Who’s fast and who’s not? A closer look at the lap times from Jerez testing

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton was fastest in the final day's testing at Jerez
Lewis Hamilton was fastest in the final day's testing at Jerez

F1 Fanatic has obtained detailed breakdowns of the fastest lap stints and lap times down by each of the cars in the most recent test at Jerez.

What can they tell us about which teams are quick and who’s off the pace? Find out below.

The problem with testing

Using test times to work out which teams are competitive has always been tricky. It’s harder than ever this year for two reasons.

The race refuelling ban means teams are now testing their cars with anything between a few laps’ worth of fuel and 200kg for a full race distance.

The teams have also become more reluctant to issue lists of lap times. While it was often possible to obtain these in recent years, at Jerez they were not being distributed.

In order to obtain the data for this article, I made notes directly from the timing screens in the media suite. Of course, this is very restricting and time-consuming, so I decided just to follow the dry part of the final day’s testing in the hope it would provide the most recent and reliable information. Ideally, I would have also got the data from the warmer dry running on Thursday, but I wasn’t able to.

McLaren

Driver: Lewis Hamilton
Best time: 1’19.583 (lap 3 of a 5-lap stint)

The most interesting exercise of the final day at McLaren was Hamilton’s long run around midday, just as the track had finished drying out. It was interrupted by a red flag caused by Michael Schumacher, but Hamilton seemed to resume his stint where he left off once the track went green again.

He did 25 laps at first, beginning in the 1’24s and working his way down to the high 1’23s. After the interruption he did a further 11 laps, peaking at a 1’23.4. This was 3.1s off the fastest lap of the day at that point. However it was done on a fuel load good enough for at least half a race distance and on tyres that had covered over 30 laps in cold temperatures.

Although Hamilton was languishing at the bottom of the fastest lap charts at this time, his pace was good given his likely fuel load. Later in the day McLaren went to the opposite extreme, sending Hamilton out for a five-lap run when the track was most rubbered-in. Here’s what he did:

1’19.952
1’19.684
1’19.583
1’28.133
1’19.992

His 1’19.583 was the fastest time of the four-day test, nearly six-tenths quicker than anyone else on Saturday. Only McLaren know how much fuel was in the car, but it’s another persuasive sign the MP4-25 is on the pace.

Force India

Driver: Adrian Sutil
Best time: 1’20.180 (lap 2 of a 9-lap stint)

On Saturday evening Adrian Sutil insisted his best time was representative of Force India’s true performance. It was set during a nine-lap stint, which was typical of what other teams were doing. Here are his times from that stint:

1’20.253
1’20.180
1’20.573
1’22.007
1’21.543
1’22.035
1’22.492
1’23.169
1’23.875

The stint was towards the end of the day’s running (though not as late as Hamilton’s) when the track conditions were most favourable. He did one more stint after this and his times were:

1’24.970
1’23.663
1’23.749
1’24.014
1’24.362
1’23.808
1’24.980
1’25.196
1’25.422
1’26.045

Sutil was still running when the chequered flag came out and this looks like a heavy-fuel run which could have gone on longer. His last four laps show a clear lessening of pace, a reflection of the graining problems he talked about afterwards.

He may have ended the day with the second-fastest time but looking at what the other teams did I suspect Force India are actually in the middle of the pack.

Williams

Driver: Rubens Barrichello
Best time: 1’20.341 (lap 3 of a 10-lap stint)

Barrichello set his best time two hours before the end of the session, early in a fairly consistent ten-lap stint. It was the fastest time of the day at that point, improving on Schumacher’s mark by three-tenths of a second:

1’27.014
1’21.768
1’20.341
1’20.469
1’20.443
1’21.017
1’21.147
1’21.66
1’21.755
1’22.305

He only did one more stint after this run before being stopped by a gearbox problem, costing them valuable dry running. The team also had a hydraulic failure to fix earlier on in the test.

The shortage of data makes it difficult to make a call on where Williams are. But there’s nothing to suggest they’re very far off the pace and the early speed trap figures from the Cosworth CA2010 were encouraging.

Renault

Driver: Robert Kubica
Best time: 1’20.358 (lap 1 of a 5-lap stint)

Unusually, Renault spent most of the dry part of Saturday running doing short stints – nothing longer than six laps. Kubica set his best time in a stint which ended when the chequered flag came out:

1’20.358
1’20.544
1’28.227
1’21.05
1’27.319

His 1’20.385 was a 1.2s improvement on his previous best time. It looks as though Renault either unlocked some performance on the R30 late in the day or ended the test with a run on a decent set of tyres without too much fuel.

I suspect the times Kubica was doing before this late run, which were in the high 1’21s and low 1’22s, are a truer reflection of the R30’s pace.

Mercedes

Driver: Michael Schumacher
Best time: 1’20.613 (lap 4 of a 10-lap stint)

Schumacher set his best time of the day earlier than anyone else – when the track was cooler and had less rubber on it – suggesting the car’s headline performance may be rather better than his fifth place on the times sheets at the end of the fourth day indicates.

I was watching at turns two and three during this stint and Schumacher was visibly pushing the car’s performance under braking, occasionally pushing it too far and gathering it up again by steering into the slide.

Shortly afterwards the Mercedes W01 rolled to a halt on the back straight. Unconfirmed reports suggested the team allowed the car to run out of fuel to work out how far they can push fuel mileage under race conditions. Whatever the problem was, it was remedied quickly enough to have him back on track again shortly after the session resumed.

On later stints he never got within 1.3s of his best time, suggesting he was working on heavier fuel loads. His times were consistent and all the signs are Mercedes have got a solid platform to build on and are among the front-runners.

