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Raikkonen off the mark quickly as F1 2012 testing begins
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Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Feb 2012   |  6:44 pm GMT  |  133 comments

Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest time at Jerez, as winter testing ahead of the 2012 F1 season kicked off in earnest.

In total there were 11 teams running in Jerez, with only Marussia not present. Most teams were giving their new cars a debut outing, however both Mercedes and HRT were running 2011 specification cars. Both Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher got a chance to run in the Mercedes today.

Raikkonen wanted to start strongly and send out a positive message and he certainly did that; he was straight into the groove, after his two day outing in Valencia in an old Renault F1 car recently. His time of 1m19.670s was competitive and he set the pace for most of the day in the new Lotus Renault E20, but Force India’s Paul di Resta ran him close. The Scot had an encouraging day with over 100 laps covered in the new Force India car, which was shaken down at Silverstone on Friday.

Also putting in a solid mileage was the new Sauber C31, with Kamui Kobayashi covering the highest mileage of the day with 106 laps, pretty impressive for a brand new car.

Caterham’s new car had a few Day 1 niggles including a starter shaft problem which meant they had trouble getting the engine started as well as a cooling issue, and the new Toro Rosso stopped out on track with Dan Ricciado at the wheel due to an oil pressure problem.

Times are secondary at this stage to mileage, but nevertheless the pace was pretty strong for Day 1. Last year Felipe Massa set the fastest time on Day 1 in Jerez with 1m 20.709s, a second slower than this year. And last year Jerez was the second test after a session at Valencia, so the cars were more sorted.

The Pirelli tyres are a step softer this year, but against that the cars have lost a lot of downforce from the banning of blown diffusers.

Jerez test: Day 1
1. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m19.670s 73 Laps
2. Paul di Resta Force India 1m19.772s + 0.102 101 Laps
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m20.219s + 0.549 56 Laps
4. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m20.496s + 0.826 53 Laps
5. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m20.694s + 1.024 57 Laps
6. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m20.794s + 1.124 41 Laps
7. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m21.353s + 1.683 106 Laps
8. Jenson Button McLaren 1m21.530s + 1.860 60 Laps
9. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m22.815s + 3.145 69 Laps
10. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1m23.178s + 3.508 28 Laps
11. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m23.371s + 3.701 25 Laps
11. Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1m23.676s + 4.006 44 Laps

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133 Comments
  1. Godfather says:

    I am very happy for Kimi. Welcome back the Ice Man!

    1. Hernan says:

      I am very very happy for Kimi.RENAULT IS BACK!!!

  2. Seán Craddock says:

    James, are people talking about the Ferrari rear end? I noticed today how protective they were in the pit lane with big covers going on, and they didn’t have a diffuser on the car at the launch.

    Is there anything going on there or is it just Ferrari wanting us to think they have the new must-have?

  3. Kevin Green says:

    Well going by my pre testing thoughts all the cars came in pretty much where I thought or hoped except for the Ferrari. Yes I know 1st day testing should not look too far into it I for as great as i thought Massa was pre spring on the nut I really think he has lost it behond achieving the same level again. Something ticking in my mind about Jamie Alguersuari there Cheers for the training period Red Bull!! the lad has certainly got talent and would make a excellent no2 to Alonso meantime Lets face it the team don’t want jack Alonso off by taking in someone that will irritate him and end of the day thats Ferrari’s way of doing things anyway. Any thoughts from preferably people in the know!

    1. Phil says:

      I can’t see Ferrari running to Spanish drivers at the same time.

      1. Kevin Green says:

        For what reason Ferrari drivers have always been paid drivers in decades from what I believe. Not that it matters but there pretty much as close to home drivers as they can get considering there’s no one Italian shining through just now. I really don’t see why not. Prime age too to let if not Blend into a Equal benefits driver but also possibly a replacement. Dont think we have seen the best of him yet by a long shot he has certainly got something.

