Day 3 Barcelona pre-season test: Sutil’s first F1 drive for 452 days, Romain is ‘born again’, Sauber secret ducting, Webber’s personal parking place, Red Bull doesn’t improve your manhood

Barcelon pre-season test 1: Day 3
Driver Car Best time Laps Diff T
1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari F138 1’21.875 97 S
2. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber C32 1’22.160 91 0.285 S
3. Romain Grosjean Lotus E21 1’22.188 119 0.313 S
4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes W04 1’22.611 108 0.736 M
5. Pastor Maldonado Williams FW35 1’22.675 79 0.800 S
6. Valtteri Bottas Williams FW35 1’22.826 68 0.951 S
7. Jenson Button McLaren MP4-28 1’22.840 71 0.965 H
8. Adrian Sutil Force India VJM06 1’22.877 78 1.002 S
9. Mark Webber Red Bull RB9 1’23.024 108 1.149 M
10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso STR8 1’23.366 106 1.491 S
11. Max Chilton Marussia MR02 1’25.690 58 3.815 S
12. Giedo VD Garde Caterham CT03 1’26.177 93 4.302 S

Not big on testing times, but Jenson on the hard tyre looks good. Sutil may be a little disappointing but its been a while and Caterham bottom of the pile again. TJ13 believes and stated for some time Marussia will overtake Caterham in 2013 and those colours are still nailed to the mast.

Tony F is AWOL and has apparently just spent £70m on 2 footballers for QPR (acquisition fee and wages over the life of their contracts). His tweets are mostly Air Asia and QPR related too.

Red Bull

I don’t know what this tells us about the team but Red Bull tweeted today, “Most obvious sign of changeover from Seb to Mark? Car’s parked on other side of the garage today… “.

I’ve been to testing many times and I don’t recall teams using the ‘other’ garage door on days the ‘second’ driver is running. Mmmm. Most strange.

There was none of the secretive shenanigans from Red Bull today. Webber pulled into the pits in front of the garage without the screened alley and 30 Red Bull strong posse covering everything in view. I’m sure Mark is completely happy with this arrangement as Sebastian gets to try the Newey magic bits and Mark pounds around producing the base line data.

Force India and Sutil’s big day

Having been out of an F1 car for 452 days, Adrian Sutil climbed into the VJM06 for a day’s testing which the team say in no way will affect their decision on who will take the second seat along side Paul Di Resta this season. This is what Jakob Andreasen, Chief Race Engineer for the team had to say.

“It has been a long time since Adrian last worked with the team, but he did an excellent job of getting used to the car and was on the pace straight away. His feedback was good and it was interesting to hear the thoughts of a driver who has not been in a Formula One car for a while.

He was very detailed with his comments and provided some good direction for us. The programme was similar to the previous couple of days with aero work, long runs and performance work using the hard, medium and soft tyres. For tomorrow the weather forecast is looking uncertain, but we will design our technical programme to be ready for every eventuality.”

Sounds like a thumbs up. Bruno Senna has today been speaking on Brazilian radio station ‘Jovem Pan’ and is candid about the strange goings on over driver selection at the Silverstone based team.

“It’s hard to understand what happened,” says Senna, who has now decided to become involved with Aston Martin in the World Endurance Championship (WEC). “It seems that the second driver at Force India is of only secondary importance.”

sutilThis is an interesting perception and confirmation of what TJ13 has been saying for some time. ‘Bob Builder’ of cars Fearnley  inferred prior to the launch of the 2013 car that ‘driver evaluation’ was still being undertaken. Semantically this could be construed as a truism however it is the money deal behind this decision which is of paramount to Vijay and his band of merry men.

Simply put, Sutil is a foot soldier for Stuttgart and Bianchi belongs to Il Padrino from Maranello. Engines, or to give them their trendy new title – ‘Powertrains’ for 2014  are most probably behind the apparent dithering and indecision facing Vijay and his ‘keeper of the treasure chest’.

Coincidentally today Ferrari’s head of engine and electronics Luca Marmorini had this to say. “I think a customer team is a very important opportunity for an engine supplier. First of all we can test more engines and having no tests during the season we can collect a much wider database; in this sense it’s very good having customer teams.”

