on the RB8 to leave world champion Sebastian Vettel a spectator for much of the day, although he still finished third in the order.

While issues with the F2012 meant Alonso himself completed only 39 laps, his early forays gave a first glimpse of the new car’s underlying pace despite Ferrari having stressed since the start of the week’s running that, given the radically different nature of their new challenger, the first test has been all about data gathering rather than lap times.

Taking the soft Pirelli tyres for two relatively short stints, he first set a time of a 1m19.289s before immediately lowering that mark to 1m18.877s at the start of his next six-lap run, which put him within four tenths of a second of the best lap achieved by Lotus’s Romain Grosjean yesterday.

He didn’t improve thereafter in his limited re-appearances on the track but it was still enough to see him finish 0.720s clear of surprise second-placed man Jean-Eric Vergne in the Toro Rosso.

Frenchman Vergne, completing his second day in the car, said the more familiar he got with the STR7 the more he was able to understand and develop set-up directions which he believes took the car’s performance forward.

Vettel returned to the track at 2.25pm local time and squeezed in 50 laps to finish right behind Vergne, with Lewis Hamilton putting another 86 laps on the McLaren to take a close fourth.

Some minor water leaks on the promising Lotus E20, meanwhile, interrupted Grosjean’s second day in the car. The Frenchman, who still ended the week with the fastest time for a 2012 machine, got his first run on Pirelli’s soft tyres this morning before switching to some longer-run simulations in the afternoon.

Sauber were another team to run into some minor glitches – a hydraulics leak on the C31 stopping Kamui Kobayashi out on the circuit and causing a brief red-flag period – but elsewhere there were some impressive lap totals.

The new Renault-engined Williams ran reliability enough for Bruno Senna to complete his week’s work with 125 laps, while Nico Hulkenberg’s lap count totalled 90 as the German finally got his pre-season underway following Jules Bianchi’s untimely crash in the Force India VJM05 yesterday.

Caterham’s new CT01, which is equipped with KERS for the first time this winter, also continued to run very reliably and today allowed Jarno Trulli to get 117 laps on the board on his return to action.

The veteran Italian has already seen enough to declare the new car a step forward: “My first impression of the car was that it is good – a definite progression from 2011 and a good basis for us to work on for the season ahead. Its reliability has been demonstrated all week here in Jerez and we have generated a lot of data, particularly on KERS and the 2012 tyres which will help us improve setups for the next couple of tests.”

“We know there’s a lot more to come in pure pace – perhaps we were the only team to run without dropping the fuel but we wanted to focus on running through the development program and making sure we completed the plan each day.”

JEREZ TEST, Day 4
1. Alonso Ferrari 1m18.877s 39 Laps
2. Vergne Toro Rosso 1m19.597s 80 Laps
3. Vettel Red Bull 1m19.606s 50 Laps
4. Hamilton McLaren 1m19.640s 86 Laps
5. Grosjean Lotus 1m19.729s 95 Laps
6. Kobayashi Sauber 1m19.834s 76 Laps
7. Hulkenberg Force India 1m19.977s 90 Laps
8. Senna Williams 1m20.132s 125 Laps
9. Trulli Caterham 1m22.198s 117 Laps

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113 Comments
  1. Godfather says:

    Ferrari wanted to make sure that their sponsors were kept happy so they went for a glory run. It was necessary because there were lot of worried people out there.

    There were some worried faces in the Red Bull garage yesterday too. The situation today was not very good for them.

    Now that the first test is completed, I think we are going to have a fantstic season this year. Personally I would prefer Mercedes, Force India and Lotus to be at the front instead of the McLarens and Ferraris. I really want Caterham to challenge the mid-runners. They don’t look that strong yet.

    I was following both Sky and BBC coverage on the internet. I have a feeling that their coverage is biased towards certain teams and drivers. This is not very good.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      How ridiculous, if there are any two teams that don’t need to worry about fast runs for their sponsors, one is Mclaren, the other Ferrari.
      Bear in mind, their fastest lap today wasn’t quicker than the Lotus from the other day. Absurd!!
      Mclaren last year, had major problems with their reliability and exhaust system and it wasn’t until Melbourne and drastic upgrades, that they had a competitve times.
      Barcelona will give us a better idea.

