Barcelona testing: Round up, Final afternoon’s picture montage

Barcelona Final Day: Times

Driver Car Best time Laps Diff
Rosberg Mercedes W04 1’20.130 131
Alonso Ferrari F138 1’20.494 120 0.364
Button McLaren MP4-28 1’21.444 122 1.314
Hulkenberg Sauber C32 1’21.541 118 1.411
Raikkonen Lotus E21 1’21.658 50 1.528
Di Resta Force India VJM06 1’21.664 112 1.534
Maldonado Williams FW35 1’22.415 42 2.285
Vettel Red Bull RB9 1’22.514 100 2.384
Bottas Williams FW35 1’22.524 31 2.394
Pic Caterham CT03 1’23.115 116 2.985
Bianchi Marussia MR02 1’23.167 62 3.037
Ricciardo Toro Rosso STR8 1’23.628 91 3.498
Chilton Marussia MR02 1’24.103 49 3.973

Testing summary in brief

Most importantly 7 drivers got over 100 laps in today and Chilton and Bianchi who split the day between them managed a combined 111 laps for the team.

Caterham finally managed to complete a day where they finished ahead of their main rivals – but having seen the instructions sent to the team from Fernandes last year in Jerez – to get a fast time for the sponsors – who knows how many millimetres of fuel were in the car when it returned to the pits.

Rosberg set the fastest time of the Winter mid-morning with Alonso possibly feeling the need to prove something taking top spot mid-way through the afternoon. However, Mercedes sent Nico out again he reclaimed his top of the heap spot with apparent ease.

Funny how F1 changes so quickly. Early in the week Lewis was downbeat saying top 10 was the best the team could hope for. Now Gary Anderson technical analyst for the BBC thinks they can win the WCC. (Should have read some TJ13 articles over the winter 😉  )

Sam Michael is also impressed, “You can clearly see Mercedes are fast. They have been fast all the time.” They have had some reliability issues throughout testing – as have Lotus – and resolving this may be the key to how well they perform in the first 4 flyaway races.

Here are the fastest lap times for the Barcelona tests. Remember, today was the best day, with the highest track temperature, and Barcelona is a strange circuit – there can be an hour in the day where air and track temperature and wind are all aligned to provide the perfect conditions.

1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:20.130
2. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 1:20.494
3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:20.558
4. Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 1:21.266
5. Jenson Button (McLaren) 1:21.444
6. Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber) 1:21.541
7. Adrian Sutil (Force India) 21.627
8. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 1:21.658
9. Paul di Resta (Force India) 1:21.664
10. Sergio Perez (McLaren) 1:21.848
11. Romain Grosjean (Lotus) 1:22.188
12. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 1:22.197
13. Pastor Maldonado (Williams) 1:22.415
14. Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 1:22.468
15. Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) 1:22.553
16. Mark Webber (Red Bull) 22.658
17. Charles Pic (Caterham) 1:23.115
18. Jules Bianchi (Marussia) 1:23.167
19. Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) 1:23.223
20. Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) 1:23.628
21. Max Chilton (Marussia) 1:24.103
22. Giedo van der Garde (Caterham) 1:24.23

I commented on the pull rod suspension system being a lot more tricky for the mechanics to work on when changing set-up last year as Ferrari ran this option. It appears McLaren are suffering the same difficulties as a change of settings for Perez and Button over the past 2 days have taken some 30 minutes.

Whilst Jenson looks quick with this car, his need to tinker with setup could be compromised during free practice and qualifying if changes take this long on race weekends. This was something Massa appeared to have difficulties with in the first half of 2012.

“There are nine teams within one second,” Sam Michael observes but this is a “broad-brush estimation given the caveat of fuel loads, variability in track conditions and so on”.

The teams claim that testing times mean nothing – and day to day this is true, but by the end of the final day they have a good idea of the pecking order. there appears to a some agreement that Mercedes, Lotus, Ferrari and Red Bull are fairly close with McLaren not too far behind in pace.

It is important to remember that for each 10kg of fuel this represents 0.3-0.4 seconds and that Red Bull are known to consistently test with 60kgs. This margin for error means McLaren have looked a little slow on the long runs but Michael defends this arguing “but it depends which ones you look at; some are good and some aren’t”.

We’ll definitely be in the mix. In terms of confidence of whether we can be on the front row and win in Melbourne, I just don’t know. I wouldn’t say I was confident or unconfident. I’m neither way, just because I’m being honest. We just don’t know.”

Jenson likes Melbourne and it is a bit of a one of circuit so come the end of FP3 Saturday morning we’ll know much more.

Here’s some pictures from the final afternoon session of testing this year.

10 responses to “Barcelona testing: Round up, Final afternoon’s picture montage

  1. The times are as relevant as Alesi’s time in a Prost 12 years ago during Barcelona winter testing when he had fastest lap.

    • Indeed Barcelona is a funny place like I said – its about being on track at the right moment.

      Interesting to see Mercedes and Ferrari at the top though. Maybe they feel it necessary to give their teams a confidence boost…

      • Does anyone really believe Red Bull are 12th and 16th? What I do find interesting is that Bianchi steps into a totally unknown car and is immediately quicker than Chilton. I doubt Marussi are playing any of the time games that the leading teams are and they are relatively indicative of what the car / drivers are capable of.

      • Maybe lightening has struck twice and a “Brawn” car is genuinely the quickest… Maybe Red Bull has an MP4-18 on their hands after all Mr Newey (genius that he is) is not infallible… Maybe the old saying of ” a good looking car is a fast car” will bring McLaren success…. Testing is smoke and mirrors, the teams know where they stand, a better indication is driver body language during interviews and sound bites…. In 2 weeks we will have a better Idea and even then it still won’t be clear………..

        • RB have something clever for Australia. Note Webber made the point that Melbourne was a ‘unique track and being quick there does not mean anything elsewhere’.

  2. She was happy… Ejoying both the sunshine & the cars! Thanks for using the pic, I’m honoured to be part of your montage!! 🙂

    • Thank you for your photo’s whilst in Barcelona. It made me miss being there, I’ve been the last 2 years but couldn’t go this time.

      Did a team invite you as I saw some pics from places people usually don’t get to go – or was that Anna?

  3. The hollow stub axle and nut are perfectly legal as far as I can tell from the regs. That is until Charlie issues a clarification.

    I was musing on how to change a setting on a pull-rod system, is a trackrod end strong enough? But that would possibly involve too much metal in the rod itself, or is CF strong enough to take a thread, if so then opposite handed threads at each end would make it v quick to change setting. Somers?

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