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Jerez test Day 2: Schumacher rolls back the years
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Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Feb 2012   |  5:17 pm GMT  |  161 comments

In today’s second day of testing at Jerez ahead of the start of the 2012 F1 season it was Michael Schumacher who set the pace, following on from Kimi Raikkonen’s performance yesterday. This test marks the first occasion the pair have shared a race track since 2006, when Schumacher retired and Raikkonen took his drive at Ferrari.

The seven times world champion was at the wheel of the 2011 Mercedes, the only top team not to bring its new car to the first test.

After some early fast laps by Red Bull’s Mark Webber, Schumacher lowered the bar set by Raikkonen yesterday to the mid 1m 18s, substantially faster than the same car managed at an early stage in 2011. This shows the development a car goes through in the course of a year. Red Bull’s Christian Horner has estimated the improvement of a car from a front running team at around two seconds from pre-season test to last Grand Prix of the year.

Schumacher was using the old Mercedes to evaluate the new Pirelli tyres and today soft and medium compounds were tried out by many teams. These are new tyres for 2012, with only the supersoft from 2011 remaining in Pirelli’s range this year.

Yesterday’s pace setter Raikkonen spent much of the morning in the Lotus garage after going off track into the gravel on an early run.

Webber was second fastest while Toro Rosso’s new boy Dan Ricciardo continues to go well in third ahead of the Force India car which was driven today by reserve driver Jules Bianchi. But the times are not yet really significant as there are various programmes at work in these early stages with the new cars.

Ferrari and McLaren continues to take their time to get up to speed. Everyone has different programmes to work through in these early days, depending on the nature of their car. Ferrari, for example, has more work than the others in terms of measuring the car’s behaviour and understanding it because it is a completely new design, a total break from the past. Most other cars are an evolution of a design philosophy from last year.


The teams need to make sure that the aerodynamic data on the track matches the data coming from the wind tunnel – this was an area where Ferrari struggled last year, for example at this early stage. Then there are new electronic systems to check over, loads passing through Ferrari’s radical new pullrod front and rear suspension need to be measured and understood. There is a lot to do before the team can start to chase some performance from it.

Exhausts
One area where there will be a lot of development for everyone over the next month is in the position of the exhausts. These have been moved by regulation, to outlaw the exhaust blown diffusers of the last two seasons. Now they must be placed, higher, further towards the front of the car and the exits must be round.

Everyone was cagey about this before testing started, with McLaren even launching its car with fake exhausts! Engineers say that the final position of the exhausts for most teams won’t be defined until the end of the testing season.

There are a number of different interpretations on view in Jerez, although nothing radical so far. Ferrari designer Nicolas Tombazis told Gazzetta dello Sport yesterday that there is nothing on any car which Ferrari hasn’t thought of.

Red Bull has the lowest exhausts, below the rear suspension arm, still working with part of the floor at least. Many teams are blowing across the bottom element of the rear wing, McLaren have their exhausts well forward in the sidepods, Lotus Renault have a straightforward exhaust exit of the kind we saw in F1 a few years ago.

Jerez Testing: Day 2

1 Schumacher Mercedes 1m18.561s 132 laps
2 Webber Red Bull 1m19.184s +0.623 97 Laps
3 Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m19.587s +1.026 100 Laps
4 Bianchi Force India 1m20.221s +1.660 46 Laps
5 Raikkonen Lotus 1m20.239s +1.678 117 Laps
6 Di Resta Force India 1m20.272s +1.711 69 Laps
7 Massa Ferrari 1m20.454s +1.893 95 Laps
8 Button McLaren 1m20.688s +2.127 85 Laps
9 Perez Sauber 1m20.711s +2.150 67 Laps
10 Maldonado Williams 1m21.197s +2.636 97 Laps
11 Kovalainen Caterham 1m21.518s +2.957 139 Laps
12 De la Rosa HRT 1m22.128s +3.567 64 Laps

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1

Schumi should have never come back. Deep down I think he came back just to p@s off Barichello and take on his record for most appearances in F1. 🙂 haha

2

Yeah Firezombie but you have to give credit to the guy for doing the honourable thing and coming back to let EVERYONE inc the blind understand exactly how average a F1 driver he really is.

