Teams’ last chance to prepare in pre-season testing

2013 F1 season

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013The final four-day test ahead of the 2013 season gets underway at the Circuit de Cataluna tomorrow.

Trying to get a read on the performance of each of the teams from testing is fraught with problems. At this stage the top teams appear to be close on pace – perhaps even closer than last year.

And nobody appears to be going through the trauma that gripped Ferrari 12 months ago, when Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa discovered the F2012 was well off the pace.

As is always the way in F1 testing, no one will show their hand until they feel they have to. Keep an eye out for teams to start running their aerodynamic packages for the first race towards the end of the test.

“When you’ve got a new car you obviously aim for the last couple of days in Barcelona should be running Melbourne-spec,” said Williams technical director Mike Coughlan at the track last week.

In recent years we’ve become used to seeing Red Bull go to considerable lengths to cover up their car when they start running their new aero parts, ducking behind carefully-arranged screens.

This year they’ve had the screens in use since the first test at Jerez. Photographers who creep too close can expect a glowering glare from team manager Jonathan Wheatley, followed by a readjustment of screens and personnel to obscure their view.

But it’s not just the world champions who are under scrutiny from their rivals. McLaren mechanics were spotted shooing away a Lotus team member as he snapped pictures of the rear of their MP4-28.

McLaren produced the quickest time of last week’s test, Sergio Perez setting a 1’21.848. That was just 0.027s faster than Ferrari’s best effort.

Headline times like these can be misleading: The troublesome F2012 was the second-fastest car at last year’s Jerez test. Yet there is a sense of relief at Ferrari that the F138 is clearly a better base to build on than its predecessor, and an expectation that they can have a much better season.

Lotus, too, appear confident in their E21. Their testing has been hampered by a few technical and operational problems, but providing these are ironed out in the next few days they look set for a good start to the season.

Kimi Raikkonen has been disproportionately affected by this – he is the only driver to have covered less than 1,000km over four days, and team mate Romain Grosjean has managed almost 500km more. However Raikkonen is probably the last driver on the grid who would be concerned about missing a chance to go testing.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Mercedes have also had a few glitches with their W04. The car appears to be quite conservative but after their recent efforts that may well prove to be a benefit. They did little running on the soft tyres last week and so their performance is likely to be better than the lap times indicate.

Sauber are Toro Rosso are plugging away with cars which are much-changed from their predecessors. Caterham and Marussia still look to be a second or more off the midfield pace.

The teams’ attempts to perform long run tests have been frustrated by the cool conditions and the levels of degradation experienced with the new 2013-specification tyres. However that is expected to be less of a problem once the season begins.

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery explained: “At this stage of testing it is always difficult for the teams and drivers to know what to expect from the first race as conditions are not always representative.

“Past experience from the last two years shows a big reduction in tyre degradation over the course of the season: roughly half the degradation seen in winter testing. This year, we think that degradation will be higher than it was in 2012, and we estimate a degradation rate of around 0.15 to 0.18 seconds per lap in race conditions for the hard compound in Barcelona.”

While most teams are concentrating on tyres and car development some are still trying to sort out their driver line-up. The late completion of the 2013 driver line-up, along with the disappearance of one team over the winter, is another sign of the sport’s poor financial health.

Whoever Force India choose to put in their car this year they will have spent at least two of their twelve pre-season test days running a non-race driver. Although some of that was given to simulator driver James Rossiter, it is still less than ideal.

The situation at Marussia is also uncertain. Luiz Razia was announced as Max Chilton’s team mate but didn’t turn a wheel last week amid rumours over his sponsorship package.

Final decisions on who will be driving for those two teams can’t be left much later. The final test begins in less than 24 hours.

Once again, F1 Fanatic will be there to bring you coverage direct from the track.

