Formula 1 Testing (Valencia, February 1st-3rd)

The first Formula 1 test of 2010 started on Monday and finished a few hours ago and although the times mean absolutely nothing, it can be an interesting insight to the pre-season action. Very little really happens at these tests – you have no idea what amount of fuel anyone has, no idea if they happen to be running a tyre/strategy test or if teams are trying varying aerodynamic set-ups.
These sessions have been rather interesting for a few simple reasons:
  • the return of Michael Schumacher
  • the return of Felipe Massa
  • Jenson Button’s first steps in a McLaren (against Lewis Hamilton) and;
  • Alonso’s first laps in the Ferrari.
If one were to take the test times as absolute truth, the Ferrari are looking very good with their F10 machine; however there could also be an element of posturing in the laptimes. Both Massa and Alonso were the only drivers to register laps faster than 1’12” during the three days and although they did some medium long runs, their runs were nowhere near as long as the likes of Robert Kubica, who seemed to put in near race distance stints.
One noteworthy thing about the final days test – Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari début attracted approximately 36,400 fans to the track. That number is higher than the attendances at a couple of Grand Prix last year; it’s something that really puts into perspective the lack of popularity of Formula 1 in the Middle East compared to its European base. 

I must thank Autosport for their live timing/tweeting coverage from trackside – it was quite excellent and very informative and a step forward with regards to how to treat fans of the sport. I didn’t bother with this last year, but for those that are interested, here are the times from the last three days.

Valencia, February 1st
1 MASSA Ferrari 1m12.574s (102)
2 DE LA ROSA Sauber 1m12.784s (74)
3 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m12.944s (40)
4 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m13.543s (39)
5 PAFFETT McLaren 1m13.846s (86)
6 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m14.449s (75)
7 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m14.762s (18)
8 KUBICA Renault 1m15.000s (68)

Valencia, February 2nd
1 MASSA Ferrari 1m11.722s (124)
2 KOBAYASHI Sauber 1m12.056s (96)
3 HAMILTON McLaren 1m12.256s (108)
4 KUBICA Renault 1m12.426s (119)
5 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m12.899s (119)
6 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m13.377s (102)
7 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m13.823s (107)

Valencia, February 3rd

1. ALONSO Ferrari 1m11.470s (127)

2. DE LA ROSA Sauber 1m12.094s (80)

3. SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m12.438s (82)

4. ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m12.576s (97)

5. BUTTON McLaren 1m12.951s (82)

6. PETROV Renault 1m13.097s (75)

7. HULKENBERG Williams 1m13.669s (126)

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