|Barcelona Day 1 Testing Times|
|1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull||1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes|
|2 Nico Hulkenberg Force India||2. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault|
|3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren||3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari|
|4 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso||4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault|
|5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari||5. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault|
|6 Michael Schumacher Mercedes||6. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari|
|7 Sergio Perez Sauber||7. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes|
|8 Bruno Senna Williams||8. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes|
|9 Romain Grosjean Lotus||9. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari|
|10 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham||10. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth|
|11 Charles Pic Marussia||11. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault|
Williams FW35 launch
The last team to launch their 2013 car today unveiled the FW35. Noticeable was the apparent lack of sponsors on the car, but Williams have been here before and we’ll have to wait and see what is in the pipeline on this front.
There are 2 obvious features on the car that attract attention. here is a shot of the controversial exhaust guiding vane underneath the fish like ‘gills’ that features both on the Williams and the Caterham.
Today the FIA warned both teams these are most likely against the regulations and both are seeking further clarification. Design regulations are not applicable in testing and the FIA’s regulatory role is reduced during these events to ensuring safety standards are maintained and adhered to.
Both designs could conceivably breach 5.8.4 of the 2013 Technical regulations and a technical directive issued in 2012 restricting the usage of flow capture ducts and elements downstream of the exhaust exit to guide the plume of high energy gasses.
Both article 5.8.4 and the technical directive were intended to prevent teams from building blown diffusers into their cars, but with no change to these regulations it is clear that both Caterham and Williams believe that they have found a loophole in the regulations.
Mike Coughlan this to say, “I know the fuss about the Caterham one, for me the Caterham one is clearly not allowed, but ours is OK, because if you look at ours it’s actually not a single piece its two pieces. The rule is an aperture size, and ours is an aperture size; ours is one aperture because it’s joined by a small piece in the middle.”
“You’re governed by total aperture size, but singular aperture, and ours is a single aperture joined by a very small slot. So it’s actually two pieces, if you look closely you’ll see.”
The second noticeable feature is the Williams FW35 nose and pylons that are incredibly similar to the Ferrari F138.
I would be fairly certain this is a design Williams have produced post Jerez.
Gary Anderson comments, “The front wing pillars have been moved forward, so they lean back towards the front wing. That’s a good idea – it gives the airflow coming off the pillars more time to settle down before it gets to the turning vanes under the chassis.”
“The downforce-producing devices on the front brake ducts are very detailed and the sidepods are very well undercut. Their ultra-low gearbox means there is very little airflow blockage at the rear of the car. There is just a lot of very good basic engineering on it and I would expect that they have made significant progress.”
Mike Coughlan is very bullish about the work the team have done around their debut Coanda style exhaust system
“One thing we didn’t do last year was Coanda. We spent a lot of time doing Coanda studies and ensuring we understood the compromise between power and downforce.
“I think we’ve done a good job there, that’s obviously helped an awful lot by Renault and Renault’s understanding of engine mapping and engines so we’re very pleased. And that does give us a significant step forwards.”
This could have been a smart move from Williams as a number of teams really struggled in 2012 with the loss of power when adopting early the Coanda system. The ground work has now been done by others and Williams can bolt this on without much on track testing to understand the issues.
At the end of the first day for the FW35 the teams technical director Coughlan was happy with their work.
“It was a very good day for us, with Pastor completing 86 laps, the second-highest of any team today. Pastor was very comfortable in the car which was shown by his early lap times. We had a small water leak this afternoon on a development part, but we were able to fix it quickly to complete our tyre programme. We feel confident in the core reliability of the FW35 and look forward to continuing with Valtteri tomorrow.”
Pastor Maldonado too seemed upbeat. “It was a good day today. I felt happy after the first run this morning and we then completed a busy day of testing. It was great to get out on track in the new car. The FW35 feels like we have made a real step forward. There is still a lot to discover with the new car, but this is a good starting point for us for the season.”
Nico Rosberg was the quickest on day 1 in Barcelona for Mercedes. To be honest the team don’t require a press officer as Nico sums up matters fairly comprehensively.
“The car feels decent out there. That’s a good start. It’s a much, much better base. You can feel its centre of gravity is lower. The aero is better. The platform is better.”
“It feels a lot stronger. It’s a pleasure to drive because it’s a lot faster than last year.” Mercedes had suffered reliability issues on the first 2 days in Jerez when Hamilton and Rosberg only completed 25 laps between them, and this is apparently still a concern for Nico.
“I didn’t get many laps in,” Rosberg said, “That’s a bit of a pity, for sure. We have to work on that. We have a few too many reliability issues at the moment. Other than that, it’s definitely going in the right direction.” Ferrari set the mileage benchmark of the day with 110 laps with Nico managing just 54.
Today it was gearbox issues for Mercedes and the worry must be that each of their technical testing failures have been on different areas of the car.
Alonso’s first drive of 2013
Following Fernando’s extended winter vacation (sorry extra training), today was the first day he has driven Ferrari’s 2013 offering, the F138. here’s what Alonso had to say.
“I feel reasonably pleased with this first day and I can say I share Felipe’s opinion that the car is on another planet compared to the one we began with on the first day of testing last year. The programme for this first session in Barcelona is aimed mainly at improving reliability, with the target of completing more than a hundred laps every day.”
“Then, at next week’s test we can concentrate on performance. Tomorrow, we will complete what we were unable to do today and we will focus on car set-up, to adapt it as well as possible to the tyres. I knew from looking at the Jerez data what sort of car I would find here today, as in fact we know more or less what we will see at the first race in Australia, in terms of what new parts we will have and how many tenths they will produce.”
“This is down to all the work done over the winter in the wind tunnel and the numerous tests which confirm that the parts that are on their way will give the expected results.”
Alonso put in 110 laps on day 1. Felipe managed 228 in 3 days in Jerez. Mmm, the Spaniard’s not daft huh?
They have a new rear wing, but the team were not happy with the set up of the car all day, and struggled to manage the performance of the tyres.
Lotus has a quiet day with Kimi just putting in 44 laps but he was second quickest to Rosberg by 0.007s. Di Resta plugged away for 82 laps and drives again tomorrow before handing over to Adrian Sutil on Thursday.
Ricciardo look solid and Pic was again bottom of the time sheets for the second year in a row. He had some fuel flow issues and caused a red flag but completed 5 more laps than Kimi.
McLaren were quiet as Perez focused on long runs and Red Bull were being pretty secretive Vettel completed a number of 5-7 lap runs pulling in behind screens each time. We’re onto this one, more in a while.
Not a very exciting day I’m afraid, things will hot up by day’s 3 and 4 though.