F1 Winter Break
Ferrari happy that the new car is performing as expected
Scuderia Ferrari
Ferrari happy that the new car is performing as expected
Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Feb 2010   |  12:37 pm GMT  |  238 comments

Ferrari technical director Aldo Costa says that the new Ferrari is on target as the numbers they got from the first track test this week in Spain correlated with the figures that they had from the wind tunnel.

"We are fast" (Photo: Ferrari)
Ferrari were on top throughout the three days in Valencia, largely due to running lower fuel loads the their main opposition, McLaren and Mercedes.

Close analysis of the lap times shows that Alonso was slightly faster than Massa at this first test, based on estimated, fuel corrected times. Alonso ran mainly 2009 levels of fuel, whereas Massa also spent a little time running the heavier 2010 fuel loads. Massa had two days to Alonso’s one. Both drivers reported a positive feeling with the car and it seems responsive to changes. It also seems to look after its tyres quite well.

Although Ferrari had faster lap times, McLaren ran more fuel all week and the feeling is that the McLaren may be a shade faster at this point.

Costa told Gazzetta dello Sport, “The overview is very positive. We covered 1,400km across all fuel levels also tried the new tyres (with a narrower front tyre) and started doing some set up and development work.

“All our wind tunnel and simulation numbers matched up with the ones from the track. We are fast, even if it’s too early to say how fast compared to the others. ”

In Jerez next week Ferrari will have its first development step, “Mainly mechanical things,” said Costa. “We will do a lot of set up work too. At the following Jerez test and again at Barcelona, we will have new aerodynamic steps.”

Featured Video
Behind the Scenes at the track
Behind the Scenes at the track
Featured News in ferrari
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

James, how do you know they ran lower fuel than McLaren and Mercedes? (note: not doubting you, just wondered what the teams have revealed to you)


I think that Massa and Alonso did their best lap times when they all ran 2009 levels of fuel. Massa had more testing times (2 days), so he also ran 2010 levels with little lap times too.


and also how come that during three days time McLaren never reached a "low level" of fuel load, in other words they were ALL the time running heavy (so that nobody could see their raw pace etc etc)


nobleato,we do know. Hamilton's long run lap time were consistent.We can deduce he was carrying out a half race simulation and had plenty of fuel at the end. Alonso's times fell consistently throughout his run until he set the fastest lap near the end of his stint.

What we don't know is tyre wear patterns.


bcoz the tires arent upto the task till the end

alonso's time was done on 3/4 lap of a 12 lap run

more weight=more tyre degradation

a la horca con todas las feministas.

Don't question allen, or you will be banned from the site. What god says should never put in doubt.


It's very simple. On Hamilton's long 28 lap run his early laps were 1.12's were as Alonso's 18 lap run started at 1.13's despite carrying 8 laps less fuel.


you are making the assumption that hamilton and alonso were carrying only 28 laps and 18 laps of fuel in their cars respectively. that is a very flawed assumption. the truth is that we will never know which team was faster from the test so far.


hard way to find out, I was just banned my comments don't even appear as awaiting moderation


Hope the rain doesn't ruin what could turn out to be a very exciting and revealing testing session. Especially given the limiting restrictions in regards to testing as a whole!

Was wondering though, do you think Ferrari's speed would have been hampered much by that tall black stick on the top of their car? I believe it was for measuring wind or something? Not sure if it would have had much effect or not?


The black stick is a telemetary device - usually used a tests to aid reception and improve therefore data. At that height above the car there is very little aero


Wouldn't it be expected for Alonso to be slightly faster, firstly as the track continues improving over the three days, and also because the data from Massa's tests must have made a difference in their set-up? Didn't Alsonso say he was impressed with massa's set up and it had helped?

Either way, I'm looking forward to their battles this season, it looks like it will be very close! Also can't wait for the unveiling of the Red Bull it would be brilliant if they had stolen a march on the whole paddock...


Well, people forget to analyse things properly

Alonso had his best time halfway his 12 lap run, Massa had his in first fast lap of 11 lap run, both were not acquainted with the car, Massa is recovering from a very serious shunt while Alonso had no experience at all with Brembo brakes, but having driven that underperforming, hard to drive R29, the F10 could easily be a piece of cake in his plate, only the season will show us if he'll know how to eat it, or if Massa will take this cake out of Alonso's hands


Just one correction in your post. Massa is not 'recovering' from a serious injury, he has already recovered. Else he wouldn't be in an F1 car.


Yeah, but I tried to say that he is coming back, this was the word to be written there

Anyway, he is coming from an experience that no other driver had, at least in the present drivers line up


That s true but you have to take into account the fuel load at the beginning of the run - not just the amount of laps and the laptime set


We're just assuming that both had the aforementioned fuel load related to their runs, 12 in Alonso's and 11 in Massa's


Yes I agree... both FM and FA seem to be on par and seems like we'll have good races at our hand...

now if only redbull doesn't produce and utterly dominating car and all the cars are within 1 tenth of each other... we'll be in for a great season...


And he's just faster 🙂



- Can you yet try to establish a classification of the different cars performances or still too early?

- Any new information about the different engine fuel consumption? Ferrari's worried or calm?

- And what about the tyres degradation? I've seen a picture of Hamilton left rear tyre thanks to you tweeter agregator, it was very used (but don't know which one it was and how many laps he did with).


If the McLaren proves to be a shade faster and the Ferrari proves to be a shade thirstier how important will strategy be this season for the tyre changes?

Or will they all end up doing the same thing anyway?

Assuming the Red Bull isn't two shades faster than everything else out there of course!


If McLaren were faster and the Ferrari used more fuel then it'd be a disaster for Ferrari.


Wow, the betting odds in UK are really shortening on Fernando's chances, even though lots of people that follow this great site say he has nothing to do against Hamilton or Schumacher.

