Archive for the ‘Formula One’ category

The 2010 Australian Grand Prix Review

April 2, 2010

The Australian Grand Prix was a much improved spectacle than in the desert of Bahrain. As the drivers lined up on the grid (excluding the Virgins who started in the pit lane) there was a great threat of rain, the clouds got darker and darker and most of the teams’ tactical brains started working hard. The rain ended up only being light and for a short time but it was enough for the Intermediate tyres.
Hamilton’s Qualifying performance wasn’t up to his best but he did manage 11th, so the rain could help him to better results. Button, in the other MP4-25 lined up in 4th, much better than his Bahrain performance. The Red Bulls took the front two grid slots just as Brawn GP did 12 months ago, with Alonso in his Ferrari F10 in 3rd.  Brazilian Massa took 5th behind Button in the other Ferrari. And both Mercedes GP cars followed with Nico Rosberg leading Schumacher.

2010 Aussie GP Start

 

 As the lights built up and turned off the drivers slowly took off, Massa had a great start and leaped up to 2nd by the time they reached turn 1, Vettel kept his lead going through the first corner as his team-mate, Webber,  lost out to Felipe. Button tried to take the inside line up past Alonso but the Spaniard couldn’t see him and ploughed right into him, and then span into the 7 time world champion, Michael Schumacher! That left the German with front wing damage. As a result of all that, Alonso fell behind not only everyone on the grid, but behind both Virgins and the Safety car! Button took avoiding action and got through without any damage. Hamilton jumped from 11th to 8th, but the surprise gain driver was Kubica; he qualified in 9th on Saturday but by turn 3 he was up into 4th.  Both Mercedes GP cars were able to leap frog Button, so the current world champion now had to deal with a fiesty Hamilton behind him and a slow damaged Schumacher ahead of him. While the big guys were duelling it out there was action at the back, Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber had already had trouble this weekend with a front wing failure in FP1, but then it happened again in the race itself. He tobogganed into the wall at turn 6, skimmed across and ploughed heavily into the Toro Rosso of Buemi and the Williams of Hulkenberg, taking himself, Buemi and Hulkenberg all out in under 3 seconds.

Kamui crashes at the 2010 Aussie GP

 This brought out the safety car for the only time in the race. Schumacher had to come in and change his front wing, which put him to the back of the pack alongside old rival Alonso, who was trying to make his way back up.
By lap 5 the Safety car came back in and the race restarted. Vettel got away cleanly and so did Massa but Webber got very loose on the exit of the final corner, opening up a chance for the Renault of Kubica to have a look into turn 1. Webber made sure he couldn’t make the move stick, but Kubica had another go into turn 3, although Webber prevailed and kept his 3rd place.
Nico Rosberg split the Renault and Red Bull from the two McLarens as Hamilton and Button kept dicing around the track.
As the front runners battled it out, the back of the field were having some fun with Alonso and Schumacher; the Virgin of Di Grassi had one battle with Alonso which ended quite quickly but then when Schumacher tried to come through Di Grassi thought he would re-pass him through turn 13!
Back at the front, Hamilton finally got around his team-mate, Button, and set his sights on Rosberg’s Mercedes. Then Massa made a mistake which let Webber through and Kubica had a sniff of a chance, but he didn’t make it which lead Rosberg to try and have a go at Kubica!

Lewis Passes Jenson at the 2010 Aussie GP

 Button then decided to change to Slicks way earlier than anyone else, which would make all the difference to the outcome of the race.
Nearly everyone thought this was a crazy choice for Jenson to make, especially as when he exited the pits, he got to turn 3 only to lock his wheels up and go straight off the road! However, he then went on to set “Purple” sector times on the next two sectors of the lap, which indicated he had made the right choice.
This brilliant choice made the race win for the Briton, enabling him to benefit from Vettel’s wheel problem (which caused him to crash out of the race), and Robert Kubica’s Renault holding up Lewis Hamilton and the two Ferrari’s.
Jenson brought his MP4-25 home on the last lap to cross the line first, just like 12 months before with Brawn GP…this means that British drivers have won the Australian GP for the last 3 years in a row! With Hamilton in 2008, Button in 2009, and Button again this year.

Button Wins The Aussie GP Once Again

My verdict of the race is: Amazing, brilliant and eventful! What a race to kick start the 2010 season. The McLarens seemed a bit faster around Albert Park than they did in Bahrain, which obviously feels good for a McLaren fan like me! Red Bull really need to fix their cars before they lose too many points and start to fall behind in the Championship. Well done to Massa for getting on the podium once again. Lewis could have had 3rd place if Webber hadn’t gone up the back-side of him! He could have even had 2nd place if McLaren hadn’t brought him into the pits when they did, but it did seem like the best choice at the time. Nico Rosberg brought his Mercedes GP car in 5th ahead of Lewis, with Schumacher in 10th. What is going on with the German legend then? Still just rusty eh?

With thunder storms forecast for Malaysia, it looks like we’re gonna have another exciting race (if it goes ahead). FP1 and FP2 have just finished, so I’m off to watch it on BBC iPlayer!

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The 2010 F1 Season Preview

March 11, 2010

 With the 2010 Formula One Championship just a few days away, the excitement is building up, globally. The FIA have finally confirmed the 2010 entry list just a few days before the season starts, so we now know who is on the grid or not.
How will McLaren’s all British line up fare against the all Latin line up at Ferrari. And how will those teams fare against the all German Mercedes GP team? How will all the teams cope with the new rules, including the re-fuelling ban? Who will be the best of the new teams?
All these questions will be answered very soon…    

2010 Pit Stops Could Be Sub 3 Seconds

There are new rules for the 2010 Season, as there have been for the last few years.    

