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Barcelona Test Day 1: Rosberg Makes Up Lost Time As Alonso works hard on First Day
Posted By:   |  19 Feb 2013   |  5:45 pm GMT  |  110 comments

Nico Rosberg overcame a gearbox issue to top the times on the first day of testing at Barcelona today, as Fernando Alonso had a productive day on his first outing in the new Ferrari F138.

After missing the Jerez test to focus on his physical preparation for the season Alonso completed the most laps of any driver today as he focused primarily on heavy fuel runs on the hard tyre. His times increased steadily during the stints of around sixteen laps and he finished the day with 110 laps. The late flurry in the final half an hour, which saw Rosberg knock Sebastian Vettel from the top spot, gave Alonso a chance to push his new car to the limit with a low fuel run on medium tyres, which put him in third place.

Pastor Maldonado was the other driver testing new machinery after the Williams FW35 was unveiled in Barcelona this morning and he also had a productive day as he topped the times early in the day before switching attentions to long stints in the afternoon. Williams will be happy to have had a trouble free first day, on the track at least. The FIA has already questioned the legality of the exhausts and the team has confirmed that it is seeking clarifications as to whether it will be able to take the design forward.

Rosberg and Mercedes did not seem to be having such a successful day after they were forced to make gearbox changes for a long period, but they made amends late in the afternoon with a long run followed by a short run on mediums to finish the day 7/1000ths of a second faster than Raikkonen.

“We were able to work through a good programme this afternoon and, of course, it’s always nice to be quickest at the end of the day,” said Rosberg. “In general, I feel happy and comfortable in the car and it feels better than the last time we were here at this track.

“There is still some work to be done on tyre degradation and our programme this afternoon was helpful in understanding that.”

Kimi Raikkonen filled the space between Rosberg and Alonso in a positive but low-key day for Lotus. The Finn completed the fewest laps of anyone as he concentrated on short runs and he too used a set of mediums to set his quickest time late in the day.

In fourth was Sebastian Vettel, who had looked to finish the day on top before the final half an hour but still had a productive day in the RB9. He initially led the field at lunchtime ahead of Raikkonen and Alonso, with all three setting their fastest time on the hard tyre but the times tumbled once again when teams swapped to the medium compound. Red Bull spent much of the afternoon on the medium tyre with high fuel and Vettel was able to lap quickly throughout the stint, which bodes well for the season ahead.

Sergio Perez had a quiet day for McLaren after missing the majority of the morning. He ended the day towards the bottom of the times but during the next three days of the test we are sure to see McLarens potential.

Adrian Sutil and Jules Bianchi look set to shoot out for the second Force India seat, the final seat on the grid during this week’s test.

Barcelona Test Day 1
1. Rosberg Mercedes 1m22.616s 54 Laps
2. Raikkonen Lotus 1m22.623s +0.007 44 Laps
3. Alonso Ferrari 1m22.952s +0.336 110 Laps
4. Vettel Red Bull 1m22.965s +0.349 66 Laps
5. Maldonado Williams 1m23.733s +1.117 86 Laps
6. Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m23.884s +1.268 73 Laps
7. Perez McLaren 1m24.124s +1.508 77 Laps
8. Di Resta Force India 1m24.144s +1.528 82 Laps
9. Gutierrez Sauber 1m25.124s +2.508 68 Laps
10. Chilton Marussia 1m26.747s +4.131 65 Laps
11. Pic Caterham 1m27.534s +4.918 49 Laps

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James, we know that certain people read this blog.

Re the supposedly illegal exhausts of Caterham and Williams. Neither of these need be illegal according to the tech regs, it is only because of a secret technical guidance document Charlie has issued adding to the regs.

(Reading the regs Williams do not even need the slot either if the exit clearance cone is unsullied)

It is clear that the exhaust exit rules were written to stop blowing of the floor and rear wing, but without knowledge of the coander effect, so that should be either fully allowed or the rules changed.

Now having got rid of secret rules via the old CA, we have them imposed again by secret “Guidance sheets” Can we please have these secret supplements either abolished or published one or the other.

Suppose you suddenly found football players being sent off, for no reason within the rules, but there was a secret set of additional rules that only the ref knew about.


I’m not sure about secret rules, but my understanding is that the Caterham system at least is considered dodgy because they are trying to use vanes to channel the air.

The FIA were thinking about imposing new rules regarding the coanda exhausts for 2013, but in the end it was decided that if the teams had to scrap all their research and start again it would be to costly and go against whatever tatters of the RRA that still remain – especially considering that when the new regulations come in to effect in 2014 they will be outlawed anyway.

