Raikkonen off the mark quickly as F1 2012 testing begins
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Feb 2012   |  6:44 pm GMT  |  133 comments

Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest time at Jerez, as winter testing ahead of the 2012 F1 season kicked off in earnest.

In total there were 11 teams running in Jerez, with only Marussia not present. Most teams were giving their new cars a debut outing, however both Mercedes and HRT were running 2011 specification cars. Both Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher got a chance to run in the Mercedes today.

Raikkonen wanted to start strongly and send out a positive message and he certainly did that; he was straight into the groove, after his two day outing in Valencia in an old Renault F1 car recently. His time of 1m19.670s was competitive and he set the pace for most of the day in the new Lotus Renault E20, but Force India’s Paul di Resta ran him close. The Scot had an encouraging day with over 100 laps covered in the new Force India car, which was shaken down at Silverstone on Friday.

Also putting in a solid mileage was the new Sauber C31, with Kamui Kobayashi covering the highest mileage of the day with 106 laps, pretty impressive for a brand new car.

Caterham’s new car had a few Day 1 niggles including a starter shaft problem which meant they had trouble getting the engine started as well as a cooling issue, and the new Toro Rosso stopped out on track with Dan Ricciado at the wheel due to an oil pressure problem.

Times are secondary at this stage to mileage, but nevertheless the pace was pretty strong for Day 1. Last year Felipe Massa set the fastest time on Day 1 in Jerez with 1m 20.709s, a second slower than this year. And last year Jerez was the second test after a session at Valencia, so the cars were more sorted.

The Pirelli tyres are a step softer this year, but against that the cars have lost a lot of downforce from the banning of blown diffusers.

Jerez test: Day 1
1. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m19.670s 73 Laps
2. Paul di Resta Force India 1m19.772s + 0.102 101 Laps
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m20.219s + 0.549 56 Laps
4. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m20.496s + 0.826 53 Laps
5. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m20.694s + 1.024 57 Laps
6. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m20.794s + 1.124 41 Laps
7. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m21.353s + 1.683 106 Laps
8. Jenson Button McLaren 1m21.530s + 1.860 60 Laps
9. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m22.815s + 3.145 69 Laps
10. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1m23.178s + 3.508 28 Laps
11. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m23.371s + 3.701 25 Laps
11. Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1m23.676s + 4.006 44 Laps

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Thanks to SP for those great clips. That Lotus sounds Awesome ! Especially as Kimi is “on it”. Love the lines he takes smooth and flowing uet agressive all the time!, however we all know its the top three that develop the cars quickest that win.! I’m really impressed with Force India and believe they will have a sensatiional tussle with Lotus for 4th or better.

James u

Any word on that Mercedes WGP3 ?. Nose treatment etc.


Silhouette pics show what looks like a dip on the nose…


Thanks to SP for those great clips. That Lotus sounds Awesome ! Especially as Kimi is “on it”. Love the lines he takes smooth and flowing uet agressive all the time!, however we all know its the top three that develop the cars quickest that win.! I’m really impressed with Force India and believe they will have a sensational tussle with Lotus for 4th or better.

James any word on that Mercedes WGP3 ?. Nose treatm-ent etc.


When Schumacher raced in F1 at his prime – his ability was a huge factor… since then F1 has been dumbed down to the point talentless jokers like Button can become WDC. This is exactly why I have stopped watching the Formula Farce.


Kimi is only acclimatizating… so.. be warned.


mmmmm Always said he is going to relevantly well on come back especially compared to that German guy all things considered! But im afraid its not likely to be a Button/Brawn situation by any means. Hope he does well though and reckon he will 🙂


Mark Webber looked comfortable in interviews for the first time since mid 2010. I hope that this continues regardless in 2012.


End of the line:

A couple of things to be said after the first day:

1) Kimi/Lotus is not OFF the pace (if they are competitive we don’t know)

2) Force India and Sauber have reability (+100 laps in the first testing)

3) Blown diffusers ban doesn’t seem to reduce times too much

4) Future will tell who is most competitive (last year williams and MS were at the top in pre-testing)


Biggest losers on scale of things this year (seasons end) i reckon Certainly Williams Probably Sauber possibly Mclaren


Hi James. I would like to ask your opinion about this.

What is the point in making new cars presentation if the bodyworks are in some cases completely different from what we see ontrack? Think about: McLaren had false exhaust, Red Bull had the old rear wing, both Ferrari and McLaren had not shown their diffuser. The odd thing is that just FEW days have passed and now every other competitor can see the items in Jerez.


Fine line between confidence on what you are hiding being worth hiding until as late as possible and the effects of the given parts being effective.

I dare sat there’s certain conponents/set up they can be certain that there onto something in the wind tunnel and others with varied levels of confidence.


Why show your cards early if you don’t have to?

You would be surprised what differenece 1-2 days can make in F1. If they would show everything at the unveil, a day or two later their competitors would already have the drawings of some innovative things done.

They will have to show what they have at some point if they want to test it, but other than that..keep it a secret.