The biggest change has to be the ban on re-fuelling- this means that the team will only have to change tyres; this will cut pit stop times to sub three seconds! Red Bull and Renault have also found ways to make that even quicker. Reports have come in that Red Bull have gone to under two seconds. Also, Renault have designed new front and rear jacks to make the release of the car quicker- no reports of how quick they have got to yet.
Penalties will also have to be served in a maximum two laps instead of three, but if they have to serve the penalty after the race, like Spa 2008, 35 seconds will be the punishment, not 25.
Front tyre dimensions have also shrunk from 270mm to 245mm, this will make life hard with the heavier cars, full of extra fuel.
Garages used to have sizes for where in the championship the team had finished the previous year, but now every team will have an equal amount of space for that race track.
Of course the points system has changed from 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 to 25-18-15-12-8-6-4-2-1.    

My Verdict:
The re-fuel ban is crazy, the tyres dimensions isn’t crazy if you had less fuel, the points system is crazy, serving penalties in two laps is crazy, 35 seconds is just too much, but I love the garage idea!    

The McLaren MP4-25

First up is the all British team, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.      

The big question is: How will McLaren cope with two British world champions?
McLaren haven’t won a constructors championship since 1998, mainly because of driver combinations and Ferrari. But even after the Lewis-Fernando combination in 2007 they still couldn’t manage the title because of a bitter relationship. 2008 wasn’t much different with Heikki Kovalainen as second driver, he just wasn’t up to the standard of Lewis and couldn’t get consistent podiums or wins. And we all know what happened in 2009. Will Jenson in 2010 be any different?      

After the Lewis-Fernando saga, the silver team will be wanting to avoid this kind of scenario this time around. Lewis has recently admitted that he “misunderstood” the situation at the team during his first year, and that he won’t be making the same mistake with new team-mate Jenson Button.
Alonso expected the ‘number one’ slot at McLaren when he arrived, but the young Brit was too strong for him. Things started to go wrong from there.
But Jenson Button himself has said that he won’t have that attitude, as he knows what Lewis is capable of. He said that he wanted the challenge of a new team after winning the championship in 2009 with former team Brawn GP.      

My verdict:
Jenson Button will struggle at his new team and will fail to beat Lewis, but he will do better than Kovalainen did in the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
Lewis Hamilton will be having so much fun back at the front with drivers like Schumacher, but he won’t have an easy ride with Jenson, Massa, Alonso and the Red Bull’s.      

Twitter Status:
Jenson Button: @The_Real_JB
Lewis Hamilton: N/A
McLaren: @McLaren_eShop + @TheFifthDriver      

Nico Rosberg In The Mercedes GP W01

Next is the new, all German Mercedes GP Petronas team.      

With Brawn GP’s success to follow, this will be a hard year for the ‘silver arrows’ who haven’t been in the sport since 1955. Although they will be a strong force in 2010 I think they just won’t have the strength of teams such as McLaren, Red Bull or Ferrari. They do have Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn up their sleeves though! With more updates on the way for most of the teams, expect them to be fighting for wins later on in the season, but not in the first few races…      

My verdict:
Michael Schumacher will lead the team to most of their wins, if any.
I feel sorry for Nico Rosberg that he ended up with the 7 time world champion instead of McLaren-bound Button; he’s just going to end up like Barrichello did.      

Twitter Status:
Michael Schumacher: N/A
Nico Rosberg: @NicoRosberg16
Mercedes GP: @OfficialMGP      

The Red Bull RB6

Next, the all – no wait – just Red Bull.      

Now they have some wins under their belt, and the race officials know that they have to have the Austrian anthem ready, can they go one better and win the championship? Well with the same line up as 2009 and another good car, the chances are very good. Now all they need to do is to have less engine failures or hydraulic failures- was it a good idea to keep the Renault engine?      

Since they took to the sport in 2005 Red Bull have never finished higher than 5th in the championship, until 2009 when they just came short of winning behind the white car of Brawn GP. Webber’s broken leg from 2008 has now fully recovered, so he doesn’t have anything to worry about this time around- can he do it?
Vettel, a.k.a. ‘Baby Schumi’ has the real ‘Schumi’ to fight with this year…      

Here’s what ex-Red Bull driver, David Coulthard thinks: “The team had a late decision on the Renault engine choice, meaning the car missed the first test. They’ve also taken a decision to spend more time developing in the windtunnel and on the drawing board before committing to the first iteration that we will see in Bahrain. But with a limited regulation change going into 2010 they’re looking good.” (Taken from the F1 Racing Magazine)      

My Verdict:
Sebastien Vettel, Mark Webber and Red Bull as a team will all have one thing on their mind- winning…      

Twitter Status:
Sebastien Vettel: N/A
Mark Webber: @AussieGrit
Red Bull: @redbullf1spy      

The Scuderia Ferrari F10

Now for the all Latin team, Scuderia Ferrari.      

As I write this, Ferrari just announced that they expect Red Bull to be top in Bahrain- playing yourselves down eh? Quite an interesting statement to make with under a week to go before the race opener. The most successful team will be strong whatever they say though, with the return of Felipe Massa and 2 time world champion Fernando Alonso, it’s a recipe for more success. Well that’s what nearly everyone says- I don’t agree, but maybe that’s just because I never really liked Ferrari?! Anyway, I think it’s a recipe for disaster; just think back to 2007 and when Alonso was at McLaren, remember that? What makes people think this will be any better? The main issue, apart from the ‘spy-gate’ scandal, was that Lewis was too strong for the Spaniard, so will Felipe be any weaker? Don’t get me wrong, Alonso is good driver- but really?      