I really admire the guy for that. Hats off 🙂 🙂

3

@Kevin Green an average driver with 7 WDC and consider one of the greatest.

Hats off to you

4

No. As much as I think it is time for MS to retire, he came back more to have a go at Ferrari for forcing his premature retirement and enabling that particular story to be told. He couldn’t say anything all the time he was a Ferrari ambassador. He is still a quick driver and clearly needed for his development skills as Rosberg doesn’t seem to be cutting it there. He is just a quick driver when given a quick car (plenty of those around).

There was a faint dream that he could write a fairytale ending to his F1 career but that seems unlikely now. Merc still need him until their car is sorted and they secure Hamilton or another younger driver with car development skills. Then Rosberg will go too.

5

yeah a guy that can still beat his 1/2 age teammate whilst hating the handling of the car must be past it hey….wow@haters.

6

@Aussie Fan Nice one

7

James

While testing, are the teams required to comply with all the technical regulations that apply during the season?

Can a team make adjustments that would temporarily make a car appear more competitive than it will be in race trim?

8

No, but they do have to pass the crash test before testing now.

9

On that James do all the teams (or most have crash testing rigs onsite ??

10

Why? Is there a requirement for the nose cone to pass a specific crash test? If so, then that would make sense. If it is only the chassis/tub that needs to pass the test thenthat rarely gets changed during the year so no need for re-tests as all the bits that change are bolt-ons.

11

That must be somewhat restricting, Surprised at least some would not have there own Duplicate crash test facilities to keep things flowing more so on the pulse as far as design goes.

12

No, it’s done at a special centre

13

Not getting too over excited with the lap times, as Schumi was fast last year in testing and look what happened.

Really excited as i will be at the next test in Barcelona. 16 years watching the sport and this is the first time ill get to see an F1 car in action. If anyones there ill be a walking Mercedes advertisement and ill be tweeting from there hopefully so say hi! (@SoSchuMe)

Bring it!

14

Wonder if other have noticed or not but I have noticed that many teams have gone with stealth black rims on their cars, noticeably Mclaren, Sauber and Toro Rosso with Ferrari going with bright silver and same for Red Bull. But boy black looks real good especially on Mclaren and Toro Rosso, perhaps inspired by Lambo’s Reventon or Aventador!

15

Last year at Jerez Williams set the fastest time of all the 4 days test session. but they were not fast enough when the season began. SO please don`t read into the testing times…

16

The cars sound so much better when they’re not ‘farting’ through the corners. I’m really going to miss the v8’s in 2014.

17

:)Nice to see where schumacher belongs, 1st.

8wdc!! C-mon

18

i know it’s very early days and all were running different programs but mclarens pace looks a bit worrying already

lol 😉

Mclaren are on it, them and red bull most consistent so far. Lewis tomorrow hopefully he won’t give too much away.

19

Is the adage “if it looks good, then it will be quick”, or “if it looks quick, it usually is”? If it’s the first, then McLaren will storm away. If it’s the latter, then there are others that look quick.

20

So, did Schumi’s car have the blown diffuser or not???

21

Yes

22

Suppose he is going to be crap on race day because he cant be bothered is he???

23

must be, meanwhile its the devil’s fault hamilton is not going well.

24

Which says quite a lot regarding todays times Schumi lovers, Unlucky!

25

Huh? Obv it was going to have the EBD otherwise they couldn’t directly compare the tires. People are excited about Schumi’s times because of what he did yesterday in terms of his driving..check out peter windsors blog, he explains it quite well there.

26

It looks like it is again Red Bull followed by McLaren and LDM might not exactly be right to call this year a “red year”…at least not because of Ferrari dominance.

Ferrari is not showing anything good…

27

Ferrari(7th) and then Maccas (8th) propping up the field. Testing times eh..?

28

Way too early to tell. As an example, Day three of last year’s first test finished in this order:

Renault

Force India

Mclaren

Red Bull

Ferrari

Virgin

Williams

Sauber

Mercedes

Toro Rosso

HRT

Lotus

Not exactly a good indicator of final championship positions. We won’t really start getting a good idea of where they stand until Q1 of the first race

29

This is the FIRST test! You can’t tell anything from this. As the BBC said, the fastest times in the Jerez practice session last year were set by Massa, Heidfeld, Schumacher, and Barrichello. Two are now out of F1, while the other two ran second to their teammates. All had fairly underwhelming seasons.