Besides, to my knowledge nothing has been officially declared illegal yet (they can pretty much run whatever they like in testing), but both teams will have to decide whether or not they will turn up in Melbourne with the same or modified exhausts – they’ll be taking a chance either way.


Reactions from paddock…well I’m guessing LH returned the t-shirt he was given by Barichello saying “the Stig beat me” and also gave him a shirt saying “I beat you and the Stig”…

I know having the same driver in the same car doing the same lap is a good indicator but there are so many other variables to be honest I take that lap with a pinch of salt…that said I still enjoy watching it…especially comparing the driving styles with Vettel being almost clinical in his car handling whilst LH drove the car in such a way I can imagine the car thinking “What the @*$# just happened?!!” at the end of the lap!! ….loved the way he flew past the camera-man and shouted ‘Peace’!!!


I can imagine it now, all team bosses at a meeting:

Montezemolo: Wow, did you guys see Hamilton’s top gear lap?

Horner: Yeah, that was amazing. We should have taken Lewis instead of Webber. If only we’d known he could perform such magic in a Suzuki Liana!

Montezemolo: Well we just fired our HR guy! Why didn’t we get Lewis when he approached us. That top gear lap was senna esque!

Brawn: Eat it boys… He’s ours now. Yes, our car might not be as quick as that Suzuki, but we are getting there.

Lol – I don’t think the paddock cares.


1.1 second faster than Vettel. It was Lewis alright. But it was a great lap he did and hit the grass patches wildly though.


Above was in response to comment 26


Hello James, what do you say about Lewis’s lap in Top Gear and any reactions from the padock?


I saw that – he didn’t look like he was really concentrating! For me this shows how competitive Lewis is and how much self belief he has. I mean he risked his ‘fastest driver’ reputation.


It’s amazing how fast you can go when you’re not paying attention.

That’s not a joke by the way.


It’s too cold and the tires are too fragile for meaningful test conclusions.


I’m actually really blown away by that time – Last years qualifying time was 1:21.707 by Lewis and that was in a rubbered in track, soft tyres and extreme low fuel ( vapours in fact remember he got disqualified here for not having enough fuel ) and dont forget 100% DRS USE!!! So Nico’s time of 1:22.616 isn’t too bad on a green track with medium tyres and a relatively heavier fuel load and only DRS use in one spot.


Well Sergio just went 1.21.818 so seems anything possible. People must remember the tyres are softer all round this year -but they won’t last!


Yes he did but he did this on the soft tyres – more impressive was Hamilton’s time on wednesday of 1:22.726 on HARDS!!


You make an interesting point about DRS.

I would highly doubt Mercedes doing this but some of the smaller teams chasing sponsors may use DRS outside of the designated DRS zone simply to get better lap times.

Throughout the years, many teams have low fueled their cars to set better times to appear more competitive.

Is there any restriction to DRS use during testing?

After all, both Caterham and Williams have been told that their exhausts are illegal and wouldn’t be allowed through scrutineering in Australia. But in testing, they can run any configuration.


Any cars looking different today?


I keep hearing conflicting stories re Fernando, but in the press call earlier, he was far from confident about 2013. Could be smoke and mirrors, who knows.

Judging by body language, Pastor is very happy with his new Williams, says it is much easier to drive on the limit than with 2012’s car.

If anyone is interested, there’s a load of images from testing today here, including the Williams launch


It’s strange:

Last year Fernando had a terrible car and yet went around telling everyone not to lose hope.

Now it seems that he has a decent car, and yet he’s going around telling everyone to be realistic about their chances.

Maybe he’s read Reverse Psychology for Dummies.


Great news for Nico and Merc. I just hope they can continue in this direction. Come on LH tomoz is your day!!!!!!!!


Why did Perez miss the morning? Amazing how many more laps Alonso did, clearly Ferrari had a different agenda to everyone today. A full 3rd race distance more than anybody


Maybe Alonso had so much fun after such a long winter break that he just didn’t wanna stop… 😀


Regards the Sutil/Jules soap opera. Maybe Force India should arrange for these two to have a go on Top Gear before making a final decision.

Glad to see the shareholders having their voices heard.


Rosberg went two tenths quicker than he did during qualifying at last year’s Spanish GP. Most other cars were slower (just) than their 2012 qualy times.

Is it a case of Mercedes becoming more competitive or is it the cars just being quicker this year due to rule stability?


Y’mean the temperature difference only aided the Mercedes? Ask yourself, does that sound plausible?