That’s what I think anyway, after their worst season in years the Italian team will want to forget that by winning again. Will Schumacher help them out in some controversial way?
I really don’t like Ferrari, do I? ;-P      

I do like Massa, so I’m happy he’s back in F1, will he ‘do a Schumacher’? In the 1999 British GP Schumacher broke a leg, but came back to win the title in 2000. Can Felipe come back to win this year’s title, after his horrific crash in Hungary last year?      

My Verdict:
Felipe will be too strong for Alonso and he won’t like it.
Alonso could back-stab the Italian team if things don’t go well; there are probably things only he knows about the past…      

Twitter Status:
Felipe Massa: N/A
Fernando Alonso: N/A
Ferrari: @InsideFerrari      

Rubens Barrichello In The Williams FW32

Next is the Williams F1 Team.      

The British based team have scored a mere 170.5 points since their last win in Brazil 2004 with Montoya, and in 2009 things started to look up with Rosberg, when he consistently challenged for podiums, but he just never quite got there. He himself scored the biggest points haul of his career in one season, but it wasn’t so good for the Williams team with second driver Nakajima consistently not scoring points. Will things be different this time around with the most experienced driver on the grid, Rubens Barrichello, and 2009 GP2 champion Nico Hulkenberg? With things looking up in testing over the winter, maybe things will be better for the team.      

Rubens Barrichello has always had the backseat in whatever team he was driving for. In Ferrari he was second to Schumacher, at BAR Honda/Honda/Brawn GP he was second to Jenson Button. Is this his chance to take a leading role in his own team?      

My Verdict:
Barrichello will be strong in this team, but whether he can beat the other strong teams is another question.
Nico ‘The Hulk’ Hulkenberg has the chance to prove himself as a talented driver, as I think he has a good car to drive in his first season.      

Twitter Status:
Rubens Barrichello: @rubarrichello
Nico Hulkenberg: @NicoHulkenberg
Williams: @f1_williams      

The Renault R30

The controversial Renault F1 Team next.      

This is a whole new start for the team now; Briatore is gone, Alonso is gone, Piquet is gone. But Robert Kubica and Eric Boullier have arrived and could be the saviours of the French team. If they can make him a good car, Kubica has the talent to bring it home, as we have seen during the 2007 and 2008 season’s when he was at BMW Sauber. But can Renault make him a good car? They definitely can’t make a good looking car! Some people think it’s a great return to the old style 80’s livery, but they could have done something a bit less strong, huh? You’ll be able to see it on track easily!

Renault have gone downhill since 2007, where they finished 3rd in the championship, then 4th in 2008, then a lowly 8th in 2009. Can they improve on that 8th at least? I think so, but anything better than 4th, I don’t know – not without some major upgrades…      

My Verdict:
Kubica will definitely lead the team, but I haven’t really seen how former GP2 driver Petrov can race.
Podiums? No. But regular points? Possibly.      

Twitter Status:
Robert Kubica: N/A
Vitaly Petrov: N/A
Renault: @rf1paddockpass      

The Force India VJM03

The Force India F1 team next.      

The team is going into it’s fourth year now, which is the longest stint this team has had since it was known as Jordan. After coming close to scoring points in the Monaco 2008 GP and the 2009 Chinese GP, then finally breaking the dead lock in Belgium 2009 with Fisichella getting a podium, good things are expected of the team this year. Can they win a race? I’m not sure the drivers are good enough, but they can definitely come close and do well in the championship.      

The team has never finished higher than 9th in the championship, but I’m sure that will change this year, with a good car and reliability. Watch out for this team…      

My Verdict:
Adrian Sutil is a talented driver, and has driven for one team in his career, (Midland, Spyker and Force India) I think he has the talent to push himself in to a winning position, if the opportunity comes.
Vitantonio Liuzzi has not had much luck in his F1 career; he had a small stint at Toro Rosso but that was when they were new and inexperienced. But now, with a good car, I think he can start to show himself.      

Twitter Status:
Adrian Sutil: N/A
Vitantonio Liuzzi: N/A
Force India: @ClubForce      

Next is the ex-Minardi team: Toro Rosso.      

Toro Rosso have a chance this season with two good drivers, and a good car. Their first own-made factory car. Since they started in 2006 they have gone slowly, building experience and knowledge. In 2008 they had Vettel as one of their drivers, he won them their first ever race in Italy, and then went on to Red Bull to come second in 2009. But things didn’t go so well for Toro Rosso in 2009. Vettel leaving them hurt quite badly, as they could only mange to keep Bourdais and new boy Buemi. Bourdais went on to be sacked and replaced by Alguersuari who is the youngest ever driver to race in F1.      

Alguersuari didn’t have a good reponse from his fellow drivers on the grid; as the in-season testing ban meant he had never driven an F1 car, and was expected to just start racing with some of the best drivers in the world. But I think this kid has some talent and will do well this year.      

Sebastien Buemi has performed well as a rookie in 2009 and I expect him to do even better this time. With a good car and some luck I think he is points finish worthy.      

My Verdict:
This will be a close battle between these drivers, but I think a good one; they will work together and push the team forward. Who will come out on top? I really can’t say, but they will get in to the points.      

Twitter Status:
Sebastien Buemi: N/A
Jaime Alguersuari: @JAIMEALGUERSUAR
Toro Rosso: @ToroRossoSpy      

The Lotus T127

Next is the first of the new teams: Malaysian based Lotus F1 team.      

They claim to be the best of the new teams this year, and they are going well with that statement, by signing drivers such as Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen but has technical director Mike Gascoyne made a good car? Gascoyne has been at teams such as Force India and Midland. They have a big name to live up to, being one of the most successful teams in F1 history. They also have a little bet with fellow new team Virgin Racing on which team will come out on top!      