      1. Kevin Green says:

        Hard to read on still Hero I think Ferrari are still sand bagging, Not think setting the time of 1 min 19 on his first run of the day which was only a 3 lap run on a track temp of ONLY 1.7 degrees centigrade?
        It was maybe a bit of a cheeky statement at the same time as not giving much away to the competitors etc. All things considered quite a wee burst if you sit and think about it!

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        My comments weren’t about what Ferrari did or didn’t do, but with their sugar daddy Marlboro paying for the privilege of association with Ferrari, they don’t do glory runs. Quite absurd…

      3. Kevin Green says:

        Same time aswell hero all the teams are constantly under the pressure of there own local press doing there heads in and winding things up if the comparable lap times are not showing a hint at being good.

        Ferrari of all teams would certainly be the most plagued by that. And also always good to be able to wind up the opposition without them getting a read on where you are on the track exactly and what your up to.

        I reckon Ferrari are very confident this season.

    2. Quattro_T says:

      I have also followed the BBC (first class) coverage from last year, and agree that they are definetly biased towards Brittish teams. But, can you blame them? They are actually Brittish channels and of course they will be biased towards the Brittish drivers and teams.

      What I however dislike and get kind of disgusted by, is: (1) when they claim that “What?! We are not biased at all! We are totally neutral in our coverage!”. Sorry, but simply is NOT true. I am not Spanish, Italian or English and had been long time McLaren supporter (until i discovered true R Dennis) and felt the bias very clearly.
      (2) The continuously recurring active attempts to discreadit F Alonso and Ferrari (in that order).

    3. Kevin Green says:

      The BBc are obv going to be British driver support, seems to be a hell of a lot of Alonso and Kimi support too.

      Ferrari?? they are just fine or at least one of the car/driver packages is. But for that wee spring incident a couple of yrs ago who knows !

    4. Syed says:

      What! You don’t want Ferrari and Mclaren at front but others. You got to be kidding!

    5. Sudha S says:

      Agree on the BBC coverage. if you look at last year, too much of Button and Vettel. Some of the pitlane interviews were cringe worthy and in the Forum also too much fawning over certain drivers. It would be nice to see Alonso, Hamilton, Rosberg and others win and change this

    6. sachindgr8 says:

      IMO this is what happened to ferrari, first they dint bother to do go fast, everyone can see that they were not going fast, they were just doing their test, previous day pat fry was quoted saying they were behind in testing as they have lots of things, and media started saying “ferrari admits to struggling f2012″ and started questioning their approach … ferrari just wanted to shut em up (i guess james din’t)

      even alo was kind of saying that”we have lot of things to test, that is what pat was trying to say yesterday” and also there is no sand bagging , they are going as fast as possible, i mean these cars are meant to go fast

      1. sachindgr8 says:

        sorry, i meant to say, james dint criticize ferrari, i realized misplaced “(i guess james din’t)” after submitting

  2. rafa says:

    well yesterday was all doom and gloom for the usual suspects in the forum about ferrari, i suppose this is a now a wdc winning car in the making. Shall we wait till australia´s q3 then?

    1. Dan Orsino says:

      just to put things in perspective:

      Week 1 of testing last year – Renault [with Heidfeld] and Ferrari topped the timing sheets, first Massa, then Alonso ends day 3 on a high with Schumacher a close second.
      Vettel was never higher than 4 or 5.

      Sound familiar?

      1. rafa says:

        Completely agree. what I´m trying to indicate is that yesterday post was filled up with comments as to ferrari being a dog again, we should wait and see, for all we know it could go either way.

  3. Bakdraft says:

    You’ve got to be kidding James after all that bad press, depressing words from Pat Fry et al, be ssured they took the fuel out to get a time so that they could stop the bad press in its tracks.

    I can understand them doing that, it is totally demoralising for all the staff who put hard work in to see what unfolded before their eyes this week.

    Look at it this way, if they did not need to get the fast time they would not have like McLaren. You mask your pace, not show it off… its the sign of panic and the need to kill bad press.

    That said, there is still plenty of time for the team to turn things around as McLaren did last year

    1. John Z says:

      At some point, you do actually need to push the car to go faster. It’s part of the data acquisition process. It’s pre season testing and Ferrari having a testing program. They weren’t doing anything for a silly headline.