Red Bull

Driver: Sebastian Vettel
Best time: 1’21.203 (lap 4 of a 10-lap stint)

The RB6 made its first appearance at the Jerez test and was in a less developed state than rival cars. The team were still having some reliability problems including a fuel pump problem which sidelined the car for three hours on Saturday.

Vettel must have had a reasonable fuel load in his car when he set his best time of 1’21.203 because it came during a ten-lap stint followed by a brief visit to the pits, during which time it appears no fuel was added, before returning to the track for another ten laps. Here’s his times from the first part of the stint:

1’21.427
1’21.423
1’31.349
1’21.203
1’21.656
1’21.980
1’22.230
1’22.174
1’22.193

Red Bull appeared quite a long way down the list of overall best times from the test but it’s early days for them and I believe they’ll be up there with McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes in the later tests.

Ferrari

Driver: Felipe Massa
Best time: 1’21.486 (lap 2 of a 10-lap stint)

Massa’s car came to a stop twice during the final day test yet the driver completed more laps than anyone else – a mammoth 160 totalling 708 kilometres, more than two Grand Prix distances.

The team did not disclose why Massa’s car stopped the first time other than to state somewhat enigmatically on Twitter:

Maybe Felipe’s issue was the same experienced by many other drivers during these days of testing…

This could an an allusion to the widely-held belief that some teams were allowing their cars to run out of fuel on purpose. Massa’s car came to a halt at the hairpin leading onto the pits straight, allowing him to pull into the pit lane entrance where he was collected by his crew.

The huge amount of running clearly didn’t cause any problems for Massa, who did his best time of the day on his 151st lap:

1’21.509
1’21.485
1’21.851
1’22.73
1’22.991
1’22.883
1’23.258
1’23.531
1’23.954
1’25.859

This wasn’t all that much quicker than Massa has been lapping earlier on in the day, so I do expect these times were set with a fair amount of fuel on board. I certainly don’t think Ferrari are two seconds off McLaren’s pace as the fastest lap times of the day suggest.

BMW-Sauber

Driver: Pedro de la Rosa
Best time: 1’22.134 (lap 2 of a 7-lap stint)

Pedro de la Rosa did a lot of short runs in the afternoon as the team carried out aerodynamic tests. He set his best time in the longest of them, a seven-lap run. Here’s what he did:

1’22.273
1’22.134
1’22.29
1’22.796
1’22.847
1’23.135
1’23.211

On the face of it the team are probably in the lower half of the top ten on performance.

Virgin

Driver: Lucas di Grassi
Best time: 1’22.912 (lap 1 of a 5-lap stint)

After losing so much time with their wing failure on Thursday, Virgin were eager to get all the dry running they could on Saturday. The team stressed that they were concerned with ensuring the car worked as expected and suffered no further problems rather than looking for fast lap times.

Di Grassi’s quickest time was 3.4s off Hamilton’s best and was set during a short run around two hours before the end of the session:

1’22.912
1’23.608
1’23.902
1’23.224
1’23.611

It’s impossible to judge them against their target of being best of the new runners because the rest haven’t made it to testing yet. That will change next week when Lotus join the action at Jerez.

Toro Rosso

Driver: Jaime Alguersuari
Best time: 1’24.072 (lap 2 of a 7-lap stint)

Underlining the difficulty of interpreting test times, Alguersuari was fastest on Friday (with a 1’19.919) and slowest on Saturday. The STR5 was often near the top of the times sheets on the earlier days, but not on the last day as the team did aerodynamic comparison work. Alguersuari’s best was a full second off anyone else’s.

Notes on the data

A ‘stint’ here refers to the number of flying laps done, for example a five-lap stint comprises an out-lap, five complete laps and an in-lap.

Over to you

What’s your analysis of the Jerez test? Whichteam do you think has the upper hand at the moment? Have your say in the comments.

2010 F1 testing

Images (C) F1Fanatic.co.uk

135 comments on “Who’s fast and who’s not? A closer look at the lap times from Jerez testing”

  1. beautiful analysis Keith .. hats off to you man
    It’d be really interesting to see which of them improve in the coming sessions after all each of the teams will observe others and would want to get in improvements

  2. Great work Keith!
    I was at the 4 days test myself and i agree with your description, however i think Ferrari were the heavier car in the last day, followed by McLaren!
    It will be good to see the times in a proper race!

  3. Great piece of detective work!

    Glancing over the times it looks like that apart from a couple of random laps, the Red Bull & Mclaren seem to be able to lap consistently within a narrower time range than the others.
    This could mean they are suffering less from tyre wear – undoubtedly a major factor for this season given the fuel they’ll have to carry, or it could easily be nothing – that’s the great thing about these testing sessions.
    This cat & mouse game played by all the teams is all part & parcel of the pre-season, and until the clock starts ticking for the Q1 in Bahrain no-one can be sure.

    And I for one can’t wait!

    Keep up the good work Keith!

  4. It’s so hard to tell. One retired engineer who is friendly with teams has apparently said Ferrari and McLaren are at the front with Redbull and Mercedes a little behind them.

    I don’t think the Redbull is as fast as people think. It might be just higher expectations but we will find out.

    There is also the issue that a lot of the cars will have new parts for Bahrain so what might be true now might not apply when we get to race 1.

    I’m looking forward to the first race.

    1. Redbull, I think seriously suffered from it’s engine debacle. They may well be slightly behind at this stage.

      That and Newey is truly at his best when there is a bit of the shake up in the rules. Redbull has become the new Lotus of the grid, with Newey as it’s Collin Chapman, never far of the pace an occasionaly introducing something radically new, shark fins, return of pull rod, high v nose etc which ends up on everyone’s cars pretty soon as they chase the genius an then use superior man power and recources to perfect his designs.

