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Posted on February 28, 2013
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Mark Webber made the most of today’s short dry spell to head the field on the first day of the final test in Barcelona, as Force India opted for Adrian Sutil to fill their second race seat.

Sutil, who has not raced since 2011, was re-appointed as Paul Di Resta’s team mate at midday following a lot of talk regarding the employment in recent days. The move means that Jules Bianchi is to stay in the Reserve Driver role, where he will also continue his work  with Ferrari as part of their Ferrari Driver Academy. Di Resta was in the car today.

Elsewhere, for Webber and Red Bull today offered an opportunity to show their real pace for the first time in testing, topping the times for the first time this year. After spending the majority of the day on the intermediate and wet tyres, the final hour of the day allowed for dry running.

Webber completed a number of short runs on the medium tyre, putting himself over a second clear of the field at that point. And when those behind began to close, Webber used a set of the soft tyres in the dying minutes to end the day almost two seconds ahead of his closest challenger.

That spot was filled by Lewis Hamilton, the Mercedes driver having another productive day in which he lapped more than anyone. Incidentally, he went quickest during the gloomy conditions of this morning, where a brief respite in the rain allowed for a stint on the intermediate tyre before heavy rain returned before midday.

After lunch and with the rain easing, Felipe Massa was first to switch to the medium tyre with just over an hour left of the day as he came to the end of a race simulation. Setting the timing screens alight with purple, he lowered the best time by over five seconds and prompted the rest of the field to follow suit. As expected the times fell quickly with many teams seeing it as a good opportunity to conduct some short runs on the medium tyre.

Massa, on his penultimate day of pre-season testing, completed the 112 laps during a productive day. However, his car came to halt in the final minutes of the day, most likely due to a shortage of fuel at the end of his race simulation. He eventually ended the day in eighth place as the rest of the field set out on slick runs.

According to Gazzetta dello Sport, the Ferrari will appear in definitive Melbourne specification on Saturday and Sunday.

Behind Webber and Hamilton in third was Jean-Eric Vergne in the Toro Rosso. He set his time using the medium tyre on a single lap run, presumably on low fuel. He ended the day just ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez, who interestingly both use the super-soft compound today. They set their fastest times on these tyres, but were unable to challenge Webber at the top.

Lotus’ recent reliability woes continued with a hydraulics issue disrupting much of their afternoon. Romain Grosjean also beached the car in the gravel during the morning session, which resulted in the loss of an hour of running.

More bad weather is forecast for Friday. So Saturday and Sunday should be like a race weekend, with teams doing qualifying and race simulations with their Melbourne specification parts.

JA on F1 Technical Adviser Mark Gillan commented: “RBR did a very competitive time, given the conditions – Webber did a 1:22.6. It is interesting to see that the Teams did a large number of laps in the difficult conditions (average 83 laps) and will have been studying the cross over times between the wet, intermediate and dry tyres for race data. It is also clear from photos that some teams were running aero rakes (devices for measuring wing behaviour and air flows), clearly hoping for the weather to break and turn dry, but had to block up the pressure taps in the wet to prevent them from being contaminated by water ingress.”

* For tonight’s BBC Radio 5 Live F1 season preview special I had a unique opportunity to go behind the scenes at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, where Jenson Button and Sergio Perez’ new cars were being prepared for the start of the 2013 season.

I’ve been to all of the F1 factories and I’ve visited MTC many time before, but this was truly special as I got to go into some places that have always been “off limits” – such as the simulator and the Operations Room and the Wind tunnel. You can hear it all on the show which airs tonight on BBC Radio 5 Live at 7-30pm. It is not geo-locked so fans overseas can listen here. http://www.bbc.co.uk/5live/

