Jenson Button, McLaren, Barcelona, 2012

Less than a second covers 2012-spec cars in Catalunya test

2012 F1 testingPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Jenson Button, McLaren, Barcelona, 2012
The teams have looked close in pre-season testing

The ten teams running new cars were covered by less than a second in pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Over the eight days of testing at the track 0.902s covered the fastest laps set by the ten 2012-specification cars.

Although not all the teams will have revealed the full potential of their cars yet – notably Red Bull – it bodes well for the competitiveness of the season ahead.

In testing at the same circuit last year the top ten were covered by 2.3 seconds, with one second covering the fastest six.

Toro Rosso chief engineer Laurent Mekies said: “It is going to be very tight in the midfield and being at the front or the back of that group will be down to very small differences between the car packages.”

Fastest laps Circuit de Catalunya in 2012 testing

Here are the fastest times for each car in the eight days of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya:

Team Driver Time Gap
1 Lotus Kimi Raikkonen 1’22.030
2 Sauber Sergio Perez 1’22.094 0.064
3 McLaren Jenson Button 1’22.103 0.073
4 Toro Rosso Daniel Ricciardo 1’22.155 0.125
5 Ferrari Fernando Alonso 1’22.250 0.220
6 Williams Bruno Senna 1’22.296 0.266
7 Force India Nico Hulkenberg 1’22.312 0.282
8 Caterham Heikki Kovalainen 1’22.630 0.600
9 Red Bull Mark Webber 1’22.662 0.632
10 Mercedes Nico Rosberg 1’22.932 0.902
11 Marussia Timo Glock 1’26.173 4.143

2012 car testing mileages

This table shows which cars have covered the most distance in pre-season testing:

Team Model Total laps Total distance (km)
Williams FW34 1163 5,329.55
Ferrari F2012 1087 4,994.04
Sauber C31 1072 4,922.74
McLaren MP4-27 1065 4,881.87
Force India VJM05 1045 4,794.33
Toro Rosso STR7 1000 4,583.27
Caterham CT01 990 4,527.18
Red Bull RB8 939 4,308.74
Mercedes W03 835 3,886.93
Lotus E20 772 3,501.95
Marussia MVR-02 338 1,568.74
Mercedes W02 348 1,540.94
HRT F111 108 0,478.22

McLaren have covered a third more distance with their new car this year than they managed last year. The troubled MP4-26 logged 3,601km in last year’s tests.

Caterham also ran longer than they did in 2011, managing 800km more. This was despite the teams having fewer days available for pre-season testing last year.

No-one got close to the near-7,000km Ferrari covered in 2011.

The busiest driver was Nico Rosberg, who did almost 3,000km. However some of that was in Mercedes’ 2011 car.

Lewis Hamilton did the most distance exclusively in a 2012 car, with 2,662km, 9km more than Felipe Massa managed in his Ferrari.

The teams will have a further three-day test at Mugello in May.

2012 engine testing mileages

Renault, who are supplying four teams this year, logged the most engine mileage.

However Cosworth, who are supplying just two teams, neither of which have run their new cars yet, covered less than 500 laps in testing.

Engine Total laps Total distance (km)
Renault 3864 17667.419
Mercedes 3293 15104.07
Ferrari 3159 14500.049
Cosworth 446 2046.959

2012 F1 season

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60 comments on “Less than a second covers 2012-spec cars in Catalunya test”

  1. Even though testing means little, this is very encouraging to see.

    Mercedes’ 2001 car

    Sorry Keith, but I think you either mean BAR’s 2001 car, or Mercedes’ 2011 car. :)

  2. So we haven’t learned much except how unusual the nose on the cars look. What will the history books say about this? I sure hope this trend doesn’t find its way into other series. The cars look ridiculous.