      As long as Newey stays there they’ll never be far off the pace. An I think every once in the while, he’ll think up something new and build the fastest car, hopefully win a few seasons too but he does build fragile cars. Sure you can blame the Renault engine but it worked fine in the Renault.

      I think they’ve got a better chance in 2011. Especially considering how fast the RB5 was compared to the other non-DDD cars.

      1. Colin Chapman was technical and commercial groundbreaking and won 7 constructors titels. I think Newey is really great but a new Chapman….

  5. James Carruthers
    15th February 2010, 11:50

    Very interesting Keith – but don’t you think that fastest laps mean very little? As they need race pace on a tank full of fuel just as much as at the end?

    Imagine a car that is 1-2 seconds quicker with fuel – this could quite easily be a car that is slower with less fuel?

    Guess it’ll be a balance.

  6. I really appreciate, this, Keith.
    But even with this great piece of information, I think it is really hard to understand where they are. Not to say that Jerez has some peculiarities (as any other tracks), so being fast there wouldn’t necessarily mean being fast somewhere else.
    Barcelona should be more indicative, by that point of view.

  7. the big four have all the resourses and more talent, so I expect them to be fastest come Bahrain. a bit optimistic, but a four team battle for the championship would be amazing.

  8. Thank You for a pretty much time you devoted to analyze times but ,probaly most of the peoples who will be reading it to negate conclusion that Renault is 2 seconds slower than McLaren means that we still dont know what is the pecking order right now.
    Kind Regards

  9. Schumacher deliberately getting a session stopped? Surely not.

    The great thing about the new rules is this (and free practice) is the only time we’ll have to guess at fuel loads. When it really matters – in qualifying and the race – everyone will be more or less equal, and the green stripes will make their tyre choice plain to see.

    1. Schumacher deliberately getting a session stopped? surley not

      And felipe Masa…

      1. Well he did say he learned a lot from schumi…

  10. i think force india would be d dark-horse this season ….as d brawns were last season…dey have the potential to srprise us dis season….wit der gr8 aero efficiency….merc engine….and also der performane on lower downforce circuit has increased..so dey r an allround outfit…to look for dis season….

    1. has your keyboard broke?

      1. Has your keyboard ‘broken’? (missing the N).

    2. Come again?

    3. Although his English isn’t that brilliant, he makes a good point. I’d say Force India are the so called “dark horses” of this season.

      1. i think mr patel’s just being patriotic…..
        would be nice to see tho.

        1. I wanted to make the obvious “dark horses” and “come again” jokes. But, I won’t. Sadly. LOL ;)

        2. Mr Patel might be, but I’m not. I always liked the Spyker and Force India team, but only because they were the minnow that never said no and never gave up. Now they’re midfield! They have a good team behind them and a great partnership with Mercedes and Mclaren.

    4. thanks for commenting people. but i don’t agree on the english part. i do know it well but i was tired of writting the correct spellings !! and yes the people who do not consider force-india to be one of the front-running teams are definately going to be surprised. remember my words now and then ‘me’ after the season. being a small team doesn’t mean you cannot do better then the ferraris or the mclarens. mr.vijay mallya has not ventured in f1 for his passion or something. he is a true-blooded businessman and mind you Indian know their business well and consequently the field of their business. he knows what he is doing. and that must will be clear to you all from his steady business relations with mercedes and mclaren and also his decision making abilities when he chose the mercedes engines. and also with a very small budget then that of the oher teams it is no joke to give competition to the other racing giants. F.I are going in the right direction. keep it up F.I. and someone commented of me being patriotic well in that case ” I AM PROUD TO BE AN INDIAN ” and as far as F.I. are their i will only support them.

  11. and also d higher and medium downforce circuits…

  12. Hi, Keith. I found some data:

    http://f1around.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/jerez-day-4-lapchart1.pdf

    It is not complete, but can give some help!

    1. That’s brilliant Becken. Where did you find that?

    2. Thank you keith and Becken – an ideal ream of info to ruminate over. What a piece of data !!

  13. I’ve read every single word of this article and I agree with most it , but I find it hard to believe that Mclaren on the pace. From my point of view Hammy’s flying lap it’s the equivalent of last year’s flying lap of Alonso in the Renault and we all know how they performed in the championship.

    “He did 25 laps at first, beginning in the 124s and working his way down to the high 123s.” on the other hand Massa ran 30 laps in the 1’22s.

    Bmw-Sauber performed the same as Mclaren but from where I am standing they seem to be more on the pace.

    1. Yeah but you’ve proved yourself to be vehmantly anti-McLaren, and a Sauber fan. Your also yet to provide any actual prrof that McLaren arn’t very quick, despite many paddock sources including thems at Ferrari saying they’re probably one of the fastest if not ahead by a smidgen.

      So you would say that. An while I’m a McLaren fan, I’m also a Kobayashi fan, an I don’t think there is a chance they’re currently as fast as McLaren, or Ferrari or even Redbull an Mercedes. I think there well in the midpack, may well have a good season, chance of a victory in a chaotic race but not on pure pace.

      Now this is testing an I may be completely wrong but what it seems to have shown is their are groups developing. 4 Contenders, 6 Middlers, this group will presumably have an order which we cant yet establish, an the new teams. It’s also known to be very close, so over the season, it’s likley that development will change the order.

      The only way it’s hard to belive McLaren are off the pace is by ignoring pretty much every single professional opinion out there.

      1. FLuidd based his argument on facts and times. Scribe you based yours in perception and terrible spelling, borderlining glibberish.

        On and end note a chaotic race win is a good race if you are a fan of the sport not a fanboy.

  14. I’ve read every single word of this article and I agree with most it , but I find it hard to believe that Mclaren on the pace. From my point of view Hammy’s flying lap it’s the equivalent of last year’s flying lap of Alonso in the Renault and we all know how they performed in the championship.