      1. SteveH says:

        True, you do have to push the car. However, it is easy to back off on the straights and add time; to say that you can’t push the car AND not let the cat out of the bag is just false.

    2. Brent McMaster says:

      If what you say is true why would Ferrari do it? Or is everyone in the press fooled by it and your not? All the people at Ferrari feel better because of a phoney run?

      1. Bakdraft says:

        Why do it? Have you not been reading the press and coverage? Ferrai have set such expectations this year…. that in this first test to be seen lagging would not be acceptable.

        of course they will be there or there abouts with the others…. but if they are not clearly ahead this season… well….

      2. Brent McMaster says:

        Ferraris expectations are the same as McLarens and Red Bull the same expectation the great teams always have; to produce a car capable of winning the world championship. The first four days a car is tested proves nothing about what the season holds.

      3. K says:

        Heading the testing timesheets don’t get you the WDC / WCC, Bakdraft. Making sure the cars work perfectly, reliably and run fast are what get you the wins.

      4. K says:

        Nor do I think LdM cares about the bad press if they know what they are doing to make sure the car is reliable and good.

        If the entire Ferrari team knows they are sandbagging OR carrying out their testing programme, whatever they do, they know what they are doing. The only press they care about is the end of the year when they win the world championship. Why care about the press now?

        You’ve got the wrong focus mate.

    3. JAG says:

      I dont really think they gave away that much; he set the time on the first lap of a 6 lap run with approximately 7 laps of fuel, including the in lap, in a car they haven’t even fully figured out how to set up yet. They could’ve had 30 laps of fuel in, he might have “coasted” at 225 kph to do a high speed straight line aero test, maybe he was in a lower power engine mode, or running without using KERS…. My point is that they could have been conducting any number of experiments that would affect the time that we, or anyone else not working for Ferrari would know about. We’ll just have to wait until melburne.

      1. Bakdraft says:

        Sometimes its about the tone the team set… Ferarri, somehow manage to set such expectations that show boating has to happen.

        Don’t get me wrong I understand how and why it happens, what gets me is how one day the press say, “Ferrari Unhappy” the next day “Ferrari Lead”, meanwhile McLaren quietly and confidently go about their business…

    4. Alex O says:

      In fairness to Ferrari they stuck to their plan all week and didn’t go chasing headline times. On the last day they let Fernando rag the car for all it’s worth. If you were an F1 driver wouldn’t you want to take the fuel out and go for a banzai lap? I know I would.

  4. goferet says:

    Yeah, now that’s more like it from Ferrari, good to see Alonso post some competitive times even though reliability is still an issue for that team.

    Having said that, I have me doubts about those impressive times from Ferrari because it was close to a second faster than the Red Bull so it looks more like a low fuel glory run by Alonso seeing as we’re in Spain & all.

    I really think Ferrari haven’t yet understood the fundamentals of the F2012 because they still have that telescope mounted on their car plus the paint was also administered on the rear wing today = Not a good sign.

    Now the team that really looks ominous after this Jerez test (especially in the hands of Lewis) is the Mclaren for not only has it been bullet proof up to now but Lewis did set so pretty consistent times in the afternoon with presumably lots of fuel on board in the region of 1:21.8s, 1:21.9s and 1:22.0s

    The Lotus car seems to be good too seeing as both Lewis & Jenson said their pace looks genuine so 4th place & maybe even a 3rd in the WCC doesn’t look as far fetched as it did before at this stage of the game.

    As for Caterham, Trulli still looks like the weakest link for in the hands of Heikki & the reserve driver, that car was able to post times much closer times to those of the Williams.

    By the looks of it, Sauber & Force India are pretty matched & if so, it will boil down to driver talent to make the difference.

    Anyway bye bye Jerez, it’s now off to Barcelona & hopefully we shall have a much clearer pic of who’s got what.

    1. Brad says:

      yeah, low fuel and soft compound on a 3 lap run qualyfying lap…

      1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        It was a 6 lap stint, plus in and out laps, an 8 laps stint. And there is also the fact that we don’t know if they had fuel only for that or for many more laps.