Barcelona Test Day 1

1. Mark Webber Red Bull 1min 22.693s 90 laps
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1min 24.348secs 113 laps
3. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1min 25.017secs 59 laps
4. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1min 26.458secs 85 laps
5. Sergio Perez McLaren 1min 26.538secs 100 laps
6. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1min 26,574secs 92 laps
7. Paul di Resta Force India 1min 27.107secs 57 laps
8. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1min 27.541secs 112 laps
9. Max Chilton Marussia 1min 28.166secs 78 laps
10. Charles Pic Caterham 1min 28.668secs 83 laps
11. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1min 34.928secs 52 laps

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Barcelona Test 2: Day 1: Webber puts Red Bull in sunshine, as Force India Announce Sutil
84 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: sergiu
        Date: February 28th, 2013 @ 6:00 pm 

    So it’s Red Bull again this season…

    [Reply]

    Grant Reply:

    Oh No! Not again…
    Alomst 2 secs difference (regardless of tyre) that’s huge.

    [Reply]

    Doobs Reply:

    RB 12 sec faster than Lotus or maybe the times don’t mean much after all….

    [Reply]

    gudien Reply:

    Oh yes, again! Can’t wait to hear more from Helmut!

    [Reply]

    Tim Reply:

    Relax,LH was 2 seconds faster than everyone else earlier in the day (on the track at the same time as him). MW was just out on the right tyre at the right time on a drying track.

    [Reply]

    Glennb Reply:

    Yes, that has to be it. How on earth could RB be faster than Mercedes ;)
    Better get used to it friend.

    Tim Reply:

    Glennb
    Looks like I may not have to get used to it:-)

    Did you see LH time today? Over a second quicker than anyone else!

    FerrariFan Reply:

    Looks like it. Gary Anderson mentioned in the BBC live coverage that Red Bull are running more rake than others. This reminds me of the 2011 car and that is not good for the competition.

    [Reply]

    FerrariFan Reply:

    BTW those 2011 RBRs with higher rear ride heights looked ugly. Fast but ugly in my mind.

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    Yup.

    2013…another Running of the Bulls!

    Those sugar drink makers sure are showing some of the best car makers out there how to build a winning race car. It’s quite funny really when you think about it.

    [Reply]

    Anon Reply:

    You say it as if dietrich mateschitz designed the car.

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    You say it as if Dieter Zetsche designed the car.

    You say it as if Luca di Montezemolo designed the car.

    You see, it works that way too.

    Bottom line: Red Bull business is value-add sugar water, not cars. Yet he is beating car makers at their own game.

    There is only one way they can play it: Ferrari Juice
    Mercedes Vitamin Water
    :-)

    AuraF1 Reply:

    Well his cheque book did – just like the Ferrari structure, who all talk about passion, but have zero to do with actually building or racing a car.

    Mateschitz co-owns a drinks company and he put the money and talent in place and leaves well enough alone for them to get on with winning. The drivers can’t race without engineers and engineers can’t race without money.

    So it’s probably a fair point to say that a sugary drink company is showing up the boards and structure of many car companies and racing pedigrees.

    Val from montreal Reply:

    Red Bull may have money but they dont out spend Ferrari !

    At worse scenario Reb Bull’s budget is same as Ferrari and McLaren’s , and winning can be done wih less money than your competiton … Reb Bull have a structured culture that did not happen yesterday … Roots started in 2005 abd grew stronger …. Ferrari’s last title before 2000 was in 1979 and yet spent alot more than threir rivals … Plus they got that fast little german leading them on …

    radohc Reply:

    Sebee, Vitamin Water – this could only come from VolksWagen :)

    Tim Reply:

    You say it as if Luca di Montezemolo designed the car.
    Bottom line: Red Bull business is value-add sugar water, not cars. Yet he is beating car makers at their own game…..

    Sebee, I hate to be a pedant, but in an earlier post you claimed that Ferrari are not a manufacturer team. If I recall correctely, you said it was foolish to say they were.

    Now which is it, are they a manufacturer of cars or not?
    Please try and make up your mind:-)

    [Reply]

    Steve Reply:

    Ferrari does not like other manufacturer teams in a sence that racing is not merely a marketing tool…

    db4tim Reply:

    However we do not know what engine mapping they where using !