    “He did 25 laps at first, beginning in the 124s and working his way down to the high 123s.” on the other hand Massa ran 30 laps in the 1’22s.

    Bmw-Sauber performed the same as Mclaren but from where I am standing they seem to be more on the pace than the Mecca.

  15. That’s a great bit of deductive reasoning Keith. I think that this years testing is one of the most interesting in recent memory. The obvious factors are there…the refueling ban, new teams etc… but I think a lot of it has to do with reading your stories and the comments on this blog. Your doing only what a “fanatic” could do.

    Hat’s off m8.

  16. Nicely done, There were more times i see you took the ‘dry’ones as guideance. I followed the times also with my friends of f1today which gave me more times of the laps. I wonder as you got a lot of info from sutils car and so little from McLaren why you think the McLaren is fast?

    If i have to make a ‘gues’ i would give this as who was fast of Jerez. (or fast at the moment)

    I think Sutil was fast so the VMJ03 is fast but they have a real problem with grinding. Notice there begin times are fast compared with other teams but dropping after 4-5 laps. probaly too many mechanical grip which they need to fix.

    1. McLaren
    2. Williams
    3. Red Bull
    4. Ferrari
    5. Mercedes
    6. Force India (if they can fix the grinding +2)
    7. Sauber
    8. Torro Rosso
    9. Renault
    10. Virgin

    1. GRINDING – LOL

      1. Sorry about that I am not a native english speaker and playing to much MMO’s

        It should be graining )

        1. what you said makes sense, force india will not do well on tracks where hard tyre compounds are used, they have always strugged on those tyres

      2. The Dutch F1 reporter actually kept calling it “grinding”. Seriously annoying.

        Not sure if he still does, I switched to the BBC las t year.

        1. Makes me grain my teeth ….

    2. Right in response to your order I’m ging to do the silly, an make my own. Obviously it based on the oipnions of other people an my probably my own bias though I’d like to think not, an may go up as well as down.

      1 McLaren
      2 Ferrari
      3 Mercedes
      4 Redbull
      5 Sauber
      6 Williams
      7 Force India
      8 Renault
      9 Torro Rosso
      10 Virgin
      11 Lotus coz they had so little time an it looks less devloped course i have no idea.
      12 Campos, (if it ever gets on track)
      13 USF1 (same)

      1. Also, looking at my list, even I can see it’s probably wrong in a at least many places. Cept the groupings.

        Sorry for the double post but i felt another disclaimer was needed.

        1. For pace I would probably go with most of that.
          Maybe swap Sauber with Williams and Virgin with Lotus but that’s it.

      2. swap sauber and renault and its ok.
        renault should be better than force india wiliams and sauber

  17. Thanks for that Keith. Looks encouraging for McLaren and Lewis. Hope the looks are for real. Really appreciate this stab at an analysis because we really are in the dark this year.

  18. Keith first I just want to say a really big thank you for such hard work and superb analysis. It’s only testing so it’s easy to say ‘wait and see’ but you put in the effort anyway which is why this site is so popular!
    I just want to say now I’m not the most technical minded etc so this is a lot for me to understand :P
    Mercedes seem a bit more frightening to me now; Schumacher is well Schumacher and with Brawn and a half decent car then they will be really fighting.
    We keep discussing who has the edge and is best for outright speed but given the new rules how much more important is it to have a car that can work with the fuel and tyres rather than just being the quickest?
    The Mercedes engine was great for fuel consumption but the Ferrari seems better on its tyres. I think the Mclaren may well be the fastest but Ferrari has a solid base to work on (huge achievement after the F60) and I’m very content with the Ferrari driver line up speaking as a fan.
    I have no idea what to think of RBR and that’s mainly because of the Renault engine. The engine was good for fuel but suffered with reliability and power last year. Their line up too may find themselves overwhelmed with the competition so even if they have the better package I wouldn’t really bet on them.

    1. I’m starting to think that Newey designs are naturally hard on their engines. Because that Renault was pretty reliable in the R29.

      Also, was it underpowered?
      I thought it wasn’t far of, the most fuel efficient an third on power, this year probably about a tenth a lap most likely made up in fuel load. An it qualified strongly, partly due to Alonso an fuel loads but it had the power to deliver him qualifiying positions beyond the race capabilities of that car.

      1. I seem to remember that when Newey first went to Red Bull he got them to change from Ferrari engines to Renault engines because they required less cooling and so the bodywork could be packaged tighter.

        1. Jarred Walmsley
          15th February 2010, 21:11

          Did you consider the fact that the Renualt could be better suited to a Renault engine seeing as the team makes both? Just because it was better suited to it’s manufactures car does not mean that the Newey design is hard on them.

          1. so renault are supplying red bull with dodgy engines? could be true!

          2. Jarred Walmsley
            16th February 2010, 4:47

            Well, thats not quite what I was meaning but anythings possible, especially from Renault

          3. I’m aware it’s just conjecture, an know doubt the Mercedes built shaky engine’s but they did spectacularly catch fire a lot in Newey designed cars. Now I’m sure this is more Mercedes fault than Newey’s and on the other hand they were being given fastest chasis by this man an then supplying him with match stick rockets but all the same, He does seem to demand an awfully cool engine.

  19. Oh and as twitter seems to be more popular a few days ago this was posted from @ClaireVWilliams According to my sources, it’s looking like Ferrari & McLaren are the ones to beat at the moment (boo!)

  20. Given the lack of fuel and programme information and also the fact that several teams are likely to bring major aero updates to Barcelona means that working out who the fastest for outright pace is not really possible. Although there are significant trends if you look at consistency and reliability. I thought something Massa said in an interview was particularly poignant:

    Now the fastest car isnt the one which is on top of the timesheets, but the one which is the most consistent and which has the best performance over the course of the long runs

    Considering that we’re looking at the wrong data.