2013 testing statistics

Barcelona test one fastest times by team

Team Driver Time Gap Tyre
1 McLaren Sergio Perez 1’21.848 0.000 Soft
2 Ferrari Fernando Alonso 1’21.875 0.027 Soft
3 Sauber Nico Hulkenberg 1’22.160 0.312 Soft
4 Lotus Romain Grosjean 1’22.188 0.340 Soft
5 Red Bull Sebastian Vettel 1’22.197 0.349 Soft
6 Mercedes Nico Rosberg 1’22.611 0.763 Medium
7 Williams Pastor Maldonado 1’22.675 0.827 Soft
8 Force India Adrian Sutil 1’22.877 1.029 Soft
9 Toro Rosso Jean-Eric Vergne 1’23.366 1.518 Soft
10 Marussia Max Chilton 1’25.115 3.267 Soft
11 Caterham Giedo van der Garde 1’26.177 4.329 Soft

Barcelona test one fastest times by driver

Driver Team Time Gap Tyre
1 Sergio Perez McLaren 1’21.848 0.000 Soft
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’21.875 0.027 Soft
3 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1’22.160 0.312 Soft
4 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1’22.188 0.340 Soft
5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1’22.197 0.349 Soft
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’22.611 0.763 Medium
7 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1’22.623 0.775 Medium
8 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1’22.675 0.827 Soft
9 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’22.726 0.878 Hard
10 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1’22.826 0.978 Soft
11 Jenson Button McLaren 1’22.840 0.992 Hard
12 Adrian Sutil Force India 1’22.877 1.029 Soft
13 Mark Webber Red Bull 1’23.024 1.176 Medium
14 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1’23.366 1.518 Soft
15 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1’23.718 1.870 Medium
16 Paul di Resta Force India 1’23.971 2.123 Medium
17 Max Chilton Marussia 1’25.115 3.267 Soft
18 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1’25.124 3.276 Hard
19 Jules Bianchi Force India 1’25.732 3.884 Medium
20 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1’26.177 4.329 Soft
21 Charles Pic Caterham 1’26.243 4.395 Medium
22 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’27.563 5.715 Medium

Distance completed by driver

Driver Total laps Total distance (km)
Esteban Gutierrez 416 1,879.276
Paul di Resta 384 1,733.040
Valtteri Bottas 367 1,667.979
Jean-Eric Vergne 363 1,649.586
Nico Hulkenberg 357 1,621.429
Sergio Perez 353 1,602.582
Sebastian Vettel 348 1,574.994
Max Chilton 348 1,595.651
Mark Webber 346 1,571.132
Pastor Maldonado 333 1,514.930
Lewis Hamilton 333 1,513.795
Nico Rosberg 324 1,471.446
Charles Pic 317 1,437.953
Romain Grosjean 309 1,404.572
Felipe Massa 307 1,377.556
Daniel Ricciardo 296 1,343.149
Giedo van der Garde 295 1,338.721
Fernando Alonso 283 1,317.365
Jenson Button 261 1,187.715
Kimi Raikkonen 210 949.629
Jules Bianchi 117 531.923
Adrian Sutil 78 363.090
James Rossiter 61 270.108
Pedro de la Rosa 51 225.828

Distance completed by team

Team Model Total laps Total distance (km)
Sauber C32 773 3,500.71
Red Bull RB9 694 3,146.13
Toro Rosso STR8 659 2,992.74
Mercedes W04 657 2,985.24
Ferrari F138 641 2,920.75
Force India VJM06 640 2,898.16
McLaren MP4-28 614 2,790.30
Caterham CT03 612 2,776.67
Lotus E21 519 2,354.20
Marussia MR02 461 2,096.02
Williams FW35 367 1,708.39
Williams FW34 333 1,474.52

2013 F1 season


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Images ?? Lotus/LAT, Jamey Price/James Moy

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26 comments on Teams’ last chance to prepare in pre-season testing

  1. Bosley (@bosley) said on 27th February 2013, 10:35

    Gutierrez has done more than 400 laps already?
    Well thats a grueling introduction to F1, especially considering the lack of testing.

  2. chandranath (@chandranath) said on 27th February 2013, 11:32

    Force India must display “This could be you” “This is a cool spot” on their second car

  3. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 27th February 2013, 11:38

    Marussia say Max Chilton will be in the car for the first day of testing tomorrow. No word yet on when (or if) Luiz Razia will run.

  4. craig-o (@craig-o) said on 27th February 2013, 12:18

    McLaren produced the quickest time of last week’s test, Sergio Perez setting a 1’21.848. That was just 0.027s faster than Ferrari’s best effort.