      2. Brad says:

        ah, I read the notes again from autosport and think you are correct… It’s the in and out (pits) that got me thinking about if they took out fuel or not… It was definately don on softs

    2. Sir, wait and see the W03 before say that Lotus can be the 3rd.

      The rumours are very impressive. Can’t wait to see these car…

      1. SteveH says:

        And don’t forget the HRT that we haven’t seen yet!!!!!!!!!!!

    3. SJM says:

      Indeed, the McLaren is looking sorted already :D

  5. Nige says:

    The only thing that I can take from this weeks testing is Ferrari have consistently gone quicker everyday. If they have used the same weight in fuel then things may be looking good. James any idea trackside what fuel levels may have been used?

    1. Moog says:

      They had soft tyres on for today’s run…

  6. jonnyd says:

    does anyone seriously give these times any credence at all?
    last years testing results were almost the complete opposite to the actual car performances come race day in australia onwards.
    what is the point of even remotely analysing these times.
    i remember in last years testing, much was made of ferraris fast consistent long runs – and look how that panned out…
    much was made of mclarens massive lack of pace…and look how that panned out.

    i think its utterly pointless looking at these times, and rather its just nice to look at the new cars instead.

    1. K says:

      +1

      Bakdraft, maybe this would get your head straight.

  7. Horno says:

    James, i’m wondering;
    Is it possible to use some sort of ‘memory metal’ in the exhaust pipe that changes from shape/direction when heated up.. In order to blow more towards the diffuser?
    And when the car/exhaust pipe cools down, it moves back in the legal position?

    Greetings from Holland

    1. James Allen says:

      Wow! Wild idea. Doubt it.

      1. Roy says:

        Yes this is perfectly possible with clever engineering.
        A variety of Memory Metals now exist and I am sure that this will be an area that Charlie Whiting either has or will need to get to grips with.

        The “bi metal strip” has been around for decades and is a simple example. A part made from it could move when heated and return to its original shape when it cools down.

        Greetings from the US of A

      2. Horno says:

        Maybe James, if the moment is right, you could ask one of your connections? Because I think there might be a lot to gain with this idea…?

    2. Sebee says:

      I remember reading somewhere that SR-71 was subjected to such heat while in flight that it leaked fuel when standing on the runway. When it heated up it expanded and sealed the gaps.

      I can see how expansion properties of different metals could be used to bend or angle a metal pipe a certain way under heat. It would likely mean a mix of metals with different expansion rates making up a different section of the round pipe tip allowing it to bend a certain way and on an angle like you say. I wonder if the bending under heat would be enough to angle it sufficiently. But your idea is not far-fetched. I can tell you played with Lego when you were a kid. The questions are: what metals could do it, how quickly do they cool, contract and return to their cold state and how many such cycles can they undergo without cracking?

    3. Andrew Carter says:

      I would be very surprised about that since exhausts run to hundreds of degrees centigrade so that they have to use a very special coating for them to be usable, plus it would mean heat shielding a substantially larger area of body work which means more waight.

    4. SJM says:

      Maybe in a couple of years. I think that is still cutting edge nano tech at the moment. Great idea though :)

    5. KP Hudson says:

      Yeah, some kind of bimetallic exhaust, Wild.

    6. Dave Aston says:

      That’s an awesome idea… I believe Jim Hall got the inspiration for the sucker car from a drawing sent to him by a 12 year old kid; if some engineer reads this forum, who knows? Also, I love the term ‘Memory Metal’…

    7. K says:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZz3a3z6BQI&feature=related

      You mean like this, yer?

      This came up from a Japanese animation series “Cyber Formula” during the 90s. I’ve always wished F1 would eventually turn into this.

    8. BiTX says:

      5.16.1 All components of the exhaust line, from cylinder head to final gas exhaust end, must be
      manufactured from an alloy based on Cobalt, Iron or Nickel.
      Article 5.14.2 does not apply to the exhaust line.

      5.14.2 Coatings are free provided the total coating thickness does not exceed 25% of the section
      thickness of the underlying base material in all axes. In all cases the relevant coating must not
      exceed 0.8mm.

  8. kevin green says:

    Boom!! as clearly prodicted doubters!!!!

  9. Bayan says:

    still not convinced about ferrari or any teams yet. Australia qualifying will tell the true story.

  10. Dmitry says:

    May be we are all wrong, but the feeling after first test is that Ferrari has done “McLaren”.