Teams like Ferrari and McLaren can do the bounceback from testing to first race. I was frankly amazed last year how much McLaren improved from testing to the first race last year. I would never discount Ferrari.

So far, I think the Red Bull looks good, but it seems that they are partaking in what I call “loser talk” more than they have in previous seasons. That was usually McLaren’s territory, saying things were great until having to recant and say things were crappy. Who knows, maybe Button is deluding himself, but it just seems to me that McLaren this year are not talking trash like in previous years. Whereas Newey’s comment yesterday about McLaren not raising their chassis in ’09 being a mistake, just seemed to me to be something that wouldn’t have been said if there was any real advantage to letting a rival continue down a fruitless path.

But, as I said at the outset, this is the first test … nothing concrete can be gleaned from the results so far.

30

Looks like Ferrari are struggling. Excellent, should bring them down a few pegs.

31

If they were bringing out red flags and breaking down on the track, you might have a point. They haven’t had any failures and they have completed their planned testing programs over the first 2 days in Jerez. And somehow during all these supposed struggles, Massa set a faster time than Button. McLaren have been every bit as underwhelming this early as has Ferrari. Red Bull are clearly the team to beat.

32

But still ahead of Maccas..

33

Read earlier that Mercedes’ plan to run the old car is they have an interesting front wing for 2012 that they didn’t want to show until later….

34

I love how the cars evolve over such a relatively short space of time. I remember one expert in the late-90s highlighting this by saying that a Minardi used at the end of season Japanese Grand Prix and sent back in time would be fast enough to win the opening Australian Grand Prix of that season

35

Yes, unfortunately for them they are always one year behind, and can never make two year-jump ahead to keep up.

36

The exhaust rules are fairly well defined but do leave a large volume of space permissible for the exit points. They do not need to be visible at all, but a cone of space immediately behind them does, vis:

5.8.3 The last 100mm of any tailpipe must in its entirety :

a) Form a thin‐walled unobstructed right circular cylinder whose internal diameter is no

greater than 75mm with its axis at +/‐10° to the car centre line when viewed from above

the car and between +10° and +30° (tail‐up) to the reference plane when viewed from

the side of the car. The entire circumference of the exit should lie on a single plane

normal to the tailpipe axis and be located at the rearmost extremity of the last 100mm

of the tailpipe.

b) Be located between 250mm and 600mm above the reference plane.

c) Be located between 200mm and 500mm from the car centre line.

d) Be positioned in order that the entire circumference of the exit of the tailpipe lies

between two vertical planes normal to the car centre line and which lie 500mm and

1200mm forward of the rear wheel centre line.

5.8.4 Once the exhaust tailpipes, the bodywork required by Article 3.8.4 and any apertures

permitted by Article 3.8.5 have been fully defined there must be no bodywork lying within a right circular truncated cone which :

a) Shares a common axis with that of the last 100mm of the tailpipe.

b) Has a forward diameter equal to that of each exhaust exit.

c) Starts at the exit of the tailpipe and extends rearwards as far as the rear wheel centre

line.

d) Has a half‐cone angle of 3° such that the cone has its larger diameter at the rear wheel

centre line.

Furthermore, there must be a view from above, the side, or any intermediate angle

perpendicular to the car centre line, from which the truncated cone is not obscured by any

bodywork lying more than 50mm forward of the rear wheel centre line.

37
Kris Grzegorczyk

Are you in Jerez, James?

If so, am very interested to know if you can tell anything from driver demeanours.

Obviously most drivers are either cagey or towing a company PR line so early in tests but, having been in and around this environment for so long surely it’s possible to get a sense from drivers as to how happy they feel and whether they have good or bad feelings about a car.

Anything like that to pick up on this year?

38

You mean keith?

39

haha whoops, no you don’t! My bad.

40

i know it’s very early days and all were running different programs but mclarens pace looks a bit worrying already

41

Ridiculous statement to make!!!!!!!! Ferrari were slower on day 1 so are they worse off??????

No one can say yet!

42

wow you guys know how to over react. admittedly i’m a bit of a worrier but it’s only because i want them to do well. i did emphasize I know it’s early days, keep your pants on

43

I agree that it was a riciculous statement lol… casual viewers most probably.