James, I just heard that USF1 has offered Adrián Vallés a drive, as well as to a few others, for the "small" price of 8 Million €!!! I honestly do not trust in them or Campos being at the first race at all. Any personal opinions on that?


Hi James,

Keep up the great work on the site and the live twitter feed!

How are you calculating / estimating the fuel loads from the lap data?


Any idea where we can get this detailed analysis from?


That is why he is James Allen - he has connections that you can never have access to as a fan. For starters can you have a chat on your cellphone in 5 o'clock traffic with Martin Brundle about what all that data meant today at the tests? Well, James can. :=))


Is this year's car 0.6 seconds faster than last year's?



it is getting old already


Don´t know!. McLaren for sure is 3 points of downforce better ROFL


If and it's a big if you're right & McLaren are fastest at the moment -HOOORAYYYY!!!!!!

I don't want any team to have a big cat advantage I just want to see Alonso. Schumacher and especially Hamilton in competitive cars so we get to see who really is the current fastest driver in F1 - my money is on Hamilton as being both the fastest and the most daring.


Let's hope it turns out to be the case with Vettel joining your group of three as it would be mega ❗


Red Bull + Vettel = the fastest car at Bahrain.


don't writeoff webbo just yet


Weren't there rumours that the Ferrari engine had the worst fuel consumption though?

Could be seeing Ferraris at the front of the grid and then being slow for the first part of the race.



Looks like they where not as fast as testing last week suggested.

It seems like Q3 in Bahrain is going to be the first time we find out which car has the most raw speed, if not racing speed.

Makes it interesting.


Now that the top 10 will have to start the race on the same tyres we may not get to see who really is the fastest ❗ I for one don't like this addition to the rules I think final qualifying should be about raw speed and skill like it was when Ayrton owned pole 🙂


I agree...

I'd forgotton about that rule change. Had been looking forward to finally going back to 'the fastest' in quali.

Lucky all these rules changes have made the spectical better than... say just going back to 98 rules.



O agree, this starting on the same tyres the top 10 qualify in is just stupid and will spoil qualifying something I was really looking forward to in 2010.

I thought at last, pole will mean something again. F1 is about speed not slowing the cars down why can't those who make the rules see this ❓


I think it is a good amendment to the rules. It keeps the pack a little closer together and might make for more overtaking opportunities in the race than if this rule wasn't in place.


Dale. I already explained why it could be a good thing.

Another way to look at it is: the fastest guy in the fastest car on the best set of tyres running away at the front makes for a very boring race; a bit like when Senna and Prost were blitzing the field in 88 and 89, there was no need to watch because Senna was going to get pole and either he or Prost was going to win the race that year.


I like this rule change.

Before everyone was just going to qualify on soft tyres, start the race on the hard tyres and then change to the soft as the car got lighter.

Now you have to decide if you want to go for pole on the soft tyres but risk being much slower at the end on the hards.

Whilst the guys at the back of the top 10 who went hard will be faster at the end.

If you can qualify near the front on hard then you really are in the box seat.

But if we have a wet qualifying session and dry race then this rule will be moot. And what about Monaco? Everyone will go soft surely. And don't forget for some races the tyre choice will only be one step apart, ie soft or medium, medium or hard etc.

Also, James I highly doubt Massa is a twitter fan. Might I suggest using Ralfs picture instead. Maybe have a caption like "Don't miss anything" or "Don't feel left out".


How can something that will probably slow the fastest driver down be a good thing in a race ❓

Give me both qualifying and racing as it was in Senna, Prost and Mansell's day any day compared to what we have now ❓


I agree. I don't like all these rules that only slow the cars. F1 should be about high technology and high speed.


That's assuming they all run the same tires in Q3. A new rule states that the final 10 qualifiers (Q3 participants) have to start the race on the tires they qualified on. There are obviously only two strategic options to choose from: hard rubber for a long first stint or soft rubber for a short first stint... and that could well affect the qualifying pace in Q3.


"We have the car we always hoped for.."

F. Massa, February 2009


We (as in formula one) have the car (as in McLaren) 😆



If Ferrari and Maclaren were almost equal in performance we would have a really great season.

I hope Mercedes would just improve eventually to join the fight though.

So does that mean the Sauber was runnning on light fuel loads after all?


yes they were, according to what Ive read here in other articles


I would be interested in a test where the cars were trying the full load of fuel they will need for a race. Then we, the fans, would have a little more information on which to base our conclusions. Love your input though, James, and as a devoted follower of F1 since the first official race in 1950 when I was 8, I have to say I look at your website first thing every morning - usually about 5am as I am an early riser. It is the best there is. Thanks for all your hard work.


that test is coming up Bahrain on the 14th March and not before then 😉


Wow. That is just wonderful sir.


Thanks for your comment. I should have stated tha I am a 68 year old woman!


Looking good for Ferrari so far!

Glad to see Massa seems to have hit the road running so to speak. Had my doubts that he would be suffering mentally after his crash. Glad to have been proven wrong here!


James, you make some interesting comparisons about the differing fuel loads, where does Renault come into the picture, where they comparable in times, when the times are fuel corrected?


I am no Psychologist, but do wonder long and hard about the underlying mentality behind Alonso's grandstanding.

Would it not be more useful for the Team to run with a more typical fuel load for 2010 rather than run light to keep the crowd cheering ? This is even more critical, now the cars are being designed to run with 3 times more fuel than 2009...

What exactly went on behind doors at Renault when he qualified light just to get the fans excited right up to his very early fuel stop ?


Who will be the first journo to make some predictions for this coming season? James...


I predict...

that it will be unpredictable.


I knew you were going to say that! :0)


I predict a riot?

(sorry couldnt resist)

a la horca con todas las feministas.

dave i guess.


