Monthly Archives: February 2010

On-board with Massa at wet Jerez 2010 (Helmet-cam)

Here is an interesting video using a helmet camera of Ferrari driver Felipe Massa completing 2 laps at the wet Jerez circuit in Spain during F1 pre-season testing in February 2010.

The first lap is a slow out lap (starting in the pits) and the second lap is at race speed.

It’s interesting to see the driver’s perspective of going round the circuit and to see that Massa likes to lean his head towards the direction he is about to go, before he actually turns the wheel.

The video is hosted by

F1 2010 First Onboard Massa Test jerez
Uploaded by nickodu56. – NASCAR, F1, tuning and drift videos.


Final Pre-Season Test – Day 4 at Barcelona

Today was the final day of pre-season testing and the next time the cars will appear on a race track, it will be for real at the first Grand Prix of the season at Bahrain in 2 weeks’ time. This was the last chance for the teams to fine tune their cars and simulate race conditions.

It also provided perhaps the clearest comparison of the performance of the teams we’ve had over the whole of the 4 pre-season tests. The majority of teams, especially the top teams, all simulated low fuel qualifying runs and several, notably Mercedes and McLaren, completed heavy fuel race-length ones.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton went quickest today (and for the entire 4-day test) with a 1min 20.472secs lap. This was achieved on the 4th lap of a 4-lap run (1m24.451s; 1m21.469s; 1m30.535s (traffic); 1m20.472s) and clearly demonstrates that the McLaren has very good low fuel pace.

P Driver Team Fastest Time Diff. Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren (Mercedes) 1m20.472 134
2 Mark Webber Red Bull (Renault) 1m20.496 +0.024 59
3 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m20.539 +0.067 113
4 Adrian Sutil Force India (Mercedes) 1m20.611 +0.139 99
5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull (Renault) 1m20.667 +0.195 76
6 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m20.745 +0.273 122
7 Rubens Barrichello Williams (Cosworth) 1m20.870 +0.398 83
8 Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber (Ferrari) 1m20.911 +0.439 67
9 Sebastian Buemi Toro Rosso (Ferrari) 1m22.135 +0.941 87
10 Robert Kubica Renault 1m23.175 +2.703 106
11 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus (Cosworth) 1m25.251 +4.779 65
12 Lucas Di Grassi Virgin (Cosworth) 1m26.160 +5.688 47

As the times show, the different teams are very closely matched, with the top 5 times separated by less than two-tenths of a second and the top 9 times separated by less than a second. That’s really really close. A comparison of the fastest times across the 4 days at Barcelona confirms this with the top 13 times produced by 7 different teams using the 4 different engine suppliers (currently operating in F1) and separated by less than 0.6secs.

This means we are in for one hell of a close season and as we head to Bahrain no team appears to be dominant.

  • McLaren will leave Barcelona with a lot of confidence. Their new aero package is clearly working and Hamilton completed 134 laps today without any technical problems.
  • Massa showed he can pilot the Ferrari as quickly as Alonso and was only 67/1000ths off Hamilton’s time and completed 113 laps today. Ferrari leave Barcelona as favourites, but only just, as they seem to have right combination of quick low and heavy fuel pace and consistency in long runs.
  • Mercedes have become more optimistic about their pace and although they have stated they are not where they want to be pace-wise, their analysis of their performance in Barcelona has lead them to believe they will be able to compete strongly at Bahrain. Schumacher said he was impressed by McLaren’s pace today but also said Mercedes have a new update for Bahrain which Ross Brawn has described as largely an “efficiency update” which should translate into a performance update.
  • Red Bull has improved and have good low fuel pace (only 0.02secs slower than McLaren), but their quick times were produced on shorter runs than were achieved by McLaren and Ferrari. Both Vettel and Webber got to drive today (as Vettel did not get much running in the wet yesterday) and the two drivers completed a combined total of 135 laps today.
  • Adrian Sutil in the Force India was 4th fastest today only just over a tenth slower than Hamilton. Their long run pace seemed competitive too so they could be a surprise team for 2010.
  • Not a good day for Virgin, again, as Di Grassi only completed 47 laps as they encountered more technical gremlins.
  • Lotus were slightly quicker than Virgin and have proved themselves to be more reliable. They believe they are 4 seconds off the pace of the top teams, but will be the best of the new teams entering F1 this year.
  • Hamilton’s race distance simulation saw him start with 1m27s laps, quickly move down to 1m25s laps and 26 laps into his run (and 6 laps after his first pits stop) he was lapping in the 1m23s region. He maintained good consistency, completing many laps in a low 1m23s pace and finished his final stint on that pace. He made 2 pits stops for new tyres during the whole simulation.
  • Schumacher also completed a race simulation and started on a similar pace to Hamilton but 36 laps in (and 15 laps after his first pits top) he was doing high 1m24s pace, whereas Hamilton was doing 1m23s laps. However, at the end of the simulation he got down to very high 1m22s pace which was quicker than the McLaren driver.

