Tag Archives: testing

2012 F1 Testing Begins!

by Jake McMillan

Hoorah, with the 2012 Formula 1 testing beginning at Jerez tomorrow we will finally get a little bit of F1 action! However, as I have warned before, we all need to be very careful about over-analysing the relative performance of the teams. Testing is exactly what it says with teams testing and fine-tuning the performance of the cars. Some things will work and some won’t.

Unless one team is significantly much faster throughout a test session, or is significantly off the pace, we will not know which team is really quickest until we get to Melbourne next month. Despite knowing this, we all get sucked in every year, trying to guess which team will be the fastest. This is okay as long as we  remember that it is just a guess:

  • Teams will be running different fuel loads from each other
  • Teams seeking sponsorship will inevitably want to appear quick by doing more low fuel runs
  • The cars will be developed further between the tests and the first race so until we get to Melbourne we really don’t know
  • All teams ‘sandbag’ to varying degrees

Did you notice in Bahrain Q3?

Following the form displayed at the four pre-season testing events, qualifying at Bahrain threw up a few surprises that we are all now talking about: Vettel and Red Bull on pole; the poor one lap pace of McLaren; Schumacher consistently slower than Rosberg; the great pace of Kubica in the Renault and the poor speed of Sauber and Toro Rosso. However, did you notice the difference between the times of Q2 and Q3?

Unlike last year, the teams qualify in low fuel for all three sessions and the entire top ten used the ‘option’ tyre (super softs) for both Q2 and Q3. You would expect drivers to get quicker or at least produce very similar times in these two sessions, especially with no change in track conditions.

This did not happen. With the sole exception of Massa in the Ferrari, every driver was significantly slower in Q3 compared to Q2 with most doing times half a second off their previous pace.

Pos Driver Team Q3 Time Diff. To Q2 time
1 Vettel Red Bull 1:54.101 + 0.218s
2 Massa Ferrari 1:54.242 – 0.089s
3 Alonso Ferrari 1:54.608 + 0.436s
4 Hamilton McLaren 1:55.217 + 0.510s
5 Rosberg Mercedes 1:55.241 + 0.559s
6 Webber Red Bull 1:55.284 + 0.966s
7 Schumacher Mercedes 1:55.524 + 0.419s
8 Button McLaren 1:55.672 + 0.504s
9 Kubica Renault 1:55.885 + 0.922s
10 Sutil Force India 1:56.309 + 1.313s

As the track conditions had not changed, the difference can only be put down to drivers trying too hard to get that perfect lap for the first pole of the new season. Rosberg said that he really thought he could get pole but struggled with his tyres and said that if he got too much oversteer in one corner and overheated the tyres, the next few corners would be ruined.

Therefore, Massa’s performance is all the more impressive as he was the only driver to keep his cool and go quicker in Q3 than he had in Q2.

Vettel was quickest in both Q2 and Q3, but if you believe pre-season testing then the Ferraris will definitely beat the Red Bull tomorrow in the race. However, it just goes to show, don’t be fooled by what happens in pre-season testing!

Jake McMillan

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

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



Pre-Season Test 3 – Day 1 at Jerez

The first day of the third test back at Jerez was largely a damp and unexciting day. The main highlight was seeing Lotus F, the second of the “new” F1 teams, in action. The good news is that Lotus had a good day, completed an impressive trouble-free 76 laps with test driver Fairuz Fauzy and were quicker than Virgin Racing’s Timo Glock who only completed 10 laps. Lotus, it seems, are on route to meet their target of being best of the new teams.

The track was damp most of the day and it rained off and on throughout the day which made it very difficult for the teams. Michael Schumacher said, “The weather was really changing all the time today which made it difficult to follow our planned programme and to have a clear picture of everyone’s performance.”