  4. AlexD says:

    I guess people have no clue how cars look like compared to each other…

    1. Seán Craddock says:

      how would they?

  5. Ben Arellano says:

    I strongly believe Kimi will be in a much better shape during his comeback that MS. And I think we will see a podium for Lotus. It may be too soon to tell, but I dont recall MS getting on top during practice.

    1. Kevin Green says:

      Absolutely i have always questioned Schumacher’s actual abilities anyway, Not so much Kimi think i have a good read on where he is Ability wise think he just got a bit Bored/lazy at the end of his last term.

      1. veeru says:

        come on..the first line was too far mate…

      2. Kevin Green says:

        Well shumi is barely pulling his pention is he and is still regarded as one of the fittest on the grid i reckon the comparable difference in come back form of Kimi will be very telling of Schumi all things concidered i.e. how rosberg Shumi are doing and also how both Lotus are doing etc

      3. For sure says:

        Don’t make me laugh.

      4. Kevin Green says:

        Lets see the comparable margins on race day unsure!!

      5. Peter says:

        I can only assume you have not read the volumes of history on Shumacher’s incredible car control and intuitive handling, written by the best mostor sports journos, engineers and managers. If you had, then maybe you would believe his talent. His mastery of cold tyres straight out of the pits and findiing the absolute ragged edge immediately is legendary. So was his gear changing in the days before paddles and synchronized gear boxes.
        As an example I ask you to look at the telemetry of his pedal control in corners during the Ferrari years, where he actually held the accelerator open whilst braking to get speed back up faster. Overlaid on Barrichello’s charts of the same corners it was very clear that MS had a freakish talent for corner control.

      6. Kevin Green says:

        Thats the norm in most Motorsports, want to see impressive?? watch that Schumi clip and then watch the same of Sebastian Loeb! not saying Shumi was not good just not near as good as the titles suggest, I feel Villeneuve for one was one that as a driver was always better. One thing i cant take away from Schumi is his Senna like ability to understand and translate what the car does for development purposes etc got to remember there’s no doubt at the time Brawn who he was always with not to mention the move to Ferrari. Quite a recipe as a WHOLE!! could go on and on with different peoples driving qualities as a whole best F1 driver ever? clearly Senna Best Driver ever outright hard one but cant help but think about that truely amazing French Rally driver!

      7. Wu says:

        I really hope you do not actually believe what you just said.

        We can argue who was the greatest as much as we want to, but not to include Schumacher in such a debate shows your dislike of the person is clouding your judgement.

      8. Kevin Green says:

        Nope just don’t believe he EVER was just quite as good as many believe and the results show that.s all. Exceptional understanding of what the car actually is what it does and translating development wise into how to improve it NO doubt

      9. Wu says:

        I did not want to do this, giving examples and all, but if you believe Schumi wasn’t talented, watch Barcelona 1996. There’s a reason why he was called a rainmeister, and this is as good a reason as any.

        What made Schumacher so lethal to his competitors were the traits that make him. The bad ones, like ruthlessness, and tendancy to cheat, but also the good ones like talent and technical knowledge. Every bit of him made the perfect storm necessary to dominate the sport like he did. He was a trailblazer, drivers like Vettel can only imitate and try to do better.

        You do not win 7 championships without talent. You do not help a struggling team into becoming the most succesful one without talent.

      10. zombie says:

        Yep..he NEVER was as good but magically won 7 titles against Newey Mclarens,Williams and Renaults. Where as Kimi nearly won in a Sauber in his first year, and Ferrari drugged him in 2008 and 09 so that little Massa could have a measure of him! /*sarcasm off*/

        Hey! Whaddya know! The “he was never good” Schumacher just topped the times in today’s practice in last year’s car! Darn it! They must have spiked Kimi’s Magnums again!

      11. Kevin Green says:

        Please correct me as to which point i said he was not in a word GOOD ????. The user name is certainly accurate I will give you that much :)

      12. For Sure says:

        Well Kelvin, F1 is a sport, you can’t win many races without having the abilities, “for sure”.