44

they’re sand bagging. by feeding jenson steak 3 times a day the extra weight accounts for 0.8s, enough to keep up with webba in the rb

45

Ohh common.. they are only 2 days testing now… don’t be fooled by the speed of the cars just yet. Remember in what position McLaren was last year compared to ferrari f.i. and see how things changed at the first GP.

46

James, any plans to do a comparative technical feature describing the different solution teams have come up with for the various current challenges, e.g. noses, exhausts, etc.

There are so many tech questions for 2012: What the impact of McLaren’s conventional nose? Ferrari’s sidepods? RedBull’s air intake on the step? Mercedes’ front wing?

47

Yes, all planned

48

I can’t can the image of cutlery out of my mind every time I see these noses at the angle of this Lotus picture. It’s a sad day when F1 designers get their aero ideas from forks. I don’t think I’ll come to terms with this look.

49

Who is Renualt, I see Lotus, Caterham, Red Bull and Williams, but no Renault team?

50

Not your fault, this is quite damn confusing to be honest.

51

…and Bridgestone have been replaced by Pirelli and Max Mosely has been replaced by Napoleon Boneparte and Bernie Ecclestone has been replaced by Dobby. Or am I still drifting in and out of my own coma?

52

PMSL enjoy your coma????

53

Renault is only supplying engines this year and they don’t have any association left with Lotus. Red Bull is their works team for 2012 and beyond

54

The team formerly known as Renault is now Lotus. The team formerly known as Team Lotus is now Caterham!

55

Lotus is (Renault) 🙂

56

Hi James.

If the aerodynamic data on the track do not matches the wind tunnel and CFD data then what is the matter?

57

Then the results from the wind tunnel aren’t correct, with a consequence of what you saw last year with the Ferrari.

||-____-“””

58

Pretty sensible, if you ask me, to be testing the new *tires with a known car for a benchmark.

59

James do you know if Schumacher was using last year’s blown diffuser on last year’s car?

60

Yes,I read on Autosport that he was driving the full spec 2011 W02

61

The pictures I saw had the exhaust moved up to comply with the new regulations. It’s still the old nose and wing though.

62

Im not James….sorry to interject, but I did read on another site… F1Planet maybe.. that he did have the blown diffuser on the car.

63

PlanetF1 is good for inflammatory headlines, regurgitated stories from other sources, and flame wars. But I wouldn’t rely on it for accurate information. Doesn’t keep me from going there for entertainment value of course. 🙂

However I’ve seen it said in multiple places that they are indeed running the EBD.

64

THAT is a true statement…ive come to realize your right on the money there.

65

James, Schumacher said something eye catching today.

“I don’t think we can realistically achieve a championship car immediately from where we started last year, we have to build our way there,” Schumacher explained.

“I am confident we can do that, but let’s take it step by step. We work longer on our car, but if this was the only secret we should have shown all the cars later.”

“I’m still around to fight for the championship. Whether we can or cannot do that is something to be proven this year – or whenever.”

Isn’t this confirming he’d rather stay in the sport after this year? OK, Merc’s performance and level of improvement are probably very important to Schumi’s decision, but to me it seems the motivation and the desire is still there. What’s your take on this?

66

Schumi WONT be racing a F1 car next year unless Rosberg jumps to Ferrari Redbull or Mclaren and i cant see that. Odds on i reckon De Rista takes his seat next yr yet of course unless he gets a better offer. Reckon even in Shumi’s eyes the key reason he is there is for car development the one thing he has been certainly good for with Brawn over the years but of course with the hope of doing well. The latter has not worked and will not work not good enough!

67

Kevin, if Schumacher decides to continue in 2014 for Mercedes, he will. It hasn’t been a winning car and that is not down to Schumacher. Rosberg has won 0 times just like Michael. Rosberg has been superior in qualifying but he doesn’t have many podiums to show for it. Mercedes is very happy with their drivers. They have one who they believe is a future superstar and they have another who has won 91 times. Unless Vettel is coming to Mercedes, Schumacher won’t be pushed out on anything less than his own terms.