    Headline times like these can be misleading.

    Certainly. Andrew Benson has predicted Jenson Button on pole at Melbourne and Gary Anderson has predicted that Sergio Perez will win the title.

  5. Deepak (@ideepak) said on 27th February 2013, 12:34

    This week could be the making of breaking of Sutil’s or Bianchi’s career! ?

    • Sutil has had his chance, and he has been slow when compared to anyone with talent. FI would be better off with the best driver they can get who might just bring them in more cash through better results – radical plan, I know, but this is F1 where conservative just won’t do and the best drivers always get the seats…

      I’d go for Kobayashi – he is awesome. Attack the japanese hard for support, and if Honda is making a comeback he might be worth having on board as FI might then be able to get honda engines on the cheap (I know I’m guessing here but who knows???). Glock could also be an option, or one of the ‘lost’ McLaren drivers like Paffet or Green – lots of testing miles over the years and worth a crack. If Bianchi is not getting the drive as FI want him to do a year testing then why go back to a hack like Sutil? Hell, if you’re going to do that then give Rubens or Ralf a call eh?

      • Deepak (@ideepak) said on 27th February 2013, 14:17

        @clay

        Why do these people matter ? It’s too late now, and I doubt any of them would like to join a midfield team like FI.

        I can’t wait till the bloody team makes a press statement. They’ve updated their Facebook page saying they’d come out with the news everyone’s been waiting for soon. Soon by their standards could be 2 weeks though -_-.

      • @clay – sadly just because Kobayashi is “awesome” does not make him a suitable choice. Glock isn’t an option, as he is driving in DTM and the McLaren test drivers wouldn’t be a sensible option as they don’t know the team: Bianchi or Sutil would make more sense.

        There are really only two candidates, and out of the two I think they should give the younger a shot.

  6. Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 27th February 2013, 14:11

    I think Williams will be the surprize of the season. I predict them to be in the top 3 in Melbourne and maybe even fighting for the championship.

    • M Dickens (@sgt-pepper) said on 27th February 2013, 17:05

      It’d be an interesting suprise if that happens. I’m still hoping for Hamilton to pull a 2012 Alonso and wrestle an inferior car to the podium, feel both drivers deserve more championships for such a degree of talent.

      • Nick.UK (@) said on 27th February 2013, 20:49

        Totally agree. It would be such a shame if the left the sport with 1 and 2 championships respectively. I know there are a lot of laps left in them both but Red Bull are just on such form that it might not matter. If Vettel is to break Schumachers records like people say he will, then drivers like Hamilton and Alonso will have to loose.

  7. Oskar (@oskar) said on 27th February 2013, 15:13

    It will be a busy weekend. Rain for tomorrow and friday :(

  8. Metallion (@metallion) said on 27th February 2013, 17:48

    I read that Nicolas Todt has said that Adrian Sutil will partner Di Resta at Force India but I don’t know how reliable it is. Seems like nothing is officially confirmed yet.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 27th February 2013, 21:03

      And Vergne tweeted that its a shame his mate Bianchi won’t be in F1 too. But nothing is official quite yet.

      Also interesting to see what happens at Marussia

      • Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 27th February 2013, 21:13

        @BasCB Hopefully they don’t do to Razia what Caterham did to Trulli before the start of last season: be contracted for the upcoming season yet have that contract suddenly broken and replaced by Petrov due to – you know what…

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 27th February 2013, 22:53

          I guess its mostly dependent on the money transfer from Razia’s backers now. But I would hope to have him confirmed tomorrow. I had been curious to see how he would develop in F1.

    • Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 27th February 2013, 21:11

      Plus Nicholas Todt is Jean Todt’s son as well as Massa’s manager I believe.

      So in terms of reliability I’d say – pretty high!

    • I’m disappointed at Force India’s decision, if indeed the rumours are true. It appears to me they have take the safe option at a time where they could use taking risks, with the state of Mallaya’s airline which I fail to believe isn’t affecting Force India. Sutil is a known quantity, and it is known that although he is a consistent performer he is not anything outwardly special, whereas Bianchi could potentially turn out to be a very good driver.

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