    No, no, they didn’t beat them, they created a car so radical (compared to previous versions), that they can’t make it work.
    To make matter a bit worse, they are not McLaren – I don’t remember when they were able to convert a car to a winning one in a span of so little time.

    But, may be it’s all just bluffing (except reliability).
    Can’t wait for Barcelona! Roll on F1’2012!

  11. Charalampos says:

    I think that Red bull should be at least a second quicker than toro rosso. Probably more. Toro rosso’s pace tells more about red bull’s pace than the actual red bull pace it self.

  12. Richard says:

    I don’t think we can read too much at all into this test as teams will be just collecting data, and understanding how their cars are behaving in albeit cold conditions so that their development proceeds in the appropriate direction. What will be interesting is understanding how the cars develop hereon in to Melbourne. – What a gaping mouth that Ferrari has, and if the McLaren eventually performs as good as it looks I’ll be well pleased, but I suspect it’s going to be close this year.

  13. Jorge says:

    Hi James, I put together a consolidated list of times for the preseason at Jerez. You can view it at:

    http://f1commentary.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/consolidated-times-of-2012-pre-season-testing-jerez-spain/

    1. Russell says:

      Nice work Jorge. There’s a lot of smoke and mirrors in testing. Still it’s nice to look at the statistics.

      If both Grosjean and Alonso were doing a soft tire, low fuel run, the time difference between them might be interesting. Not the same day of course.

      It’s amazing to me that with all the work by all the teams, that only one or two will be on top. The rest will be settling for something down the grid.

      1. Jorge says:

        Hi Russell, very competitive indeed, the nature of F1 today comes to tenths of seconds, who can design the fastest car for the year we shall see soon. Thanks James for giving us more information to review and compare with.

  14. Eduan says:

    There is not a big concern for me in this pre-season testing. I think the top 3 is still Red Bull, Mclaren, Ferrari. But i do strongly feel that Lotus and Mercedes are right there with them

  15. Davexxx says:

    I notice that the story seems to have changed – last year most people were saying that since the regulations haven’t changed so much (compared to some previous seasons) “the cars didn’t need to be altered much”.
    But now it is all sounding like most teams have redesigned the car significantly if not completely, some from scratch. This can lead to design or component failures and reliability issues — so it could be another interesting season!

    1. Martin says:

      When you get rule stability everyone converges. Once all the big ideas are understood or legislated out, it is incremental gains that make the difference.

      Last year the exhaust blowing replaced the effect of the double diffusers. A key factor in reliability was that the wheelbase of the cars stayed pretty similar. This meant that the packaging of components was really only changed by the inclusion of KERS. As the new for 2011 parts were similar to the 2010 ones, making them reliable was straight forward.

      McLaren and Renault went crazy with the exhausts and had some issues. Red Bull went minimalist with KERS to keep the rest of the systems as they wanted, so it was only hurt in the early races. Mercedes went for a shorter wheelbase as it didn’t get the blown diffuser right, and hence new packaging at the rear (and a higher CoG) and had cooling problems at some early races.

      Ferrari continued to evolve its existing concepts. The engine, which was tipped forward to raise the rear end for the double diffuser was returned to level, but otherwise was pretty straightforward, especially as Ferrari had KERS experience from 2009.

      Cheers,

      Martin

      1. Quattro_T says:

        Nice input, thanks!

  16. Serrated_Edge says:

    Off subject James but i have been given money for my birthday to buy British GP tickets where would you recommend?

    1. James Allen says:

      mmm…tough one. Brooklands is good for overtaking and seeing the lines into Woodcote.

      Copse is exciting but a bit one dimensional now the pits have moved. I like the new complex section around Turn 3 area

      1. Kris Grzegorczyk says:

        Would be brilliant to incorporate a feature around this. Perhaps your thoughts on where at each circuit is a good place to sit or something that allows fans to share their experiences of having attended an event.
        I think ESPN had something like this – think it was called Passport – users could upload their pics after having attended an event. I went to Monza for the first time last year and was looking at where best to sit. Remarkably, there were very few sites with fan opinions.