    [Reply]

    Glennb Reply:

    Engine mapping restrictions (anti RB tactics) were last year.

    [Reply]

    John M Reply:

    Could be, but changing conditions and different tires could mean today’s times are a bit specious. We may not know for certain until Q3 Melbourne.

    [Reply]


  2.   2. Posted By: Colombia Concalvez
        Date: February 28th, 2013 @ 6:15 pm 

    Webber was on Super Softs and Hamilton on Mediums. James, i saw both RBR and Mercedes-Benz driving around without the ”Monkey seat”, meaning they have some good Down Force right ?..

    [Reply]

    . Reply:

    Webber was not on supersoft, just soft and Hamilton was on hard.

    [Reply]

    Colombia Concalvez Reply:

    Indeed, my apologize

    [Reply]

    mbraz Reply:

    I think you will find lewis was on the medium tyre

    [Reply]

    f1_tshif Reply:

    No LH was on medium not hard and Webber on soft, but conditions were still changeable so these times are irrelevant

    [Reply]

    Kevin Irwin Reply:

    Webber went round on those laps using the DRS for the full lap and soft tyres, Hamilton did niether.

    [Reply]

    Scott Reply:

    I don’t understand why Red Bull would use DRS for the whole lap when you can’t do that this year in true competition.

    [Reply]

    Yuri Reply:

    Why would he run the whole lap with DRS? It can’t be used outside the zones anymore.

    [Reply]

    kevin irwin Reply:

    That’s what some sites are saying, only reason I can think is they were testing a drs mod and were checking airflow re attachment .

    Miguel Reply:

    To get a good time?

    mbraz Reply:

    which sites are u talking about i have not seen it anywhere and it was not mentioned by James

    [Reply]


  3.   3. Posted By: goferet
        Date: February 28th, 2013 @ 6:16 pm 

    Yeah, it was pretty intense out there today, one would have thought we were watching qualifying as the guys took turns to better their times.

    Now what I take from today is despite Red Bull’s chart topping time, they’re certainly worried about the competition as shown by Webber’s admission and the fact he had to switch to the softs.

    Mercedes and Ferrari are looking evenly matched pace wise at this moment both in the wet and the dry and that leaves qualifying pace as the one area that will separate them.

    I see Mclaren are still struggling to understand their car for in the wet on Inters, it took a while before Perez could find some speed and also he set his fastest time in the dry on the super softs

    As for Lotus, the cool, wet conditions still don’t sit well with the team like we saw last season e.g. Brazil 2012.

    Regards the Marussia-Cathetham battle, am almost certain there has been a power shift at the back of the grid >>> in Marussia’s favour

    P.s.

    Massa’s stoppage was due to some failure on his right suspension and not due to fuel shortage.

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    If Mercedes and Ferrari are matched, this will be a huge achievement for Mercedes.
    Plus it will be fun to watch Alonso vs. Hamilton.

    [Reply]

    VP of Common Sense Reply:

    Ferrari are ahead of Mercedes. Webber did the best of the #2 drivers today. Hamilton beating Massa means little. Alonso has had Ham’s number for 3 years running, it’s not going to change with Ham in a slower Mercedes.

    [Reply]

    Jenny Reply:

    More fun to watch Hamilton and Sutil!

    [Reply]

    Glennb Reply:

    At least that pairing is realistic competition.

    AuraF1 Reply:

    It’s possible webbers time was a bit of a slip from operation maximum sandbag…

    [Reply]

    ak Reply:

    If someone is running maximum sandbag operation , I think it is Mclaren . But they do have operation and setup issues . But the car is damn fast

    [Reply]

    Doobs Reply:

    It’s got all the hallmarks of a glory run. As someone else posted here, DRS used all lap + possibly using the illegal engine map + short run + soft tyres + track at it’s best.

    They’re up to something…

    [Reply]

    Glennb Reply:

    Just curious, what is the engine map rule, at this time for 2013?

    Doobs Reply:

    Rob Smeds said fuel.