Hi James. You wrote: "Although Ferrari had faster lap times, McLaren ran more fuel all week and the feeling is that the McLaren may be a shade faster at this point." Did you meant McLaren's speed might be faster than Ferrari or comparing to itself?


If I remember correctly, Ferrari was not always a testing superstar during its glory years in the 2000's, aside from a couple of Schumacher headliners at Fiorano after each launch. Don't know if this was a Ferrari team approach or due to having R Brawn at the helm. Usually cleaned house in Australia anyway. Something to keep in mind when looking at Mercedes during testing.


A few of those seasons the team started with an updated version of last years car before switching to the new car a few races in.


A shade faster than Ferrari


Any chance you could let me this weeks lottery numbers lol


I am glad someone has been able to decipher these times, as I was wondering if we could actually see anything.


Thanks you James!

Have a nice weekend.


perhaps the lack of "inovative" designs on the ferrari is the reason they(apear) to be fast.

Wheni saw the car it looked as if the design was simple however it did look to have a raw speed look to it.

I am a ferrari fan yes but when i saw the Mclaren i thought , hmmm nice but after seeing them on track i believe Ferrari have built a beast of a car that WILL challenge for the F1 2010 championshipS...

Forza Ferrari - Forza Alonso

Ps Great news mate - keep it up !


Ferrari are fastest at the moment, but we cannot tell by how much - people running different fuel loads etc...

But I'm more interested to see what the Red Bull is like, because of Newey's reputation and Virgin, because of it's digital approach to design.


Redbull will be fast but Virgin won't be, I'd put money on it.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Redbull was fastest but unreliable with Newey be to clever like he was more than once at McLaren


Me thinks you may well be proven right


Also very interested how the Virgin car turns out. I don't believe you can put much store in Virgin because of it's approach to design. All the teams have CFD, some more sophisticated than Virgins. The fact they back this up with a wind tunnel speaks volumes.


This is because F1 is big business these days, any mistake will be costly.

They have to be 99% certain of anything (because nothing is 100% before they hit the track). The only way at the moment is via wind tunnel method.


Fuel corrected times? You must have some very good inside information ... or the teams are feeding journalists with mis-information?


He absolutely will do, but he wont be telling us who his sources are as they wont be sources for very long 🙂


Surely it relies on the assumption that teams will not be running more fuel than needed. So if they run 15 laps you add 15 (plus a little extra) laps worth of fuel to the weight of the car.

Once you have a good idea of how much fuel they were carrying whilst they did their best laps you can even the figures out to compare.


After stopping development on last years car early - what else can they say! This car HAS to be good. I still wonder if they didn't run low fuel in order to dispel the rumors about them getting the aero design wrong and already having a B spec car in the pipeline.


This is going to be the year when Ferrari must prove that they can win in post-Todt era...


May I just point you to the fact that Ferrari have already become world champion and vice-champion under Domenicali. So they did win in the post-Todt era. I have good faith in Ferrari this season IF they keep a cool and clear head, even in difficult times. That's the only worry for me. I hope they will challenge for the WC, and I hope it will be Massa!


Correct. But the 2007 car was based on the work carried during 2006 by Todt team.

You made a good point. Ferrari needs a cool and clear head. Todt managed to do this during his period, remember the state of Ferrari before 1993, but then somehow they went back there after Todt's departure, remember Singapore 2008.


Well, yeah, that was embarrassing... And I am a bit worried when Di Montezemolo is talking about being an Italian team, about being latin team, showing the world they can win, even without fast Germans, smart Britons, cunning Frenchmen, ingenious South Africans....

In my opinion it should be about having the best, most capable people and doing the best possible job. Where ever they are from.

Then again, it's wrong to say Ferrari is the only big team that have fumbled the ball every once in a while. There is just more emotion around Ferrari, from the team, but also from the fans, so it feels different.

But if the car proves to be good and the noses are in the right directions it could be good.


Hi James,

As a hamilton/macca fan that article makes positive reading but can I ask how you know mclaren ran more fuel?




I think they did longer runs so all other things being equal they must have had more fuel on board 🙂


But that's just it, we don't know if 'all other things were equal'.

You can do short runs on just as much fuel as longer runs...

Judging by JA's comment further down he has been talking to teams' engineers...but I'm also assuming they will not give him exact information so is it an educated guess based on the information you've gleaned James?


Yes I agree it's all just conjecture at this point but it makes a great taking point doesn't it ❓



Forgive me for calling this out for selfish reasons in an article that has nothing to do with it.

May be a good idea to do a one point reference summary article on the final new rules. With all the changes, I'm a bit unclear on a few points. I usually keep on top of these things.

Is 2 pit stops still mandatory?

What happens if you do need to refuel during the race for some reason? Any punishment for running out of fuel during race outside of not finishing?

How many tires will the drivers finally have for the race?

What's the minimum weight of this years car?

I remember reading this stuff 4 months ago, but lots has changed since.


I think is 620kg


No 2 stops is not mandatory
You cannot refuel during the race
No additional punishment just no points
11 sets of tyres for weekend, 6 prime, 5 option
Depends how many they use before the race
Need to check min weight


Do they still have to use both sets of tyres in the race?

P.S you must put a fair ammount of hours into this because i do just keeping up with it!

Fantastic work and great contributions


Yes both sets of tyres


also whats the qualifying situation now, do they qualify with full tanks? or a weight which equalises so many laps of the track they are at?

James I myself was thinking of asking yourself about a post like this detailing all the new changes which will impact qualifying, Race and points scoring.

here here!


Qualify on low fuel all three sessions. Will update on rule changes


wouldnt it be 605 (last years cars) + 2.6x (no of laps of circuit they are on) will get you as close as any FAN would NEED to know without requiring an anorak 😛


Just found it - 620KG is the new min car weight, up by 15KG from 605KG in 2009. With all the fuel - these things will be porkly at the start by F1 standards.