      2. Kevin Green says:

        Top tip just get a roaming ticket (which is cheapest anyway!) soon as the race starts stop for them all going past the 1st 5 laps, the 1st 10 for the next 10-15 laps and then carry on walking for the rest of the race obv timing when the leading cars are coming. Its so much better as you get to see so much varied action at different points etc etc. been at the races every yr the last 20+yrs and find it better than sitting anywhere. The pit straight being the worst!!

    2. Hi Serrated_Edge,

      Spectator advice for Silverstone can be found on GrandPrixAdvisor.com:

      http://grandprixadvisor.com/index.php/circuit-guides/european-circuits/great-britain-silverstone.html

      Brooklands has corporate facilities only. Great if you can afford it, otherwise Woodcote A is probably best to watch this corner, followed by Luffield B (both grandstands are covered).
      Alternatively, pick a spot at the beginning of Luffield in the General Admission section.

      The website has all grandstands detailed though, in case some other spot takes your fancy.

      Let me know how you go.

      1. James Allen says:

        Thanks for that, you’re always welcome to contribute here to people getting more from a visit to a GP

  17. Dougel says:

    Wonder if Alonso’s time is representative or just a glory run to keep Luca M off their backs.

    1. Doug says:

      The latter…Pat Fry was way too open for the Italian Press…cue phone call from Luca M!

  18. Kedar says:

    James,
    On a slightly off topic, I wanted to know about this stepped nose design. Will Merc GP bring back the famous Brawn stooping nose (which was last seen on the Brawn GP car) and will that be in line with the regulation?
    This way the cars are no longer an eyesore with these stepped noses

    1. K says:

      Maybe you ought to ask someone from Merc GP.

  19. Luke Robbins says:

    But perhaps Hamilton’s most revealing remark was this: “You never know what fuel loads people are on. I think we’ve been quite aggressive with our fuel loads.”

    A translation of which seems to be that McLaren are running with less fuel on board than they might normally be expected to – which will make their lap times look more impressive.

    extract from BBC website – Aggressive could also mean they were quite heavy, no?

    Any thoughts James?

    1. Jean-Christope says:

      Well considering that he did some 1.19 today on a first lap of a stint that lasted 13 laps and was interrupted by Kobayashi red flag, I’ve got reasons to believe that he meant heavy.
      Don’t know where the Mac stands compared to others but he definitely had the speed to go faster.

    2. SJM says:

      I think Lewis meant they were running heavy. Mclaren is always sandbagging during testing.

  20. Andy says:

    Although Ferrari did get the top spot today, it must be worrying to them that their lap times got dramatically worse on subsequent laps. Is the car hard on tires? They had problems heating the tires last season, did they overcorrect in trying to fix that?

  21. Ram says:

    Hopefully when the Merc launch their car …we will get a feel of the pecking order … it seems they may have something special on their hands after 2 dry seasons …brawn will be very much keen to break into the top fold now with all the resources and 2 fine drivers made availabe to him…

  22. AlexD says:

    Almost impossible to say anything after the first test. I think at this stage only engineers more or less know what the situation is. Last year people did not know how fast Red Bull was, but it was reported already after the first test that it will be around 0.3 sec faster than Ferrari and that it was taking corners very smoothly. It appeared to be super fast, about 0.8 sec faster than Ferrari.

    So….James…what is the word from engineers this time?

    1. James Allen says:

      That the midfield looks close, certainly. Should be a great battle there.

      Judgement reserved on front runners until we see all top 4 teams pushing it in Barcelona

      1. Kevin Green says:

        Where do you see Williams when it comes to the serious stuff?? late mid table?.

        I really don’t think things are looking good for them this season and thought so before the end of last season and that was before the drivers were confirmed frankly i don’t think it would matter who was driving they would still struggle for upper mid table no matter what engine you throw in the back.

      2. K says:

        Makes sense to judge a team based on the previous season if their car design philosophy or team personnel were pretty much similar.

        Williams brought in Mike Coughlan. I don’t see how can you come to the conclusion of their coming season will be “late mid table” and base it on previous season.

      3. kevin green says:

        We will certainly see!

  23. franed says:

    Did they make the exhaust legal again before today’s test? The top of the exit pipe was cut out before.
    But good for Ferrari to have some spirit back, it looked very gloomy before.