Here are the fastest times from today, but really do not read a lot into them:

Pos Driver Team Time Diff. Laps
1 Vettel Red Bull (Renault) 1min 22.593secs 99
2 Hamilton McLaren (Mercedes) 1min 23.017secs -0.424 72
3 Massa Ferrari 1min 23.204secs -0.611 72
4 Buemi Toro Rosso (Ferrari) 1min 23.322secs -0.729 79
5 de la Rosa BMW Sauber (Ferrari) 1min 23.367secs -0.774 76
6 Schumacher Mercedes 1min 23.803secs -1.210 111
7 Sutil Force India (Mercedes) 1min 24.272secs -1.679 28
8 di Resta Force India (Mercedes) 1min 25.088secs -2.495 74
9 Petrov Renault 1min 26.237secs -3.644 55
10 Barrichello Williams (Cosworth) 1min 27.320secs -4.727 109
11 Fauzy Lotus (Cosworth) 1min 31.848secs -9.255 76
12 Glock Virgin (Cosworth) 1min 32.417secs -9.824 10

This is what you need to know from today’s action:

  • Barrichello completed 109 laps on mainly heavy fuel runs but caused 2 Red Flags with stoppages on the track
  • Vettel in the Red Bull showed some genuine pace today for the first time, particularly as the track was drying out around lunch time. Like last year the Red Bull seems to have good grip in wet and drying conditions. He was quickest overall today, but 1min 22.593secs is 3 seconds slower than the quickest time of last week at Jerez
  • Mr Shoemaker was quiet today, but did complete an impressive 111 laps without any incident
  • Ferrari are not completely bullet proof with Massa stopping out on track and did not return for a couple of hours whilst they made some changes. At the end of the day they tweeted ‘Honestly, it was not a very productive day for the team. Anyway, we did what we could. Let’s hope tomorrow will be a better one.’
  • Lotus finished the day quite jubilant at 4pm (rather than 5pm) and were pleased with their day’s work. Technical Director Mike Gascoyne tweeted ‘Done for the day! Job list for the car issued and back on track tomorrow with Heikki!’ For Mike, that is almost emotional! Because they had an issue with a supplier, poor old Fairuz Fauzy had to drive without any power steering. If you’ve ever done karting and had sore forearms after doing a few laps, imagine what it is like in an F1 car with so much more grip!
  • British test driver Paul di Resta was in the Force India today, but switched with Adrian Sutil mid afternoon. They tweeted ‘Apart from the minor spin, it’s been a fair outing for Paul. He’s moved the times down consistently. Not our best day though’.  However, by the end of the day they were a bit more positive, ‘Day ends. Adrian up to 1m24.272s not as fast as other days. Working with slightly heavier fuel loads than the other days. Good data’.
  • Hamilton in the McLaren caused a red flag early in the day which they say was due to a minor systems error. He was producing competitive lap times most of the day
  • Buemi in the Toro Rosso had a reasonable day and was definitely on the pace
  • Pedro de la Rosa in the Sauber did not make much of an impression today, but was not off the pace
  • Renault did not have a special day with Petrov completing only 55 laps and seemingly well off the pace
  • Virgin Racing fared even worse, with Timo Glock only able to do 10 laps

The weather forecast is currently predicting for Jerez:

Thur – Heavy Rain

Fri – Sunny (fingers crossed!)

Sat – Light Rain

Jake McMillan

A few more photos from today:

111 laps for Schumacher today

Vettel was fastest today and showed good pace in the Red Bull

Glock only managed 10 laps in the VR-01

Massa and Ferrari did not have a productive day

Pedro de la Rosa enjoying the Wet, but a quiet day for him

Lotus leaving pits for the first time

Separated at birth? Vettel & Shaggy from Scooby Doo

Frustrating day for Barrichello

Massa chasing down Schumacher

Hamilton had a quiet day, but was on the pace

Lotus on Track

Ferrari experiment with new aerodynamic device - a black bag!

Great to see Lotus on track and being reliable

The Ferrari caused a Red Flag today

F1 Test 3 at Jerez – The Rain in Spain falls mainly on the Pl…, err, Jerez Circuit

It’s going to be wet at Jerez again. Big piles of boo!

The BBC 5-day forecast is currently predicting heavy rain Wednesday all the way through to Saturday at Jerez which is a damn shame as it means we’re probably not going to get much further useful information about which team is doing best?

However, we are going to see the first running of the new Lotus F1 team. Even in the rain, that is going to be very cool to see.

Here is a little taster:

Oh, and if you are interested in what it is like to drive round the Jerez circuit, then have a look at the great Ayrton Senna doing a qualifying lap 20 years ago. Note: since this time, they have added the Senna chicane at the second to last right hander.