Can teams change set up of their car after the Q3 session time was ended?


No they will be in parc ferme


Does this mean that if a refuelled car finishes 5th it will be bypassed by the points, with the 11th placed driver picking up those which have been displaced?

Also - and I admit this is a little farfetched - if lightweight cars are therefore allowed to race, might we see the team mates of potential WDC winners being sent out in the later races with low fuel? A lightweight driver could easily get to the front of the pack, only to then hold up those behind him to give his heavy team mate a better chance of overtaking someone. This could be very useful for teams struggling to get the best out of a brimmed car in qualifying I guess this might be construed as team orders...


You won't be allowed to refuel at all - running out of fuel will be just like suffering a mechanical failure. Pull off the track, get out of the car, go home.


Sorry to hassle James, but is there a percentage qualifying rule this year too?


I do hope that they are very very close. It would be nice to look back at the season and say 'the best man won!'

That said all the teams may be chasing the Red Bull which would be no bad thing.

How many days now?


i hope so too...

how ironic would it be "big" teams chasing up a car designed by a soft drink company lol

already alot of cars seems inspired by RBR


Red Bull were previously Jaguar Racing also formerly Stewart Grand Prix....


Not saying that either of the former teams were any good though, just that its not like Red Bull decided to make a team out of nothing.....


"Although Ferrari had faster lap times, McLaren ran more fuel all week and the feeling is that the McLaren may be a shade faster at this point".

You've got to love this rubbish, not one person in the know has written anything even close to that, not one headline, nothing.


I know one person who has written it, pretty reputable guy, knows his stuff, good contacts, has a great blog...


I think Ross Brawn sighting Lewis Hamilton as quick tells quite a large story considering he didn't show any outright 1 lap pace. Quite a few think McLaren are looking pretty good.

Now, James (Allen), did you find it somewhat odd that Ross said both the "Ferraris, and Lewis Hamilton looked quick"? Is he already discounting Jenson's chances?


Jenson wasn't quick in Valencia because he was learning the car and had seating problems. It was a tough first day but let's see what he does in Jerez


Presume you are a ferrari fan then? Most people have said that Mclaren have run more fuel and seem to be faster at this stage but we don't know for sure until we do further testing. I think Robert Kubica also said Mclaren looked the quickest.

Michael Grievson

James. Please don't be an idiot. This may sound like a fanboy comment but its not. James Allen is a respected jouro in F1 and has a lot of sources who trust and respect him. His sources are always very reliable and if you look at past blogs everything he has written has been truthful and unbiased and extremely accurate.

All the comments on these post are made by F1 and James Allen fans and 99% are insightful, offering a balanced view and are not stupid blind fanboy comments.

If you want to leave stupid comments please move over to the planetf1 forums where the rest of the children are.


@Michael Grievson - i think you could still have made your feelings known to Mr James there without insinuating idiocy and stupidity on his part regardless of the validity of your sentiments. I would hate to see this site follow other sites such as the one you mention and even timesonline as a location where fans and others engage in name calling matches instead of getting what they came for - answers to their questions, different points of views and opinions and news


Don't worry, we will never let that happen.


I think you're;

a) underestimating the esteem the pit wall holds James Allen in - he's had a long and illustrious F1 career of many guises. He has access to a lot of people and they quite rightly trust him to treat information with respect.

b) underestimating the power of a "blog" vs the traditional F1 news site. Yes other journalists might have similar information, but this is a less formal and quicker method of posting the info because James actually owns editorial control too.

c) overlooking the fact that this is one of the few sites that's never reported "junk". Even when F1 was in frenzy with speculation and rumour about spank-gate, lie-gate, cheat-gate and schumi-gate James held back until he had substantiated facts while others ran "the scoop".

If it's on here.... there's substance to it. That's why it's THE point of reference for so many of us.


How many F1 engineers from teams have you spoken to?


Brilliant response James! It brought a smile to me despite working at 9.50 at night.

I suspect if you came out and said, well I was speaking to John Iley the other day (for example) and they said they were quicker, they would not stay as sources for long 🙂

Keep up the good insights. Its these little tidbits of inside information that makes your blog stand out against sites that just have public "news".

And thanks for giving me a 5 min break from the boredom of being an accountant at half year end!


How many tell the real truth.....or just disinformation.


Also, I have to say that it was patently obvious to anyone following the times that the Mac was carrying quite a lot of fuel. Lewis set his fastest time of 1.12.2 early on during a 26 lap stint. That meant that when he set his fastest time at the very least he had another 22 laps worth on board. If you do the math then you can extrapolate that they could do a darn sight quicker if they wanted to. 26 laps is around a third race distance so it puts that run of 1.12's in to perspective. Conversely, all Ferrari's fast laptimes were set on stints no longer than 12. Which suggests that they were perhaps carrying less fuel.

I'm surprised at how few commentators picked up on this fact as I thought it was a very telling stint. Especially since it was at LEAST 26 laps worth of fuel the mclaren was carrying. It could've been more.

Do you think Mclaren the team SD was referring to when he suggested some were playing 'hide and seek'?

While other teams had times that ranged from 1.11.5 to 1.16 for example, Mclaren seemed stuck at the 1.12-1.13/1.14 mark. This suggests to me that they were putting in around the same amount each time and neither went for a very low or a very high fuel load.

Any thoughts?

As ever James, informative, interesting and relevant. Looking forward to this season immensely and will be tuning into your coverage throughout.


haha back off the net...!


you tell then James, even though I have never met you I and I am sure many others trust your integrity and know you only saying there claims with fact. And like many journalists do not have to name your sources! Still there numbers mean nothing till we see what the red bull can do. This is the car to beat!