Meanwhile according to Anthony Davidson, seeing as the teams do a lot of testing at the Barcelona track so much so that the drivers know it by heart, this means that when a driver gets beaten by his teammate, he then has no excuse to fall back on (with the exception of DNFs or pure bad luck)

Maybe, this track is an early indicator on which teammate will end the season ahead of the other.


As for Ferrari, it sure looked comfortable out there today but seeing as Alonso hasn’t yet given his thoughts on the car, it’s rather hard to say were they are but so far so good.

However, it has to be said, maybe Alonso isn’t wise trying to cramp all this amount of work into a short space of time.

Sure Alonso may feel super strong at the moment after his grueling training but 3 days in a row in the car, possibly ranking up 300+ laps ultimately won’t be good for his body >>> kinda like trying to do your homework at midnight (the moral of the story being, shouldn’t have missed the Jerez test)

As for Perez at Mclaren, it’s beginning to feel a little awkward for by this time in the game, Mclaren must at least be on the same pace as the other fantastic four.

There’s no point in having a programme so different from your main competitors so am not sure is if it’s just Perez trying to find his footing in a new team or the Mclaren isn’t that fast.


Or Perez isn’t all that fast at all.


With Rosberg’s late showing, am beginning to have hope for a famous five adventure this season, all this on a aerodynamic track that is the Barcelona GP i.e. If you’re fast at Barcelona, you will be fast everywhere

Now considering the fact that Rosberg’s time was set towards the end of the session, I would have had my reservations but his positive words towards the car are encouraging.

Right, this time last season at this track, Vettel topped the timing sheets on the hard tyre whilst the rest of the days, it was the soft tyres drivers on top.

So it appears, the hard tyre at Barcelona is what to look out for on who will have the strongest race pace taking into account this is the tyre that teams race towards the end of a Grand Prix.

So having said that, Red Bull’s race pace is looking strong taking into account Vettel topped the hard tyre run before lunch and if you recall at Australia 2012, Gary Anderson said Red Bull had on average the fastest car despite Jenson setting the fastest lap.

Also Autosport crunched some numbers for the first half of 2012 and found that Red Bull still had the fastest car on average during the race.

Anyway, Lotus is looking strong too on the hard tyre and if it’s still kind to it’s rubber, they will be a force to be reckoned with and so it will all boil down to how well the Lotus goes on the soft qualifying rubber.

The only question mark in all this is Mercedes because Rosberg didn’t set a time of the hard tyre.


Well then that proves what not to look out for, as RBR didn’t have the fastest car at the start of 2012. According to your system we should be looking out for whatever mclaren were doing?


McLren had the fastest car in 2012.

This “Vettel won in the fastest car” does not hold for 2012.

And Ferrari’s race pace was on par in most races to RBR.


The ‘McLaren was fastest’ line suffers from the same syndrome that any ‘Best Rock Songs of All Time’ list suffers from … later races factor too heavily in people’s perceptions.

The Red Bull was the most consistently fast over the season … there were not many races where they were less than 3rd fastest. In Japan for instance, near the end of the season, the Red Bull was rampant, while the McLaren that day was the 4th fastest car (after the Ferrari and the Sauber). In Valencia the Red Bull was walking it, while the McLaren was 4th fastest (after the Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus), even being caught by the Williams. In Britain the same thing (RBR, Ferrari, Lotus faster).

For the Red Bull, I can only think of Monza as a track where they didn’t have a top-3 car (McLaren, Ferrari, and Sauber faster that day than them). If someone wants to make the case that RBR were mid-pack at other tracks, be my guest.


That is a bit skewed way of looking at it. Red Bull was the best package overall (constructors champion for 3 years running). No point being fast if the car fails to cross the finishing line owing to reliability issues.


Hi James,

Merc seem to have the passive DRS Pillar linked to the back wing but the Lotus hasn’t. Are we to assume lotus have given up on the idea or it may show up at the 3rd Test?


Hope Mercedes have finally seen the end of these reliability issues! Sort it, come on! Too early to judge them but we must look not to much in this time! Now just give us the same (good pace and less tyre degradation rate in the stints) in the future 🙂 Nico & Lewis are going to push each other only for better and the team too! Fingers crossed


Ferrari talking down the car this year can mean good news for Fernando and Ferrari. Aslong as its someplace close to the fastest car it’s a start for them like. Still I think it’s too close to tell it won’t be until sepang that we know who is the fastest. But it is about in season development that matters these days.


More interested in what Mercedes’s tyre wear was like, dont get too hopeful for them till we see what state the rubber looks like.