      13. For Sure says:

        Guys, my point is that F1 has no ability to lie. If anyone thinks, you can win a few championships without talent, he is out of his mind. I mean if anyone thinks that way, why is he/she even watching it? go and watch tennis or something.

    2. Abscrazyfast says:

      He was top at the final test last year.

      1. Kevin Green says:

        correct.

      2. Wu says:

        And today – yup in a last year’s car, which was about a second slower than the Red Bull, he went over half a second faster than the new Red Bull. And before someone says “glory run”, what do you think Kimi’s fast laps were? Besides, the Red Bull did low fuel runs today too.

        We can’t put much stock in testing times. It’s even more vague than friday practice, and you might as well predict races from entrails of slaughtered animals than using friday practice as a guage.

      3. kevin green says:

        Im glad you had all the info at hand about parts used on car from last year and this yr and the significant effects they would have on the car alongside the tyre’s used fuel levels how much he was told to push or not by the team etc. Very useful bit of info there Wu thankyou very much! They better all watch out for this guy come race day huh. :)

    3. Rick says:

      I agree. Let’s not forget that Kimi is almost 10 years younger than MS. That certainly will make a difference. In any case he has started out strongly and I hope this continues!

      1. Saffy says:

        Kimi took a 2yr break and was still in Motorsport whereas Shumi, 3yrs out of Motorsport, 10yrs older and has done well to close the gap to his younger team mate, gotta admire the guy.

      2. Saffy says:

        Besides let’s not read too much into this, it’s practice, the big guns are not showing their hand! Williams was top last year in practise, look how they turned out!

      3. Thompson says:

        My gut tells me Brawn is holding back Rosberg to please Schumi. Considering their performances over the past 2 seasons and the teams steady decline towards the back of the field.

        This season will be interesting for Schumacher and Mercedes.
        My prediction of Hamilton in the Merc next season still stands, you watch.

    4. Eduan says:

      Michael topped the final session in Barcelona last year

      1. Katewise says:

        And – you should have seen him racing in the Race of Champions! He did just as well as Vettel, and when he competed with Button they were so close : either one winning by mere fractions of a second.

    5. Dan Orsino says:

      Autosport says Kimi gave his teammates a master class.
      Certainly has not lost any of his speed. It’s up to the rest to show how fast [or faster] they are. We’ll know for sure in Melbourne, March 17.

    6. MISTER says:

      Ofc Kimi will be in a better shape then Shumi. Shumi stopped racing for 3 years while Kimi stopped racing in F1 for 2 years. He did racing somewhere else.

  6. Dmitry says:

    Hurray!

    F1 is back!
    First day was a bit boring, but I am just glad it finally came!
    The times were unrepresentable today, but it was still nice to see Kimi on the top.

    Unfortunately most of the cars look rather awkward (with may be an exception of RBR).
    I know my mind is clouded with joy and anticipation (and a great wish to see McLaren’s success), but am I the only one, who find the looks of McLaren ominously beautiful?

    1. Well says:

      Racing cars should look aggressive, fast and mean, not pretty, cute and beautiful :P

      The RBR does the former the best.

    2. marcus says:

      No, not at all! I get the feeling that Mclaren fans don’t take to bragging as much as other fans….
      Can’t remember a Mclaren I didn’t like.
      Very Pleased for Kimi though!
      Go the Ice man!!!

      1. Steve says:

        “I get the feeling that Mclaren fans don’t take to bragging as much as other fans….”

        Hilarious!

      2. marcus says:

        yeah, I could have gone a bit over the top with that one… lol

      3. Stuart Houghton says:

        I agree apart from the the 1995 McLaren…. That was not a good looking car.

    3. Jeremysmith says:

      No you are not! I think the MP4-27 is stunning to look at..

      1. Doobs says:

        I think they missed a trick with the nose.