I agree. Can't wait to see it


Well, it seems one person in the know now has. Truth isn't determined by consensus. Besides, we're still in 'smoke and mirrors' territory - it isn't as though this is unfathomable...


Try scored!


James am i right in saying that this track doesn't really put the car through its paces Aero wise and Jrez will give us a better idea of who may start the season at the front?


Yes but Barcelona will be the real test of aero. Jerez will be a greater test of tyre wear than Valencia

a la horca con todas las feministas.

wouldn't it be a good idea to do on the last day of testing at barcelona a contest to see what driver is fastest, and give a nice custom bike, or spmething else to the winner like they do in moto gp? The fans would have a clear picture, so everybody happy.


I keep hearing this James so why do the teams bother going to Valencia if it doesn't appear to offer real world data? Is it just that it's a kind circuit to delicate, new cars?


I'm certain that last year Renault ran quite well at Valencia on both occasions and if I remember correctly topped the timesheets in 2009 at the track. But as we all know it turned out to be a dog of a car - remembering that made me realise is it a reliable circuit to use as a meter stick. Like James said - Barcelona will be the one!


If the Ferrari is showing signs of being strong, and Mclaren being possibly a shade faster according to this article, then where does the Mercedes stand?

Also could it be possible that Ferrari were setting faster times by running lower fuel on purpose to satisfy sponsors because the 2009 season was poor for them?


Many also think that Ferrari were doing glory runs to get the media off their backs after F10b rumours. I don't buy it for the simple reason is that you raise everybody's expectations. Then they come down even harder on you. One thing I'm confident in, both Ferrari and McLaren have their poo together this year.


I don't think Ferrai sponsors are concerned about topping the time sheets in the first test.

Daniel "Pyro" Hanlon

I've been following the Jerez Test session this week n Ferrari were fastest on all 3 days (Massa twice, Alonso once). I think they could they'd be the team to beat if the keep this up.

Who do you think is the driver/ team to beat in your opinion and whos your favourite to win Bahrain next month?


This weeks test was in Valencia pal. Next week it's in Jerez

Daniel "Pyro" Hanlon

My mistake (lol) ferrai were fast in all 3 sessions in valencia, do you think they'll have this kinda momentum comin into bahrain?


Long way to go before Bahrain. I think there is a lot more to come from Merc and McLaren and the Red Bull should set a new benchmark.

a la horca con todas las feministas.



Thats what I was thinking all along - it is interesting to read an article that doesnt just go on fastest lap time. I have looked at the stints quite closely, and Hamilton's 24 lap (well reports vary from 20 to 26) stint on Tuesday was stunning. All laps give or take 1 or 2 in the mid to low 1:12's. Alonso's stint where he dipped into the 11's at the end was half the length. I think Mclaren have a few tenths in hand and think it is pretty clear. Red Bull are the ones to wait for though - and obviously whether or not Mercedes bring the updates they want to Jerez.

One point on next week James - are none of the teams looking at Bahrain as an option. My friend works in the met office, and a wet weather pattern is heading for the Med region. Surely when testing is so vital, they need all the help they can get?


Can you realistically predict wet weather that far in the future to within an hour or two of accuracy? Especially considering that the default whether around Bahrain is dry desert conditions?


I thought so ... but we still haven't seen the car from Red Bull. Can't wait till the next test...

Timothy Franklyn


This truly is inside info! Makes stopping by your blog everyday so worthwhile.

Would be great if you can write a piece on the different approaches to car design this year --Ferrari, McLaren and Sauber with longer wheelbase cars relative to Renault (and Mercedes?). Thanks!


Hi James, I have a couple of simple thoughts I wonder if you would agree:

1) I expect to see a bigger difference between "race pace" and "qualifying speed" this year - Q3 will be on light fuel and average car weights during the race will be much higher. This should make race pace more important for final results.

2) I expect this factor to make the practice sessions even harder to interpret, and likewise for these pre-season test sessions.

3) Testing isn't qualifying - looking at just the fastest lap is better than nothing but has huge margins of error. Unfortunately for more analytical fans, there doesn't seem to be full lap data available.

4) There'll be lots of development going on before the first race anyway.


1. Certainly. Qualifying will be on 5 kilos and the start of the race will be 160 kilos, which is 4.8 seconds per lap slower.
2. Yes, but the teams are already pretty good at working out what other teams are doing
3. Yes
4. Yes


The new Ferrari looks awesome!


I agree, at first I was a bit underwhelmed, as it looked a bit... underdeveloped. But it's grwoing on me and it's looking great on the track.

The McLaren is spectacular too, especially from the front (and their silver is much cooler that the grey Merc). The Sauber is quite awkward, but agressive, and better than last years BMW. The Mercedes is the ugliest so far, it somehow looks fat around the sidepods and the nose is not very slender as well. I thought the paint job looked much better on last years Brawn.

But looks are just looks, it's all about speed, so we'll see in Bahrain who has the advantage, Miss Ferrari or Fat Lady Mercedes... 😉


Looks are just looks.. I know but there's nothing like a really good looking F1 car.

Too many of the teams have had awful paint jobs in recent years.


Hi James...

there s this news circulating about a threat to Force India's future... that the British Govt. is looking to close them down cos of irregular accounts or something... anything you might have heard about that?



Well I have but I'm not sure it's quite the way it's reported.


I am from India James and the common little knowledge of Force India funding is that its not all Mallya's money from Airline and Liquor businesses. he has some huge loans and the airline industry isnt doing that well here either. any which ways.. considering the progress they have made.. would be disappointed to see the go out this way of all... so do shed some light if and when this develops... which i rather hope not!


I meant..common little knowledge *here* in India


I am sure happy that I follow this website.