Jake McMillan

F1 Pre-Season Testing – Half-term Report

2 tests completed and 2 to go! So who the hell is quickest at the moment? Well, I think you may know the answer to that. We don’t know.

Because we ‘don’t know the fuel loads’, which has officially become the most uttered and written phrase in the F1 world (so much so that is has been abbreviated to DKtFL), the fastest lap times produced are almost meaningless.

For example, take the last day of testing at Jerez this week, Jaime Alguersuari posted the slowest fastest time (yes, you can have the slowest fastest time) of 1min 24secs in dry conditions which normally would suggest he and the Toro Rosso is slow. Wrong! As the day before in dry conditions he had the fastest fastest lap time (yes, you can have the fastest fastest time) of just under 1min 20secs which was also the second fastest time of the whole 4-day test. Those pesky fuel loads are messing with our minds!

So how on earth are us fans meant to know who is quickest? We have to rely on gossip, rumours, conjecture, insider knowledge, speculation, reading body language and lots of equally unscientific things that will make us think we know what is going on, but really we won’t know anything. The teams obviously have a lot more data to make assessments, but it seems they don’t know much better than we do.

Claire Williams (Williams PR person and the daughter of Frank Williams) tweeted on Friday a very interesting message, ‘According to my sources, it’s looking like Ferrari & McLaren are the ones to beat at the moment (boo!) ’. Ross Brawn also suggested something very similar in his interview with the BBC at the end of the first test. So it seems according to the data the teams have access to, they think Ferrari and McLaren are doing well, but no one really knows for sure.

As the great Inspector Clouseau might say, “I suspect everyone and I suspect no one”.

Bored of reading words? Here are some stats you might like:

Test 1 Valencia – Combined Times

Test 2 Jerez – Combined Times

Driver Car Best time Diff.
Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes MP4-25 1min 19.583 0
Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari STR5 1min 19.919 0.336
Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari C29 1min 19.950 0.367
Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari STR5 1min 20.026 0.443
Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes VJM03 1min 20.180 0.597
Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth FW32 1min 20.341 0.758
Robert Kubica Renault R30 1min 20.358 0.775
Michael Schumacher Mercedes W01 1min 20.613 1.03
Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes MP4-25 1min 20.618 1.035
Nico Hülkenberg Williams-Cosworth FW32 1min 20.629 1.046
Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari C29 1min 20.736 1.153
Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes VJM03 1min 20.754 1.171
Nico Rosberg Mercedes W01 1min 20.927 1.344
Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault RB6 1min 21.203 1.62
Fernando Alonso Ferrari F10 1min 21.424 1.841
Felipe Massa Ferrari F10 1min 21.485 1.902
Vitaly Petrov Renault R30 1min 22.000 2.417
Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault RB6 1min 22.043 2.46
Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth VR-01 1min 22.912 3.329
Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth VR-01 1min 29.964 10.381

Even more stats you will like:

Total Distance covered during the 2 Tests

Driver Total laps Total distance (km)
Felipe Massa 458 1932.426
Rubens Barrichello 387 1638.765
Robert Kubica 376 1585.404
Fernando Alonso 344 1469.511
Michael Schumacher 330 1409.634
Sebastien Buemi 330 1408.365
Nico Hülkenberg 311 1323.81
Pedro de la Rosa 307 1294.254
Lewis Hamilton 289 1234.008
Jaime Alguersuari 271 1158.957
Nico Rosberg 268 1119.87
Kamui Kobayashi 254 1084.104
Jenson Button 233 997.038
Vitaly Petrov 170 721.035
Vitantonio Liuzzi 151 668.628
Mark Webber 149 659.772
Sebastian Vettel 149 659.772
Adrian Sutil 132 584.496
Gary Paffett 86 344.43
Lucas di Grassi 71 314.388
Timo Glock 16 70.848
Car/Model Total laps Total distance (km)
Ferrari F10 802 3402
Williams FW32 698 2963
McLaren MP4-25 608 2575
Toro Rosso STR5 601 2567
Mercedes W01 598 2530
Sauber C29 561 2379
Renault R30 546 2306
Red Bull RB6 298 1319
Force India VJM03 283 1253
Virgin Racing VR-01 87 385

Still not enough stats for you? Okay here is one more table:

Engine Total laps Total distance (km)
Ferrari 1964 8347
Mercedes 1489 6358
Renault 844 3625
Cosworth 785 3348

TEAM and DRIVER Pre-Season Half-Term Report


Looking very good and maybe slightly ahead of the rest at this moment of time? That Ferrari engine has been amazingly super reliable and they have stacked up a huge and almost unprecedented amount of mileage during the tests. The mileage has been achieved through doing some long runs with impressive times produced at the end of them which suggests they have good tyre wear, in that they are don’t have much of it! Both drivers doing very well and they will be feeling happy and satisfied right now.

