F1 testing review: Valencia (Pictures)

Jenson Button drove McLaren number one for the first time

Jenson Button drove McLaren number one for the first time

Ferrari look to have made a clean break from their disappointing 2009 campaign after lapping quickest on all three days of the first F1 test.

The early signs are BMW Sauber are closest to them on performance, with McLaren not far behind as well.

We’ve been used to seeing the first days of testing thwarted by repeated red flags as cars grid to a halt in clouds of smoke. But there was little of that this week and drivers were regularly able to log over 100 laps’ running per day.

And the teams will have breathed a sigh of relief that the weather was kind to them, especially those who were at last year’s rain-lashed test at Portimao in Portugal.

Apart from minor niggles, the kind of things that usually crop up at the time of year, all seven cars ran well. Only Toro Rosso lost any serious time with car trouble, suffering a gearbox glitch on Monday. Mercedes cut their final day short when Schumacher experienced a hydraulic problem on his car.

As teams ran to different plans the variation in their lap times was noticeable – sometimes the same car would suddenly be four seconds per lap slower, presumably when it was full of fuel.

There seemed to be more heavy-fuel runs happening on Wednesday, which partly explains why no-one apart from Fernando Alonso was able to beat Felipe Massa’s besst time from Tuesday.

At this stage we can only draw general conclusions about which cars are fastest, and it’s worth remembering the teams only had the soft and super soft tyres to use at the test.

Williams were especially keen to stress that their low place on the time sheets was a reflection of fuel load and not performance.

The first F1 action of 2010 also provided a few blooper reel moments. Williams rookie Nico H???lkenberg and BMW Sauber driver Pedro de la Rosa managed to crash into each other and had to pit for repairs. And Nico Rosberg became the first person to accidentally park outside his former team’s pit.

The test drew a surprising amount of attention from fans and the media. Ferrari reported a 4km long queue of cars trying to get into the circuit to see Alonso make his debut for the team today, and perhaps also to catch a glimpse of F1’s two other Spanish drivers, Jaime Alguersuari and Pedro de la Rosa.

Inevitably it was the returning Michael Schumacher who stole the show, particularly in the dying moment of Monday when the timing screen briefly reported he gone fastest by four seconds – it later turned out he’d cut part of the track.

The seven teams who participated in the first test have already logged over 1,000km each (apart from Toro Rosso) and between now and the next test will be able to take advantage of the new data they’ve compiled and run it in their simulators to work out how best to develop their cars.

The next test begins one week from now at Jerez, where the teams are expected to be joind by Red Bull, Force India and Virgin Racing. You can find all the dates for testing and the remaining 2010 F1 car launches on the F1 Fanatic Google Calendar.

Who do you think looks strongest after the first F1 test of the year? Have your say in the comments.

Best times

Driver Car Best time Difference
Fernando Alonso Ferrari F10 71.47 0
Felipe Massa Ferrari F10 71.722 0.252
Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari C29 72.056 0.586
Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari C29 72.094 0.624
Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes MP4-25 72.256 0.786
Robert Kubica Renault R30 72.426 0.956
Michael Schumacher Mercedes W01 72.438 0.968
Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari STR5 72.576 1.106
Nico Rosberg Mercedes W01 72.899 1.429
Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes MP4-25 72.951 1.481
Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth FW32 73.377 1.907
Vitaly Petrov Renault R30 73.582 2.112
Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth FW32 73.669 2.199
Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari STR5 73.823 2.353
Gary Paffett McLaren-Mercedes MP4-25 73.846 2.376

Total laps and distance covered


Driver Total laps Total distance (km)
Felipe Massa 226 905.13
Robert Kubica 188 752.94
Rubens Barrichello 177 708.885
Nico Rosberg 158 632.79
Pedro de la Rosa 154 616.77
Fernando Alonso 127 508.635
Nico H???lkenberg 126 504.63
Sebastien Buemi 125 500.625
Michael Schumacher 122 488.61
Lewis Hamilton 108 432.54
Jaime Alguersuari 97 388.485
Kamui Kobayashi 96 384.48
Gary Paffett 86 344.43
Jenson Button 82 328.41
Vitaly Petrov 75 300.375


Model Total laps Total distance (km)
F10 353 1413.765
FW32 303 1213.515
W01 280 1121.4
MP4-25 276 1105.38
R30 263 1053.315
C29 250 1001.25
STR5 222 889.11


Engine Total laps Total distance (km)
Ferrari 825 3304.125
Mercedes 556 2226.78
Cosworth 303 1213.515
Renault 263 1053.315

Valencia test in pictures

2010 F1 testing

Images (C) Bridgestone, Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Mercedes GP, Renault/LAT, Williams/LAT

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155 comments on F1 testing review: Valencia (Pictures)

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  1. Fantastic images form testing and glad to see everything went quite well with testing. Ferrari are up there, glad to see Sauber really high as well.