  21. That was a great read Keith, thankyou. I suspect that McLaren and Ferrari are the front runners at the moment with Red Bull and Mercedes very close behind.

  22. Very good article Keith! Thanks.
    This makes the laptimes so much more valuable. Although maybe hard to say the actual order of the grid, it does say something about the general feeling of each team handling their car. The massive amount of laps and very few technical problems show we probably will see a lot of cars to finish the races.
    They make so many laps each day I am wondering how they maintain that physically. I mean 160 laps in one day, three race distances. That must be exhausting.

    Are you staying in Jerez and move with the circus to Barcelona?
    Are the teams still in Jerez preparing for the next test or did they move out?

  23. It is curious to note that apart from Mclaren, none of the top 4 revealed their true pace at the fag end of day 4 (when the track was at its quickest). This lead me to conclude that either Mclaren is indeed that quick, or everybody else decided to sand-bag at the same time.

    I am more interested in details of Ferrari’s long runs for Massa. Alonso was pretty quick on his long runs on the days before.

    I think Ferrari are perhaps a shade faster than Mclaren, RedBull and Mercedez at this moment.

    It is also curious to note that of the 4 intra-team battles, the gap between Button and Hamilton is the biggest – over 1 second. Jenson must up his game soon. Otherwise, once again for the 3rd consecutive year, the driver with car no.1 is going to have a tough time.

    1. Jenson is probably working on a completely different development program.

      1. Plus they have only run on different days, which adds another variable to the mix.

    2. Not that I’m a Jenson fan, I think he’ll served by the Ham-dog!

    3. I think it would be a mistake to consider Hamiltons lap a true indication of the McLarens pace, it was only 3 tenths faster than the STR5 and at least 2 seconds slower than Ricardo’s lap in the RB6. This car is deffinatley a good step onwards from the MP24 so it wouldn’t be slower round this track then even the Abu Dhabi spec of that car.

      True indications of pace will probably only come in Q3 at Bahrain.

  24. Great work Keith. I have to say thanks for your dedication to keeping us F1F’s one step ahead of the rest!

    Right now I have Ferrari at the top of the tree. Massa’s long run pace has been solid and consistent. The car has run faultlessly and has clocked up the most milage so far. I don’t think Mercedes are too far behind, and it’s a bit early to make a call on Red Bull’s pace. As for McLaren, well I’m reserving judgment. The MP4-24 is still too fresh in my memory to call the MP4-25 a world beater.

    The battle for the last two or three points places (assuming that Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Red Bull will be helping themselves to the majority of the points) will be very interesting, with Force India looking like they are going to be giving Williams and Renault a lot to think about. If you throw Sauber and Toro Rosso into that mix as well, it looks like we are goign to have a cracker of a season on our hands! 24 days and counting… I can’t wait!

  25. Yeah what a great article, thank you.

  26. Amzing analysis keith, exactly what i was hoping for and more.

    I suspect at the start of the season there will be the big four in the running but i cant help feeling that Mclaren and Ferrari will start to show why they have dominated the sport for so long. I really do hope mercedes and red bull will keep up but i suspect the pace of which those two teams can develop will be hard to match.

    1. I think Mercedes is a dominant force of the future. Certainly with the organisation and backing it’s got it will one day be a regular powerhouse. Schumi reckons they’ve built a good car but it’s true they might be slightly left behind in the development race. Give it a season or two an they’ll be up to speed.

  27. Red Bull will be up there, just as an example Red Bull didn’t top the time sheets last year..apart from 1 day..from memory.
    Ferrari always like to be up the top weather they have a fast car or not…
    Merc and RBR are foxing/sandbagging.
    Mclaren is struggling, and Ferrari was be there or there abouts…
    I wont be surprised if Renault is quick too.

    Webber was fast in wet conditions before they other got upto to the same speed so it shows they car has plenty of DF. add to this Torro Rosso have slower drivers, less developed car and topped the sheets, so RBR are letting them do the glory bit of testing…
    :)
    Podium Rnd 1
    RBR
    Ferrari
    RBR

    1. RBR will flop.

      1. lol yer…ok

        If puss comes to shove they could always roll out the rb5 as it was a good 2seconds quicker at the same track than any of this years cars, and that was with a rookie f1 driver…by rookie never turned a corner in a f1 car before..

        So by logic they have made a update and few mods to the rb5 and came up with the rb6…………. to put that perspective, RBR made a few updates last year; rather LARGE ones and went quicker and quicker….

        One the flip side Mclaren and ferrari have both brand new cars with zero in common with last years cars….All I see from both teams is ego and bravado at the moment. Nothing concrete to say we are going to be the teams to beat.

        Same pecking order as 09, but with RBR on top.

        1. Erm, it seems odd to point this out but all the cars are reported to be a good step foward from last year. The reason no one has done a 1.17 is no one wants to reveal their true pace. Alguersuari an make of this what you will reckons he could have done a 1.15 in qualifiying set up.

          1. Erm, it’s the reason testing times and the pecking order is utter BS…and the thousand odd pages devoted to this is as good as toilet paper….

  28. Also I fail to see a podium for the other Merc driver till late in the season if at all.

  29. thnx for givin us so much information about lap times but i think we cant get any indication from them cause everybody works in their way to hide the true pace but i think ferrari is fastest and kubica did short stints with high fuel

  30. Great analysis… I can’t wait for the start of the season now!

    I’m not sure if you’ve already been asked this Keith but any chance you could do an article on behind the scene stuff? I can only really speak for myself, but I imagine most fans don’t really know too much about testing. What is the atmosphere at the circuit like? Are the drivers always out and about in the paddock? How many people were there at the circuit and the pit lane compared to a normal GP? Which drivers/ team personnel were friendliest when you interviewed them? That sort of stuff. I think it would be really interesting!