Massa – He has done most the mileage in the car and he is on the top of his game, as if he had never been away. He has been quick, precise and aggressive

Alonso – Has slotted into the team like he’s been there all his life. He and Massa seem closely matched and as long as there is no repeat of what happened at McLaren, the two of them could push the team to a lot of success this year

Massa has been driving extremely well

Alonso has drawn in crowds at the Spanish tracks of Valencia and Jerez


The other teams seem to think they have been quick, but apart from the low fuel glory run of Lewis on the last day of the second test, their quickness has not been obvious at all. They have concentrated on running lots of fuel mainly and like other teams running through their schedule of set ups and have attached all sorts of weird looking measuring contraptions to their car. They have not really had any technical issues and have completed a reasonable number of laps (3rd highest amongst the teams). They appear to be content with where they are at the moment.

Hamilton – He is driving well, got a lot of laps under his belt and it is clear he likes this car a lot more than he did last year. Although the low fuel glory run does not mean much, I think he and the rest of the team will be glad he did it and did 3 consecutive laps that were sub 1min 20secs.

Button – He was not comfortable in the car at Valencia but that seems to have been sorted at Jerez and in his interviews was more buoyant and relaxed. He now feels he can push the car and will be hoping for dry weather next week.

Button now feels more comfortable in the car after the Jerez test

Lewis has been driving well


They have been competitive but the reading of the body language and what they are saying in the interviews is that they feel they are behind Ferrari and McLaren at this stage. They have had some handling issues, but still seem confident that these are quite normal issues to have at this stage and can be resolved quickly. It was speculated that perhaps this talk and their pace was a case of sand-bagging but it seems they are being genuine. They are not slow but are not the quickest at the moment.

Schumacher – His return at Valencia was exciting and he put in some good laps, but seemed relatively quiet at Jerez. He seems to have the measure of Rosberg.

Rosberg – He has been quiet at both tests and done nothing of note. This does not necessarily mean anything, but the car does seem to have issues that are being resolved and so maybe he can shine more when these have been resolved.

Schiumacher - driving like he never left the sport

Rosberg - concentrating or worried?

Red Bull

Their launch and arrival at the Jerez test was eagerly anticipated but turned out to be rather a low key affair. Their car looks good and is producing lap times of a similar nature to the other teams but does not look like the class of the field just yet. However, make no mistake about it, this is a well designed car and it may take them a while to tune its set up to maximise its speed. We won’t know more about this until they perform at the next test next week.

Webber – He seems happy with the car and is talking very confidently. Is this Aussie bravado or can he feel something that we cannot see? Last year was difficult for Mark as due to his injury he did not start the season in full health and ability. This year he seems pumped up and very excited at being able to compete at his best in a good car.

Vettel – A lot of people put him favourite to win the championship, but he has had a quiet start with his new Red Bull. He did produce some quick times on the final day at Jerez when the wet track was drying out which shows his skill and the grip of the Red Bull in those conditions.

Webber very happy with the new Red Bull

Vettel has been quiet this week


They have not seemed quick and, in fact, seem to have been slow for most of the first two tests. However, they have been quietly getting on with business, running through their testing programme diligently and have done little, if any, real low fuel running. They have done the second most number of laps and the Cosworth engine seems to be doing very well and is proving reliable. Reading between the lines of what the team has been saying, it appears the car seems good, but they have identified a number of areas to work on and improve to make it better. They seem competitive.

Barrichello – Driving very well and the Williams seems to be handling well. He has put in a lot of laps and seems to be satisfied with their progression. He may the most experienced man in F1 at the moment, and the second eldest (behind Schumacher), but he seems motivated and will be providing Williams with a lot of expert technical feedback to improve the car.