  24. Ram says:

    ferrari it seems like what all have expressed may have just did a glory run to keep the press of their back …pat fry will certainly be feeling the heat and fury of the Ferrari top mgmt …he was brought into the fold to bring them their long deserved glory …i have a strong feeling that a ex ferrari designer may be having a small chuckle after seeing the Ferrari genuinely struggle.. they could be very well be the 5th best team this season and that is not a good place to be …pat fry get ready to be fried !

    1. jeffrey says:

      Bit early for that now isn’t… let’s wait and see what happens in the next tests and the races. I think they have made an agressive car that could potentially be very fast, but because its so different needs lots of work and a couple of updates to sort out. Red Bulls car is close to last years car so it works well out of the box it seems. McLaren looks to have gone a rather conservative route… It seems to be reversed from last season, when Ferrari was on the pace at the beginning with a conventional car, with McLaren nowhere close. But the McLaren had much more developmental possibilities so they got better and better whilst Ferrari were stuck most of the time.

      1. Ram says:

        a month to Aus GP …hopefully Ferrari get things in order or hopefully discover the complete potential …Alonso is a great driver ..and he deserves a good car …he will certainly livens up the grid with those blitering starts ..

  25. RacerGil says:

    Hi James
    The Red Bull and Ferrari seem to be sporting an element in the rear wing that only Mclaren had last year. I mean the “brushes” at the base of the rear wing. Am I mistaken or is it the first time I have seen these imitations?

    1. Rungs says:

      By the end of last year, plenty of teams were running those

  26. Andrew Carter says:

    Now that almost everybody has shaken the cobwebbs off, its the next two test that will really tell us something.

    1. James Allen says:

      I agree and I’ll be at both of the Barca tests

  27. Mocho_Pikuain says:

    What a strange pre-season begining for Ferrari. They were absolutely lost at the end of the first day and did not seemed like it was changing at all during days 2 and 3, specialy after what PF said on Wednesday. I’m pretty sure that this fast time Fernando set today was basicaly to calm everybody and dimish the preasue they had on their shoulders, but after all the time they have lost with the electronic issue the sensations were definetly bad for most of us. And then appears FA saying they have passed from white to black with the car, that they did not understand it the first day but now things have changed a lot. He has also talked about how has the car improved on tyre warming, and that they will start Barcelona in a much better position than this Tuesday. Still a hard work to do before Melbourne, but everything looks better than expected from a couple of days ago.

  28. Timo says:

    Apologies James. I meant to say that you did not mention that Alonso was the only one of the 2012 runners to set a headline time on soft tyres.

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, it says it clearly in the second para!! Vergne also used a new set of soft tyres today

      1. Kevin Green says:

        What was Rosberg Shumi and the French Lotus guy’s (cant remember how to spell his name) fastest time’s set on super soft’s ???

  29. ccweblog says:

    Ferrari clearly felt the need to respond to recent articles about their 2012 challenger, but why?

    Everybody in the know realises that testing is precisely that, it’s not Q3 in Melbourne and we won’t know the true 2012 contenders until then.

    My advice to Ferrari: focus on improving the car, run your test programs and don’t respond to panic stricken PR staff in Maranello and their need to appease the media beast.

  30. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    What to say…

    Perez is faster than Massa and Bianchi.

  31. Kevin Green says:

    Cant believe the amount of people that think every test day and even lap time should be read upon simply for the lap time at any time.

    The word CIRCUMSTANCE worth a thought!

  32. JohnBt says:

    It was a glory run on softs for Nando, so I’m not impressed at all. Obviously the world’s most prominent sports car brand is in trouble once again, what’s new. I hope I’m very wrong when the first race begins.

    Testing makes us all excited and start forming opinions who has the best car and so forth. For the hardcore fans testing is a form of release from our withdrawal system.

  33. Grayzee (Australia) says:

    Ah, dear boys and girls. So much conjecture. Of course, none of us KNOW anything yet, until Australia Q3. Just guessing.
    Di Resta summed it up when asked what was different on his car this year “Well, the nose is different, and the exhaust point in a different direction. The colour has changed, and it has black wheels………”
    We punters know nothing……yet!
    Let’s all wait for Melbourne.