    1. Drivers are free to go where they want in the paddock.

      For instance, MSC went to Ferrari for a pasta :-) and of course to spy for his team :-(

      You would expect less pple compared to a GP-day but since homeboy is around you can expect more pple as normal.

      Can’t answer the last question as I have not conducted any interview with any team :-(

    2. any chance you could do an article on behind the scene stuff? I can only really speak for myself, but I imagine most fans dont really know too much about testing.

      Yes I’m sorry I didn’t get around to doing one on the McLaren launch. Will write something up for tomorrow.

      1. Nice one, should be good!

  31. thnx for givin us so much information about lap times but i think we cant get any indication from them cause everybody works in their way to hide the true pace but i think ferrari is fastest and kubica did short stints with high fuel load for renault

  32. Torro rosso could be up their getting points with Jaime and Seb topping the testing tables. Jaime algerz has a great career in front of him starting F1 at the age of 19

  33. Nice analysis. I think McLaren will look more impressive at Barcelona with its fast corners than Jerez.

  34. a lot of work put into it, but impossible to determine who is ahead at the moment. And the thing is, they can improve a lot during the couple of test that still are left.

  35. Keith man, this is great stuff…the consummate Pro F1Fanatic.

    this sandbagging during testing is ticking me off, can’t wait for the reds to go off in Bahrain to see who’s what and what’s who…

  36. Keith if you go to the next test could you make pictures of the left rear tyre after 4-5 rounds? I think that will tell a lot about how fast cars can go without a extra pitstop. Tyre wear is going to be very important with those heavy loads.

    1. On Saturday it was quite cold and you could see even after a few laps they were graining – it’s visible in a few of the pictures.

  37. Pretty amazing that Virgin is lapping within the envelope of times of the top teams—their car has never seen a windtunnel and was one of the last to roll out. This is either a phenomenal engineering achievement on their part, or there is far less than meets the eye with these testing times. Not knocking the work Keith did here, but the plot is still very thick with regards to the teams’ true pace.

    1. Not knocking the work Keith did here, but the plot is still very thick with regards to the teams true pace.

      I agree entirely – when they’ve got their Bahrain-spec aero on at Barcelona we’ll have a much better idea. Hopefully it’ll be warmer there too.

  38. Accidental Mick
    15th February 2010, 15:03

    I think that Massa’s epic drive was more for Massa’s benefit than Ferrari’s. He wants to make sure he is race-fit.

  39. The situation reminds me of the story ofan American professor of constitutional law, who td his students not to read the Constitution as it would only confuse them in their studies (i.e. literal text vs interpretation).

    Last year, even FP3 in Melbourne wasn’t that accurate for gauging thecars’ erformances (though they gave a far better general idea than testing had). Keith providessome intetesting deductive analysis here, but for the rest of us making predictions from them is still far too premature, especially when some of us will want to play up our favourites and play down their rivals.

    1. I hate iPods…

    2. I think the best out right pace, order showing timing list may well be Q2 in Bahrain. The drivers will drive they’re tyres to ruin an it’ll still be the fastest quali probably. Hope not but untill then we will have to wait an see.

      1. i totally agree here :)

    3. The situation reminds me of the story ofan American professor of constitutional law, who td his students not to read the Constitution as it would only confuse them in their studies (i.e. literal text vs interpretation).

      I’ve been told the same thing about the Concorde Agreement…

      1. Well this article http://www.pitpass.com/fes_php/pitpass_news_item.php?fes_art_id=39933
        certainly gives a view just why that would be true!

  40. Here’s my pessimistic view of race prospects this season:

    The Mercedes powered cars may have lots of power, but probably worse fuel burn. The Renaults the opposite. In qualifing on empty tanks expect to find Force India, Mercedes & McLaren hogging the front rows.

    When the light goes green, the Merc cars may have to turn the wick down or tank up on extra fuel so they can last the distance. They’ll drone around at the front over the first 25 laps while the the likes of Red Bull and the rest will be trapped behind looking for a way through. As fuel burns off, the Merc cars start to tear off into the distance.

    Of course the above may not come to pass, but is this grim scenario a possibility?

    1. Remember this year. Fisichella, had what was predicted by the beeb to be 2-3 laps less fuel than Kimi, in Spa no less, hardly easy on the engine. An yet come pitstops he followed him in.

      The Merc is estimaited to be the second most fuel efficient in the padock. The Ferrari is supposed to be quite thirsty, though doubtless less thirsty this year.

      1. When i said rememer this year, what I really ment to say was remember Belgium last year.

        I really should read short posts before i press send comment.

        Sorry AGAIN for a double post. Try not to let it happen again.

    2. Well, there is this thing called passing, remember?

  41. Anybody noticed the side air inlets on the Mercedes – the ones behind the driver’s helmet are covered?

    1. I did ;)

      http://f1news.cz/pictures/photo/2010/02/12/1265968808-hdd.jpg

      and wrote couple words about it on my site too (in Czech however).

      1. Not a problem for me, mate. I’m Polish – I can understand a fair amount of Czech. ;-)

        Czech:
        Robert Kubica zakon?il testy s ?asem 1:20,358 na ?tvrt pozici.

        Polish translation:
        Robert Kubica zako?czy? testy z czasem 1:20, 358 na czwartej pozycji.

        It’s not always that easy, hehe, but I can always get the gist of the message.

