F1 Winter Break
More chatter from Jerez
More chatter from Jerez
Posted By:   |  03 Mar 2009   |  5:26 pm GMT  |  13 comments

Quick posting with some more chatter I’ve heard from Jerez.

First is following on from my point yesterday about the poor weather the teams have had for their pre-season tests, apparently it now looks as though none of the teams will manage to reach the 15,000 kilometres of testing agreed for this year, in fact none is likely to get beyond 10,000 kms. The testing ban comes into force with the first race and lasts until the end of the year.

Today in Jerez it was wet in the morning and dry in the afternoon, so quite a bit of productive work was done.

According to Robert Kubica, in an interview he did with an Italian colleague, this will be an advantage for BMW, as they presented early with a (largely) reliable car.
“The testing agreement represents an advantage for anyone who has prepared the car well and found reliability, ” he said. “They will be able to do well straight away and maintain their advantage. On the other hand, anyone whose car is slow or fragile will really struggle this season to recover.”

BMW has not set the world on fire with lap times over the winter, but those whose memories stretch back to last winter will recall that they didn’t seem all that fast then either. That was because they were sandbagging – carrying more fuel in the tests than is normal and more than their rivals.

Williams’ Patrick Head flagged this up last February, as I recall. He said that he thought BMW would be very strong because he was sure they were carrying extra fuel in tests and he was proved right in the opening races. BMW tend to follow set procedures, they have their own way of working and you see it in practice sessions, where they are often nowhere on a Friday and then top of the time sheets on Saturday morning. It could well be that they are at it again this winter.

Toyota continue to quietly impress. Fastest again today with Timo Glock, this car looks like it is close to the pace as well as reliable. It was genuinely only a tenth or two off the Ferrari around Bahrain. Today it did a race distance in the morning and set a quick lap in the afternoon in a qualifying simulation.

One final point on the tyre testing BMW and McLaren did for Bridgestone on the 2010 tyres. The days devoted to this work do not count towards their allowance for pre-2009 testing, they were allowable extras, but nevertheless, they have had precious little time to test for 2009.

PS – McLaren are having a bit of a mare with the rear wing. Apparently they ran both of the new 2009 rear wings and then took them off and put back the 2008 rear wing. Lots of measuring going on.. I’ll find out more on this.

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still got a few more days in Jerez and then next week in barcelona for most teams with the possibility of over 600km per day, so mileages can ramp up quite quickly, but it looks like there will be no change to the regulations in terms of opening up the test ban, so if you haven't reached your 15000km limit, that's it! regulations state that there will be no track testing (apart from straight line and young driver days) between one week before the melbourne GP and 31st December.

you have to favour BMW to do well from this, given how early they developed their '09 car, and had the modified chassis running in the early winter tests - plus their decision to go to bahrain (along with ferrari and toyota), whilst everyone else got a bit wet in portimao, to get some hot weather testing was clearly a good one - 7 teams (including brawny) will start the season with very little idea about how these new slicks will react to hot ambient conditions!! of course, they were the only team that refused to delay the introduction of KERS too, so you have to think they believe they have some competitive advantage there as well.

i remain to be convinced by toyota - given that BMW sand-bag in testing and don't go for the top times, there is the very real possiblity that toyota are show-boating a bit and going for the time-sheets. i think ferrari and mclaren will continue to be very strong. (btw, a certain mr schumacher was seen in Jerez today)


This is great news. I feel as though this season we will be able to see the drivers' "driving personalities" more clearly. For example, we all know that Hamilton is tremendously quick but a bit reckless. Massa is quite quick but slightly timid and inconsistent. Alonso is unbelievably talented and can overtake and find opportunities where no one else can; but he's quite proud. Kimi will drive away from the front when he's at the front, but if he loses sight of a car he's following his pace drops off. Kubica is not quite as quick as the others but can pound out precise and perfect laps over and over again.
- It's going to be great.


McLaren are also not setting the world on fire at the moment.


BMW are keeping quietly to themselves and seem rather unperturbed to date about their apparent lack of pace, which would lead one to believe they believe they are in the game, especially as Kubica tends to be typically vocal when things aren't progressing quite as he would like, ref last season.

If we are to assume as indicated that Glock was on a low fuel run today (Tyres soft/hard? New/worn? James any intell on this?) as Vettel was on Monday, then it would appear as though Toyota are approximately 0.8 secs off Red Bull, assuming tyres were equal and KERS was not in operation.

On that rather grand assumption, one can assume that Ferrari are approximately 0.6 secs off Red Bull based on Ferrari v Toyota times from Bahrain.

I believe the 3 drivers that stand to benefit most from the regulation changes are Alonso, Vettel and Rosberg. F1 is fast returning to a drivers paradise again, and this season I expect to see the good drivers out performing the apparent limits of their machinery quite regulary. Step forth the aforementioned three.

However with the greater demands on driver ability, intelligence and race craft this season, I believe Vettel will perhaps be the ultimate beneficiary, reliability notwithstanding. And when it rains.........:-)


Brian: i'd be inclined to replace rosberg with heidfeld there - whilst i don't doubt nico's talent (and i think if williams don't perform this year, he will definitely find his way into a top team), i can't see it happening for him this year. heidfeld is a very clever driver, a great overtaker, and he's also tiny which advantages him in set-up. he was also the only driver to finish every race in '08.


I must say i'm a Mclaren fan, and this is the worst test session mclaren have had since the MP4-18.

I think we might be in trouble 🙁


gareth, i wouldn't write them off just yet - heikki reckons their KERS can run all day no problem and that he expects it to be used in melbourne. strange how they keep going back to the old rear wing tho...? (they used it yesterday again)


http://www.planet-f1.com/story/0,18954,3213_5008798,00.html" rel="nofollow">Lewis sidelined by yet more mechanical problems. Is Mclaren's reliability back to 2005?


McLaren is either hugely in trouble or hugely confident. Why spend so much time on a 2010 tyre and with the 'wrong' rear wing if you thought you had anything to worry about?

Testing isn't just about going quick.


Yes, are we in for a big surprise in barca next week? - I hope so
New rear wing and diffuser new front wing too probably although they have added new parts to it today I understand (the front wing).


Just noticed from the Jerez pics, that Ferrari and Williams are both using hub/wheel centre covers on the rear wheels. (maybe others too which I missed)

Article 12 of the Tech regs (Wheels and tyres) does not seem to mention this at all, maybe it is covered elsewhere or is currently "free"; in which case with a live axle, an aerodynamic effect could be induced by venting the cover appropriately. (Probably in conjunction with the rear brake air ducts if fitted)
Article 11.4 Dealing with brake air ducts also leaves this open (Which is possibly where one might expect to find something)


John g: I wouldn't disagree to be fair. In fact I can see Hedifeld putting one over on Kubica this year. I wouldn't replace Rosberg; rather add Nick.

Quick Nick has always been underestimated. Last year was the first time he has been beaten over the course of a season by a team mate, and that was largely due to his acknowledged qualifying woes. More often than not he picks up a podium in the wet, and is Mr. consistent throughout.

As you state, his diminutive frame will almost certainly be an advantage in '09, especially alongside Kubica.


Well... they're charring the tarmac and grass a little!

It is very hard to be convinced by Mclaren at the moment. Testing 2010 tyre compounds, delayed usage of the rear wing and issues with the KERS system (although not the only ones).

Unless they have a lot of ace's up their sleeves, then a Mclaren fan will need to be worried...

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