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Jerez test day 2: Schumacher top, but Red Bull and Ferrari are ahead
Jerez test day 2: Schumacher top, but Red Bull and Ferrari are ahead
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Feb 2011   |  8:59 pm GMT  |  93 comments

The second day of the Jerez test saw Michael Schumacher set the fastest time but also there were key indicators of the sheer performance of the Red Bull, the reigning world champions.

Schumacher set the 1m 20.352 on the second lap of a ten lap run, but suffered significant drop off in performance on the rest of the run. His final three laps were in the 1m 24s.

In contrast Red Bull’s Mark Webber never went for a fast lap, but his sequences of laps showed less differential between times. The same was true of Felipe Massa in the Ferrari F150th Italia, which looks to be kind on its tyres, like its predecessor.

Witnesses trackside said that Webber was following Schumacher on a long run in the afternoon and had to frequently drop back to create space before closing up again. The Red Bull was visibly superior under braking and in the faster corners.

Jenson Button had his first run in the new McLaren and was very upbeat about it afterwards, telling reporters that he felt the car was a step up. He used KERS today for the first time in his career. He also tried out the adjustable rear wing, although not on a timed lap and he kept his mirrors trained on the wing during his evaluation run to monitor its movement.

Williams have been having a miserable Jerez test. Yesterday the car covered just 14 laps after various teething problems and today the car spent three and a half hours in the garage with a KERS related problem. In addition to that Pastor Maldonado went off and recovered three times at the chicane before crashing the car.

Sergio Perez also had an accident in the Sauber in the afternoon, bringing his running to an end.

Tomorrow Nick Heidfeld will drive the Renault as he auditions for the role left by Robert Kubica.

Additional reporting: Tom Clarkson

1. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m20.352s 112 laps
2. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m20.413s + 0.061s 116 laps
3. Jenson Button McLaren 1m21.009s + 0.657s 69 laps
4. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1m21.214s + 0.862s 72 laps
5. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m21.613s + 1.261s 113 laps
6. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m21.780s + 1.428s 73 laps
7. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m21.857s + 1.505s 56 laps
8. Timo Glock Virgin 1m22.208s + 1.856s 57 laps
9. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m22.493s + 2.141s 65 laps
10. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m22.591s + 2.239s 38 laps
11. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1m23.216s + 2.864s 40 laps

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No one seems to be making any observations about flexible front wings. Is the RB wing still flexing like crazy? Are any other cars flexing?


I was just reading what Sutil was saying after driving the new car on the new tyres. He’s saying the M compound has changed a lot since he last tested them and they are now very over steery?

I gather thats how Shumi likes them.


Yup…they are in cahoots with the P-zero guys…building a “special” run for MS ….NR will not like them


The Mercedes is a dog and if they are already relying on an update before Bahrein they are really in trouble. Unless they built a completely new car. We’ve seen time and time again that a good and fast car is good and fast right from the beginning. That’s why the Red Bull and Ferrari looking good and they will have massive upgrades in Bahrein too. So even if Merc develop their car, so will everybody else. They’re in for a midfield run this season, podiums are out of the question. I hope I’m wrong cos I’m a Schumacher fan, but all the sign aren’t looking good. They lack experience, knowledge and Ross Brawn is missing the team he had with Ferrari. No Mercedes will never be a championship winning team under these current rules and that’s a shame for Michael!


This is all based on how many days of testing? Today is day three and Michael had a pretty good showing for most of the day. Mercedes has brought an interim car and will bring more upgrades to Bahrain. That makes sense because tyre wear and tyre degredation are relative unknowns for their car at this point. Another factor is aerodynamics, a tyre’s profile and sidewall can also make a difference and it is wise to have some room for adjustments prior to the first race.

You also must consider that teams are running several different programmes throughout a test – it could be everything from a single-lap qualifying simulation on super soft tyres, to a full race fuel load on hard tyres.