James has again shown that his involvement into the sport actually can provide insight in where no other media can. Which is such a great thing.

Thanks for that.


Hi James,

Completely off topic here but just been watching the '93 Donington Grand Prix (fantastic!) and notice the pit crew doing the stops with normal team wear and caps on. With the re-fuelling ban this year are we likely to see the pit crews return to this kind of attire as there is no risk of a fuel fire?

By the way I have the same opinion as all your other readers... Simply the best F1 website around! Huge respect!




THey will wear overalls, but more lycra than nomex..


I hope to see Red Bull next week with all the teams so that we can have the clear picture of the car to beat. My feeling is that Ferari has a good car, Mclaren as well will be therabouts but i am not sure about Mercedes, as to the redbull i hope last year's title fight isnt hindering them to fight it at the top.


James, how much time is the track evolution in terms of grip from day 2 to 3???

Could this explain the gap to Alonso??


Why is everyone so worried about rain at jerez? It rained for half of the last season, surely it's important to test in the rain?


And remember the pre-season testing last year? it rained in Portugal and there were sand storms in Bahrain, not ideal either....


It is not right to say no one (except those in the team)knows the fuel that the driver took,

at least James konws very well.

Could you tell us how you came to konw that?


The engineers know pretty well what everyone is doing. They have software programmes to work it out. You may hear people say that you can't tell anything from testing but it's not true. Why else would Ross B say that Ferrari and Hamilton were quick?


James, thanks for awesome insight.

It's funny that Google ranks loads of rubbish sites but not yours.

If content is king, like they claimed to be, your site should be number one for keywords such as "F1 news" etc..

I have a feeling that Ferrari will have a "Brawn season". They started their development very early and they are looking very good.

So it looks like Maclaren and Ferrari are in for the championship. Mercedes are a bit behind.

What can you share with us James?


Maybe to take the pressure of expectations off of his so called German dream team?

And maybe a little dig at Button at the same time?


Strange that I've put my money on Vettel then?

and who said I'm british?

a la horca con todas las feministas.

they are not latin but you still see an enemy in everything that's not british. And the so called grman team is british after all.


HI James.. since all the teams have these software and they already have idea about each other then why this information is not made public for the fans?

i m glad at-least you have provided us with insight but this is one big area for improvement in F1.





With regards to what other teams can do, I presume they have full timing information available - not just lap times, but sector times for every car. Is there any other "official" information they would have about other cars?

I have heard that the top teams have hired statistics experts (the kind of guys who work on stock markets and the like). I imagine a lot of analysis can be automated - get all the sector times for a particular run, and analyse how they evolve. Since different sectors stress different parts of the car slightly differently, you can get a rough estimate of how the car is responding over the run.

Then correlate with general factors like driver, tires, temperature, wind, estimates of amount of rubber on the track, and so on. I imagine some would also analyse engine noises - could estimate revs at least.

Hmm, anything else?

With completely new cars though and initial phases of testing, I imagine there would be higher margins of error now than they would be later in the season.

One question though - how hard would the drivers be pushing? I think it would be pointless to coast around (except for installation laps) otherwise you're not gathering any useful data. However, I don't think the drivers would always be pushing exactly as hard as they would during a race, since the car is still new (less predictable) and they wouldn't want to risk the chance of an accident too much. So I imagine they're running very slightly below race pace.


You have to say that Alonso's first day with Ferrari went an great deal better than Button's at McLaren. I don't really understand why they had to spend so much time getting him comfortable in the car, thereby missing the track's optimum period for setting good times. Surely this could have been done earlier?

a la horca con todas las feministas.

if you traslate paul's comment. He is not on the greats league. With time he'll get closer, but there are times he'll need to adapt fast, and the others will have the advantage.


Unless I'm wrong that's the way it always is with Jenson Button. The car has to be handling precisely smoothly for him to be able to cope. He just doesn't seem to have an adjustable window as great as Alonso, Hamilton, Schumacher, Senna.


What a close analysis of the lap times!

Please tell us all, I would like to be a pupil on that point.


I expect in the first test, the team would like to try their car with their different divers in the same strategies,to get a more reasonable picture of their car.

How James can able come to the conclusion that

Alonso ran mainly 2009 levels of fuel, whereas Massa also spent a little time running the heavier 2010 fuel loads.

Because Massa got one day more on the track?

I do not think it would take a team two days to go across all fuel levels.


Great insight to what was a multi faceted 3 days. James, on a slightly different subject i was wondering if you've had any insider info on how the VR-01 went over the last couple of days at Silverstone? Thanx and keep chatting to those engineers!


I just dug up somewhere that of the 11 sets, 3 have to be turned in before start of third practice on Saturday. Leaving 8 for 3rd practice, quali and race. And top 10 start on quali tires probably not only for extra excitement but to ensure all drivers have equal number of sets at start of race.

So 3 gone on Friday.
4 gone on Saturday.
4 left for Sunday. 2 sets of prime, 2 sets of option. Enough, but just.


Now that most of the top teams have put a stake in the ground and corrolated their windtunnel/CFD data, I wonder will there be any significant changes to the cars next week?

I'm sure I read somewhere (probably here!) Ross Brawn stating the car they run in Valencia is just a rough draft and the polished version won't be seen until the first free practise in Bahrain.

If I was a betting man I wouldn't have the faintest idea who to back at this moment. Good luck to the any bookmakers reading this!


James, are you aware that Planet-F1.com have been using some off your quotes for their features this week with regards to testing.

Got to be happy with that eh... you heard it here first and all that....!


What about the A3-holed diffuser Ferrari was going to get from a recently employed ex-Toyota man? Any news on that, James?


That's for last test/Bahrain I heard


Thanks, man. 🙂


Looks like everybody has a secret weapon for Bahrain - at least that is what has been said about Ferrari and Mercedes. So what is McLaren's secret weapon?