“It’s also important to have a reference with a car having basically the same engine to have a good relative comparison with your car and a different car. So Ferrari is strongly committed to supplying competitive engines to customer teams. I don’t know if Toro Rosso will be with us next season, but still now we are working very well with them; it’s an important contribution for Ferrari’s engine development and I think also we are giving them a competitive engine.”

Renault parted company with their Chief of Motorsport for failing to understand this simple concept as TJ13 wrote about in the feature on engine R&D costs ‘Renault do a hug U-Turn’ Ferrari Ferrari are most keen not to have just Sauber and maybe Marusia customer’s for their new Turbo engines.

Then of course there is the increasingly unlikely possibility Bernie will pull a stroke and buy Vijay a bigger treasure chest so long as he gives Narain Karthikeyan a turn at driving the car.

it maybe by the time Melbourne comes around we’ll know the Force India driver line up.

Red Bull gives you wings: But not something else apparently


Grosjean’s shrink does the trick

As I was reminded by a Sir Jack Brabham fan last time I mentioned the ex-Scottish racing driver of the same name – there needs to be a differentiation between the way we refer to the both of them that also recognises the gulf in legendary status. The inimitable Australian will be known as ‘Sir Jack’ – a both respectful yet familiar form of address which I feel represents both aspects of such a great racer and dear man.


The dour one known for his love of the thistle and who believes the battle of Bannockburn was the seed of a future redefinition of relationship and power between the English and Scottish nations – will be known as merely but aptly we feel as  ‘J’.

I mention this merely because ‘J’ spent several weeks grandstanding over Romain Grosjean’s driving skills declaring to the world the he – ‘J’ – was the chosen one who would bring redemption to the young Frenchman and maybe even the nation itself.

Wisely, Romain declined the kind offer to part with several suitcases full of cash for the benefit of ‘J’s wisdom and got himself a good old shrink, for a minimal $100 per hour. Today like one who has been ‘born again’ Grosjean declares, “I think I’ve already changed. Last year I was jumping in the car in testing and trying to go as fast as I could. This year I am trying to get as much knowledge as I can.”

“It’s a bit different. I know where we can work and what we can do. And yeah, hopefully the risk management will be different.” Of course it will be easier for Romain in 2013 because as he states, “This year I am not discovering everything for the first time. That is very different. “This is not my first full season anymore so I know what I am going to face.”


With a ruddy, radiant glow on his face and a beaming smile – like one who has ‘seen the light’ – Romain declares, “I know how to rest between the races, and the small things that make a lot of different in a 19 or 20 race year. When you discover things sometimes you do the mistakes. Hopefully I know that now and I’m not going to do the same again.”

To coin a phrase from the vernacular which I have occasionally heard shouted across the courtroom – “Go on my son – you stuff it to em”. Translated this means – I hope Romain does indeed shine this year and demonstrates what a remarkable talent I am repeatedly told and believe that he has.


They have some interesting ducting going on from the DRS wing, and here it is.

sauber ducting

8 responses to “Day 3 Barcelona pre-season test: Sutil’s first F1 drive for 452 days, Romain is ‘born again’, Sauber secret ducting, Webber’s personal parking place, Red Bull doesn’t improve your manhood

  1. judge do you still expect STR to be in the drop 6 out in Q1? with no HRT it will make it even harder to get out of that session.

    Also on Tony Fernandes, he has said he will walk away from QPR if they go down which is looking almost a certainty at the moment. Come May we could be seeing alot more of him on our TVs

    • ‘Walking away from QPR’ – this assumes he can get a buyer. Teams on a downward path are not that interesting to new investors. Plus he’s loaded the club with a huge squad all on contracts beyond this year. Unless he puts them ito liquidation walking away is not likely an option.

      STR have produced nothing of particular inspiration in Jerez or Barcelona, so who will beat them to the drop zone?

    • Fair point. Then He’ll Prob turn his attention to F1 after Harry fails to keep them up.

      STR – you know when are trying to count and name a number of things but there’s 1 less identified than you know exists – mostly because that 1 is of little consequence or just not memorable…..sorry what was I saying?????

      • Brilliant, Sir Jock, Sir Jocky, it HAS to be!

        I really hope Romain does well this year, he’s one of the few drivers beside Lewis that is exciting to watch, if he gets his shit together I think he’s got the talent to beat Kimi, and has potential champion written all over him in a way that no one that isn’t one already has… with the possible exception of some of the new guys who we just haven’t seen much of in the actually racing F1 environment.

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