    4. elie says:

      You are dead right the MP-4 27 is hot & will win, thats my prediction.

  7. Sri says:

    May not be a big deal for topping the time-chart. But at least it shows Kimi and Lotus are not totally off-pace. So they can be satisfied that they can at least be a mid-range team if not better.

    1. Brad says:

      I think better, the time was set on medium compound, so there’s definately more to come… the Lotus times were very consistent…

      Webber’s time got better and better, he achieved the highest speed in sector one, suggesting they have speed in store…

    2. Dmitry says:

      I also glad Kimi is back, but I won’t be so sure about Lotus’ pace.

      Remember, last year Jerez was the second test and the fastest time was shown by… Barrichello in what turned up to be the worst car of 2011 (from established teams).

      I hope to see some more representative times in Barcelona.

      1. Hernan says:

        RENAULT CHAMPION IS BACK!!!.10 TEN CHAMPION CONSTRUCTOR AND 35 YEARS OLD IN F1!!!

  8. goferet says:

    Uh with faster cars, this can only mean we may possibly see lap records tumble all over the place this year.

    Still early days but it seems Red Bull & Mclaren are evenly matched for Jenson & Webber were doing consistent mid 1:22s whereas Kimi was in the mid 1:25s – early 1:26s in the closing stages.

    As for Ferrari, not sure but the early signs don’t look too good, at least Massa should have been closer to the Mclaren & Red Bull times plus of all the top teams he’s the one that did the most laps with 69 tours.

    Anyway, I understand Kimi set out to blaze this track just so to put a smile on the sponsors faces who were all over the the paddock.

    1. Brad says:

      They (Lotus/Kimi) ran with a scrubbed set of mediums at the end of the day…

    2. Andy says:

      Hard to draw even such conclusions. McLaren and Red Bull might’ve been running different programs even if lapping similar times. Kimi might’ve been running very heavy fuel loads to get used to that (he has not been in F1 when refueling is banned, so has no experience with high fuel loads). His top time was done with the harder tire and very early in the day, so I doubt we’ve seen his best speed yet.

    3. Brad says:

      Kimi in the morning…”Raikkonen returns to the pits after his longest run yet – a nine-lap stint on medium tyres averaging 1m22.5s.” I’m not expecting miracles, but that Lotus could just be very competitive in Kimi’s hands. Let’s see what 2morrow brings….

    4. Glennb says:

      I agree. It will be brilliant to see the fastest racer in F1 (Webber) top his own current lap records.

      1. Raymond Yu XB says:

        Huh? Webber fastest in F1? I’m not sure he holds lap records either to be honest…

      2. Glennb says:

        Mark won the DHL trophy for the most fastest laps in 2011. This makes him the current fastest racer in F1. Vettel the fastest qualifier. I concede the point re lap records though Raymond.

    5. Don says:

      I don’t think I would knock Ferrari or any of the other teams at this point. You need to remember this is only testing not racing, and we don’t know what the teams are testing. Maybe Ferrari are testing gear boxes today and then maybe it was just engine mileage,only they know.

      1. John says:

        Isn’t it just amazing how so many “experts” have already written Ferrari off after one day of testing. Pure stupidity. Ferrari dominated all pre season testing in 2011, what did that mean when the red lights went out in the races? Not much, just like it doesnt mean anything that they were near the bottom of the timesheets today. Every team has their own testing programs and setting a fast time isn’t always on the agenda. When you also factor in that no one has any idea what the fuel levels are, it is impossible to figure out what the actual running order is. Any conclusions that all of you have come up with other than Vettel and Red Bull are the team to beat, have no basis in fact or reality.

      2. kevin green says:

        +1 Ferrari will be big movers come race day, Be interesting to see the Impact Alonso has and more likely actual race guise come final testing

      3. Doobs says:

        The newer the car, the more parts to “shake down”. Teams need track time not lap time right now.