    [Reply]


  4.   4. Posted By: Tornillo Amarillo
        Date: February 28th, 2013 @ 6:23 pm 

    Cool, I’ve anticipated here that Sutil would be the driver and Bianchi a 3rd driver. Bad news again for Di Resta though.

    Sutil speaks Spanish because his father is from Uruguay and an inmigrant to Germany, so more latin blood in the grid, GO yorugua!!!

    [Reply]

    goferet Reply:

    @ Tornillo Amarillo

    Hmm… Interesting.

    It then seems Latin drivers have a way with the wet for Sutil is a magician when the track waters up.

    [Reply]

    Colombia Concalvez Reply:

    Mate, i’m from Colombia and the whole ”Latin” thing or what ever you want to call it don’t exist, keep that in mind.

    [Reply]

    Tornillo Amarillo Reply:

    I insist, Sutil was visiting Uruguay at the end of 2011 and he said in Spanish:

    “I have blood ‘charrúa’, Uruguayan blood. My father is very patriotic and always remember fondly their homeland ”

    You can check it on Internet.

    [Reply]


  5.   5. Posted By: Jonathan
        Date: February 28th, 2013 @ 6:26 pm 

    I really really hope Massa and Perez were just not using 7th gear.

    [Reply]


  6.   6. Posted By: Arun
        Date: February 28th, 2013 @ 6:35 pm 

    James, looks like the highlighted colors of your website have been changed from red to dark blue… It is very pleasing to the eye now… :)

    [Reply]

    Simmo Reply:

    It’s because the article is in the Red Bull section :)

    [Reply]

    Seán Craddock Reply:

    That’s because you’re on the Red Bull section of the website, Red Bull colours, nice touch how it changes from team to team

    [Reply]

    Arun Reply:

    Oh ok… Got it… Makes me eager to see how the Mercedes page will look like… :)

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: Richard
        Date: February 28th, 2013 @ 6:40 pm 

    I’m glad Sutil has been given his old seat back and I think he was the right choice. – He is a fast driver. On the face of it Red Bull look very fast, but as always I wouldn’t read too much into it. I think Webber had the right tyre on at the right time when the track was drying out, and of course we do not know the fuel loads. I suspect the others were on longer stints and the tyres were past their best as the track was drying out so not really a good comparison.

    [Reply]

    hero_was_senna Reply:

    May well be right, bearing in mind that the RBR time isn’t the fastest we’ve seen this year either.

    [Reply]


  8.   8. Posted By: Jeremy (cape town) South Africa
        Date: February 28th, 2013 @ 6:54 pm 

    I have a feeling that Mercedes is going to surprise alot of teams!! Why haven’t they done any running on the super softs yet?

    [Reply]

    Colombia Concalvez Reply:

    Indeed, and they drove around without the monkey seat, same like RBR

    [Reply]


  9.   9. Posted By: Danny Almonte
        Date: February 28th, 2013 @ 7:15 pm 

    Mercedes obviously dropped the monkey seat but they also hid the rear suspension arm in the drive shaft.

    [Reply]

    Colombia Concalvez Reply:

    No wonder LH was smiling the whole interview, they must have found some good down force

    [Reply]


  10.   10. Posted By: Random 79
        Date: February 28th, 2013 @ 7:37 pm 

    Yes it’s only testing.
    Yes it was a rainy session.
    Yes he was on softs.

    But it’s still good to see Mark on top :)

    [Reply]

    Tyler Reply:

    I agree, i’m not tired of the RBs winning so much as I am of Vettels streak. Nothing personal.. I got sick of Schumi’s run too.

    [Reply]

    Doobs Reply:

    It’s the only glory he’ll be allowed this year.

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    You’re right. They keep telling him he’s not allowed to win any races, but he keeps on doing it anyway ;)

    [Reply]

    bearforce1 Reply:

    Mark is the only one responsible for putting his car into reverse at the start of every race.