Jake McMillan

Here are some photos from today’s action:

Kovalainen wore these brand new race boots specially made for him by Sparco

Fastest times – Comparison of 4 Days at Barcelona

Below are the fastest times produced by the teams and drivers at the final pre-season F1 test at Barcelona over the last 4 days. It provides a good insight into the relative performance of the different teams.

The top 13 drivers, represented by 7 different teams and 4 different engines, are separated by half a second. That means we are in for one hell of a competitive season with no team clearly ahead of the rest.

Driver (Team) Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day  4 Diff.
1-Hamilton (McLaren) 1m22.152 1m20.472
2-Webber (Red Bull) 1m21.487 1m20.496 +0.024
3-Massa (Ferrari) 1m22.344 1m20.539 +0.067
4-Sutil (Force India) 1m22.606 1m20.611 +0.139
5-Hulkenberg (Williams) 1m22.407 1m20.614 +0.142
6-Alonso (Ferrari) 1m24.170 1m20.637 +0.165
7-Vettel (Red Bull) 1m21.258 1m23.254 1m20.667 +0.195
8-Rosberg (Mercedes) 1m22.514 1m20.686 +0.214
9-Schumacher (Mercedes) 1m21.689 1m20.745 +0.273
10-Barrichello (Williams) 1m21.975 1m20.870 +0.398
11-Kobayashi (Sauber) 1m26.216 1m20.911 +0.439
12-De la Rosa (Sauber) 1m23.144 1m20.973 +0.501
13-Liuzzi (Force India) 1m24.064 1m21.056 +0.584
14-Buemi (Toro Rosso) 1m21.413 1m22.135 +0.941
15-Button (McLaren) 1m23.452 1m21.450 +0.978
16-Alguersuari (Toro Rosso) 1m24.869 1m21.571 +1.099
17-Petrov (Renault) 1m24.173 1m22.523 +2.051
18-Kubica (Renault) 1m24.912 1m23.175 +2.703
19-Trulli (Lotus) 1m25.524 1m25.059 +4.587
20-Kovalainen (Lotus) 1m25.251 +4.779
21-Glock (Virgin) 1m25.942 1m26.305 +5.470
22-Di Grassi (Virgin) 1m27.057 1m26.160 +5.688
23-Fauzy (Lotus) 1m28.002 +7.530

Hamilton set his fastest time of 1m20.472secs on the final lap of a 4-lap run, which means the McLaren has a very good low-fuel speed.

Force India have done better than a lot people were expecting.

Comparisons of different drivers are less clear and one has to take into account what is happening in that team, developments and track conditions. For example, Button’s best time was nearly a second slower than Hamilton, but that was the first day McLaren were trying a significant new aero package and from his work, they were able to make set up improvements today.

However, the times produced by the drivers of Ferrari, Red Bull, Williams, Mercedes, Sauber, Toro Rosso, Lotus and Virgin are all very similar to their teammates.

Lotus appears to be winning the battle of the new teams, but it seems to be quite close in times.

A more detailed Barcelona Day 4 report can be found here.