I think the driver line up is a straight hit; Trulli is one of the most underrated drivers in F1. He has only had one win, but that was at Monaco, and he was in a Renault, one of the best cars on the grid. His team-mate was Alonso mind you. Then after that he moved on to the unsuccessful Toyota, I don’t have to explain how that was bad. I think if he has a good enough car, he will shine in this team.      

Kovalainen has also had only one win, Hungary 2008, in one of the best cars on the grid. His team-mate was Lewis Hamilton, and he just couldn’t live up to him throughout his time there. So similar story here – good enough car= good enough chance.      

I think this team has the ambition to succeed, which is always good.      

My Verdict:
This team won’t be able to get into the points, but they will be a very strong new team.
Which driver will come out on top? I really don’t know, but they will work together well.      

Twitter Status:
Jarno Trulli: N/A
Heikki Kovalainen: @H_Kovalainen
Tony Fernandes: @tonyfernandes
Mike Gascoyne: @MikeGascoyne      

The New Hispania Racing Car

Next is the team to re-carry the big Senna name: Hispania Racing.      

This little new team has one big name to hold as they start this season, Bruno Senna, nephew of the late Ayrton Senna. They only just managed to save themselves from going under with fellow new team USF1. The team will now be called Hispania Racing or HRT. The new Spanish team recently signed the Indian GP2 driver, Karun Chandhok. Indian F1 fans have wanted the driver to race for home team Force India ever since they took over Spyker. But at least they get him in F1 at all.      

Chandhok hasn’t performed that well in GP2 to be honest, but I think he deserves the seat alongside fellow former iSport team-mate Bruno in GP2.
Martin Brundle on Bruno Senna: “Bruno’s a good kid and he’s had success in GP2, but just as it will be for all the rookies coming straight into F1, it’ll be tough. It’s uncanny but when Bruno lifts his visor up he looks just like Ayrton – it’s quite spooky.”      

My Verdict:
I’m not sure how the team will do in terms of success because we haven’t had a look at how quick the car is, so I can’t say anything there.
In terms of drivers, I think it’s a strong line up, but there won’t be anything special, there just isn’t enough experience, even though they used to be team-mates at iSport.      

Twitter Status:
Karun Chandhok: @karunchandhok
Bruno Senna: @Bsenna
Hispania Racing: @HRTf1      

The Sauber C29

Now the Ferrari engined Sauber team.      

This white car is going to be at Bahrain unlike Stefan GP or USF1. During testing “See you in Bahrain” was written across the side of the C29’s shark fin, and the car goes quickly as a bonus. With BMW pulling out of the sport, Sauber are left with Ferrari engines to power them along. Team boss Peter Sauber is back in charge of the team once more as he only wants “To finish around sixth in the championship, and not to be a team owner for another 17 years.”      

The car goes quickly, and the drivers go quickly, things have to go well this year, right? Who knows, as said by Button, there are at least 7 top teams this year. McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes GP, Red Bull, Force India, Toro Rosso and finally Sauber. They have signed up long serving McLaren tester, Pedro De La Rosa, and new kid Kamui Kobayashi who scored in his second race. Will they win races? I don’t think so, but they will be in the position for podiums when the time comes…      

My Verdict:
The team will be strong, but whether they can keep up the form is another matter. You will see them in the points though.
This is a big chance for Kamui to shine, if he can beat his team-mate he will surely be on some bigger teams lists for next year.
This is the last chance for De La Rosa- let’s see if he can make the most of it.      

Twitter Status:
Pedro De La Rosa: N/A
Kamui Kobayashi: N/A
Sauber: N/A      

The Virgin VR-01

The final team is Virgin Racing.      

The only team to use CFD alone to design their car. (Computational Fluid Dynamics-research it on Wikipedia; it’s mind boggling.) Owned by Richard Branson, they have a good package to be best of the new teams. Virgin used to be Manor GP before Branson bought the team to diversify his Virgin empire. Drivers like Timo Glock and Lucas Di Grassi have the setting for a great team. However, I’ve noticed throughout testing that the team’s reliability is flawed; wings falling off, hydraulic failures, parts running late- can this team live up to the bet they made with Lotus?      

Timo Glock had a tough time at Toyota, as has everyone who have driven for the ex-Japanese team. With only a few podiums to celebrate, it’s time for Glock to step up to the No.1 driver role. New team-mate Lucas Di Grassi is Glock’s first team-mate with a lower pedigree, so here’s his chance to shine – if he can. He is also the newest driver to Tweet! Follow him here: @realTimoGlock      

Lucas is stepping up from GP2 this season, I don’t know much about him so I can’t say much, but from what I can see, he’s had a good career in GP2 with 5 wins and 16 podiums.      

My Verdict
The team will be strong with Glock and Di Grassi, but will be riddled with reliability issues.
Timo Glock to come out on top.      

Twitter Status:
Timo Glock: @realTimoGlock
Lucas Di Grassi: @lucasdigrassi
Virgin Racing: @VirginRacing      

      

USF1’s failed entry.      

I just have to do a small piece on USF1. I said from the beginning that they wouldn’t make it, and look where they are! I don’t have anything against America but really, America don’t belong in F1. A quote in the F1 Racing magazine, from Lauren Spurin ( a bar tender from Charlotte, where USF1’s North Carolina HQ is based) shows the general attitude which makes me feel this way… ” I didn’t know we had a team here. The problem with F1 is it’s always on TV at really weird hours. NASCAR rules….. and besides, if you have 36 races a year in your own backyard, why go out of your way to follow something halfway across the world?” Scott Speed, Danica Patrick and USF1 all failed, it’s time they give up…      

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Stefan GP’s failed entry.
 
