Alonso will not drive in Jerez, Valencia street circuit falls into ruin

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Testing: An interesting development from Ferrari. They have announced today Alonso will not take part in the first pre-season testing in Jerez. Massa will get the first 3 days, and De La Rosa will drive on the Friday. The explanation from Ferrari for giving De la Rosa some track time is, “it will allow both the team and the driver to work specifically on looking at the correlation between the virtual and the real experience. The work of assembling the new car goes on: yesterday the engine was fired up for the first time.”

Then in the first test at Montmelo, Fernando will drive the car for the first 3 days and Massa on the last. The final test will be shared. This means Massa will get 6 days, Alonso 5 and De La Rosa just the one.

Before those cynics amongst suggest Fernando is having an extended holiday, Ferrari explain “throughout all the first part of February, Fernando Alonso will intensify his physical training, in preparation for a first part of the season which, as usual will be very demanding, both because of the long distances involved between the various Grands Prix and because of the variety of weather conditions encountered from Melbourne to Sakhir, with Sepang and Shanghai in between.” Phew.

I’m not sure our friend Bisignani has learned what a full stop is for in English yet.

I’m not aware that this kind of arrangement has been used in modern times since testing has been restricted. The car does develop a lot between day 1 and the 12th and final day. It could be this gives Massa the opportunity to provide some unique feedback of significant changes to the feel of the car over the 15 days between his final drive in Jerez and first drive at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Valencia: Just a few months ago, it was widely reported that Barcelona would be sharing the Spanish GP with Valencia on an alternating annual basis. Germany and Hockenheim have done this for some time successfully, though discussions taking place over where the German GP will be held this year are a mess.

The arrangement was no surprise, as the Circuit de Catalunya – al la Melbourne – has engaged in an annual ‘woe are we’ – hand wringing and turning out of the pockets – media campaign over the hosting fee they pay to FOM.

TJ13 reported that Barcelona appeared to take a unilateral decision to cancel this arrangement to the surprise of their southern neighbours. (TJ13 articles ‘Barca shafts Valencia‘ and ‘Valencia surprised..‘) I’m not sure the full story of this reversal has come out and it may be the shadowy hands of FOM were pulling some strings.

Spanish newspaper La Marca reports today that parts of the track are derelict and falling into ruin. “Light boxes completely ransacked, manholes covers stolen from sewers and street lamps with the cabling missing.” Les than a year ago, we saw some of the finest driving from a Spanish driver, ever in F1 around this track.

Alonso went on to take the win, following Vettel’s retirement with alternator problems. He was unusually emotional following his victory and said, “The emotions are unique because for Spain it is a difficult time with economic problems. People made sacrifices to come here, and yesterday we felt sad because we did not give them what they wanted.”

The win was the 29th of Fernando’s career and at the time moved him into the championship lead, 20 points ahead of Red Bull’s Mark Webber.

Yet now the glamour has now gone, the local residents complain that there is no security and that thieves have taken everything that was worth anything. The access tunnel through which all the teams equipment travelled through to reach the paddock is completely flooded. And a bridge that cost 2m euro’s is now only used by homeless to spend the night.

Here’s a 4 minute edit of Fernando’s drive…apologies for the sub-title of the producer…his frustration is also misplaced.

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17 responses to “Alonso will not drive in Jerez, Valencia street circuit falls into ruin

  1. “Alonso will not drive in Jerez”

    Conspiracy hat on. Remember the confirmed reports about Alonso and Engineers having a shouting match? Remember how Massa suddenly improved, using a car that supposedly lacked any/all the upgrades given to Alonso? That car would have been free to have a set up created by Smedley and Massa. It was pretty clear from team remarks, that Massa was being used as a test driver to back up Alonso. Remember Rob Smedleys’ cryptic remark to the BBC team, how Massa would have been second in the drivers championship if he had won all the points “he should have”. Body language was revealing. I just wonder if this all shows that Alonso gave Ferrari a wrong direction during the pre-season testing of the 2012 car. I found it interesting that Massa, having his own decisions on set up, should suddenly be so much faster. He seemed to find almost 0.5s, which is enormous in F1 terms. De la Rosa has always been well regarded for technical feedback, and Massa’s end of season form, might indicate a lack of trust in Alonsos’ technical judgement.

    • Love it – original thought I’ve not heard before. Welcome Iain – think its your first comment – don’t be a stranger now 🙂

    • I’m fairly certain Massa was driving a test car through the last leg of the season because of the troubles with the wind tunnel. I’ve gotta say the little tin foil hat voice in the back of my head asked if they’re backing Massa this year when I first read this. They’re taking a huge gamble if Alonso turns up and finds that the car is undrivable for him or a technical issue holds up his testing.