Jake McMillan

Final Pre-Season Test – Day 3 at Barcelona

Mercedes are a little bit more optimistic as Nico Rosberg set the fastest time of the day which was hampered by wet weather late morning and early afternoon. Schumacher had been pessimistic talking to the press yesterday but after looking at the data he was more confident as the team believes they were carrying more fuel than others.

Nico’s time was only 0.072s slower than the other Nico, “the Hulk” Hulkenberg, who set the fastest time of the whole test, so far, yesterday. He also managed to complete an impressive 128 laps, more than anyone else today.

Fastest times:

P Driver Car Best time Laps Diff.
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m20.686s 128
2 Sebastian Buemi Toro Rosso (Ferrari) 1m21.413s 106 +0.727
3 Jensen Button McLaren (Mercedes) 1m21.450s 105 +0.764
4 Rubens Barrichello Williams (Cosworth) 1m21.975s 101 +1.289
5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m22.344s 115 +1.658
6 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m22.523s 68 +1.837
7 Adrian Sutil Force India (Mercedes) 1m22.606s 61 +1.920
8 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull (Renault) 1m23.254s 51 +2.568
9 Jarno Trulli Lotus (Cosworth) 1m25.059s 102 +4.373
10 Kamui Kobayshi BMW Sauber (Ferrari) 1m26.216s 105 +5.530
11 Timo Glock Virgin (Cosworth) 1m26.305 31 +5.619
  • Over the last 2 days, 3 different teams with different engines have produced the fastest lap times on low fuel that are very close to each other:  1)Hulkenberg (Williams) 1m20.614s; 2) Alonso (Ferrari) 1m20.637s and 3) Rosberg (Mercedes) 1m20.686s
  • At the end of the session, before it was unfortunately cut short by a red flag due to Barrichello, both Rosberg and Button were putting in quick 1m21secs laps. Button achieved a purple sector 1 (fastest of the session) which was then bettered by Rosberg a short time later. However, both drivers in those laps did not come close to Rosberg’s time this morning which suggests that the track conditions in sectors 2 and 3 had not dried sufficiently and that both drivers could possibly go quicker than Rosberg fastest time set in the morning.
  • Rosberg in the Mercedes was quicker than Button at the very end of the session but of course we don’t know the fuel loads
  • Most teams did race simulation runs today – Rosberg, Massa and Button were all doing 1m27s pace on a heavy fuel load at the start of their runs
  • Vettel was absent on track for most of the day as the Red Bull fixed a fuel pump problem
  • Not a good day for Kobayashi in the Sauber as his quickest time was 5.5secs off the quickest. However, they must have concentrated solely on heavy fuel running and the rain may have caused the times to seem slower than they actually were. His quickest time was on lap 7 of the 105 laps he completed today without any apparent technical issues. Kobayashi put in some exciting laps in the rain … even going round in slicks at one point!

Jake McMillan

Photos from todays action:

Final Pre-Season Test – Day 2 at Barcelona

Although Webber was a second quicker than anyone else yesterday, as predicted it was not long before his time was bettered as other teams tried low fuel qualifying simulations as part of the preparations for Bahrain in 2 weeks time. 5 drivers, including Vettel, went faster than Webber’s time from yesterday.

However, it was a nice surprise to see rookie and last year’s GP2 champion Nico ‘the Hulk’ Hulkenberg  especially as it appeared his Williams was a lot slower than Red Bull yesterday on low fuel. After the end of the first day he told the media that he thought the Williams was behind the Ferrari and Red Bull, but that they were “not far off”. He was right, although it is doubted whether Red Bull are on the same pace as Ferrari.