Stefan GP sadly haven’t made it to the grid this year, yet. It could still happen, although it’s unlikely. I’m quite disappointed, but good luck to them for whenever they do make it.
Jacques Villenuve and Kazuki Nakajima were due to race for the Serbian team, had they got on the grid. That would have put 5 world champions on the same grid!

F1 In 2010 Is Nearly Here

March 12th, Friday, 7.00am UK time, FP1, Bahrain.      

So, here we go, only a few days to go and I’ve covered every single team and their Twitter status. Bahrain has a new layout for this year and most of the drivers are not impressed, and neither am I. Everyone on Twitter, including Jake Humphrey (@jakehumphreyf1) are all on their way to the Arabic track. This is it! We are finally here….      

 

Testing At Circuit De Catalunya – Deadline Day

March 3, 2010

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…

Testing At Circuit De Catalunya – Day 1

February 26, 2010

With only two weeks until Friday Practice 1 begins in Bahrain, the Teams started testing at the Circuit De Catalunya, which will hold Round 5 of the 2010 F1 World Championship; this gives them the chance to find out who is really on top. The first day got under way on Thursday with the likes of Button, Alonso, Webber and Rosberg.

Lotus test driver Fairuz Fauzy got another 76 laps under the team’s belt but could only manage bottom of the time sheet, with a time of 1:28.002.

“It was a very productive day, with no mechanical worries on the car,” explained chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. “In the morning we conducted some engine LAMDA running which we completed successfully. We ran through a series of system set up checks, completed our first starts and evaluated a number of other control systems on the car, as well as monitoring temperatures and pressures throughout the car. All in all this was a successful day both on the track and we ticked off a lot of behind the scenes tasks ahead of the first race. Fairuz did a very good job today, with no mistakes, and we were able to complete our whole programme.”

Almost a full second ahead of Fairuz was Virgin’s Lucas Di Grassi. He set a time of 1:27.057 but could only make 31 laps because of a hefty crash early on.

“We are continuing to debug the car hydraulics and making good progress in our understanding of the issue,” explained Virgin’s technical director Nick Wirth. “Unfortunately when we were running some experimental control settings on the car, which were adversely affecting its handling, this caught Lucas out on the entry to Turn Nine resulting in a spin and contact with the barrier. We’re going to need to spend the time before tomorrow replacing some broken suspension and wings. We should be back on track tomorrow morning when we hope to really start building up our mileage.”

Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari finished 9th after completing 111 laps.

“It was encouraging to have another trouble free day, completing a high mileage,” the young Spaniard said. “We learned a lot doing long runs on the soft compound tyre and I’m looking forward to tackling a different programme tomorrow.”

He clocked a time of 1:24.869 and will continue to test on Friday.

GP2 graduate Vitaly Petrov concentrated on pit-stop practise and set-up work on the way to 8th place.

He manged to set a time of 1:24.173, and his team-mate Kubica will take over on Friday.

Alonso got his last test off to a bad start as his Ferrari F10 stopped on track with an electrical problem. He covered just 74 laps and came 7th with a time of 1:24.170, just 0.003 seconds quicker than Petrov.

The home favourite will get his last testing day underway on Friday.

Vitantonio Liuzzi managed to come up with a good time of 1:24.064 and covered 65 laps on the way to 6th.

He will continue to test the VJM03 on Friday, then Sutil will take over for the last two days.

Current world champion, Jenson Button set the 5th fastest time and according to McLaren’s website, they seem happy with Thursday’s running.

“Jenson kicked off running in Barcelona this morning, concentrating primarily on mechanical and aerodynamic set-up work.
Despite not setting any headline laptimes, the team declared itself pleased with progress, gaining a greater understanding of the behaviour of the Bridgestone tyre over a long run.”

Spaniard De La Rosa set a quick time of 1:23.144 on the way to 4th, he covered 73 laps.

“Today we have been concentrating on different mechanical set-ups and different downforce levels in preparation for the Bahrain Grand Prix,” explained technical director Willy Rampf. “We are not satisfied with the car’s balance yet, but we have recorded a great deal of useful data which will help us further improve it.”

German Nico Rosberg also did well in the W01 Mercedes GP, setting a time of 1:22.514 which brought him in 3rd. He carried out long runs, qualifying runs and practise pit-stops.

“We had a productive day today and we were able to learn a great deal from doing so many laps,” he said. “We’re making good use of the testing time that we have and I’m feeling quite confident and comfortable in the car. Aerodynamically the car will change quite significantly for the first race in Bahrain so we’re not focusing on the details but on general set-up work and seeing how the car behaves over long runs.”

Williams driver Nico “The Hulk” Hulkenburg continues to impress in his first few months as an F1 driver by setting the 2nd fastest time of 1:22.407.

The young German will continue in the FW32 on Friday.

Australian Mark Webber went top again at the Circuit De Catalunya, which just shows it wasn’t a one off at Jerez, as well as topping the time sheet he had enough time to join up to Twitter! Follow him here: @AussieGrit

“We had a pretty good day of testing,” said the Australian. “We did some simulations and performance items in the morning and a race simulation in the afternoon. We had a precautionary stop in the middle of the race simulation because of a gearbox oil alarm, but the guys got the car turned around pretty quickly and we finished the session, so it wasn’t too bad.”