68

Cant wait to pick this topic up for a update at mid season for an update and the seasons end. defo one to reflect on 🙂

69

And from the chairman himself:

New deal for Schumacher possible admits Zetsche-“He is still a motor sports icon,” he added. http://motorsport.nextgen-auto.com/New-deal-for-Schumacher-possible-admits-Zetsche,36643.html

70

Sorry Kev have to totally disagree with you, to build a winning team takes time as Schumacher showed in Ferrari for sure if the team get in the right direction this year saying in top 3 or 2 and if Schumacher himself wants to stay beyond this season i am sure Mercedes will be very happy to extend his contract, we are talking about Schumacher here not a rookie or any average driver beside his big name that for sure attracted more sponsor and boosting the Mercedes team than an average driver he show he still got the speed. Michael kind of giving a hint that he would stay beyond this year: Asked whether he still believed he could win a record eighth drivers’ crown, Schumacher said: “Absolutely. I’m still around to fight for the championship. Whether we can or cannot do that is something to be proven this year – or whenever.”

As for your post:”unless he remarkably wins the title (sure he wont by a margin) or say Rosberg does and he finishes top 3 or 4 which is also unlikely!” Have to totally totally disagree with this one, if Rosberg can win the title for sure Michael can be in top 3 or 2 or even fight the championship with Rosberg judging from his last year pace(especially in race). Saying Rosberg can win title and Schumacher can’t be in top 3 or 4 just really devalue your post imo.

71

Sorry dev it does not matter how much a driver brings to a team in development purposes if the team ain’t right on the winning pulse either through that driver or the team mate it is simply not a justifiable situation year after year simple as!. that is why this WILL be his last season unless he remarkably wins the title (sure he wont by a margin) or say Rosberg does and he finishes top 3 or 4 which is also unlikely! Odds on thats Paul’s seat next yr But there’s obv possibilities on other depending on the end of yr musical chairs.

72

@Kevin Whether Schumacher stay or not for next season down to himself, If he decided to stay i believe Mercedes will grant it as he is a big name and very value for the team in many aspects. As Tost said “”Michael brings so many other advantages that outweigh that. Do you think Mercedes would still be so much in the spotlight if Michael Schumacher left?”

73

Yeah happy with half the package for development purposes But that can only be the case for so long. (got a feeling the car will be good this season) anyway seasons end Shumi is gone regardless WAIT and see!!

74

Whatever your opinion of him, I’m sure everyone will agree he has a scary self belief. Take last year, there was a question posed to him, who in the team was faster, he said it was him. Now, maybe it was true during races (on average), but the margin wasn’t as big as his gap to Rosberg during qualifying.

Drivers like Schumi are very good at having blinkers on. Last race of 2010, Schumacher was inches away from death, when Liuzzi (I think) tried mating his car with Schumacher’s. The car came chillingly close to Schumi’s head. He never gave it a second thought. (I remember some celebrity saying they had a conversation with him soon afterwards and he really did act like the incident never happened)

A similar, but negative thing concerns the Barichello Hungary incident. I doubt Schumi ever saw himself at fault, or even that he was driving dangerously.

So to end the long-winded riposte, no, Schumacher will never be scared off a team by Rosberg or anyone else, because in his mind he’s simply better.

75

Well devvy the facts will be the facts come the seasons end 🙂 But dont be surprised to see him flung out of that seat BEFORE the seasons end 😮

76

What are you rattling about?? i doubt he will want to carry on if not in the top 3 this season and even so anyway i reckon he will be removed from the seat anyway.

Unless of course he wins the title which HE wont.

Never got a scare after the Liuzzi close shave?? bloody right he did in the post incident interview i and im sure most others seen something quite different in his face/body language not to mention eyes than usual no matter what he said!!

77

I hope Schumacher still race in 2014 as it will be the revolution in F1

78

I believe 2012 is a breakthrough year for Schumacher and Mercedes.

79

Interesting to hear that the top teams can improve the car by up to 2 seconds per lap between the first test and the last Grand Prix. I had always imagined it to be a bit less than that.

I wonder how much improvement the likes of HRT and Marussia can manage?

80

I bet you if you put their old cars up against today’s front-running team cars, they’d still be a lot slower.

81

Definitely. I’m struggling to see what HRT are trying to achieve in F1, they don’t seem to be improving.

At least Marussia are trying to go down a different route after the link-up with Wirth Research failed.

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