The times will have a wide variance. At last years Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona the pole time was 1m19.995s and the fastest lap of the race was a 1m24.357s – but for the first dozen laps, even the fastest cars on the track were only lapping in the 1m27s.


I find it quite ironic that so many people complain about Mercedes’s lack of speed, even though Schuey set the fastest time today. I know these are just tests, there are lots of factors and we still don’t really know much, but even so early during the tests it’s better to be fast than slow ;-).

I personally hope that Mercedes will be some force this year :).


Worth noting that in qualy they’ll be no two or three lap runs like last year. The tyres look to give up a large portion of performance after the first lap. Well done to Pirelli for making such exciting/interesting tyres.


Yup; sure looks like tip-toe out early, press down hard, rush back in, change, tip-toe again, press hard for a second go… and all throughout keep praying for no traffic.

On paper, it sounds very much like Vettel’s favorite game…


im surprised none of the teams, drivers or media people have made a bigger deal about how much garbage these new tyres have been throwing off.

i’ve followed f1 for about 35 years and ive never seen so many marbles at the side of a racetrack as i have the past 2 days. its not been the usual tiny bits either theres some massive chunks of rubber been thrown off.

for all the talk of how kers, the rear wings and high-wear tyres will ‘artificially spice up the races’ this year, i can see the large amount of marbles ending up off the racing line doing far, far more harm for the racing. after about 10 laps nobodys going to want to even atempt a pass as doing so will lose them grip on the marbles and get the tyres covered in junk.

this is why soft, high-wear tyres are only good in theory, in reality they will harm the racing and not help it!


If this tyre-marballing problem persists, I think you’ve put your finger on the most significant factor to potentially affect this season’s racing. Like many others I too looked forward to less durable tyres this year, but completely forgot about the price paid…..


hi james any sight off the flexi wings this year?


Its the Toro Rosso that interests me, they seem to be consistently faster than I would expect. A lot of the new teams state that Toro Rosso is there bench mark but I think they are going to be disappointed.


Remember how fast Sauber were in last seasons pre-season? Come Bahrain they were the slowest team outwith the three new teams. Torro Rosso need some positive news at the moment or all pre season chat about them will be are they going to be faster than Lotus and Virgin.

The more interesting story to me for STR is how fast Daniel Ricciardo is compared to the current two drivers.

It really is make or break for Buemi and Alguersari this year. You have to imagine Ricciardos name is already on a seat at 2012 at STR with one of the current drivers being promoted to number two at RBR replacing a retiring Webber but if they dont perform it wouldnt surprise to me to see Riccairdo in mid season with a few to him being promoted to RBR next year.


Strikes me that no one has the foggiest how fast that Mclaren is. But judging by the testing so far it’s not looking like a dog is it?


I’m not sure how anyone can make any judgements about that yet. They haven’t done a lot of laps and still seem to be in the early stages of bedding in the car. Today they seem to have had some technical troubles. Also we don’t know which of the 4 tyres they are on or how much fuel is in the car. Fuel from last year seemed to make up to a 5 second difference. I saw some quotes with Button after his test day that suggested there was a 3 second gap between the softest and hardest tyre. therefore potentially you could be 8 seconds(ish) slower than everyone else and still have the fastest car.


James do you think the Merc could be a potent force in Michal’s hands? I feel so far he seems more content with the Merc than Rosberg. Are we witnessing vintage schumi where he is beginning to get things centered around him?


F1 need their villains. It’d be awesome if Schumacher has the (confidence in his) machinery to battle Alonso. If that means building the car (and team) around Michael, so be it!

Bring it on! Round one: Alonso* vs Schumacher

* Not being an Alonso fan. I am very happy he is around and I wish him a very good car in 2011. He does add a little tang to F1. As is Schumacher (in a good car).



I’ve noticed in many tests that McLaren conduct fewer laps than other major teams. Again in the latest test day Jensen managed 69 laps while Ferrari almost doubled this.

I’ve noticed this for quite some time now.