    [Reply]


  11.   11. Posted By: George
        Date: February 28th, 2013 @ 8:10 pm 

    James, can you explain this from the article please:
    ‘It is also clear from photos that some teams were running aero rakes, clearly hoping for the weather to break and turn dry, but had to block up the pressure taps in the wet to prevent them from being contaminated by water ingress.’
    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Tyler Reply:

    Perhaps i’m wrong but I believe that is referring to pitot tubes

    [Reply]

    Dave Reply:

    I think… during testing the cars sometimes run with an array of pressure sensors to see what the airflow is doing, and how closely it matches the simulations and windtunnel. These are basically thin pipes facing into the airflow, which during wet running can clog up with rain or spray.

    I’m sure somebody will be along to correct me if I’m wrong, or explain in more detail!

    [Reply]

    GT_Racer Reply:

    the aero rakes are an array of sensors used to monitor air speed, velocity & direction over specific areas of the car.

    http://photos.gpupdate.net/large/169673.jpg

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: IJW
        Date: February 28th, 2013 @ 8:33 pm 

    I am wondering whether some of the cars had a wet set-up due to the mornings weather, and whether they carried that over to the afternoon.
    I could understand Webber being that far ahead, if he had the tyres AND a dry set-up, whereas others had harder tyres and a wet set-up.

    [Reply]


  13.   13. Posted By: dean cassady
        Date: February 28th, 2013 @ 8:45 pm 

    As previously stated in these pages, Red Bull is ominous in form.
    But, hey, don’t get those razor blades over your wrists yet, teams haven’t played all their cards yet.
    There are very significant changes coming for Melbourne; assume the Ferrari is a data-gathering draught horse, not the Arabian Stallion they’ll be making their challenge with.
    Prediction: We (most of us) haven’t seen Ferrari’s real 2013 car!
    I don’t think we have a fully functional Lotus, on Thursday (Feb. 28th).
    I don’t think we have the Melbourne-spec McLaren.
    And we probably haven’t seen the complete 2013 Red Bull, either!
    I think Sauber still have a significant functionality/component to turn-on/enable.
    The Williams by-line was something to the effect, “we’ll have to bring an upgrade to every event”, probably suggesting a new upgrade for Melbourne, thus will not be seen this weekend in Barcelona.

    So there is a long, long way to go to figure out the running order.

    Yes, it will likely be another year of the running of the Bulls, but HEY, doesn’t it happen that some guy beats the running of the bulls, in Spain? Does that mean it’s most likely a Spanish guy?

    [Reply]


  14.   14. Posted By: AlexD
        Date: February 28th, 2013 @ 10:30 pm 

    Herbert believes that Red Bull is the fastest with Ferrari being a very close second. He also believes that Ferrari and Alonso will take titles.
    So many opinions……it means nobody really knows.

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: Thompson
        Date: February 28th, 2013 @ 10:36 pm 

    Wow…all eyes on Hamilton….

    If lowe is to take over next year these early running results for the Merc from both drivers must worry him.

    The car looks like it could be good.

    [Reply]


  16.   16. Posted By: Sufyaan Patel
        Date: February 28th, 2013 @ 11:06 pm 

    First of all, that Mercedes coupled with Hamilton’s skill in the wet seems to be able to switch on the tyres well in cooler/wet conditions. I wonder if this is still a sign of premature tyre wear.

    As for the tyres in general, drivers are able to go out and very quickly get upto speed. Meaning that as expected and intended by Pirelli, drivers will find it easier getting tyres into the ‘zone’. I guess this means undercutting at pitstops will be critical if you want to gain on someone in front of you. As we have seen recently but more enhanced this year I think.

    Finally, although the RBR looks very strong. I dont think it’ll hold such a massive advantage on other cars. The car obviously seems very driveable and maybe better to hit the sweet-spot with set up. So they will hit the ground running come Melbourne and on race weekends. The other front runners may have to work a bit harder to dial the car in….. and may be affected by certain variables more so than RBR.