So as the teams start practising their pit-stops, which could take less than 3 seconds this year, everyone seemed pretty happy with the day. 3 days left…

14 Days Until the New F1 Season….

Unofficial Thursday times from Barcelona:
1.     Mark Webber                Red Bull                 1:21.487      109   Laps
2.     Nico Hulkenberg         Williams                1:22.407      82     Laps
3.     Nico Rosberg                Mercedes GP       1:22.514      107   Laps
4.     Pedro de la Rosa          Sauber                   1:23.144       73     Laps
5.     Jenson Button              McLaren                1:23.452      101   Laps
6.     Vitantonio Liuzzi         Force India          1:24.064      65     Laps
7.     Fernando Alonso         Ferrari                   1:24.170      74     Laps
8.     Vitaly Petrov                 Renault                  1:24.173      74     Laps
9.     Jaime Alguersuari       Toro Rosso           1:24.869     111     Laps
10.  Lucas Di Grassi              Virgin                      1:27.057     31      Laps
11.   Fairuz Fauzy                   Lotus                      1:28.002      76     Laps

Testing At Jerez – Day 3

February 20, 2010

The sun finally started shining at the Spanish track this week as the teams took advantage of the dry conditions. Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher were the big names on Friday.

New Lotus driver Heikki Kovalainen found himself at the bottom of the time sheet again, but he completed 68 laps this time with a time of 1:23.521, which is only 4.2 seconds off the pace.

“A reasonably good day today and the best thing was getting our first dry running in,” said chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. “We had a small problem this morning with a clutch sensor but as we wanted to wait until conditions had dried up that suited us well. We concentrated on long runs and started to work with the two tyre types, which we obviously haven’t been able to do before, so overall good progress.”

Virgin could only manage to put in 34 laps because of yet another hydraulic failure with GP2 graduate Lucas Di Grassi in the cockpit.

“We were again frustrated by a recurrence of one of our known hydraulic issues,” explained Virgin’s technical director, Nick Wirth. “This stopped Lucas from doing more than a handful of flying laps and then finally prevented any more meaningful running, so he didn’t get up to speed today. We’ll try and put some more fixes in place tonight to allow us to get some more laps in tomorrow. We’re very aware that Lucas has had very little running so far and we hope to improve things so he can get more seat time at the Barcelona test next week.”

Toro Rosso seemed to be slower this time around in Jerez as 19 year old Jaime Alguersuari finished 9th with a time of 1:22.564. The long stints and running on the same tyre compound for the entire day did look to be the reason as he covered 120 laps

Sauber and Force India continued to run in the midfield as the young Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi and Adrian Sutil took on full time duty on Friday.

Kamui had a fuel system problem and could only manage 28 laps in the C29. “It was obviously not a perfect day, but I prefer to have a technical problem now rather than in the first race,” said Kobayashi. “Although I could only complete a limited number of laps, we learned a few things on which we can build tomorrow.”

And German Adrian Sutil did some short and long running and covered 69 laps with a time of 1:21.939.

“Today was our first proper shot at dry running this test and it went pretty well,” said the German driver. “In the morning we did a few short runs and some set-up work and then in the afternoon moved on to longer runs and getting more information on the new tyres. The tyres at the moment are quite difficult to handle as the soft compound grains up very quickly in the low temperatures. The mediums last a bit longer but still grain after 10 or 12 laps. There’s no way to avoid it at the moment but I’m not too concerned as I am sure they will handle better in the higher temperatures we’ll see in the races.”

Robert Kubica took over the R30 for the last two days from his rookie team-mate Petrov, he covered 100 laps with a time of 1:21.916 on his way to 6th.

“Finally the weather improved and we managed to complete a productive day of work,” said Renault’s chief engineer Alan Permane. “Early on the track was still damp, but it dried out quite quickly and we got some useful set-up work done with Robert, which has taken us in a good direction. We also spent some time doing procedural work and practice starts with a heavy car. Robert also ran a couple of different dry tyre compounds to compare them, which was useful.”

7 time world champion Michael Schumacher took over the W01 from team-mate Nico Rosberg for his last day at Jerez. He focused mainly on long runs on the way to 5th.

“Today was a nice end to my testing days in Jerez this week and it was great to finally have some consistent dry running,” said the seven-time champion. “We are on schedule with our programme but at the same time, we are well aware that there is still a lot of work ahead of us. The final test in Barcelona next week will be an important test in this respect and will give us valuable information about the performance of the car.”

Ex-Williams test driver Nico Hulkenberg took over from veteran Rubens Barrichello and showed pace towards 4th place with a time of 1:21.432. He covered the most laps of 138.

While 2009 world champion Jenson Button continued McLaren’s good performance by setting the 3rd fastest time of 1:20.394 and covered 101 laps.

Double world champion from 2005 and 2006 Fernando Alonso, took to the Ferrari F10 for the first of his two day test at Jerez. He posted the 2nd quickest time of 1:20.115 with the second most laps of 132.

It was Australian Mark Webber who went to the top of the time sheet with a time of 1:19.299; the only time in the 1:19’s.

“We’re certainly showing some good form in terms of reliability, but we always need to work on performance; you never know that the other teams are doing,” said Webber. “We’re in a good position at the moment to build up to the first race – it’s close, but there’s also quite a way to go, as other teams have no doubt planned developments for Bahrain. We’re doing the work we need to do, in order to understand the car more.”