Indeed. The question for every team, but of course given Mercedes “appetite” for the tires last year, a big question for them.

Tornillo Amarillo

It’s such a relief to see Mercedes on top…

And it’s also nice to see Hamilton’s time in Top Gear.



Apparently Hamilton’s top gear time was excluded as stewards found a secret F-Duct mechanism, that works with an illegal DRS increased his top speed whilst the front of the Suzuki flexed at speed for better turn in. Suzuki liana team will be protesting. Sign of things to come?


Alonso’s low fuel run was still 10 laps long.

almost twice as long as Rosberg’s and Raikkonen’s.


Either still had more fuel than the other two, or Ferrari found ways to make their engines less thirsty..


I ve been watching many test pics and spotted great difference between the movement of tyre wall from car to car during turning and I was wandering whether this is to do with suspension settings or frond aero related matters. By taking into account that tyre walls have been soften for this year, I just don’t get it who is doing the best with tyres yet and where the compromise starts.


Probably just teams experimenting with different pressures.


..I thought the pressure was set at 1.4 bars? Or is this just the limit that is used to ensure the tyres fit within the allocated dimensions?


getting exciting now, cant wait for the start of the season. it looks like most of the field has made some improvements, some more than others, the Williams looks interesting, especially the back end, i could’nt see properly but it looks like there is a lot of… well space for want of a better word in front of the rear wing,could this be the dark horse of 2013.

On another note and sorry if this has been discussed before, could anyone explain why the teams dont use full size models in the wind tunnels, excuse my ignorance, but i would have thought it would be better to not have to calculate scales and so on ?


It’s in the rules because a full scale model in a wind tunnel would cost a fortune to run and the FIA want to keep costs down.


Not sure why, but I think the regulations limit them to 60% size models only.

I do wonder if there’s a loop hole in there which doesn’t cover 200% models…


They don’t use full scale wind tunnels as part of the teams money saving agreement with the FIA.


Hi, the reduced size of the models in wind tunnels is cap costs I understand.


Because it’s in the rules that the maximum scale is 60%. It was introduced to keep the costs down. With CFD being accurate enough to sort out most designs before they hit the wind tunnel the “cost”-argument should not be true anymore for those teams who have a tunnel that is big enough, like Sauber.


Aero testing restriction by team agreement:

– Teams to use no more than one wind tunnel.

– Test fluid to be air at atmospheric pressure.

– Maximum test section wind speed 50m/sec.

– Maximum model scale 60 percent.

– No more than one model to be tested during a run.

– Maximum usage to be equivalent to 15 runs per eight-hour day on five days per week for team F1 purposes.

– Aerodynamic testing may only take place in wind tunnels if at reduced scale or at FIA approved test tracks if full scale. Full size testing to be subject to the F1 testing agreement.

– Full scale specific aerodynamic testing is to be 5 days per year.


Simply a regulation thing, they are only allowed to run either 50% or 60% models so Pirelli only make tyres in those sizes. It’s a FIA rule


my understanding is that the scaling of the model also means the wind (so to speak) is scaled accordingly. wind is very expensive to generate. full size model = full size wind = very large cash.

Christian Hepworth

I believe it’s a rule to limit cost. It’s capped at 60% at the moment, up from 50%.


I think it’s regulation. 60% is max aloud


Cost would be the main reason, of both the wind tunnel itself (you need a tunnel to be much bigger than the model to allow a realistic airflow, and the aero to be distorted by proximity to the wind tunnel walls) and the models.


Because it is forbidden to use a 100% wind tunnel…


22.9 With the exception of the full scale testing permitted in 22.4(c)(iii) above, no wind tunnel testing may be carried out using a scale model which is greater than 60% of full size.

22.10 No wind tunnel testing may be carried out at a speed exceeding 50 metres/second.

22.4(c)(iii) Four one day aerodynamic tests carried out on FIA approved straight line or constant radius sites between 1 January of the current year and the start of the last Event of the Championship. Any of these days may be substituted for four hours of wind-on full scale wind tunnel testing to be carried out in a single twenty four hour period.


I just googled your question and there is some info’ on the F1 site. Basically the scale of the model and the speed of the wind in the tunnel are dictated to the teams as part of the technical regulations.

Hope this helps 🙂


It’s because of the rules, they do not allow for full scale wind tunnel testing


I remember seeing 51 days to next race in the counter here. And now it’s only 25.

We’ve come through the hair pin people, we’re on the final straight. We’re going to make it after all!

