Testing At Circuit De Catalunya – Deadline Day

As all the teams wanted to see exactly how fast their cars can go, they were doing qualifying runs. Our first chance to see who really is on top…

The sun was back at the Spanish track for the final day, so all the teams were wanting to make the most of their few precious hours, especially after those they lost on Saturday because of rain.

Virgin and Toro Rosso shared the same space of track for a short time at least.

For Virgin, Lucas Di Grassi was in the seat, as he set a time of 1:26.160 which brought him in last place, 12th. He covered 49 laps.

Sebastien Buemi was driving for Toro Rosso, setting a time of 1:22.135, leaving him in 9th. But he was about a whole 4 seconds faster the Virgin. The Swiss driver covered 88 laps.

“I am pleased with my two days here in Barcelona,” said Buemi. “Today, we concentrated on doing a scan of various mechanical set-up options as well as some aero work. Overall, I think we are in good shape and now I’m looking forward to the first race to see where we stand compared to everyone else.”

Just thought it was worth mentioning, just before the lunch break Hamilton, Massa, Vettel and Schumacher all did qualifying runs and went flat out. This is worth considering looking at for a form book before Bahrain.

The times looked like this: 1st Hamilton 1:20.472. 2nd Massa 1:20.539. 3rd Vettel 1:20.667. 4th Schumacher 1:20.745.

Just after the lunch break Mark Webber took over the RB6 from Vettel and set time of 1:20.496 which put him 2nd at the end of the day. He made 61 laps to Vettel’s 76.

Vettel didn’t manage to keep his 3rd place by the end of the session and finished in 5th behind Adrian Sutil who put in some qualifying runs after the break.

Vettel completed 76 laps and set time of 1:20.667, only 2 tenths of Lewis’ fastest time…

Adrian Sutil beat both Vettel and Schumacher in the Afternoon session when he started to go flat out.

The German was doing a race run during the morning session so he was only 9th by the break.

“I feel like this was the first proper test day for me,” said the young German. “We did our long race simulation and I think we can be quite happy and confident. The pace was good, the tyre life was very good, and I was able to run a lot of laps on both the soft and hard tyres without any problems. Speed-wise the car is competitive and we have to show it in Bahrain now.”


Just before the lunch break Lewis Hamilton set a time of 1:20.475 to put him top just ahead of Mark Webber by the end of the day, he also covered the most laps of 136. The Brit didn’t manage to improve his time after the break.
He only just announced that his father, Anthony Hamilton, who is Lewis’ manager, will be standing down from that position.

“I’m 25 now – and I think it was inevitable that there had to be change at some point,” Hamilton told Autosport.com.
“Over the past few years, we looked around to see if we could bring someone else into the picture to help with the situation – whether to help with guidance, or sponsors, or whatever it was.
“We looked at it and I just never felt comfortable with anyone else. At the time I loved my dad being my manager and taking care of things, because I trust him.
“Other managers you hire as employees, but my dad is my dad. I know he does things for only the right reasons, and I can just trust him with my full heart.
“But all of this time we were discussing bringing someone else in, we never quite had the confidence to do it. I think we’re now at the point where we are looking to take that step – and I think it is a positive step.
“I’m 25. I am my own man now, I’ve been in F1 for quite a while now and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my dad. He’s done a fantastic job. But he’s done that job.”

More at Autosport.com: http://ow.ly/1d8lg

We got to see some ‘racing’ from Michael Schumacher and the Briton for the first time.

Schumacher completed the second most laps of 123 and set a time of 1:20.745.

“The four testing days here in Barcelona have helped us to make significant progress with the MGP W01 and I am feeling quite confident for the start of the season,” said the German driver. “It is always difficult to read too much into testing but knowing our programme, it is fair to say that the times did not always reflect the true picture. We have worked through many set-up and development evaluations this week and gained valuable information to study before Bahrain. We are heading the first race with a good feeling and we know that we will have our upgrades there. But most of all we know that our prospects for even the first races are looking very reasonable now.”

Felipe has taken his limited testing time well since his crash at Hungary, he’s gone well in the red car. He covered 114 laps and set a time of 1:20.539 which brought him in 3rd.

It’s Bahrain for the Brazilian now, no more testing.
A video interview with Massa: http://ow.ly/1dA0n

The more experienced Brazilian, Barrichello, completed his test regime by setting the 7th quickest time of 1:20.870 and covering 84 laps.

Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi had a successful day in the C29, he covered 67 laps and set a time of 1:20.911 to leave him 8th just behind Barrichello. He would have made more laps if it wasn’t for a technical problem.

“Unfortunately our final day of testing was hampered by reliability problems,” said technical director Willy Rampf. “In the morning, it was a shifting problem, which needs to be analysed, and at the end it was a problem in the fuel system. Certainly both can be solved before Bahrain. In Barcelona we have been testing new aero parts, which confirmed the performance we expected after the wind tunnel tests. We also concentrated further on getting the best out of the mechanical set-ups. We have defined the Bahrain package now and feel ready for the season to kick off. We are very much looking forward to finally going racing.”

Heikki Kovalainen only had one day of running at the Circuit De Catalunya, and that day was hampered by a Gearbox problem, but even so, the T127 covered 65 laps and set the 11th fastest time of 1:25.251 just ahead of the Virgin.

“It was a game of two halves as they say,” explained chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. “We had a good morning where we were able to complete all our plans but a problem with the programme change on the gearbox delayed us in the afternoon, which meant we weren’t able to do as much running as we wanted. Overall, however, the test has been extremely productive – in general we’ve had very good reliability, and the team is in very good shape going to the first race.”

Robert Kubica is having a better time at Renault compared to his 2009 year at BMW Sauber, whether it was a good decision to move from BMW Sauber to Renault is another matter. The Pole set the 10th fastest time of 1:23.175 and covered 107 laps.

“Our final day of testing was a mixed one as we suffered a problem with the gearbox on the installation lap, which limited our running,” explained Renault’s chief engineer Alan Permane. “We managed to get back out at the end of the morning to evaluate some new aero parts and also worked on improving the set-up of the car. For the afternoon we tried to cover a race distance, and although it was interrupted, we did cover the desired number of laps. To end the day we returned to our set-up programme.”

So that’s it, testing over, the teams have done all they can before Bahrain and there is only 9 days until Friday Practice 1 (I’m writing this late)
The sagas of Hispania F1, (formerly known as Campos Meta) USF1 and Stefan GP are all yet unresolved, although 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve could be coming back, alongside Kazuki Nakajima at Stefan GP.

Not long until we really know who will be the faster driver!

Unofficial Sunday times from Barcelona:
1.     Lewis Hamilton             McLaren               1:20.472     134   Laps
2.     Mark Webber                 Red Bull              1:20.496       61    Laps
3.     Felipe Massa                  Ferrari                  1:20.539      114   Laps
4.     Adrian Sutil                    Force India          1:20.611      100   Laps
5.     Sebastian Vettel             Red Bull              1:20.667        76    Laps
6.     Michael Schumacher     Mercedes GP       1:20.745       123   Laps
7.     Rubens Barrichello        Williams              1:20.870        84    Laps
8.     Kamui Kobayashi           Sauber                 1:20.911        67    Laps
9.     Sebastien Buemi            Toro Rosso           1:22.135        88   Laps
10.   Robert Kubica                Renault                 1:23.175       107  Laps
11.   Heikki Kovalainen          Lotus                    1:25.251        65   Laps
12.   Lucas Di Grassi               Virgin                   1:26.160        49   Laps
Season Preview coming up…

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One Comment on “Testing At Circuit De Catalunya – Deadline Day”

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