James could you pass an opinion on this: are al those testing so far showing their full hand re their rear diffusers?

If I were McLaren for example knowing they have a very high tech design I'd be keeping a little of this for the last test so to steal a march on the others.


There are a lot of steps planned for the remaining tests and the first GP. I also think there will be steps between Bahrain and Oz this year.


If my understanding is correct it is the rear diffuser that will take the longest to copy should one team or another have a design which is clearly superior ❓

I understand the point made as if a team believed they do have an edge on this they would be best to hide it until the last possible moment, maybe even waiting for the first race practice as it could only improve whatever times that team was setting during their normal test runs.

I for one have looked at a lot of this years car photos but as yet have not come up with any really good ones of the new cars rear section, I'd bet whatever RebBull come up with will be pretty interesting in this area.

I also thing we will see this year that neither Brawn or Schumacher are supermen after all with other teams and drivers leading the way. The dream team at Ferrari was just that a whole team now it's just Brawn and an ageing Schumacher and even he won't beat father time ❗


James, I wonder if you could create a poll where your regular readers have to put their vote in for who will become WDC in 2010? You only needs 6 options: Vettel, Webber, M Schumacher, Hamilton, Alonso, Massa.


We did that last week. But there will be more opportunity for predictions soon


I'm backing Massa for the title but my only worry is that he might lose his head if Alonso keeps beating him every race.

There's no doubt he's brilliant at Bahrain, Turkey and Brazil. But I feel he has to improve on tracks like Australia, Malaysia, Silverstone and Monza, just to name a few, where he never seems to go well.

Be good for formula one if Massa comes back from injury and wins the world championship.


I think Massa could cope much better with losing to Alonso, than Alonso would to losing out to Massa. Massa was in a team with Schumacher, and was beaten to the WC by Kimi in his 1st year. I think he has matured a lot though, showing a lot of character after losing out to Lewis in Brazil. I think as he isn't used to being no.1 and winning all the time, he's one of the strongest drivers out there mentally. Alonso hasn't always shown good sportsmanship in the past...

My buck is on Massa, who is also one of the nicest down-to-earth guys in the field, along with Vettel.


I think Massa is the strongest of Schumacher's former team mates. He may have been number 2 to MS but he definitely gave him a run for his money and beat him severally - you have to admit he somewhat performed better than Barichello in that role.


Massa beating Hamilkton/Alonso/Schumacher or Vettel ❓ No way Hosay 😆


I totally agree...


If "Alonso keeps beating him every race", he won't win the the then, could he...???


* Title


I have to wonder? What happened when the McLaren and Mercedes were running on low fuel. If you do 50 laps continuously by the 49th lap you will be running on low fuel, right?


Yes, but by then the tyres are shod so that's another variable that comes into the equation.


Yes, you are, but also, worn tyres....

Tyres are the single biggest performance factor that differentiates F1 cars. Look at the races where peoples tyres go off, or work well when others do not. Lewis at Silverstone springs to mind.

Has James or anybody else got any clues at all as to how the different cars will perform at a "more typical" F1 circuit, or is it still really total guesswork ?

An awful lot of Internet keyboard heroes seem to be able to divine the speed of a car on the basis of a swoopy looking front wing, I am a bit nerdy and just like the numbers....


Just curious - is there a science behind managing tyres? Can a driver be taught the skill of tyre management?


Yes - but with shot tyres. Fuel is a massive factor but tyre wear will create a cross over effect on performance. In true race situation, the cars will probably be fastest near the end of their runs BUT not at the end of their runs. And of course - some cars and some drivers will look after their tyres better and this effect will be greater with them


Well, the tests at Jerez may not have covered that - they had a programme to follow and they may have decided that it was not part of the programme (for example, they may be aware that there is some modification in the pipeline that will make full aero testing pointless) so they are interested in tyre wear and basic car performance.

Although as you say, you get to the end on low fuel, there is the question of what damage you have done to the tyres to get to that 50th lap. So although you might optimise performance at low fuel loads, you might never get to use that performance as your tyres are shot. I would guess that high load optimisation would pay more dividends, giving the low fuel configuration more grip to play with.

Of the changes that the refuelling ban brings, Renault commented that during safety car they now need to dump fuel rather than save it - look for smoke and flame during safety car. Not very green that, aye?


Ah, but your tyres have also done those fifty laps... not so fresh, and not so able to take advantage of the lower fuel...

That's why tyre strategies will become focus points, because everyone will have the same fuel amounts (or at least percentage of full tank), and it's how the tyres are used and changed to take advantage of when fuel gets lower, that may change a race in a driver's favour...


Hi my apologies for this being somewhat off-topic but I haven't been able to find an answer elsewhere. What are the testing regulations regarding private shakedowns? Ferrari were scheduled to shakedown prior to Valencia and Virgin are now at Silverstone. Are the teams allowed to do any testing outside of the group tests in Spain?


Im treating this with caution, Ferrari have done very well in tests in the past only to have problems as the season starts. Most teams have weapons that they will only show up once the season starts or in the final stages of tests. Some teams want to get down to work and wont be going for times to avoid unnecessary headlines'.

of course, i would be happy if Alonso dominates all tests, I have become a veteran of watching and observing Formula 1, i know things change very fast in this part of the world.

Even if Ferrari does get a head start in the opening races, traditionally, if you have a rapid upgrade programme, you can easily leapfrog the main team.

The biggest question is who will feel alienated and the expectations they had for the season once the dusts settles in the season?


He's only in danger of loosing his head if other teams keep droping suspension parts on the track in front of him.


He's dealt with the worst championship defeat and dealt with sevre injury.

Felipe Massa is made of iron.


but springs are made of steel...

