Formula 1 Testing (Jerez, February 17th-20th)

For the third week of testing, the biggest news this week was the return of the Lotus team to Formula 1. It may be questionable as to how much (or little) Lotus actually have in common with the original marquee as led by the late Colin Chapman, but with Mike Gascoyne as technical chief, the team may be able to get off to a better start than the other new squads – despite a shorter run in time.

And in a week where Virgin F1 continue to have on track reliability issues, Campos appear to have been saved with a buyout (and a name change soon), but still no testing and USF1 look to have finally collapsed – indeed the team have officially requested the FIA to miss the first four races – it was indeed Lotus that seem to shine the brightest of the new four. Although Jarno Trulli’s times in the Lotus machine may not have been starting, it was good to see the team complete some uninterrupted race distance runs during the week as Lotus clocked up more miles since Wednesday than Virgin F1 have in two full sessions. 

The only worry for the Lotus team was caused by an accident in the wet by the Finn Heikki Kovaleinnen on Thursday afternoon as he buried the front of his car into a tyre barrier. Although there was not any major damage, it did finish the test early for the team as, like Virgin seven days previous, they did not have any spares. Normally this would have been a disaster, but the weather was so wet on Thursday, it meant that very little in the way of meaningful running was done.Kudos though for both Lotus and the Force India squads for giving their third driver’s time in the car on the first day as Fairuz Fauzy and Paul Di Resta took to the seat for Lotus and Force India respectively. At a point when the race driver’s are trying to get as much seat time as possible in order to ready themselves for the new season, this was an excellent move by both teams to give miles to what may be their future first team drivers. If anything, it also sparked rumours as to who they may eventually replace. While I don’t know an awful lot about Fauzy, it seems nearly certain that Di Resta will eventually find himself in a race seat at some stage in the next two years. In a test that was constantly hampered by wet weather, with the only dry spells occurring during the final two days, many teams took this week to concentrate on pit stops which may become absolutely vital this season. With refuelling banned, many teams are getting stops in at just over 3 seconds, although there a rumblings that Williams and Ferrari may be able to dip underneath that magic number.
Meanwhile, everyone else appeared to be getting on with long runs as the shakedowns have been done. With reliability issues discovered and cured (for now), the teams are getting on with how they may fair in the races with a heavy car and how they can potentially modify their machines to help get better times. There is still three weeks before the first race begins and already the development battle between the squads is well under way.
Next week, it’s off to Barcelona for the final four days, before the teams pack up their gear and head to the Middle-East for the first Grand Prix of the year in Bahrain.

Jerez, February 17th

1 VETTEL Red Bull 1m22.593s (103)

2 HAMILTON McLaren 1m23.017s (72)

3 MASSA Ferrari 1m23.204s (72)

4 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m23.322s (79)

5 DE LA ROSA Sauber 1m23.367s (77)

6 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m23.803s (111)

7 SUTIL Force India 1m24.272s (28)

8 DI RESTA Force India 1m25.088s (76)

9 PETROV Renault 1m26.237s (59)

10 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m27.320s (109)

11 FAUZY Lotus 1m31.848s (76)

12 GLOCK Virgin 1m32.417s (10)

Jerez, February 18th

1 BARRICHELLO Williams 1m27.145s (98)

2 PETROV Renault 1m27.828s (56)

3 VETTEL Red Bull 1m28.162s (71)

4 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m28.515s (71)

5 MASSA Ferrari 1m28.879s (92)

6 DE LA ROSA Sauber 1m29.691s (8)

7 DI RESTA Force India 1m30.344s (33)

8 GLOCK Virgin 1m30.476s (72)

9 LIUZZI Force India 1m30.666s (24)

10 HAMILTON McLaren 1m30.979s (57)

11 BUEMI Toro Rosso 1m32.678s (57)

12 KOVALAINEN Lotus 1m33.554s (30)

Jerez, February 19th

1 WEBBER Red Bull 1m19.299s (115)

2 ALONSO Ferrari 1m20.115s (132)

3 BUTTON McLaren 1m20.394s (101)

4 HULKENBERG Williams 1m21.432s (138)

5 SCHUMACHER Mercedes 1m21.437s (79)

6 KUBICA Renault 1m21.916s (100)

7 SUTIL Force India 1m21.939s (69)

8 KOBAYASHI Sauber 1m22.228s (28)

9 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m22.564s (120)

10 DI GRASSI Virgin 1m23.504s (34)

11 KOVALAINEN Lotus 1m23.521s (68)

Jerez, February 20th

1 BUTTON McLaren 1m18.871s (108)

2 KUBICA Renault 1m19.114s (117)

3 KOBAYASHI Sauber 1m19.188s (117)

4 LIUZZI Force India 1m19.650s (80)

5 ROSBERG Mercedes 1m20.061s (130)

6 ALONSO Ferrari 1m20.436s (137)

7 ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 1m21.053s (139)

8 WEBBER Red Bull 1m21.194s (87)

9 HULKENBERG Williams 1m21.919s (137)

10 GLOCK Virgin 1m22.433s (28)

11 TRULLI Lotus 1m23.470s (141)

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