Here are the fastest times from Day 2:

P Driver Car Best time Laps Diff.
1 Nico Hülkenberg Williams (Cosworth) 1m20.614s 99
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m20.637s 134 +0.023
3 Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber (Ferrari) 1m20.973s 114 + 0.359
4 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India (Mercedes) 1m21.056s 90 + 0.442
5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull (Renault) 1m21.258s 125 + 0.644
6 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso (Ferrari) 1m21.571s 104 +0.957
7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m21.689s 85 +1.075
8 Lewis Hamilton McLaren (Mercedes) 1m22.152s 93 +1.538
9 Robert Kubica Renault 1m24.912s 53 +4.298
10 Jarno Trulli Lotus (Cosworth) 1m25.524s 70 +4.910
11 Timo Glock Virgin (Cosworth) 1m25.942s 52 +5.328
  • Hulkenberg set his fastest time in the afternoon 2 laps into a 3 lap run on the super soft Bridgestone tyres.
  • Alonso set his fastest time in the morning, only 0.023 slower than the Hulk, on soft tyres on a 3 lap run but did a couple of 5 and 6 lap runs where he dipped into the 1m20s several times. He did an impressive 24 lap run in the afternoon, clearly heavy with fuel and kept great consistency doing many laps in the 1m24s range. He caught Vettel at one point and tried a sneaky manoeuvre of missing the last chicane to get a run on him on the straight but didn’t get close enough so backed off to give himself space to continue his run.
  • Liuzzi in the Force India and Alguersuari in the Toro Rosso also did good long runs keeping a similar pace as Alonso. Indication that these 2 teams may be more competitive than they were last year.
  • Lotus continue to improve pace-wise but did suffer a hydraulic problem today
  • McLaren have been quiet with both Button and, today, Hamilton and unlike Jerez, they have not yet attempted a low fuel qualifying simulation run. Hamilton’s quickest time was set on the 1st lap of a 6-lap run. His heavy fuel load pace appeared to be 1m27/26s pace which is not impressive.
  • Mercedes had a quiet day too and Schumacher told the media they are not in a position to win at Bahrain but thinks they will be competitive.

Jake McMillan

You may like this onboard video of Raikkonen in 2008:

Photos from today’s action:

Final Pre-Season Test – Day 1 at Barcelona

In two weeks time the teams will be in Bahrain for the first grand prix of the year and today they began the first day of a the final 4-day testing session at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona. After completing 3 tests, the teams will be trying out their latest developments and making sure they are ready for the first race. The gloves are not quite off but this will be our best indicator of the relative pace of the different teams and thankfully it was dry today.

The headline is that Webber in the Red Bull was nearly a second quicker than anyone else. However, hold your horses as he was the only one, with the possible except of Hulkenberg (Williams), to do a low fuel run. After doing their normal engine and system checks in the morning, most drivers concentrated on doing longer runs in the afternoon.

Norbert Haug from Mercedes clarified how difficult it is for the teams, let alone the fans, to determine the comparative pace of the cars. He told, “It’s just impossible to judge – it’s guesswork. If you have a 37-lap run for example, then you have a minimum fuel load – maybe 74 kilos. But that doesn’t tell you the whole story because one guy could do the same run with 160.”

He added, “A difference of around 80 kilos could mean about three seconds per lap, but that’s assuming the heavier guy can make the car work when they take the fuel out. … With one set-up you have to deliver a low-fuel run and an absolutely maximum fuel run. That’s a wide range, and it’s very different to anything we’ve ever had in Formula 1. So you will probably find a car that is at the top of the times on low fuel, but is not so quick in race trim. That will make things pretty exciting.”

So when assessing the pace of the cars, we have all been looking at 3 main areas essentially:

1)    The fastest lap produced (with a view on whether low fuel or not)

2)    Lap times produced when car is extremely heavy (i.e. slow times on a run that is not installation or systems check)

3)    Consistency on long runs – can the car maintain competitive times over many laps without performance drop off.

Here are the fastest laps from today’s action:

P Driver Car Best time Laps Difference
1 Mark Webber Red Bull (Renault) 1m21.487s 109
2 Nico Hülkenberg Williams (Cosworth) 1m22.407s 81 + 0.920
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m22.514s 107 + 1.027
4 Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber (Ferrari ) 1m23.144s 73 + 1.657
5 Jenson Button McLaren (Mercedes) 1m23.452s 100 + 1.965
6 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India (Mercedes) 1m24.064s 64 + 2.577
7 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m24.170s 74 + 2.683
8 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m24.173s 73 + 2.686
9 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso (Ferrari) 1m24.869s 111 + 3.382
10 Lucas di Grassi Virgin (Cosworth) 1m27.057s 31 + 5.570
11 Fairuz Fauzy Lotus (Cosworth) 1m28.002s 76 + 6.515

*The official lap record at Barcelona is 1m 21.670s by Raikkonen in a 2008 Ferrari, but Barrichello did a 1m 19.954s in qualifying for the 2009 Spanish Grand Prix as well as doing a 1m 18.926s lap during final testing in March last year.