  3. Alex Wurz prediction: My F1 Pecking
    order: 1.RedBull, 2.McLaren,
    3.Mercedes, 4.Ferrari, 5-9.
    Sauber/TorroRosso, 10+ rest

  4. Oh my, so if it both were true, meaning Ferrari’s problems AND very tight grid, it can be a disaster.. Q3 could become a very tough task. Would you believe it? Alonso being backmarker in a Ferrari… This doesn’t sound right.

    My very light headed 2012 pecking order would be:

    1. Mclaren/Lotus
    2. Red Bull
    3. Mercedes/Force India
    4. Toro Rosso/Sauber/Williams/Caterham
    5. Marussia/HRT

      1. Well over the course of the year it will change drastically. We saw how strong Reno where at the start of 2011, and how after only a few races they were nowhere. The top 3 tend to gain most of their edge during in-season development.

        1. I’d say top two. Red Bull has a habit of getting caught somewhere into the season, although not soon enough. So in terms of in-season development they are yet to achieve the potential of Ferrari and the undisputed number one in this category the McLaren.

    1. They should make him cheif F1 writer fro the BBC a far more sensible article than the tosh Andrew Benson comes out with….aknowledging that any attmept at disntiguishing performnce via misguided average lap times will do no good whatsoever….

      1. Agreed, Benson’s recent articles have been ridiculous, the numbers he’s been crunching have been way off the scale, one example being an average lap time from BOTH Jerez and Barcelona. Any explanation on how you can average out lap times from two different tracks and come up with a valid result. I think not!

      1. There isn’t any track at Maranello… if it was and testing would be held either there or Ferrari’s standard testing track at Fiorano, trust people to shout out without much ado: FIA stands for Ferrari International Assistance.

    1. It will utter crap if Ferrari arent ready to fight at the front come Melbourne. I hope there is a degree of Sand Bagging going on. If it does turn out that Ferrari really have a dog of a car, at least they’ll be one step ahead compared to last year where they only realized that they had a truck on their hands at Melbourne. This year, they’ve known throughout testing their car is bad

  5. I personally think, for the start of the season, this will be the order:
    1 Red Bull
    2 McLaren
    3 Mercedes
    4 Lotus
    5 Ferrari
    6 Force India
    7 Toro Rosso
    8 Sauber
    9 Williams
    10 Caterham
    11 HRT
    12 Marussia

      1. I know testing times do not speak much… but how do a team which has consistently finished on the wrong side of the top 5 with their 2012 challenger, hope to beat a team which has topped four out of eight sessions of testing?

    1. Fixy I have a feeling it will be somewhat like that (at least at the start of the year) with perhaps merc not so high but still ahead of ferrari. Patrick fry has already given up on a podium in Melbourne.
      But I believe lotus and merc won’t be able to keep up with the pace of development by mclaren and ferrari.

  6. Pat Fry was bearish after what I’d call Ferrari’s best day… I hope he’s just being pessimistic and Ferrari is fast enough to fight for the podium in Australia .

  7. One thing for sure: It will be interesting!
    Hard to tell the order of fastest cars… It is obvious that McLaren’s redesign makes more sense and produces better results then RBR’s, and they were close prior to that. Although, Lotus is my favorite team, my opinion is that Macca is the quickest car for now. We won’t know the answer ’till the first race.

  8. I wouldn’t mind Red Bull having some troubles, it is escential for the other teams to break the Red Bull/Vettel dominance. Not that i don’t like them but i just can’t live with another 2011 season. That would be like watching a re-run.

    1. While I enjoy learning about the aero & mechanics of the cars and want to see innovation from the engineers, I am really glad that field seems to be more close this year. It means that we have the possibility of closer, more exciting racing, where driver skill and/or strategy can really make a difference. And it will still allow all the ppl at the factories to scramble to gain more precious tenths of a second, as if they do, there could be massive rewards. Now surely as F1 fanatics, that’s what we all want.

    2. @force-maikel I wouldn’t say one season of dominance is representative of what’s to come. 2010 was incredibly close and 2009 RBR only really started to hit the ground running. IT’s a fact of the sport that some years, one team/driver will truly break the mould.

