Barcelona Testing – Day 1
The first day of the final testing session before the season opens up in Bahrain saw Mark Webber top the time sheets with a 1 minute 21.487, Torro Rosso toping the mileage charts with 111 laps under the belt of Jaime Alguersuari and Virgin and Lotus once again bringing up the rear. However, it will be Virgin Racing who will be the unhappiest after Lucas di Grassi spun off, damaging the rear of the car. With no spares available, they’re not expected to be back in action until tomorrow afternoon. The updated pre-season testing statistics can be found here. However, today I’m going to concentrate on the so-called “big 4″: McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari with a look at their lap times through the day.
Fastest man of the day, Mark Webber, looks to have the done the most simulation runnng. After an initial “stint” made up of a series of short runs, the Australian did three long runs – his fastest time coming in the middle of the first of those and clearly a relatively light run. His third run of the day – a race simulation and so presumably on something like a full fuel load – was interupted as he stopped on the track after a fuel temperature alarm went off, prompting a precautionary stop. The team continued from there, but the slight improvement in the times suggest he picked up fresh tyres. All-in-all a good run for the team with consistent times steadily improving as the fuel was burnt off and the tyres seemingly lasting quite well.
It was a similar story for McLaren, although Jenson Button only did a long run during the third quarter of the day until a red flag held up the action. The times hint that the MP4-25 may have been similarly fuelled to the Red Bull and while they may be pleased that the times were a little quicker than the RB6, it looks like the tyres may have gone off a lap or two earlier – assuming they’re both on the same compound that is. The rest of the day seems to have been given over to aerodynamic testing, Button putting in consistent lap times with the odd variation to deal with traffic.
Compare that to Nico Rosberg who’s Mercedes fluctuated up and down in the times for most of the day. He finally did a long stint towards the end of the day on what looks like a relatively low fuel load where surprisingly the W01 gradually got slower. The rate of change is remarkably consistent and if a true reflection of the car doesn’t say much for the car’s tyre preservation.
Finally, Ferrari who have just been doing their own thing today, electronic problems permitting. Fernando Alonso’s times are surprisingly scattered but then the team were testing a number of new aerodynamic components, including a new shark fin so he can probably be forgiven.
We’re a long way from knowing who is where for the upcoming season but the picture is likely to become clearer as this test continues…
For more analysis of today’s testing, you might want to take a look at Making Up The Numbers