Things to know and consider about today’s testing:

  • the quick time of Webber was not that quick and will likely be bettered by some margin over the next 3 days. However Webber felt very confident about the performance, he told the BBC, “This time is one of the best if not the best in the pit-lane in terms of what we’ve done last year and what we’re doing this year.” When he went out in the afternoon for a long run on heavy fuel, he began with 1m29s and 8 laps later was doing 1m27s (that’s a good 6-7secs difference from his fast lap)
  • Williams do not appear to have low fuel pace, but seem competitive on heavier fuel loads
  • Virgin seem quicker than Lotus, but less likely to finish the race
  • Ferrari are not indestructible and Alonso missed out a lot of the morning after causing a red flag with an electrical problem. They had a quiet day but Alonso showed the Ferrari still has great consistency and in a 14-lap stint in the afternoon produced the following times:  24.771, 24.551, 25.522, 24.394, 24.373, 24.564, 25.126, 24.766, 24.486, 24.730, 27.549, 25.273, 30.872, 35.622 (as reported by Jon Noble from Autosport.
  • Rosberg had a very consistent run in the afternoon, with 24 laps in his Mercedes averaging 1m24.6s. Mercedes have a very significant update for Bahrain so their performance at this test is not a strong indicator and they say they are not concentrating on fine details at this test because the change coming is so big.
  • Button in the McLaren had a quiet day and there were no low fuel glory runs. He did a long run, clearly heavy with fuel, of 20 laps averaging in the 1m27s and 28s. Then later, after Rosberg caused a red flag, he was completing consistent 1m23s laps. The McLaren looks quietly impressive, but Button did cause a red flag right at the very end of the day, stopping at Turn 10.
  • Di Grassi in the Virgin had an off and damaged the back end of the car so they were not able to get many laps in, they will not return to the track until tomorrow lunchtime/afternoon when new parts arrive

Jake McMillan

Here’s an onboard qualifying lap with Button in his Brawn from last year’s Spanish Grand Prix:

Here are some photos from today’s action:

A clear day in Barcelona

A quiet day from Alguersuari, but look for some quick times from the Toro Rosso over next 3 days

A rare breakdown (electrical) for the Ferrari

Button quietly impressive in the McLaren

Plenty of people came to see the action tofay

A very very quiet day for De la Rosa and Sauber

Lucas Di Grassi looking cheerful - the smile would be wiped off his face later after he had an off and destroyed the rear wing of his Virgin VR-01

The broken Virgin VR-01

Test driver Fauzy completed 76 laps in the Lotus, but was slowest

Rookie Hulkenberg was 2nd fastest today

Rookie Hulkenberg was 2nd fastest today

Force India practiced a lot of pits stops today

Renault did the same thing with Petrov at the wheel

Nico Rosberg

Webber's Red Bull and the narrower front tyres of the 2010 cars


McLaren with yet another gadget on their car measuring airflow

Fauzy in the pits, with Kovalainen in the background

F1 drivers don't even get a lunch break - The Hulk entertaining Williams partners



Petrov in the Renault

Race engineer Jock Clear talking to Nico Rosberg before the start of the day

Webber ahead of his almost identical twin, Alguersuari in the Toro Rosso

This machine will set the tyre pressure for each of the tyres

A little wave from bookie's favourite, Alonso

The reigning World Champion

Mike Gascoyne at Lotus has a chat with Kovalainen

Renault shut up shop for the mandatory lunch hour

The timing screen the teams get to look at

Nico Rosberg

Mark Webber

The Lotus goes out early in the day

The Hulk in his Williams

Jaime Alguersuari

The Barcelona Grandstand

Test 3 – Day 2 Review at Jerez – A few wet Whinge-bags !