    2 weeks to go! :D

    [Reply]


  17.   17. Posted By: Steve Boden
        Date: February 28th, 2013 @ 11:12 pm 

    James,

    Any news on Williams progress? It was all very positive after their launch and both Maldonado and BOTTAS (Apparently always has to be in capitals) seemed to be smiling like they were onto something special but since then they seem to have gone under the radar?
    Do they have real pace that is being hidden? and is the modifaction to their exhaust likely to hinder the original package?

    Thanks,
    Steve

    MAXIMUM ATTACK – Sorry, Had to get that one in too lol.

    [Reply]


  18.   18. Posted By: Seán Craddock
        Date: February 28th, 2013 @ 11:13 pm 

    Please tell me there will be a repeat of your McLaren visit on 5Live James? It doesn’t seem to be on iPlayer. I missed it :(

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Do not fear – help is at hand.

    You can download a podcast of it

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/cff1

    I’m really pleased with the way it came out. Fascinating behind the scenes tour of MTC

    [Reply]

    Anne Reply:

    I listend yesterday. You sounded like a child visiting Disneyland :) I guess I would feel the same way in the same situation. Very informative. However I noticed you didn´t address current issues like the Paddy Lowe gardening. Well maybe you did it off the record in that case you can´t talk about it.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    I did ask Sam Michael about Paddy and he answered well, but it didn’t make the edit. I don’t control the edit.


  19.   19. Posted By: Jonathan Andre
        Date: February 28th, 2013 @ 11:33 pm 

    Hi James,

    There is growing chatter about the fact that the Mercedes have not run the soft tires at all. What are your views on their reasons?

    Are they hiding the speed of a car that maybe can only be beaten by Red Bull?

    [Reply]

    Doobs Reply:

    Looks like they still burn them too fast

    [Reply]

    Jonathan Andre Reply:

    That would be a shame.

    But if they could do quick stints on the softs and then move on to the mediums or hards they could have a strong race.

    [Reply]


  20.   20. Posted By: Poyta
        Date: March 1st, 2013 @ 2:57 am 

    As already explained here Webbers time that everyone is boasting about was done in the lasts 5 minutes of the day when the track was at its driest and fastest and was done on Softs. It was also a relatively short run, done on lap 2 of 5 lap stint suggesting perhaps light fuel? Lewis was at least 2nd with a 1:24.348, done on Medium tyres done about 8 minutes before Mark’s time so the track would not have been as dry, plus it was done on lap 3 of a long 11 lap stint suggesting heavier weight. Still 1.6 seconds off Marks time is quite a bit, whether the heavier fuel loads, better tyres and better track conditions is worth that much I don’t know. What I found more interesting was when Lewis did his 54 lap stint on what I assume was the hards and with those tyres managed a 1:26.835 ( better than Massa’s on Medium at the end of the day). He also did it on lap 45! He then went on to consistently go around the 1:29-1:30′s for another 14 lap before pitting so 54 laps in total. Now that is definitely a heavy fuel load, and pretty impressive tyre durability.

    [Reply]


  21.   21. Posted By: Feral
        Date: March 1st, 2013 @ 8:09 am 

    All the best to Casey Stoner in Adelaide this weekend with the superV8 for his change in career :)

    Good luck Mark for Melbourne and the year.
    Feral

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    +1, good to see Casey’s still racing :)

    [Reply]


  22.   22. Posted By: jenks
        Date: March 1st, 2013 @ 11:14 am 

    So Caterham have an illegal exhaust, and they look like they’re the slowest car at the moment. What happened there?

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    Good question.

    From from I’ve heard Caterham got an extra $10m thanks to Petrov beating Pic in Brazil, but still – so far at least – it seems like they’ve ended up at the bottom.

    I know it’s useless to speculate, but by by looking at the times in testing so far I can’t help but wonder where Marussia might be this year had it been the other way around.

    [Reply]


  23.   23. Posted By: Rohan
        Date: March 1st, 2013 @ 2:00 pm 

    James, can you give us some info/background on the rookies this year and what you expect to see from them? I’ve quite forgotten the drivers at Marussia and Caterham.

    Thank you.

    [Reply]

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