So, the top four look very much like the old days – well apart from the Red Bull! – the top three most successful teams seem to be coming back to form for the 2010 season, and with the likes of Mercedes GP and Red Bull, this looks even more interesting than ever…

Unofficial Friday times from Jerez:
1.     Mark Webber                  Red Bull                 1:19.299      115     Laps
2.     Fernando Alonso          Ferrari                   1:20.115      132     Laps
3.     Jenson Button                McLaren               1:20.394      101     Laps
4.     Nico Hulkenberg           Williams                 1:21.432       138     Laps
5.     Michael Schumacher   Mercedes GP       1:21.437        79     Laps
6.     Robert Kubica                Renault                  1:21.916       100    Laps
7.     Adrian Sutil                     Force India          1:21.939        69      Laps
8.     Kamui Kobayashi           Sauber                    1:22.228       28      Laps
9.     Jaime Alguersuari          Toro Rosso           1:22.564       120    Laps
10.   Lucas Di Grassi                Virgin                     1:23.504        34      Laps
11.    Heikki Kovalainen          Lotus                      1:23.521        68      Laps

Testing At Jerez – Day 2

February 19, 2010

Another wet day at Jerez was waiting for the teams on Thursday…

2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton found the conditions hard, as the track looked like a river, and could only manage 10th in the standings with a time of 1:30.979.

Current world champion Jenson Button will take over for the last two days.

Sebastien Vettel continued his good performance on his last day in Jerez by setting the 3rd fastest time of the day.

“Generally, the feeling with the car is good,” said Vettel. “The weather has been pretty bad over the last couple of days, which meant we couldn’t do a lot of our planned testing, although it’s been the same for everyone. It’s a shame, as this is one of our three pre-season tests and last week the weather was quite bad also – it seems that Spain is not so happy to have us here! Nevertheless, we have still got some important work done and the car has been reliable; we didn’t have any problems.”

As for the other Sebastien, Buemi was unable to carry out the team’s planned programme, and ran through a short 25-lap race simulation, as well as some pit-stop practice. He finished 11th with a time of 1:32.678 and completed 57 laps.

Team-mate Jaime Alguersuari will take over for the last two days.

Ex-McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen was the first driver to crash his car this year by losing control of his Lotus and skidding into the barriers. But the Finish driver remains confident in the machine.

“I think the potential is there, the initial feeling from this morning was good. In the slow-speed corners the car is behaving quite well, but it’s lacking grip – it hasn’t got enough grip – so in the high-speed corners we lose quite a bit of time, probably also partly because of the set-up problems as well. But fundamentally it is okay and I quite enjoyed driving it.”

When asked what caused his excursion into the gravel, he replied: “Nope, nothing wrong with the car. It was my mistake. Came out of turn two to turn three and went on the power too aggressively – lost the rear and tried to correct it, went into the gravel and into the wall. I missed the nose!”

With nobody completing 100 laps, Thursday saw the least running so far. but it was Brazilian Rubens Barrichello who scored Williams’ first top spot of the year and the most laps of 98.

“Rubens finished off another wet day in Jerez having covered a lot of mileage for reliability,” explained technical director Sam Michael. “He also completed some systems checks and carried out a programme of pit-stop practice. All the pit stops were done under wet conditions and we’re working on some refinements for tomorrow when Nico Hulkenberg will take over.”

Russian Vitaly Petrov went 2nd, which is the best ranking he has had in an F1 car, with a time of 1:27.828.

Robert Kubica will take over the wasp-like car for the last two days.

Pedro De La Rosa was also on track but only did 8 laps as he thought there was not much point in going out. But even with those few laps, he managed to go 6th.
“With the same mixed conditions as yesterday, it simply wasn’t worth doing much driving today,” explained De la Rosa. “We have a good understanding of the car, and I’m looking forward to the next test in Barcelona, hopefully on a dry track.”

Force India test and reserve driver Paul Di Resta began the Indian team’s day by completing 33 laps and a time of 1:30.344 which brought him a reasonable 7th.

Then team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi took over the VJM03 and covered 24 laps with a time of 1:30.666 which put him two places behind Paul in 9th.

“The poor weather continued today with gusting wind and heavy showers,” said Force India’s chief race engineer Dominic Harlow. “Accordingly we worked on general race preparation and some fuel system and hydraulic system tests.”

Virgin’s Timo Glock was the man sandwiched in between the two Force Indias, as the German put in a healthy 72 laps to go 8th with time of 1:30.476.

“We managed to complete more than a race distance today, which is very satisfying after our frustrations of yesterday,” explained Virgin’s technical director Nick Wirth. “We also managed to prove out some development parts which gave results completely in line with the performance prediction from the development programme at Wirth Research. This is always satisfying as it gives the team and drivers a great and confidence-inspiring introduction to our development program for this car”. Lucas Di Grassi should take over for last two days.

As Heikki Kovalainen waits for the damage on his car to be repaired, the weather forecast looks to be brightening up for the next two days…..

Unofficial Thursday times from Jerez:
1. Rubens Barrichello      Williams                1:27.145       98      Laps
2. Vitaly Petrov                  Renault                 1:27.828       56      Laps
3. Sebastian Vettel            Red Bull                 1:28.162       70      Laps
4. Nico Rosberg                  Mercedes GP       1:28.515       71       Laps
5. Felipe Massa                    Ferrari                   1:28.879      92       Laps
6. Pedro de la Rosa             Sauber                  1:29.691         8        Laps
7. Paul Di Resta                    Force India         1:30.344       33       Laps
8. Timo Glock                       Virgin                     1:30.476      72       Laps
9. Vitantonio Liuzzi           Force India          1:30.666       24       Laps
10. Lewis Hamilton            McLaren                1:30.979      57       Laps
11. Sebastien Buemi            Toro Rosso          1:32.678      57       Laps
12. Heikki Kovalainen        Lotus                      1:33.554      30       Laps

Testing Day 3 In Jerez and Lotus F1 Launch the T127

February 14, 2010

Friday began with drivers such as Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Sebastien Vettel and Rubens Barrichello.

The day started mildly dry and ended in a complete wash-out, so not many teams were able to work on their programmes. But for some inexperienced drivers it was a good opportunity.