    6. CH1UNDA says:

      Andrew Benson on BBC Live streaming reports:

      “There was an interesting little incident on track on Tuesday between Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen. Late in the afternoon, Button’s McLaren came upon the Lotus at the start of a lap and overtook it into Turn Two. Those who saw the move said Button effectively barged Raikkonen out of the way, and it looked very much as if he was trying to make a point. Button played it down when talking to the media later, saying: ‘He was just going slow, so I thought I’d overtake him.’ But then he came out with a remark that caught the eye. ‘It’s great to have Kimi back,’ he said. ‘We maybe haven’t seen eye to eye a lot of the time when we have been racing but he is a very quick driver, very experienced.’ I’m not aware of any ‘previous’ with Button and Raikkonen, and I’ve asked around a bit this morning and no one else is either. But it certainly sounds from that like there is some. Interesting.”

      Does anybody have a history of incidents between these two? Looks like while Massa will be keeping Lewis honest, Kimi will be doing the same to Button.

      1. Wu says:

        I remember Button being very upset with Shumacher in Barelona 2010 I think. Then again just about every driver has a run in with Schumi at one point :D

        But yeh, one was coming out of the pits (forgot whether it was Schumi or Button) and Schumi basically gave Button a choice; yield or we will crash. Button yielded, and was very angry about that after the race.

        Funnily enough Raikkonen did something pretty cheeky in Schumi’s last race in 2006 when he was charging through the field. After first overtaking attempt, Kimi tried to squeeze Schumacher onto the grass at turn one, but Schumi held his nerve. If their wheels didn’t touch it was still damn close.

  9. Siva Rambala says:

    The King is back

    1. Mohawkk says:

      Agh… Elvis has been dead for years

      1. Grayzee (Australia) says:

        +1

      2. kevin green says:

        +1 some say he never was what he apparently was in the 1st place and it was all just a big illusion due to a load of different circumstances !! :o

    2. Wu says:

      You’re 2 years late with that news :D

  10. Sam says:

    James ,

    Have been following this website for a while , must say this is the best F1 site around.

    Would like to know if you are also at the trackside at Jerez covering 4 days testing ?

    While it is clear that top three teams are not showing their true speed at this stage , do you think Lotus , Force India and Sauber were flat out today or they would also be holding something back and still clocking good lap times.

    Thanks

    Sam

    1. James Allen says:

      No, I have someone there this week and then I’ll be at both Barcelona tests.

      It’s the first day with new cars, so they won’t have even started on development/performance work yet. It’ll be systems work, some set up work and starting to understand the new Pirelli tyres. Lot more performance to come

      1. Luke Clements says:

        G’day James, a few people in a few interviews have commented that Mark Webber seems fitter and leaner. Can you please check it out & see if you think he’s noticably lost weight or whether its just people talking rubbish in interviews? From memory he’s been about 76-77kg while SV has been 68kg, I’d love to hear MW’s dropped 5kg, but with his body shape and already lean fram for his height, I’d fear he’s had to starve himself to get there. Thanks mate.

      2. Aussie Rod says:

        It would be fascinating for you to elaborate on this in an article James.

        We all know headline lap times mean very little (Williams looked quick in 2011 pre-season for example) however it would be great if you could expand on what the teams look for, work on, how they benchmark what they are doing, etc.

      3. James Allen says:

        There will be some of that in tonight’s report on testing

  11. Michael S says:

    Great to see Kimster on top day one even though it is early days

  12. db4tim says:

    These time mean nothing to early to tell ANYTHING.

  13. CraigD says:

    Testing headline times mean nothing (especially in this case) but it’s funny how F1 often generates the best impact headline: the return of Raikkonen on and he’s top!

  14. Peter says:

    Times do not tell a lot at this stage. However I love the mentality of this guy. Welcome back Kimi.

  15. Maybe just a cultural difference (or a typo), but my reading of the title is that Raikkonen is not doing well. In the rebel’s English, “Off the mark” means you have missed your target, which it seems Raikkonen has not.