Steel - 1

Iron - -0


Yeah! Massa deserves to win, he's great! A great driver and a nice guy, but also a fighter. Would be so great to see him taking the WC in Brazil. He would go bananas, and the place would explode! Fingers crossed 🙂


Dont't recall saying it was funny?


Not if it had 70 laps of fuel in it...


James, do you think Mercedes are in "real" trouble or is there a chance that Schumacher and Brawn are just playing down their chances?

Last week it seemed that Mercedes was running with the old 09 front wing and diffusor and also the exhaust cover would not be legal if the Bahrain GP starts tomorrow. Looks like they´re hiding something?


No I don't. They are in the hunt with McLaren and Ferrari, perhaps a shade slower after the first test. They went to Valencia with a not particularly fully developed car and I reckon that they will have a major planned update at the second Jerez test or the Barcelona test. It also allowed Schumacher to play himself back in.


I don't thing Brawn, now Mercedes have the strength in depth that both McLaren and Ferrari have and neither do they have an Adrian Newey and as such will likely fall behind these three in 2010.

What Brawn achieved last year was a result of probably the most expensively designed F1 car in history by some fair margin and in my view had the double diffuser been found against the spirit of the rules as the rules intended there is no way they would have kept pace with the established top two or the ever emerging Rebull.

The fairytale story of 2010 was nothing of the sort although to the non F1 fan probably reads as one.

Brawn is both an excellent manager and super tactician but he's no Newey and the team he manages is not Ferrari or McLaren so maybe this year we'll see what he's really made of though I suspect any failings will be put down to their lead driver (in my view, make no mistake Schumacher is certainly seen that way) being in his 40's ❗


All I hope for is the WDC is taken on the last race. Much more thrilling. Comments posted on the first test have covered most if not all the possibilities. Now look forward from Wednesday to Saturday next week. Isn't it fulfilling to see the lap times of your favourite drivers and teams. 35 days to raceday!


So long as this is how it plays out fairly and not by more dodgy dealings and decisions (like the winner at Spa - Hamilton - having his win taken away) by the FIA ❗


Too right, I hope that we see real daring and fair racing in 2010 with NO FIA interference (fat chance of that if the FIA's choice is not performing well or McLaren in particular are streets ahead).

The horrible Mosley years where dodgy rulings by the FIA were the norm, I hope will never be allowed to be repeated not least by FOTA if needs be but better still by the FIA being managed with both integrity and above all else with total honesty.


hear hear ...


No Comment, just enjoying so many interesting and often superbly intellegent blogs, The wait is frustrating isn't it?


Hey James,

Have you heard Fisi is racing in the LeMans Series this season?



Hi James, can you say if you heard any similar rumours to whats be posted on a French website that Ferrari and Sauber were running 30kg lighter due to missing balast?


We don't need confirmation. It is fact that Ferrari not only had less fuel but was also underweight.


I haven't seen one credible source that states they ran under weight, nor is there any logic to it.


It is possible. You don't need to run your car to the regulated weight during testing.


That is not an image I want n my head. Tell they won't all be in leotards!



Firstly, thank you for providing us with the most fresh and reliable news in these fast-changing, news-flashing days of the sport.

As a Schumi fan & a Brawn admirer, i was a bit disappointed by Merc's poorer results for the first couple of test days, compared to those of Ferrari's. So i have to admit that i'm a bit relieved by your comment here that they ran on low fuel and that Merc's new car has not been demonstrated fully yet, and developments may follow before Jerez. I do hope Merc will be a strong championship contender this year, especially with all the nostalgic elements it has..

Finally, i came across a very detailed and probably the first ever F1 Global Fan Survey this evening. It covers many different aspects of the sport and i think would be a good audience feedback, so i would like to share it with other readers here, in case people may not have heard of it:


Take care until Jerez next week..


Based on JA commentaries over tests in Valencia here is my ranking of the teams’ speed taking into account the lap time in the light of the length of the runs:

1. McLaren: “Although Ferrari had faster lap times, McLaren ran more fuel all week and the feeling is that the McLaren may be a shade faster at this point.(..) Lewis Hamilton drove the new McLaren today for the first time. He did his best time on the fourth lap of a 20 lap run.”

2. Ferrari: “The Ferrari’s long run times look very consistent; Alonso did a 16 lap run in the late afternoon, which started out in the low 1m 13s and gradually came down smoothly and consistently to the high 1m 11s”

3. Sauber: “The BMW Sauber has been very consistent all week, with both Kobayashi and De la Rosa setting times in the low 1m 12s on largely short runs of 8-10 laps at a time.”

4. Renault: “(Kubica) He set his best time today on the second lap of a three lap run.”

5. Mercedes: “(Rosberg) He did several longer runs, but set a best time of 1m 12.899 on the fifth lap of a six lap run.”

That is all I learnt from Valencia from JA.



Does anybody know why I can only see about 68 comments under the article, while it says there are 214?


Hi James

If you ever need any data analysed and turned into meaningful information (such as this great piece of analysis you've done here), let me know.

I'm an experienced data analysed as my job and as 'sad' as it sounds enjoy doing it.

Wish F1 released more information in general to read into





What is the power delivery for the Ferrari compared to the Mercedes ? I understand they were tinkering with engine and fuel.

If the Ferrari engine is not fast enough, just wait for Lou to make a big fuss and start talking of going to Le Mans and America



Allen,taking Felipe and Alonso times. Do you have in count the grip of the track? Because on Alonsos's day test would be more gripping, so...and have the temperature too. It's not jut about fuel load.


This truly is my 1st visit on this site and I'm thrilled with your game titles blog! It would be awesome if you could possibly include things like a few more instructional game playing video clips; thanks a lot and keep up with the good efforts!

Top Tags
SEARCH Scuderia Ferrari
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!