        1. Great! It is time for for Englishmen to learn Slavonian languages than!
          C’mon guys, we learn your language, so learn a little bit of ours too :)
          No, I am just teasing you.. ;)

          Well, Damon, that is good news, I speak fluently Polish ;) Than you can probably read my summary from Jerez:
          http://f1news.cz/novinky/34044-shrnuti-prvnich-testu-v-jerezu/

          And some other technical stuff on my site:
          http://f1news.cz/technika/

          1. “I speak fluently Polish”
            – You do? How’s that?
            ———————–
            Looking at this table I came to realize that there are 6 german drivers in the field. Had Heidfeld found a drive, it would’ve been 7 -> 1/3 of the entire field.

            And when was the last time there was no Finnish driver? ;(

            It’s also interesting that out of the 4 engine manufacturers for this season: Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault, Cosworth – the first three have got their own works teams.

            Hadn’t Toyota quit, there would’ve been as many as four teams that produce their own chassis and engine – something very unnusal in modern F1.

          2. Oops, I forgot Kovalainen drives for Lotus this season!

          3. “And when was the last time there was no Finnish driver?”

            I’m not sure… but your question implies that there won’t be a Finnish driver on the grid in 2010. Heikki Kovalainen might have something to say about that!

            Oh, and how can a Polish person take the name Damon and a Czech call himself Pedro?! It’s very misleading! Then again, I call myself Ned Flanders but I’m not from Springfield, so perhaps I’m being hypocritical…

          4. “Great! It is time for for Englishmen to learn Slavonian languages than!”

            Don’t think so. There IS a reason we had an Empire …..

            ;)

          5. >Damon: How is that? Because I live in Cieszyn (the Czech part of that town) :-b

            >gpfan: It was a joke. ;) I hate nacionalism (“we had emipire – you personally were not concerned”) – the root of wars and evil – no one is better because of he is member of some nation or race. Everyone is human being deserving respect, having right to live and has his place in the world!

            And I must admit honestly that learning Czech would be a waste of time – because just 10m people are speaking that language. I would just invite you for a beer and have a chat in Czech – but the effort is not worth that probably. ;)

            But I have experience, that people from nation that HAD an Empire are rather lazy – to learn and master foreign languages (Dutchman are good example not just for you learning 3 languages at school) and even to work – esp. young ones are not too diligent, so you are becoming dependent on people from other (usually poorer) countries. And that is also the reason you HAD an Empire, not having any more from my point of view (no flame please).

            But it was my fault to invoke such a reaction by exaggerated call to learn Slavonian languages on English forum. I am becoming too philosophical, let’s talk about F1 ;)

            >Ned Flanders: Well, those nicks are funny from that point of view, you are right :) I have Pedro because my name is Petr and I while I was learning Spanish (also passed the exam) my mates called me Pedro ;)
            I bet Damon admired someone in 1996 :)
            BTW: I love Simpsons!

          6. Hello Pedro,
            i like your site, especially this picture http://f1news.cz/pictures/photo/2010/02/03/1265232458-hdd.jpg
            comparing the different cars.
            It seems the williams has a pretty short wheelbase.
            Shame, you do not have the Renault in there as well.

            Just to clarify this about “empires”, we Dutch used to have one pretty impressive amassed from the 16th century onward but slowly getting smaller. Now we only have memories of Indonesia, Dutch speaking people in Suriname and a couple of very nice islands in the caribic. The part about learning a lot of languages is true.

            I would like to take up your invite to a beer some time, as i live in the Czech Republic myself.
            Yes, i learnt the language and it was tough. On the other hand it has the advantage, that the Slavic languages in middle Europa are close enough to understand Slovak and some Polish as well (so up to 56 Million for grabs].

            Back to F1 – are you going to visit any races this year/

          7. >BAScb As to that picture: due to your nice comment I will add Renault R30 there too (URL will change, I will post it here.. (or follow the article URL). Computer graphic is my hobby as well ;)

            As to Empires.. you are right. I like using that as historical facts rather that pointing on which nation I am coming from – it is useless as we are equal. And have nothing more to add as we never have one (so big) ;)

            Where do you live in Czech republic? Why did you choose such a small country? We can arrange some beer appointment – over Stella Artois or Pilsner Urquell? Hoegaarden or Budvar? :-)

            As to Slavonic languages you are almost right, you just forgot to mention Slovaks, Slovenes (yes, it is different country), Croats, Bulgarians, Russians, Ukrainians.. = more than 260 mil. :)

            I would like to visit some of races nearby, has not yet definitely decided which one, considering Hungaroring, Hockenheimring, Monza, Monaco.

            I have been in a connection with BMW Sauber, so they took me to couple races:
            http://gallery.hlawiczka.com/F1 (but it probably won’t work due to changes in ownership and poor economic climate this year).

          8. Hello Pedro,
            thanks for adding the Renault, it really does look smaller, although the angle of the picture is a little bit different.

            I live close to Mlada Boleslav (yes, originally because of Skoda Auto) and moved to the Czech Republic, because it is really in the middle of Europe.

            As you said, being able to communicate without too much trouble with over 200 million people is nice.

            I was thinking of going to Budapest this year, but i am not sure yet.

          9. Yes, that Renault R30 is different angle and scale, I know it is not perfect.

            Doesn’t anyone of you guys have a better side pic of R30 by the chance? Thx. I’ll redo that.

  42. I think like Schumi: Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull and Mercedes. But Sauber could be the great surprise of 2010 season!

  43. The WDC will be contested between Fast Fred and Hamilton. The Kaiser might not be fast enough right away.
    McLaren will be fast if they stick to the silver wheels they showed at the unveiling. If they switch to black wheels they wil go slower.