Hulkenberg – The Hulk will be happy, although he doesn’t seem to be a very smiley sort whilst working, with how he is doing. As a rookie it is important to get embedded into the team and most importantly feel confident and relaxed in the car and it seems like he has done that. He has done enough laps in the car now that he will be able to push the car and help with the car’s development.

Barrichello has put in a lot of laps for Williams

The Hulk settling in well at Williams


They are a difficult team to read at the moment, because they have shown themselves to be quick at both tests. The Ferrari engine in the inappropriately named BMW Sauber team is working very well and is being super reliable. However, the car does not look as stable as the other cars and this could impact their tyre wear. Will they be a team that qualifies well and has bursts of speed when on new tyres in the race but ultimately fades away?

Kobayashi – He has been quick at both tests and seems comfortable in his new team and car. He seems like the real deal.

De la Rosa – He claims he has been getting rid of the rust from his driving and seems to be quick but the car has been visibly unstable and it will need all of his experience to help improve and develop the car to be a serious contender rather than an occasional one.

Kobayashi has been quick

Sauber will be relying on Pedro de la Rosa's expertise

Toro Rosso

The Toro Rosso team could be a dark horse and the mix of their Red Bull roots and super Ferrari engine could make them a strong force this season. They have inexperienced drivers but do not rule them out. They have been quick during testing and seem to have a bit of work to do on their car, but they are definitely in good shape. They’ve put in a healthy number of laps and will be happy and satisfied with what they have achieved so far.

Buemi – He has been doing well it seems, but the only criticism at this stage is that his very inexperienced teammate seems to be doing just that little bit better. WDtFL so cannot judge too harshly and their fastest times were quite close, but Alguesuari does seem to have the edge

Alguersuari – The lad’s doing good (he’s a lot younger than me so feel I can be suitably patronising) and he will be pleased the car is quick and he has the edge over Buemi.

Buemi in the Toro Rosso has been consistently quick

Jaime Alguersuari is doing very well and maybe has the edge over Buemi

Force India

There seems a lot of confidence and motivation within the Force India team. They were back of the field at the beginning of last year and made excellent progression to be a solid mid-field team with Fisichella even finishing 2nd at Spa last year. They were determined to carry this progress through into 2010 and by all accounts they seem to have done it. The new car works, its reliable and seems to be competitive. More will come from them next week.

Sutil –He is driving well and was quickest for most of the afternoon on the final day at Jerez. He seems to have the edge over Liuzzi at this moment in time.

Liuzzi – Will be pleased to have a F1 drive but needs to up his game a little. However, there is plenty of time for him to adjust to a new team and car.

Sutil doing well at Force India

Liuzzi on the right may need to up his game a little


They had a slow start to testing in that their car did not seem quick straight away, but by the end of Valencia and in Jerez their times seem reasonably competitive. However, they have done nothing to shine so far, except for their very shiny yellow cars of course. The team has been through some tough times and was almost out of the sport completely so their performance is actually quite good. They will need to improve if they want to be a team regularly fighting for points.

Kubica – He has driven the 3rd most laps of all the drivers in testing so far and seems to be doing well. Renault will need to extract all the information they can from him to improve and develop the car.

Petrov – The Russian rookie will be pleased that he has got to grips with his new team and car, but he seems to be off the pace of his teammate at the moment.

Kubica helping to improve the Renault

Rookie Petrov is off Kubica's pace but has time to improve

Virgin Racing

They are the first of the “new” teams to launch their car and although were not able to do much running on the first couple of days as the front wing fell off and they had to wait for parts to be sent across, they managed to complete over 60 laps on Saturday afternoon and put in a fastest time just over 3 seconds slower than the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton. They will actually be very happy with that. They have made it to F1, the car works and is not ridiculously slow. They can only improve from this point and it is fantastic to see them out there.

Di Grassi – He has been able to get the laps in with the new car and seems to be doing okay, but we can’t assess until he and his teammate have got more laps under his belt.

Glock – Has only completed 16 laps and a lot of those were only single lap runs.

Di Grassi has done most of the laps in the Virgin Racing car

Glock hoping for better weather and reliability so he can have a proper test of the new car

The Next Test – Jerez on Wed 17th Feb

Jake McMillan