Barichello quickest in the wet today

Another wet damp day that saw most of the teams, especially Ferrari, have a good old moan about the conditions.

I think Ferrari got out of the wrong side of the bed as they tweeted the following comments throughout the day:

Nothing new at Jerez: just rain, rain and more rain to come…

The wind is making the day even more troubled…’

We’re just carrying on some work on race procedures as the track conditions are not really helpful to do anything different

Another day on the wet….. Not very helfpul, according to Felipe. At least, we put more mileage on the car and on engine and gearbox.

Conversely Lotus F1 and Virgin Racing seem to be competing on which team can be the most positive and jolly. Force India are not too far behind them.

Here are the fastest times from today, but they are pretty much meaningless:

Pos Driver Team Time Diff. Laps
1 Barrichello Williams (Cosworth) 1m27.145s 98
2 Petrov Renault 1m27.828s +0.683 56
3 Vettel Red Bull (Renault) 1m28.162s +1.017 70
4 Rosberg Mercedes 1m28.515s +1.370 71
5 Massa Ferrari 1m28.879s +1.734 92
6 De la Rosa Sauber (Ferrari) 1m29.691s +2.546 8
7 Di Resta Force India (Mercedes) 1m30.344s +3.199 33
8 Glock Virgin (Cosworth) 1m30.476s +3.331 72
9 Liuzzi Force India (Mercedes) 1m30.666s +3.521 24
10 Hamilton McLaren (Mercedes) 1m31.633s +4.488 57
11 Buemi Toro Rosso (Ferrari) 1m32.678s +5.533 57
12 Kovalainen Lotus (Cosworth) 1m33.554s +6.409 30

Here’s what you need to know from today’s action:

  • Barrichello had a good day and completed the most laps, 98, without any incidence
  • Petrov, who has almost been invisible at the tests, was going quickly today and produced the 2nd fastest time of the day
  • Virgin Racing had a great day and completed 72 laps and their quickest time was only 3 seconds off the pace of Barrichello
  • Kovalainen made a mistake after 30 laps completed in the Lotus and spun off the track and knocked the front wing off so they had to stop running for the day. He told Autosport, ‘It was just my mistake. Coming out of Turn 2, into 3, went on the power a little bit too aggressively. I lost the rear, corrected, went into the gravel, and then head-on into the wall. That damaged the nose. My mistake’
  • Vettel in the Red Bull, Rosberg in the Mercedes and Massa in the Ferrari had okay days, nothing much more to add
  • De la Rosa only was able to complete 8 laps but still managed to put up the 6th fastest time of the day – the Sauber definitely has some speed in it
  • Hamilton was not quick all day suggesting heavy fuel loads and other set up work
  • Cosworth are pleased with the durability of their engine and also pleased they were quickest with Williams today
  • A thunderstorm is due in Jerez and its currently raining heavily there

So not an exciting day, but here are couple of things that you may enjoy:

Kovalainen acting in a new Finnish advert:

Virgin Racing’s promo type video of their new car at Jerez:

Jake McMillan

Here are some photos from today’s action:

A quiet day for Buemi in the Toro Rosso

A Productive day for Di Resta in the Force India

A Very Quiet Day for Hamilton and McLaren

Glock got a lot of laps in the Virgin Racing

Heikki Kovalainen was doing well until he spun

A quiet day for Ferrari and Massa

Petrov did well in the wet today

Rosberg also was very quiet today

Vettel shows good pace in the wet again

Barrichello has steam coming off his tyres

Glock had a minor off early on

A close up of the Force India

A slightly hirsute Hamilton

The rear of the Lotus


Renault's Mr Petrov

Yesterday he resembled Shaggy off Scooby Doo and today it was a smurf!

Williams practice pit stops/tyre changes - with no refuelling they will be super quick this year (under 3 secs)

The front of the Virgin's cockpit is similar to that of Red Bull

Lotius being carried away after Heikki's off

Pedro only did 8 laps, but was quick


Vettel and Buemi - their cars look very similar don't they?

Tony Fernandes, boss of Lotus