    P.S. Love the site!

    1. James Allen says:

      No, it means he’s got going quickly.

      “Off target” or “off the boil” would be negative

      1. veeru says:

        cool…some english too!!

        JA- the best

      2. Liam in Sydney says:

        @Shane: ‘Off the mark quickly’ is a re-wording of ‘quick off the mark’ – akin to being a fast starter off the line in a running race. Get it?

      3. Jodum5 says:

        Haha, I’m in the U.S. too and took it for a negative. I think we’d say, “On the mark” to mean what James meant.

      4. Figured as much… damned colloquialisms. I have a friend from London who lives near Los Angeles and, at times, I have no idea what he is saying! I am sure he felt the same way at first too.

    2. Jeff says:

      Missing the mark would be negative.
      Getting off the mark is positive – i.e. fast out of the blocks.

      There are definitely language differences over on the left hand side of the Atlantic. I still remember the blank look on the mechanic’s face when I told him that the ‘tickover’ needed adjusting on my car…. “Oh,” he said, after I explained further, “You mean the Idle!”.

    3. Simple says:

      It’s a term often heard in cricket. ‘ the batsman got off the mark quickly’ , meaning he has runs on the board without wasting time.

  16. Matt B says:

    The McLaren is one of nicest looking F1 cars i’ve ever seen. Genuinely.

    1. Jeff says:

      Gorgeous, particularly compared with the Platypus noses of most of the others. The Vented version on the Red Bull looks the nicest of that category. The Ferrari is the two-bagger of the group, closely followed by the Sauber.

      I hope that beautiful means quick.

    1. Ed says:

      wow the off-throttle blowing really was ruining the sound of F1, these sound terrific!!

    2. Tony-J says:

      Thanks for that.
      What a shame, BBC sold us all down the river with their Sky deal, and they can’t even cover any of the practice either.

      1. Tony-J says:

        I meant testing. Oooops

  17. Maksymilian says:

    I think Kimi left F1 amid wery negative publicity. They clearly didn’t love him much at Maranello. He won a title there,yet they didn’t seem to get behind him in the same way they stand now behind Alonso or even Massa.
    I am really glad that he is back where he belongs and I hope he will manage to stick his finger from the podium directed at the guys in red.

    I wonder how much the tyres help the times. I know that the compounds are step softer and they also improved contact patch.
    Quietly I hope that we are getting to the stage where aero developements are so restricted that cars are close on that front.
    They all seem equaly ugly (appart from Mc’s).
    I have read Newey complaining about restrictions, but I could not take one more season of RBR whitewash he is so capable of delivering. Maybe cars are running so fast because tyres allowe them to, not because of downforce found in some other clever ways?
    Maybe it mean even more engageing racing than last year?
    Shame that 50% of it will be on SKY (thanks BBC).

  18. Tx-2 says:

    I am just happy that the season is underway.

  19. Steve B says:

    Go the Iceman!

  20. Dave says:

    James

    Regarding your last comment, i thought less downforce made the cars slide more and increased tyre wear. This would give a double wammy for tyre wear this year.

    1. Ed says:

      I believe the more downforce a car has the more energy is put through the tyres so increased wear.

      Red bull supposedly were tyre limited last season because of the amount of energy their car produced.

  21. ronmon says:

    My two cents:

    Kimi wanted to make a statement that he is back in good form and Lotus wanted to impress sponsor representatives in attendance.

    Other than that, a whole lot of sand bagging.

  22. William Wilgus says:

    The times, as many have commented, are meaningless for no one knows what the objectives of the teams were today. The same goes for tire choices, fuel loads, car set-up, etc. Sand-bagging, anyone?

    1. Granted the times are meaningless, but it is good to see Kimi go out and grab that. Makes me even more excited for this season. I would love to see Lotus begin to pester the top 3 and maybe even earn a few more podium finishes than last year.

