Formula One: Jerez Testing Recap

The spiritual home of Formula One testing was the host to the second week of F1 pre-season testing. It was also host to the first wet weather running of 2010 as three of the four testing days were plagued by rain. While it’s good experience for the teams to see how their cars perform with low grip, it adds another layer of deception to the times the teams lay down. Not only are speeds affected by fuel loads but the track conditions when the time is set. So who is looking good in the biggest test of the winter so far? Times and analysis after the jump.

Day 1 (February 10)

It was a mostly wet day in Spain that ended with Nico Rosberg on top thanks to a lap time set in the first hour. Rosberg credited an improved setup and driving position with making him comfortable enough with the car to set a fast time. The day also saw the debut of three new cars. The Red Bull of Mark Webber only got an installation run in before the rain came. It was a similar situation for Force India’s Vitantonio Liuzzi whose car was previously shook down by Adrian Sutil at Silverstone. Virgin Racing made their first public appearance in F1 putting in only five laps on the day because new parts were being fitted for most of the day.

  1. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:20.927
  2. Sebastien Buemi – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:21.031
  3. Nico Hulkenberg – Williams-Cosworth – 1:22.243
  4. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 1:22.895
  5. Kamui Kobayashi – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:23.287
  6. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:24.947
  7. Vitantonio Liuzzi – Force India-Mercedes – 1:24.968
  8. Vitaly Petrov – Renault – 1:25.440
  9. Mark Webber – Red Bull-Renault – 1:26.502
  10. Timo Glock – Virgin-Cosworth – 1:38.734

Day 2 (February 11)

The day was still damp but not as bad as the prior day’s which made for a lot of extra running to make up for the lack of on the 10th. Buemi led for most of the day but Kobayashi beat him in the dying moments of the session to top the time sheets on the second day of testing at Jerez. Ferrari and Mercedes faded toward the back today as both teams focused on long-runs and setup work. Meanwhile, it was a bad day for F1’s newest runners. Virgin F1 suffered a front-wing mounting failure and spent the day parked while spare parts were trucked in for the next day’s running.

  1. Kamui Kobayashi – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:19.950
  2. Sebastien Buemi – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:20.026
  3. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:20.618
  4. Nico Hulkenberg – Williams-Cosworth – 1:20.629
  5. Vitantonio Liuzzi – Force India-Mercedes – 1:20.754
  6. Michael Schumacher – Mercedes – 1:21.083
  7. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 1:21.424
  8. Robert Kubica – Renault – 1:22.003
  9. Mark Webber – Red Bull-Renault – 1:22.043
  10. Timo Glock – Virgin-Cosworth – 1:29.964

Day 3 (February 12)

Toro Rosso had a good basis for their 2010 car with last year’s Red Bull chassis but I don’t think anyone thought they’d be as fast as they are. Alguersuari but the Red Bull B-team at the top of the time sheets for the first time this year after two days in second. With three Ferrari powered cars in the top four, at this point, I think it’s fairly safe to say that the Ferrari engine is one of the most powerful on the grid. The Mercedes engine has been rumoured to be everywhere from the most to the least powerful in the field but that hasn’t stopped Force India from looking good. Adrian Sutil says that the aerodynamics have been improved over last year so they will run just as well at the slower tracks as it does at Monza and Spa.

  1. Jamie Alguersuari – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:19.919
  2. Pedro de la Rosa – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:20.736
  3. Adrian Sutil – Force India-Mercedes – 1:21.428
  4. Felipe Massa – Ferrari – 1:21.603
  5. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – 1:21.783
  6. Vitaly Petrov – Renault – 1:22.000
  7. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:22.820
  8. Rubens Barrichello – Williams-Cosworth – 1:23.217
  9. Lewis Hamilton – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:23.985
  10. Lucas di Grassi – Virgin-Cosworth – 1:37.107

Day 4 (February 13)

Hamilton set the fastest time of the day and week during the final hour of testing. The day had started wet but dried out by the lunch break. The Ferrari powered cars were comparatively off the pace. Massa, de la Rosa, and Alguersuari were all working on reliability and setup packages. Perhaps the biggest story of the day was Virgin F1 finally getting some serious running in. After running a combined 24 laps in the first three days of the test, Lucas di Grassi put in 63 laps for the new team. He was 3.3s off the pace but that’s respectable considering he didn’t know if his car would hold together.

  1. Lewis Hamilton – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:19.583
  2. Adrian Sutil – Force India-Mercedes – 1:20.180
  3. Rubens Barrichello – Williams-Cosworth – 1:20.341
  4. Robert Kubica – Renault – 1:20.358
  5. Michael Schumacher – Mercedes – 1:20.613
  6. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – 1:21.203
  7. Felipe Massa – Ferrari – 1:21.485
  8. Pedro de la Rosa – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:22.134
  9. Lucas di Grassi – Virgin-Cosworth – 1:22.912
  10. Jamie Alguersuari – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:24.072

Lewis Hamilton’s best time came during one of those rare times that the track was fairly dry so the overall list may not be the best comparison of performance. For example, the Ferraris which were the fastest cars at the Valencia test are near the back of the pack this week. The Scuderia were busy working on long distance runs with Alonso doing stints of upwards of 40 laps while Lewis likely laid down a mock qualifying run to set his fast time. Also surprisingly far down the order is Red Bull Racing. It would be safe to assume that they were just shaking down the car to make sure that the car would hold together. After all, Adrian Newey had the best designed car last year and it wasn’t even optimised for the double diffuser.

Best Times of the Week

  1. Lewis Hamilton – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:19.583
  2. Jaime Alguersuari – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:19.919
  3. Kamui Kobayashi – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:19.950
  4. Sebastien Buemi – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:20.026
  5. Adrian Sutil – Force India-Mercedes – 1:20.180
  6. Rubens Barrichello – Williams-Cosworth – 1:20.341
  7. Robert Kubica – Renault – 1:20.358
  8. Michael Schumacher – Mercedes – 1:20.613
  9. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:20.618
  10. Nico Hulkenberg – Williams-Cosworth – 1:20.629
  11. Pedro de la Rosa – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:20.736
  12. Vitantonio Liuzzi – Force India-Ferrari – 1:20.754
  13. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:20.927
  14. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – 1:21.203
  15. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 1:21.424
  16. Felipe Massa – Ferrari – 1:21.485
  17. Vitaly Petrov – Renault – 1:22.000
  18. Mark Webber – Red Bull-Renault – 1:22.043
  19. Lucas di Grassi – Virgin-Cosworth – 1:22.912
  20. Timo Glock – Virgin-Cosworth – 1:29.964

Meanwhile, away from the action of F1 testing, Nelson Piquet Jr. was getting his first taste of NASCAR. He finished 6th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway after narrowly avoiding two big wrecks just ahead of him. His Red Horse Racing teammate Timothy Peters won the race on a last lap pass. No word on when or if Piquet might take to the track again. His contract with Red Horse Racing was only for the Daytona 250.

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