      • I think it would be lovely for Ferrari to seriously back Massa this year, after all he did for the team last year (and the stress he endured–to his credit, he kept his composure). I always find myself rooting for the underdog, but there was no doubt that in the last few races, Massa had the upper hand over Alonso.

        Another ‘underdog’ I root for will be testing for the first two days in Jerez:
        https://twitter.com/AussieGrit/status/293745758191099905

      • In my opinion it was rather Alonso that was driving with a non-working test car through the last leg of the season because of the troubles with the wind tunnel: during the latter part of the season Ferrari – rightfully so – focused their development work on Alonso’s car, but because of the issues with the wind tunnel they were actually ‘deteriorating’ Alonso’s car – relative to rest of the field that is – whereas Massa as of that point in time was indeed getting a bigger say in the set up of his own car that was no longer being developed so much but the mid-season Ferrari was a good enough basis for Massa to improve relative to the rest of the field once it was set-up to his likings.

    • “how Massa would have been second in the drivers championship if he had won all the points “he should have”.”

      And where would Hamilton have been if he had won all the points he should have?

      While Massa certainly improved at the end of the season, statistically from Italy onwards, where the improvement begins, he’s still significantly behind Alonso. From Italy to Brazil Alonso averaged a qualifying position of 6.8, Massa 7.4. Yet final race position saw Alfonso with an average race result of 2.5 and Massa with at 5. Alonso’s improves his qualifying to race result average by 4.3 places yet Massa only improves his by 2.5. So on average from Italy onwards Alonso is gaining to 2 more places than Massa. So even when Massa is at his best he still falls significantly short of Alonso.

  2. You guys would give Machiavelli a run for his money. Lol

    When Montezemolo and Domenicalli speak of “not having 2 superstars in the team” they were not referring to Massa and Alonso..
    I suspect, Alonso wants Massa to do the initial donkey work with DLR and he’ll come in to fine tune things to his liking afterwards.

    As my nick would suggest, I was a huge fan of Senna.
    How many times did he return from a 3 month holiday after Berger and the test team had been testing/ developing the car throughout the winter and he’d ace them within 3 laps? The team revolved around their leader..
    I well remember a tribute to Senna, Jonathan Palmer was describing a test session and the Luffield Loop at Silverstone in 1992.
    Senna was returning after the winter and immediately was making up a 1/10 in each of the Luffield corners against the time of Palmer after a winter of testing.

    Interestingly, the only time Senna didn’t take the winter break whilst at Mclaren was when Prost was his team-mate.

    Trust me, if Alonso had a new team-mate arriving, he would be dominating testing times. He is secure with Massa’s role.

    • Torquemada rides again!
      I can see your point Senna, and your probably right, but Alonso always showed incredible work ethics, we all know him as relentless, almost obsessive, so for him to miss the first test, has people scratching their heads.

  3. Morning Judge,
    Slightly off topic, There seems to be a valid reason why Christan Horner visited Maranello, he was there to coordinate a secret meeting between the big F1 teams, this meeting was held yesterday.
    Present were, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo for Ferrari, Bernie Ecclestone for FOM, Christian Horner on behalf of Red Bull Racing, Martin Whitmarsh of McLaren and Niki Lauda for Mercedes.

    Discussion points were, the future of Formula1, the economic uncertainties at the start of the new season, the absence of the concorde agreement, which was a guarantee for the smaller teams, knowing they could start the season with contractual agreements, that enabled them to cope with the huge costs of a F1 championship.

    Remarkably enough, there was no FIA representative present, FIA wants to be more involved in the signing of the concorde agreement and wants some changes made in other areas to, for example, they want to replace Gp2 and Gp3 and form their own F2, F3 and F4 as an alternative, needless to say Bernie is not to thrilled about that plan.

    Another point was the 2014 V6 turbo engine, which will shift the balance from aerodynamics towards mechanical, music to the ears of the car manufacturers off course, because of the direct link to their production cars.
    The downside is, the high costs of the new engine could mean severe problems for smaller teams, already in financial uncertainty.
    Another point was, that because of the testing ban, the engine manufacturers have no chance of testing the new engine on track, all teams agreed that a solution had to be found for this.

    Luca di Montezemolo organised this meeting, and like in the days of the Grand Old Man, Ferrari was the centre of F1 politics again, Enzo would be proud 😉

  4. No my answer to your question i mean, ok i’ll try again 😉
    No i don’t subscribe to La Gazetta dello sport, just read the online version(which is very different from the paper version) although they’re a bit slow with the F1 news.

    Omnicorse.it brought the news this morning, but Gazetta is the original source.

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