  23. Sebee says:

    Another one who thinks Elivis is alive.

    1. Craig in SG says:

      I reckon Flavio is Elvis

  24. vannman says:

    Sauber fooled a few tv pundits a couple of years ago running very light, good marketing lotus.

  25. james longmuir says:

    anyone posting fast times at the start of testing is always open to accusations of glory runs for sponsors, and yes that may be the case with Lotus.

    However he set that time with comparatively little running with a cooler track temp on the harder (medium) compound, so does this mean that they got extremely lucky with the base set up on the car? Kimi is far faster and more capable of dragging lap time out of a car or that no one else was remotely interested in going fast today.

    in reality i think a mixture of all of the above, in my heart I hope he has a decent car under him and he can fight at the top this year.

  26. Paul J says:

    Great to see Kimi topping the time sheets. It obviously doesn’t mean that Kimi/Lotus are the team to beat, but it shows that he is straight back on the pace, and there seems to be a real buzz about the new Lotus. It will be interesting to see what Romain does with the car.

  27. JohnBt says:

    ICEMAN! I like the feeling thats he’s on top even though it’s just testing.

  28. RobH says:

    James, are the cars subject to FIA scrutineering at tests?…

    1. James Allen says:

      No. So they can run underweight of they want, for example.

      But this year they have to have passed all the FIA crash tests, unlike previous years

  29. Simon Donald says:

    Great to see Kimi Raikkonen back in an F1 car where he deserves to be! Promising times too albeit on the first day of the first test. Congratulations also to James for finding the only picture I have seen so far which makes the so-ugly-only-a-mother-could-love-it nose one not look so bad. Having said that the Renault’s nose is by far the best looking one of the stepped noses. On beauty stakes alone, it should be Button vs. Hamilton vs. Raikkonen three way for the championship with Red Bull going from 1979 Ferrari to 1980 Ferrari if you know what I mean.

  30. Brendan says:

    I know there are many opinions on the reason why Kimi topped the timesheets today – but I honestly think, given the mans character, he was just happy and pumped to be driving an F1 car again, and was just driving the living daylights out of it! If he has that kind of attitude this year, then I’m sure we can expect many exciting performances from Kimi, maybe punching above his weight class with that Lotus!

    Though somewhere deep down every Iceman fan is hoping that the Lotus is an Alonso-esque 05/06 car/situation – haha – and consequently dreaming about Kimi as WDC 2012. We can’t help it really, we’re a crazy bunch!

  31. K says:

    GO KIMI GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. JC says:

    Pretty strong work by Ricciardo, even with that oil pressure problem.

  33. Lynn says:

    Kimi himself said that time means nothing during testing, it would make a difference if its a race weekend.

    But it’s nice to see him adapting quickly back to F1 car. Now we just hope the E20 is decently quick for him to make it to Q3 consistently for 2012 season.

  34. Grayzee (Australia) says:

    Looking at some of the side on photos of the new cars, it would seem that the drivers have had to remove their legs in order to fit in!
    They must be almost lying down, with their necks bent, and I can’t see how they fit their feet and pedals in….. :-)
    That has to be mighty uncomfortable after 2 hrs…. I now have even more respect for them.

  35. F1Fan4Life says:

    James, I would love to hear your opinion or what you’ve heard from people in the know, on who is looking good this season, and on who is under par. There must be some rumblings already..

    This year I’m hoping to see:
    1. A Red Bull that isn’t the fastest car.
    2. A Mercedes that is in the top 3 on speed.
    3. A Ferrari That is in the top 2 on speed.
    4. A Williams that is in the top 5.

    I’m guessing 3 and 4 probably will not happen.

    1. James Allen says:

      Give it until the end of the week.