Have you noticed this and can you shed any light on why McLaren, on average, would run fewer laps? I would think everyone would be getting as much mileage as possible…


The teams are limited to 15,000km of testing, so presumably McLaren think they will be better served clocking up the miles in later tests.


James A ..is there anywhere we can see a running total of each team… on testing miles?


I believe that they are testing eahc and every part. If they add 3 parts and the car is 3 tenths faster which parts did it? Did one up it by 2 tenths, one make it 1 tenth slower and the 3rd 2 tenths faster? Which part worked better on the straights vs the corners? etc…

McLaren said tha they had a whole bag of new stuff for this car and they are probably trying it all out.

Given that in the first test they were doing tyre stuff I’m guessing that McLaren is prefering the slow methodical method of working as opposed to the Ferrari post 200 laps over the first two days and name it politically…


That seems a tad flattering on McLaren and harsh on Ferrari. You might be right, but I’m pretty sure that if Ferrari ends up being highly competitive in Bahrain while the MP4-26 is besieged by reliability nags, everyone will be talking about how valuable early mileage is, how delaying the launch was very risky and yadda, yadda, yadda.


I think this is a new car thing. If they are still doing low mileages in Barcelona then there will be something to be concerned about


Can’t wait for Bahrain!


RRA!!!!!!! Red Bull. Ferrari. McLaren ALL developed their car when they each had roughly more than 100 people then they do at present. Good for them, they got the most when the getting was good. WHen it comes time to develope and evolve, I expect them to struggle. I expect Renault and Mercedes to be just slightly off the pace and then come on as Ferrari, McLaren, and RB realize they are struggling to repeat glories of the past with a fraction of the people.


It’s definitely too early to say. Everyone is getting used to the tyre compounds and how they degrade, they’re all running various fuel loads, and tests of KERS and the moveable rear wing. Not to mention that the track condition varies.

It’s called testing for a reason.


Out of interest, why are Spanish venues used in testing? Is it because the conditions at these venues at this time of year are considered to be representative for the season to come? Is it because it involves a little international travel for most teams so they can also test their travel logistics? Is it because the venues have a deal with Formula One? Or is it perhaps all three?


Warmest place which is easily accessible in Europe. Bahrain has a test too early next month


What about the Alonso factor? I am reading the grand stands are packed today. I doubt that the UK or Germany would pack them out for a pre season test. Do the teams get a cut of the attendance or does it all go to the circuit.


I know these times don’t mean a lot, but they do mean something. In any case, it’s awesome to see Schumacher at the top of a timesheet!


Any ideas on ranking some of the teams as ‘best of the rest’ behind RBR & Ferrari?


Interesting to see that Virgin were just 1.8 seconds off the pace off the Red Bull. Of course we dont know the fuel tanks but I cant imagine last years Virgin running on fumes even getting that close to fully tanked up Red Bull.



Look at the gap to Lotus, that’s quite interesting, although it is only testing


Could just be the Lotus hadn’t done a fast run on the super soft. Was it JB who said there was second difference.

Difficult to tell anything reliably with so many variables. Apart from Redbull being fastest!!


This is what Mark Webber said about catching Schumacher..

“One time I can control Michael (Schumacher) very easily, the next thing that happens is that I see his lap time at 1:20.3. But my guess is that this significant oscillation between good and not so good lap times also depends on the fuel load in connection with the tyres’ life.”

clearly indicates that the merc was on either more worn tyres at that point or on a heavier fuel load maybe.

Also clear is that Webber conceding that the lap time by Schumacher is definitely a good one.


Button said there is a full second difference between the super soft and soft tires. Then there is a half second difference between each step after that. This makes it even harder to decode lap times. Schumacher’s lap times rapidly falling off on the super soft tires should be expected as it should be expected from any other car on the super softs. The Mercedes looked reasonable on the long runs as did Ferrari and Red Bull.



As a Schumacher fan i was happy to see the top time by him – however i obviously know it’s only testing.

In your more qualified opinion, how do you see the level of the teams at the moment will progress throughout the season? And where do you see Merc slotting into it?