  44. Aleksandar Serbia
    15th February 2010, 19:10

    That was great Keith, you are like a SuperNerd there, they must give u a special pass and reward for your dedication in gathering non conclusive data, which can not be used to any prediction on where anybody stands, i just admire your passion, since i am a racing guy and cannot understand what drives u to do this!
    Hats off to you , cheers mate ;)

  45. Gr8 work Keith … Really happy to see the dedication , since we dont get much hands on action all the way here in India, its great to have such information at hand … the other websites give u news , u interpret beyond the basic n thts wat makes F1Fantic the best … keep it up !

  46. Nice Analysis Keith.

    I just read the following Article quoting Alonso and i feel he has really hit the spot.

    http://www.planet-f1.com/story/0,18954,3213_5950779,00.html

    “Alonso: No one has yet to pull off a Brawn”. I totally see that coming. Everybody is really trying to understand the car and get the best setup for race conditions. Baharin would the first place where the first clear indication of an order of the Teams / Drivers would emerge. Both Inter Team and Intra Team rivlary would get some indication then.

  47. Has anyone noticed the slightly odd McLaren air intake? Today good picture at the top, deffinatley different to yesterdays. Is that another testing device, or McLaren trying something new. It doesn’t look particularly efficient an i’m fairly sure its differnt to yesterdays.
    http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/IMG_2466.jpg

    1. That is weird – no idea what that’s all about though.

  48. Jhonnie Siggie
    15th February 2010, 21:10

    I applaud Keith for trying to make sense of this but IMHO we are trying to form an opinion using mumbo jumbo data. Data points as used in this example have little predictive value. Enron or Worldcom accounting comes to mind :). A for effort though guys!

    1. It’s just speculation based on some loosely related facts, for fun, building excitement and general enjoyment.

      You know, fun?

      1. I totally agree, thats why this site name is f1fanatic and not f1reasonable….

  49. Great article Keith, it’s good to have a team by team analysis. However, I’ll personally be refraining from drawing any conclusions as we’re not comparing the running on the different days and by different drivers so it’s even harder to surmise the situation, and unlike Keith I wasn’t there. Hopefully this week will give us more dry running so we can compare teams’ perceived progress over the course of the test, but looking at the forecast that’s looking doubtful tho Saturday may prove alright.

  50. Great article Keith. Thank you for helping us glean a little more from the usual testing confusion.

    Two questions you should be able to answer. At Jerez, is there live timing screens available to the public in the cattle class seats? I was at Valencia but was really dissapointed that we did not have timing. I was reliant on the Internet and a stopwatch. I understand that there are screens in the media centres but do they have them else where during testing.

    Secondly did the Mercedes GP car sound as bad as it did at Valencia? It really banged and popped and was some 10db louder than anything else. I read after the 1st test that they kept cracking exhausts. Not really suprising.

  51. Fantastic report Keith. New to F1 Fanatic, really enjoyed your hard work over the last few days, thanks. I have trying not to read too much into the times. (Thanks Brecken) This season will be won by the driver who can look after the tyres and keep ahead even when the wick is turned down. He also needs a team that knows when to pit and push on fresh tyres, timing the final stint will be cruital. We are going to hear a lot about the benifits of each engine but this year will be all about tyres tyres tyres.

  52. Is it me or does the new McLaren look super-fast even when it’s not moving ??

    I think Lewis will come storming out of the gates in the first few races. After that it will be up to RBR and Ferrari to catch up. I don’t give Mercedes too much of a chance this year.

    1. Jraybay-HamiltonMclarenfan
      17th February 2010, 23:18

      Lol it does. Looks like a missile cant wait to see it in motion at bahrain :D

  53. Ferrari are the quickest car, with mclaren, merc and redbull close behind.

    This years f1 is differnt to every other year. Having a car quick over one lap is not as important as having a car which is consistent over a long run. Mclaren seem quick but dont have consistent times over long runs. IE Hamilton or button cannot produce consistenly lower lap times lap after lap as the fuel burns off they tyres are different lap to lap. The ferrari seems to do this really well. Alonso did a 37 lap run which times were lowered everylap.

    This will be the story of the season. You can have a quick car, but it will need to look after its tyres, and Ferrari has always managed that. The issue will come how you can use this tactically to win a race.

    1. Disagree. The Mac is the fastest car at the moment, though by not much. And something tells me that they will develop it a lot further between now and Bahrein, same as with the RBR. I think the first few races will be contested between Mac and Ferrari, that means Lewis and Alonso. As for looking after tyres, I say speed will always be the main differentiator in F1.

      1. tell me what makes you think that rbr is fast? :)

  54. Nice work,it’s hard to tell
    I think Ferrari,McLaren,Mercedes were the fastest.Sauber may be running low fuel run. & hope Red Bull be back from next test.

  55. Hello Keith,

    thanks for a little insight in the behaviour of the cars on track. I am really looking forward to getting a better vieuw of the cars and the progres teams make during testing.

    I just read an article on the dutch site Formule1Nieuws reffering to an article in the “La Gazetta dello Sport” (see link below).
    It is an interestig thought, placing the engine in an angle to the car. I suppose that means some problems with aligning the drivetrain etc., but they might be onto something.

    Although the placement of the engine can not be seen during testing, i was wondering, weather you heard anything from the teams or media in Jerez on this rumour.

    http://translate.google.cz/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=cs&ie=UTF-8&layout=1&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.formule1nieuws.nl%2Fmodules%2Fnews%2Farticle.php%3Fstoryid%3D31791&sl=nl&tl=en

    1. Where exactly?

  56. Hello Keith, i just read this http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2010/02/teams-experiments-show-what-ferraris-plan-might-be/
    blog by James Allen, where he gets into some further thoughts about possible stragies teams anticipated for their cars.

    What do you make of this? Anybody els have some thoughts on this?

  57. Jraybay-HamiltonMclarenfan
    17th February 2010, 23:15

    Yyayayaya go Ham! :^D . Also pretty good pace from many other teams I not expect from.

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