This testing is a wonderful helper in this final stretch. I guess we won’t see anyone drop the hammer until the final March test. That’s when we’re going to see a clear picture of the pecking order. Pole was 1.22.285 last year.


No, the pole was 1m 21.707s (half a second up), but the pole sitter (Lewis) had to start dead last due to a surprising team error.


I heard one of the BBC commentators saying that the teams like to think they can find on average a tenth after each race weekend. Hamilton did a 1:21.7 in qualifying last year (little light on fuel) so we should see high 1:19s in Catalunya this year with the regs relatively stable. It’s so easy for a driver to look like they are pushing but drive a second or 2 slower than they can actually go.


No chance mate with drs being limited the times will be faster but not my much I expect.


Actually pole was a 1.21.707 last year 😉


Looking at 2012 GP on Wiki, and it was tight! Slowest time set in Q3 was 1.23.005. 5th was 1.22.533 by a Sauber/Perez combo – which would be fastest time today. Lewis set 1.21.707 on fumes and got DQed.

Everyone is sand bagging by about a second I think.

I wonder if it will be as tight as it looks, or if a team will have a secret power-up that will put them .5s clear. Is there any indication of any tricks on any car? I don’t think we got any hint of unique features on any car this year.


Perhaps he couldn’t have made it back and still had a litre for the fuel sample, but Hamilton had 1.3L onboard the car when he stopped out on track. When Vettel stopped in Abu Dhabi, they only managed to pump half that amount out of the car back in the pits.

Still a shocking team error, with no need to cut things close (58 hundredths to play with, as it turned out).


Williams tried to exhaust blow!

An attempt at letter of the law vs. spirit o the rules.

This is so old school Williams!

It’s 2013, get with the program! Newey’s new Red Bull already has a static electricity force field which repels the opposite charge air particles reducing drag on the whole car by 7.4% It requires a lot of power, hence the alternator issues during heavier testing applications in 2012. 🙂


Thanks Seebee, now I can’t get that music out of my head.

Could be worse I suppose – at least no-one mentioned Bieber… 🙂



I bet you the sound system has British built B&W speakers and pumps out Dr. Who theme music round the clock. A bit North Korean-ish, but it’s what it takes to win Championships.


Two excellent points Seebee; allow me to clarify:

First: Red Bull have forseen this problem and will be handing out special glasses for everyone to use that not only show up the sponsors, but also makes them show up in 3D.

Second: Carbon fibre and most of the aerospace materials the F1 teams currently use were probably once considered exotic materials, whereas now they’re just par for the course. Besides, in the end Dilithium crystals proved to costly to obtain. They were being imported through the Milton Keynes Wormhole Generator (situated between the wind tunnel and the coffee machine), but they soon discovered that the M.K.W.G. was the second highest energy drain in the factory, so they had to scrap it (the highest energy drain is their sound system, but that is deemed vital to the running of day to day operations).

The cloaking device will instead run on refined Red Bull, which scientists have recently discovered is a sustainable fuel source. As a side note this super fuel will be also used in the RBR F1 car from 2014 onward.

I hope that clears everything up. 🙂


Thanks for playing along everyone.

But Random, everyone here knows 2 things. Cloaking is bad for sponsors. FIA forbids exotic materials and you probably need dilithium crystals to cloak.


Obi Wan Newey at it again, “this is not the car you are chasing!!


That is what caused all the ‘problems’ with their KERS. I heard they are actually using the system to reverse the polarity of the charge under braking and discharge it through the floor, attracting the car to the Earth’s magnetic field to boost downforce through the corners 🙂


Yep, and the alternator’s going to take a another hit once they get the Klingon cloaking device working 😉


I don´t know what everyone else is thinking. But I don´t know what to make of Mercedes and McLaren. I can´t figure them out. They are a mistery to me



so is, how to spell “mystery”! just teasin’ 🙂


Don’t worry we haven’t seen the reality yet. Wait for Melbourne Q3.


In what way?

They are both having a few teething troubles in testing (that’s the idea of testing to sort out the bugs) but once underway, their lap times are pretty decent,although it would be unwise to read too much (if anything) into the lap times at this stage.


Well That´s exactly what I mean. If you´re fixing something you´re not testing. You can´t have both at the same time. So they plan something they can´t accomplish much. I don´t know what data they have so far. I don´t understand problems in the morning and at the same time the fastest time in the afternoon. what Perez tested? he was almost invisible. It seems they go to extremes. In other words they look like Dr Jekill and Mr Hyde. That´s the feeling I´m having right now


In this case, I assume, you already figured out Lotus, Red Bull and Ferrari?

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