It’s still too early to say. McLaren are still sorting out a new car, people are learning tyres and there are a lot of big update kits coming for Barcelona and Bahrain tests. RBR, Ferrari and McLaren will be up front but the interest is Renault, Merc and how close they are. That will be clearer in Barcelona.


James, what do you think of Schumacher performance lately?
If I remember correctly, he has never topped the time sheets since he came back until yesterday.


Actually, I think he did top the time sheet during last year’s testing (or close).

Let’s hope he can compete for the win a couple of times this season, it would be great for all of us if we could witness that (us = F1 fans)


It’s quite suprising that the testing in F1 is never broadcasted, not even a link on the internet…

Do you know what the reason of this might be?

I bet there would be a bunch of people watching during the weekends.


Yes, but it’s testing, so nothing to get too excited about. If he does it in Bahrain qualifying then the roof will come off!


Red Bull are going to destroy everyone.


…OK….hum….WOW the crystal ball you have has low batteries 🙂


The Redbull is fast.

They also seem to annoyingly (!) be very cagey about doing quick laps and disclosing HOW fast they are when close to qualifying trim. Last year they did this and it was only really at the first race we realised their speed.

Shuey definitely did ‘a glory’ lap in response to the doubters recently! Admittedly Not as light as he could have been but no one is close to last years best time at the end of day 2.


“Ferrari F150th Italia”

Just reading that made me laugh out loud.

It’s one thing for HRT to name their team “HRT,” but really someone at Ferrari should have pointed out that they shouldn’t give their world class elite race car the same name as an American pickup truck.


Dude, The F150 name was given because of the 150 years that Italy is celebrating this year.


I know that. But the F150 name was a laughingstock the moment it was announced, my point is why didn’t someone at Ferrari foresee the problem and think of something better?


Probably didn’t think about it…. and I doubt that even if he did know of it, the name of a pickup truck sold in NA would have been a reason to change his mind for naming an F1 car for one year.

One is a pickup truck you can buy in NA, the other a high end race car made by an Italian supercar manafacturer that you can’t buy who races the car exclusively outside of NA


Is Ferrari skipping Montreal this year? 😀


They’re not turning up to the Canadian Grand Prix this year then?


Damon said it right – the reason why Schumacher could get the fastest lap was the tyres, he said so himself.

There are other points of notice;

Rosberg had a bad day, his car wasn’t behaving like it should

This Merc is an interim car. I suppose all cars could be called interim, but this car here is unfinished, with a huge update coming up for the Bahrain test. Everyone at Merc been saying this from day one.

Schumacher was downbeat yesterday, saying that they probably won’t be fighting for podiums at first. This was after Rosberg’s ‘bad day’. Pretty sure he and the team will feel more optimistic about their chances today.

As for the drop off, like Damon said, that’s as a result of the super softs. Everyone has said they drop off like mad.

In the end, we don’t really know much about each car’s performance or testing programme. We know however, that Merc are getting all the other stuff done first like understanding tyres, and understanding little issues and gremlins their car will develop. When their car is “whole” then we will see a better indication of where the car’s at. I suppose that goes for all the other cars too.


Still I do not understand why Mercedes, after giving up on the development of the 2010 car to focus on this year’s car, hasn’t been able to get this car ready for the crucial pre-year testing? They have been working on their 2011 car much longer than the other teams, yet they are the only team that is still running an ‘interim’ car in stage of the preparation…


My guess is that they saved this part for last because it has something to do with tyres. Tyres were a big unknown for all teams, so perhaps they wanted time to understand them better before finalising this important upgrade.

Another, slightly more negative theory of mine is that this part didn’t pass regulations and they had to redesign it, or worse, they made a big error with it and now are fighting to get a replacement asap.

It is very dissapointing that after all the time they had on the car it’s still so far behind in development and pace. For now though, I prefer to believe Merc are being clever. The alternative is they went the wrong way in design at some point and lost time.

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