    Looking forward for more!

  2. Striay said on 3rd February 2010, 17:51

    Why does Robert Kubica appear twice in the list? :s

  3. Great review Keith :)
    The Ferrari is encouraging and certainly should be a better car from last year. I’m really cautious about the car however and it’s only the first test. It’s encopuraging but nothing to shout about yet. We’ll only really know what the cars are like come Bahrain.

  4. R.E.M. said on 3rd February 2010, 17:55

    Ferrari looks strong, but it’s been only one test on a twisty circuit. I’ll wait till after the Barcelona test to make a prediction. Besides, we haven’t seen Red Bull yet. :)

  5. Was just thinking, is it possible for you to put the images in a zip on each post like this, so that we can download them all at once? No problems if its not possible, just trying to find ways of speeding up.

  6. I am really happy no team experienced glitches or a total failure :-) .

    Obviously the team to watch next Week will be RBR and A. Newey. Always exciting to see what he comes up with.

    From this Week’s test, I believe Alonso was sincere when he said they might be on lighter fuel load and that Massa set-up the F10 him. He is gaining some respect from me again…… but let me wait first to see what happens during the season. I hope he continues to impress me though.

  7. Scott said on 3rd February 2010, 18:07

    Does anyone know the purpose of the large vertical black pole sticking out of the onboard camera above the Ferrari cockpit?

  8. Don’t know where to post this with no forums but there is a Spanish article I think it is saying USF1 to sign another driver, Valles once some contract details are finalised. Correct me if I’m wrong http://www.marca.com/2010/02/03/motor/formula1/1265186365.html
    I have no idea how credible this is. Anyone shed some light?
    I’ve not used google translate as for whatever reason it isn’t working for me so I could be very wrong.

    • That is exactly what it is saying Steph, but their source is Marca, can we trust Marca?

      • Nathan Bradley said on 3rd February 2010, 18:55

        Hi guys, I spend quite a bit of time in Spain, and to my knowledge, Marca is a gossipy sports paper, but it is fairly reliable. (For example, last year it correctly anticipated the signings of Lassana Diarra and Klass Jan Huntelaar for Real Madrid.)

        Hope this helps.

        • Thanks Nathan :)

          • Nathan Bradley said on 4th February 2010, 20:06

            No probs Steph,

            On a side note, I’m planning to go to the test at Jerez next week and I’m disabled so I have a few questions. Have emailed the circuit but no response.

            1. I’m disabled so what’s the access and services etc like?
            2. Is there any cover from the weather on the grandstands?
            3. Does anyone know when Fernando Alonso will be driving?I’m planning to go either 12th or 18th of Feb because I believe Lewis Hamilton will be driving (correct me if I’m wrong!) Also, I heard there were huge queues at Valencia for Alonso yesterday so I need to know if it’ll be the same day (as Lewis) so I can go early!

            Sorry for being boring, but being in a wheelchair, these are unfortunately necessary questions!

            Any help much appreciated!



        • James_mc said on 4th February 2010, 10:08

          Did it not also suggest that Real were going to sign Leo Messi?

          Laws of averages methinks…. :-)

          • Nathan Bradley said on 4th February 2010, 20:40

            It may have done but we also have to remember that it is very partizan towards Real Madrid. Besides even they won’t spend the 250 million to buy his contract out…or will they?

            Hope not, I’m a barca fan! :)

    • it is what they say at marca, but the rest of the spanish media aere not saying anything.
      Marca is the number one paper here, so they are very well conected, I think it will happen.

  9. verstappen said on 3rd February 2010, 18:15

    Wondering how much the Sauber was developed in the first part of last year, around the BMW engine…

    Because at first glance the ‘Brawn-way’ seems like a good way to develop your car: at the last moment fit in another engine / gearbox and off you are.

    • ElChiva said on 3rd February 2010, 20:23

      I belive the measurements of every engine are almost 99.9% identical i don’t think that this would be a significant problem ( the phisical space), another thing would be injection, cooling, air feed, vibrations, exhaust …

      • Scribe said on 5th February 2010, 15:18

        BMW pulled out suitibly early an once Sauber took over he was always going to put a Ferrari in the car.

        I reckon they will have had more than enough time under development to fully calibrate the Ferrari engine.

  10. BasCB said on 3rd February 2010, 18:15

    Something interesting from http://www.formule1nieuws.nl/modules/news/article.php?storyid=31725 (translated from Dutch)
    But Mercedes’ team principal Ross Brawn admitted that his team is struggling with some glitches and Ferrari still have the best cards in hand.
    Brawn said: “Yesterday we drove with a full tank so it looked not too bad. But we do have problems with the balance of the car. We know what the problem is and have it repaired for Jerez next week. Of course The other teams also make progress. We are not as fast as Ferrari and Lewis made a good impression yesterday. Today we have the outlet replaced every 150-200 km. This is a problem we have here on site trying to repair. Another problem are the bands we ever learn about. We have already some changes in mind that we want to have ready for Jerez. ”

    Did any of you hear something about the exhausts having to be replaced? I saw a remark about their possibly illegal exhaust in the comments yesterday, but nothing since then.

