Today was the first day of the first F1 test of 2010 and the interest in today’s action was unprecedented with hundreds of journalists in attendance, perhaps more than were at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year!
2010 is shaping up to the be most exciting in recent history and F1 fans around the world were in eager anticipation to see the new cars in action. Who would be quickest?! Unfortunately there isn’t any video coverage of the tests, but thanks to Twitter we were kept up to date with all the latest developments.
The big news was, and still very much is, the return of 7-times World Champion Michael Schumacher who is back out of retirement to race with the Mercedes GP team. Does the 41 year old German still have what it takes? From his performance today we can tell that he still knows how to drive a F1 car quickly and posted a time over half a second quicker than his young teammate, Nico Rosberg.
1 – Massa (BRA) – Ferrari – 102 Laps – 1min 12.574secs (198.77 KPH)
2 – de la Rosa (SPA) – Sauber – 74 Laps – 1min 12.784secs
3 – Schumacher (GER) – Mercedes – 40 Laps – 1min 12.947secs
4 – Rosberg (GER) – Mercedes – 39 Laps – 1min 13.543secs
5 – Paffett (GBR) – McLaren – 86 Laps – 1min 13.846secs
6 – Barrichello (BRA) – Williams – 75 Laps – 1min 14.449secs
7 – Buemi (SUI) – Toro Rosso – 18 Laps – 1min 14.762secs
8 – Kubica (POL) – Renault – 69 Laps – 1min 15.000secs
As I have cautioned recently, we cannot really tell a lot from these F1 tests as we do not know the fuel levels each driver is carrying. We do not know the tyre-wear rates or the fuel consumption of the different engines. These are all the critical factors that will decide which team and driver will triumph in 2010.
Today was not about producing quick times for the teams. For a lot of the teams they will be thankful that the car was able to do several laps without breaking down. There is a lot of testing and development still to do, so do not read much into what happened today. However, we can tell the following:
- Massa, thankfully, is definitely back! He seems to have lost none of his speed and ability since his horrible accident at the Hungarian GP last year
- Ferrari are not slow – there were rumours before the test that Ferrari were not happy with the aero performance of the car, but Massa was quickest for the majority of today
- Sauber were on the pace today! We don’t know the fuel levels of course, but great to see that de la Rosa was right up there today (2nd fastest) and hope to see Kobayashi repeat this performance
- Toro Rosso had technical problems – They had a gearbox problem that meant they could only complete 18 laps and also admitted they were having downforce issues
- Renault have work to do! They completed 69 laps with Kubica and were slowest today
It’s only testing, but I can’t wait until tomorrow and Wednesday! Hamilton gets into the McLaren for the first time tomorrow, Alonso will get his first go in the Ferrari on Wednesday and current World Champion Jenson Button will be on the track with Michael Schumacher.