  9. If I was supposed to guess the pecking order I would say it’s something like Red Bull with McLaren very close, then a bit of a gap, Lotus, Ferrari and Mercedes (the former I think is not as bad as some say, the latter is not as good as people see it to be) with Force India very very close. Then I’d put Williams on par with Sauber and Toro Rosso and Caterham a bit behind, not as much as last year, not as close to regularly take the fight to the midfield in normal circumstances. Then Marussia and HRT, provided the latter will actually start the season.

    1. I would tend to agree with most of that. As we saw last year with Maclaren and Ferrari, although they had terrible cars at the beginning they were still fast enough to compete for podiums. I therefore do not think Ferrari will be falling into the midfield very easily although they may find it very hard to keep up with Maclaren and RB and will possibly be struggling to beat Merc. Currently it looks like Maclaren may have the fastest car but it is too hard to tell for sure as no one knows what Maclaren and RBs test configurations were, but it does look like RB are playing catchup on the rear end design judging by their complete redesign for the last 2 days (an not really running for one of those days).

      I would be massively excited about the coming season if it were not for Sky :-(

  10. I would like to think that it is going to be close and that at least two teams (would be great to have more) car performance are evenly matched say RB and Mclaren, . (Like season 07 & 08 when the ferrari and mclaren were pretty even)

    But honestly I still think RB will be out in front, Im expecting them to lock out the front row come Aus. I know testing is hard to read but many are saying the RB still the team to beat which they are bound to be. (RB have had the best car for 2 half years)
    Will be well unhappy if RB have a car advantage again just want it to be a real close battle,

    I hope im wrong about RB would be great for first race to have some other team on pole

  11. I think its just too early for anyone to speculate. Last year we saw Ferrari being very positive about their pace and race wins etc and Mclaren looking gloomy. Its a little different this year in testing but the times and laps dont tell us anything. Also, last year we did see Renault then hitting the top of the time sheets with Ferrari right up there as well.

    Ferrari’s statement in fact comforts me a little (Ferrari fan). There is a little discrepancy between what Pat is saying and what the drivers have said thus far. During the Schumi/Brawn/Todt era, they use to play down their times significantly. Only the race, and not even qualifying mattered. I’m hoping that mentality has returned.

    However, all this speculation is fun and it keeps you desperately on the edge of wanting to watch the first race. I only hope that this season becomes something of what we saw in the 2007, 2008 and 2010 seasons where a number of drivers were fighting for the top post and it boiled down to the last race as a decider.

    1. I wonder if at Ferrari what we are seeing/hearing is that with this departure of a car from last year’s, it’s ‘simply’ that they need more time to truly understand it. They’ve tried to follow what Red Bull is currently doing with their exhaust and aren’t yet that happy with the result, so may have to revert back to the exhaust they had.

      But all in all my point is I wonder if the pessimism we might be sensing at Ferrari is just coming from the fact that they appear not to be able to topple Red Bull quite yet. That may have been their ultimate goal with this departure of a car, not just to progress from last year. So to them that might be disappointing. But they might well still be starting this season stronger than they did last year, even if they are internally disappointed that they have found time to be their enemy for now and haven’t had a better handle on the car out of the blocks. Doesn’t mean to me that they won’t get a handle on it.

      They might be looking at it as being a close season amongst perhaps 6 teams so starting off on one’s hind foot can be more detrimental than some other years, and therefore they are disappointed not to be a little further along with a little more understanding of what they have. They will still be learning a lot on Friday in Australia whereas some teams may already know somewhat moreso what to expect.

      I just can’t imagine that they didn’t expect a few more headaches in dealing with a car that is a departure, and could only have hoped but not necessarily expected that it would have been easier to understand it quicker, and what team doesn’t always hope and find much greater ease when a car is great right out of the box. But that is usually the exception, not the rule.

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