    2. Kevin Green says:

      I would be certain on 4 not being the case not so sure on 1 (would rather far from) and would love to see 2 and 3 :)

  36. Aniket says:

    James,
    can you just confirm whether the ferrari was on medium or hard???
    cause autosport said it was on medium while in the images the tyres seem hard…

    1. James Allen says:

      It was on hard I believe. Most others on medium

    2. One has to imagine they are focusing on making the harder tire work for them. They lost many points, a few podiums and possibly a victory last year because they couldn’t get the harder tire to work for them. That must have been extremely frustrating for Alonso, work hard all day to get to P3 or P2 only to have it so easily taken away from him when they made the switch to the harder tire.

  37. F1WEB.it says:

    Hi James. I would like to ask your opinion about this.
    What is the point in making new cars presentation if the bodyworks are in some cases completely different from what we see ontrack? Think about: McLaren had false exhaust, Red Bull had the old rear wing, both Ferrari and McLaren had not shown their diffuser. The odd thing is that just FEW days have passed and now every other competitor can see the items in Jerez.

    1. Bluefroggle says:

      That is a good point. Surely it must be costing money to make false items which are then never going to be used other than at launch? I have no idea how much a false exhaust is, but I would guess a few thousand pounds. To a company like McLaren this is peanuts but with the restricted amount of resources spending in force, surely every penny must count?

    2. Mohammed Al-Momen says:

      my guess would be they need to do it for sponsors and to get exposure of sponsor logos that is it.

    3. MISTER says:

      Why show your cards early if you don’t have to?
      You would be surprised what differenece 1-2 days can make in F1. If they would show everything at the unveil, a day or two later their competitors would already have the drawings of some innovative things done.

      They will have to show what they have at some point if they want to test it, but other than that..keep it a secret.

    4. Kevin Green says:

      Fine line between confidence on what you are hiding being worth hiding until as late as possible and the effects of the given parts being effective.

      I dare sat there’s certain conponents/set up they can be certain that there onto something in the wind tunnel and others with varied levels of confidence.

  38. Arnie S says:

    End of the line:
    A couple of things to be said after the first day:
    1) Kimi/Lotus is not OFF the pace (if they are competitive we don’t know)
    2) Force India and Sauber have reability (+100 laps in the first testing)
    3) Blown diffusers ban doesn’t seem to reduce times too much
    4) Future will tell who is most competitive (last year williams and MS were at the top in pre-testing)

    1. Kevin Green says:

      Biggest losers on scale of things this year (seasons end) i reckon Certainly Williams Probably Sauber possibly Mclaren

  39. Craig says:

    Mark Webber looked comfortable in interviews for the first time since mid 2010. I hope that this continues regardless in 2012.

  40. mo kahn says:

    Kimi is only acclimatizating… so.. be warned.

    1. kevin green says:

      mmmmm Always said he is going to relevantly well on come back especially compared to that German guy all things considered! But im afraid its not likely to be a Button/Brawn situation by any means. Hope he does well though and reckon he will :)

  41. Goob says:

    When Schumacher raced in F1 at his prime – his ability was a huge factor… since then F1 has been dumbed down to the point talentless jokers like Button can become WDC. This is exactly why I have stopped watching the Formula Farce.

  42. elie says:

    Thanks to SP for those great clips. That Lotus sounds Awesome ! Especially as Kimi is “on it”. Love the lines he takes smooth and flowing uet agressive all the time!, however we all know its the top three that develop the cars quickest that win.! I’m really impressed with Force India and believe they will have a sensational tussle with Lotus for 4th or better.
    James any word on that Mercedes WGP3 ?. Nose treatm-ent etc.

  43. elie says:

    Thanks to SP for those great clips. That Lotus sounds Awesome ! Especially as Kimi is “on it”. Love the lines he takes smooth and flowing uet agressive all the time!, however we all know its the top three that develop the cars quickest that win.! I’m really impressed with Force India and believe they will have a sensatiional tussle with Lotus for 4th or better.
    James u
    Any word on that Mercedes WGP3 ?. Nose treatment etc.

    1. James Allen says:

      Silhouette pics show what looks like a dip on the nose…

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