  34. Bayan says:

    James, Massa’s time in the ferrari brought nothing useful (or at least it seemed he and his engineer couldn’t extract a lot out of the car) but alonso was able to get the more out of the car in the last 2 days. Do you think this say something about Alonso’s ability to develop a car or Massa’s lack of this ability? Could it be that Alonso did really bring the 0.5 or 0.8 secs in the Mclaren in 2007?

  35. Syed says:

    If supposedly Alonso’s time was a glory run, I’m very surprised why would Ferrari have to do that. I mean a mega team like Ferrari being pressurised by press, can’t believe that.

    They should just go on and do their program. If the car has potential, it will deliver. They should just proceed to understand the car, they have star driver Alonso which makes the job easier. Once they get a hold of their car, it’ll produce times.

  36. Rungs says:

    Everyone will believe what they want to believe when it comes to these testing times. But they mean absolutely nothing. Zilch.

    But of course, we’ll still debate them because we love F1 and we just want something to think and talk about.

    The one thing that I think is becoming clear: it’s going to be an exciting season compared to last year!

  37. Dan Orsino says:

    My guess is that Maranello people themselves were giving this same advice to Alonso !!

  38. Steve says:

    Hey James, love the website, how much of this years design on the cars would get carried over into next season? Were you surprised when Ferrari developed a totally new car, and the key rival teams an evolution of last years? Have Ferrari taken next years regulations into consideration to try and get ahead in 2013?

    1. James Allen says:

      Quite a bit I reckon; 2013 is the last year of this formula before we go to completely different cars and drivetrains.

  39. Eduan says:

    Well One thing is for sure if you are in the Ferrari camp you will always have pressure because of the prestigious history.

    James if Ferrari do not pull it together do you think Alonso will find greener pastures?
    His career is playing out very similar to Schumacher’s at moment. Michael had a onslaught on the championship for most of the seasons before 2000′s but crucially did not get them.

    Will Fernando have the patience to build them team around him to make it work like Michael did?

    My opinion is that Ferrari need to give him a good car this year if not then he might jump ship and that is shown in his track record where he jumped from Renault to Mclaren and then back.

    1. James Allen says:

      He asked them to take risks with the design and they’ve done that. He’s part of the process, but yes his patience will not last for ever

  40. Phil R says:

    Hi James,

    Ted Kravitz reported…

    Amusing end to Jerez test as Alonso swings into pit, then reverses into his garage! Crowd applaud, Fernando waves, crowd go suitably wild…

    Stopped, selected reverse, near parallel parked into the garage. Never seen it done before. Mechanics not involved till the end

    Any news on why he did it, or he just felt like having a bit of fun? Quite cool either way…

    1. James Allen says:

      No idea.Very usual…

  41. Gallinretto says:

    Most seems to forget, that all teams “best lap times” where made on low fuel run and on soft tires!
    Why Ferrari best lap is more fluke than the ones posted by the other teams, cannot be explained rationally!

    1. Kevin Green says:

      Sandbagging with a cheeky overall unreadable statement comes to mind!!

    2. Marde says:

      No. For example Räikkönen and Grosjean made they best laps on medium tires.

      tire compounds for best laps:

      Day 1

      1 Raikkonen 1.19,670 new mediums
      2 di Resta 1.19,772 new mediums
      3 Rosberg 1.20,219 new softs

      Day 2

      1 Schumacher 1.18,561 new hards
      2 Webber 1.19,184 new softs
      3 Ricciardo 1.19,587 new softs

      Day 3

      1 Rosberg 1.17,631 new softs
      2 Grosjean 1.18,419 new mediums
      3 Vettel 1.19,297 new softs

      Day 4

      1 Alonso 1.18,877 new softs
      2 Vergne 1.19,597 new softs
      3 Vettel 1.19,606 new mediums

      http://www.f1talks.pl/2012/02/10/podsumowa…testow-w-jerez/

  42. chris green says:

    james. webber claims he’s not retiring soon. i wonder if he has a 1 year ferrari contract in his back pocket?

    1. James Allen says:

      You never know, Certainly wants to be considered if he has a strong first half of season.

    2. Kevin Green says:

      Think he could be regarded as being the driver that has done the best job all in all in recent yrs without actually ever winning a title.

      Certainly deserves a “notch” season with Ferrari (who would not at some point in there career) would be a great no2 til they find the timing for the next ideal young gun to step in.

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