Mohammed Al-Momen

my guess would be they need to do it for sponsors and to get exposure of sponsor logos that is it.


That is a good point. Surely it must be costing money to make false items which are then never going to be used other than at launch? I have no idea how much a false exhaust is, but I would guess a few thousand pounds. To a company like McLaren this is peanuts but with the restricted amount of resources spending in force, surely every penny must count?



can you just confirm whether the ferrari was on medium or hard???

cause autosport said it was on medium while in the images the tyres seem hard…


One has to imagine they are focusing on making the harder tire work for them. They lost many points, a few podiums and possibly a victory last year because they couldn’t get the harder tire to work for them. That must have been extremely frustrating for Alonso, work hard all day to get to P3 or P2 only to have it so easily taken away from him when they made the switch to the harder tire.


It was on hard I believe. Most others on medium


James, I would love to hear your opinion or what you’ve heard from people in the know, on who is looking good this season, and on who is under par. There must be some rumblings already..

This year I’m hoping to see:

1. A Red Bull that isn’t the fastest car.

2. A Mercedes that is in the top 3 on speed.

3. A Ferrari That is in the top 2 on speed.

4. A Williams that is in the top 5.

I’m guessing 3 and 4 probably will not happen.


I would be certain on 4 not being the case not so sure on 1 (would rather far from) and would love to see 2 and 3 🙂


Give it until the end of the week.

Grayzee (Australia)

Looking at some of the side on photos of the new cars, it would seem that the drivers have had to remove their legs in order to fit in!

They must be almost lying down, with their necks bent, and I can’t see how they fit their feet and pedals in….. 🙂

That has to be mighty uncomfortable after 2 hrs…. I now have even more respect for them.


Kimi himself said that time means nothing during testing, it would make a difference if its a race weekend.

But it’s nice to see him adapting quickly back to F1 car. Now we just hope the E20 is decently quick for him to make it to Q3 consistently for 2012 season.


Pretty strong work by Ricciardo, even with that oil pressure problem.


GO KIMI GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I know there are many opinions on the reason why Kimi topped the timesheets today – but I honestly think, given the mans character, he was just happy and pumped to be driving an F1 car again, and was just driving the living daylights out of it! If he has that kind of attitude this year, then I’m sure we can expect many exciting performances from Kimi, maybe punching above his weight class with that Lotus!

Though somewhere deep down every Iceman fan is hoping that the Lotus is an Alonso-esque 05/06 car/situation – haha – and consequently dreaming about Kimi as WDC 2012. We can’t help it really, we’re a crazy bunch!


Great to see Kimi Raikkonen back in an F1 car where he deserves to be! Promising times too albeit on the first day of the first test. Congratulations also to James for finding the only picture I have seen so far which makes the so-ugly-only-a-mother-could-love-it nose one not look so bad. Having said that the Renault’s nose is by far the best looking one of the stepped noses. On beauty stakes alone, it should be Button vs. Hamilton vs. Raikkonen three way for the championship with Red Bull going from 1979 Ferrari to 1980 Ferrari if you know what I mean.


James, are the cars subject to FIA scrutineering at tests?…


No. So they can run underweight of they want, for example.

But this year they have to have passed all the FIA crash tests, unlike previous years


ICEMAN! I like the feeling thats he’s on top even though it’s just testing.


Great to see Kimi topping the time sheets. It obviously doesn’t mean that Kimi/Lotus are the team to beat, but it shows that he is straight back on the pace, and there seems to be a real buzz about the new Lotus. It will be interesting to see what Romain does with the car.


anyone posting fast times at the start of testing is always open to accusations of glory runs for sponsors, and yes that may be the case with Lotus.

However he set that time with comparatively little running with a cooler track temp on the harder (medium) compound, so does this mean that they got extremely lucky with the base set up on the car? Kimi is far faster and more capable of dragging lap time out of a car or that no one else was remotely interested in going fast today.

in reality i think a mixture of all of the above, in my heart I hope he has a decent car under him and he can fight at the top this year.


Sauber fooled a few tv pundits a couple of years ago running very light, good marketing lotus.


Another one who thinks Elivis is alive.


I reckon Flavio is Elvis


The times, as many have commented, are meaningless for no one knows what the objectives of the teams were today. The same goes for tire choices, fuel loads, car set-up, etc. Sand-bagging, anyone?


Granted the times are meaningless, but it is good to see Kimi go out and grab that. Makes me even more excited for this season. I would love to see Lotus begin to pester the top 3 and maybe even earn a few more podium finishes than last year.


My two cents:

Kimi wanted to make a statement that he is back in good form and Lotus wanted to impress sponsor representatives in attendance.

Other than that, a whole lot of sand bagging.



Regarding your last comment, i thought less downforce made the cars slide more and increased tyre wear. This would give a double wammy for tyre wear this year.


I believe the more downforce a car has the more energy is put through the tyres so increased wear.

Red bull supposedly were tyre limited last season because of the amount of energy their car produced.


Go the Iceman!

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