    • Salty said on 3rd February 2010, 18:43

      by “bands” he’s talking about tyres.

      • damjan006 said on 4th February 2010, 9:07

        I think he is talking about the red-bull style nose but I am not sore just guessing.

        • Scribe said on 5th February 2010, 15:23

          If you ask me Brawn has the most original nose in the paddock. They’ve gone out of their way to combine their last years nose with the redbull.

          Hopefully the curious mix which they’ve ended up with works out for them.

  11. Damon said on 3rd February 2010, 18:19

    Poor Robert Kubica. The BMW-Sauber waisted the 2009 season, and it seems they did built a very fast car for 2010… a faster one than Renault built.

  12. Salty said on 3rd February 2010, 18:31

    What a great entre for the 2010 season. Knew there was going to be a lot of interest, what with the return of Schumacher, the new teams and Alonso moving to Ferrari, but can anyone really believe there were 36,400 fans at Valencia for todays test! Incredible.

    Many F1 sites have been seriously brake tested over these last 3 days. We don’t yet know the cause of the Virgin virtual launch failing to take place, but once it became apparent it wasn’t going to happen, Autosport’s website collapsed under the weight of traffic.

    And Twitter? How awesome was Twitter these last 3 days. Brilliant. Twitter really grew up this week.

    The cars? Who can say. Certainly Ferrari don’t appear to have too many problems right now, contrary to the whispers coming from the Italian press last week. Good to have them back. Surprised about Sauber’s relative performance, but then there is quite a lot of empty advertising space on the car, so perhaps fuel loads have been overly flattering. McLaren and Mercedes seem to be fairly evenly matched, but again, not even the teams know yet. Oh, and love the Renault paint job.

    Notable for their lack of assistance in all this? FOM and the FiA, naturally. Would it really have been so difficult for them to provide a free fixed stream looking down pit straight? Or even just turn on the Live Timing for us? Gee, thanks for nothing guys!

    Aside from that, it’s been a blast. Brilliant comments and fun over the last 3, and thank you for your efforts as always Keith.

    If the Formula 1 feast continues to be this good, 2010 will give us our best ever season.

    • RandomChimp said on 3rd February 2010, 18:46

      “And Twitter? How awesome was Twitter these last 3 days. Brilliant. Twitter really grew up this week.”

      I joined twitter 8 months ago, and only really started using it yesterday :D

    • ElChiva said on 3rd February 2010, 20:28

      Notable for their lack of assistance in all this? FOM and the FiA, naturally. Would it really have been so difficult for them to provide a free fixed stream looking down pit straight? Or even just turn on the Live Timing for us? Gee, thanks for nothing guys!

      Aside from that, its been a blast. Brilliant comments and fun over the last 3, and thank you for your efforts as always Keith.

      If the Formula 1 feast continues to be this good, 2010 will give us our best ever season.

      You just truly hit a nerve man, very good comment, i hope someone is listening

      • three4three said on 3rd February 2010, 22:58

        Had to chime in, excellent and eloquent comment there Salty, very much sums up the feeling coming out of silly/off season for the fanatics. I would also like to add my thanks to Keith for all his hard work and providing us fans with such an outstanding service, really, F1F goes from strength to strength!

    • Comment of the day surely!

  13. You’d be silly not to put a cheeky tenner on Alonso taking the championship this year….

  14. Bigbadderboom said on 3rd February 2010, 18:44

    I think Ferrari have hit the ground running but we do know they were very early to give up on development last year, despite their PR machine working overtime it was obvious they had written off their season by half way. Massa has really stuck some miles on the F10 which will really help Alonso out in advances their set-ups. A little suprised by McLarens pace but difficult to understand what priorities any team has set especially with the extra parameters thrown up by all the added weight, the same brakes and all the problems that can arise from that. I think Kubica looks in good shape, but its early days, lets see what the red bulls have.

  15. Force Maikel said on 3rd February 2010, 18:49

    its just the first test so i think that next test will give a more clear picture abou the pace. Sauber is the biggest suprise i think, and schumacher is trying to get back in form, he will be much better next time. But i have a question about the sauber, on the pictures you can see them use no slicks but tires with grooves, the times driven on those laps don’t count right? The Williams seems off pace and the toro rosso as well. coungratulations to kobuyashi with his quick time

    • John H said on 3rd February 2010, 19:15

      I think they are wets, just used for installation or checking of pressures/ride heights or something. I’m guessing they set their fast times on slicks…. if not then that would be something!

    • The tyres were intermediates which were used while Sauber was bedding the car in and checking all the systems worked properly.

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