Young Spaniard, Jaime Alguersuari, took advantage of the early dry conditions to set the fast time of 1:19.919, which went straight to the top of the sheet and stayed there as the weather worsened. But Jaime stayed out to get more laps in the wet. An impressive machine, I think everyone should be wary of the new STR5.

Hamilton and Massa both had their first days at Jerez, as seen above, McLaren and Ferrari are back on form, even  ‘ They’ say that they are back.

Hamilton, the 2008 World Champion,  used his few dry laps to conduct low-speed aero mapping runs, before the team switched to longer wet tyre runs in the afternoon. Hamilton came 9th with 1:23.985, and completed 68 laps.

Massa had a reasonable day, but could only grasp 20 laps in the dry, and came 4th with a time of 1:21.603. He made 72 laps in total.

Vitaly Petrov made most of the wet weather to get some experience. He made 68 laps with a 1:22.000. Pretty good for a GP2 graduate.

“In the morning we managed to do a bit of dry running and the car felt good and well balanced,” reported Petrov. “Then, when the rain arrived, we did quite a lot of work as it was important for me to understand how the car behaves in the wet conditions and the characteristics of the wet and intermediate Bridgestone tyres. That went well and we also did a lot of practice starts as I learn the procedures and systems on the car.”
Robert Kubica will take over for the final day on Saturday.

Brazilian Rubens Barrichello and Spanish Pedro De La Rosa are both veterans, and are both, from what we have seen so far, in relatively fast cockpits.

Barrichello made most of the time he did have, both in the dry and wet, and made 120 laps with a time of 1:23.217, but that could only get him 8th.

“We basically only had a few laps in the dry this morning but then the rest of our running was done in the wet, so it was hard to find where the limit was and evaluate our performance,” said the Brazilian. “I’m looking forward to getting back in the car tomorrow and getting some more mileage in.”

As for De La Rosa, he only made 58 laps but clearly the C29 car is fast as his time of 1:20.736, which brought him 2nd just behind his fellow Spaniard, Jaime Alguersuari.

“We managed to do a baseline run in the dry and later focused on balancing the car in the wet. We scanned different set-ups and worked on the brake system. Pedro’s comments on the car were quite positive in the wet. Nevertheless we certainly hope for better and dry track conditions tomorrow.”

Virgin had yet another bad day at the four day test, as the new parts they needed after Thursday’s shenanigans did not arrive in time for the early dry spell, and once they did have the car ready, they could only manage a mere 8 dry laps. The new team will be hoping for a dry day on Saturday, as will everyone.

Adrian Sutil gave the 3 year old Force India team some confidence by setting the 3rd fastest time and continuing their speed from last year, just a little technical glitch stopped them from going any faster.

“The car is good and I think it’s a positive place to start,” said the German. “I’m very confident on the general speed of the car. Unfortunately the rain came in quite early and then it was really waiting for reasonable conditions to go out. We had a problem in the afternoon that caused us to miss a bit of track time, but considering it was so wet it would have been very difficult to get a lot of running in anyway. I’m pleased to at least have had some dry running and some more time in the car and am looking forward to getting started again tomorrow.”

So as some Pedro fans brave the wet conditions, the verdict for Friday’s running has to go to Jaime’s time sheet topping time. None of the other drivers have yet to go that fast; on the last two days the closest was Kamui the day before, only just over 3 hundredths of a second slower than the teenager. As I said earlier, watch out for the Red Bull sister team…

Unofficial Friday times from Jerez:
1.    Jaime Alguersuari        Toro Rosso        1:19.919        76  Laps
2.    Pedro de la Rosa           Sauber                 1:20.736       58   Laps
3.    Adrian Sutil                    Force India        1:21.428        48   Laps
4.    Felipe Massa                   Ferrari                 1:21.603        72  Laps
5.    Sebastian Vettel            Red Bull               1:21.783        59  Laps
6.    Vitaly Petrov                  Renault                1:22.000       68  Laps
7.    Nico Rosberg                  Mercedes GP     1:22.820        53  Laps
8.     Rubens Barrichello     Williams               1:23.217       120 Laps
9.     Lewis Hamilton            McLaren               1:23.985         68  Laps
10.   Lucas Di Grassi             Virgin                    1:37.107         8    Laps

In other news, Lotus F1 launched their 2010 challenger, the T127 – the first Lotus to grace the sport in just over 15 years! With ex-McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen and ex-Toyota driver Jarno Trulli, Lotus showed off their new car in London on Friday. Team Principal Tony Fernandes who is also CEO of AirAsia, was there along with Chief  Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne, who has been working with the Force India, Spyker and Midland teams in the last few years. 

“I’d just love to finish every race,” Fernandes said. “If we can beat some of the other new teams, that would be a fantastic start. If we can beat some of the established teams that would be great. But we’re not here to finish last in every race. We aim to compete with the best, and our ambition is shown by the drivers we have signed.”

I’m just noticing the T127 has a complex Brawn GP style front wing…

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Every time I look at this car I love it more and more, it’ll be interesting to see how it performs.

Gascoyne started work on the design of the car in May, but until 12 September Lotus did not even know whether they would have an entry; as F1 fought a political civil war between the teams and Max Mosley, the then president of governing body the FIA.

“Given the time, I don’t think we could have done a single thing better,” Gascoyne said. “We always said we wanted to produce a good solid, current car – ie, not one that was two to three years old (in terms of technology) – and that is not too far off the back of the established teams. I’m confident we will have achieved that.”

(More at BBC Sport website: including driver interview videos: http://ow.ly/17eyn )

Report from the last day of testing soon. Expect drivers like Hamilton, Felipe, Schumacher, Barrichello, Alguersuari, Lucas Di Grassi, Sutil, De La Rosa, Vettel and Kubica.