Formula One: 2011 Jerez Test Recap

The second week of F1 testing ahead of the 2011 season started on a somber note after Robert Kubica’s accident the weekend prior in a rally in Italy. All the teams carried get well soon messages on their cars. Three different drivers ran the Lotus Renault GP R31 in testing and one even topped the time sheet during the third day’s running. This week’s testing saw many more names atop the daily time sheets than last week’s.

Day 1 (February 10)

For the first time this pre-season, all the teams at the test ran their 2011 cars. Not surprisingly, up near the top were Ferrari and Red Bull. Felipe Massa set the day’s fastest time on the seventh lap of his first run of the morning. Webber was third on the day while this season’s favourites were split by Sergio Perez in the Sauber.

The long runs during the day showed who is starting to get a hold of the tire situation. Red Bull appears to have the most consistent car but Ferrari isn’t too far off the pace. By the end of his run with his fast lap, Perez was lapping in the 1:27s or six seconds off his fast pace during his eight-lap run showing they haven’t quite figured out the Pirellis yet. Maybe the surprise of the day was rookie Daniel Ricciardo’s pace in the Toro Rosso. He was the third fastest driver on longer runs.

  1. Felipe Massa – Ferrari – 1:20.709
  2. Sergio Perez – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:21.483
  3. Mark Webber – Red Bull-Renault – 1:21.522
  4. Daniel Ricciardo – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:21.755
  5. Lewis Hamilton – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:21.914
  6. Jaime Alguersuari – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:22.689
  7. Adrian Sutil – Force India-Mercedes – 1:23.472
  8. Vitaly Petrov – Lotus GP-Renault – 1:23.504
  9. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:23.963
  10. Jarno Trulli – Team Lotus-Renault – 1:24.458
  11. Timo Glock – Virgin-Cosworth – 1:25.086
  12. Pastor Maldonado – Williams-Cosworth – 1:34.968

Day 2 (February 11)

It’s been a while since we’ve been able to say that Michael Schumacher goes fastest. By about six-hundredths of a second, he was quicker than his former Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa. With a few more laps under his belt than Hamilton the day before, Jenson Button was third on the day. Once again, the Toro Rosso in the hands of Alguersuari was surprisingly quick on the day and the Red Bull driven by Webber was fastest over long runs.

It wasn’t a good day to be Williams, though. After a rear-wing actuator problem sidelined them from running yesterday, they suffered a KERS problem that limited running in the morning. When the FW33 took to the track in the afternoon, Pastor Maldonado managed two laps of running before finding the wall at turn four and damaging the front and rear wings and rear suspension.

  1. Michael Schumacher – Mercedes – 1:20.352
  2. Felipe Massa – Ferrari – 1:20.413
  3. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:21.009
  4. Jaime Alguersuari – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:21.214
  5. Mark Webber – Red Bull-Renault – 1:21.613
  6. Adrian Sutil – Force India-Mercedes – 1:21.780
  7. Sergio Perez – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:21.857
  8. Timo Glock – Virgin-Cosworth – 1:22.208
  9. Vitaly Petrov – Lotus GP-Renault – 1:22.493
  10. Pastor Mondonado – Williams-Cosworth – 1:22.591
  11. Jarno Trulli – Team Lotus-Cosworth – 1:23.216

Day 3 (February 12)

In his first day in Lotus GP’s R31, Nick Heidfeld took little time to acclimate to his new surroundings and topped the time sheets for his first test day of 2011. Heidfeld was rumoured to be battling Bruno Senna to replace Robert Kubica as lead driver at Renault but I think that duel is over before it began.

The day was problematic for a few teams. Williams was once again suffering from a KERS problem. Kamui Kobayashi stopped twice on track during the session. Paul di Resta and Sebastien Buemi spun off the track late in the day. Di Resta also complained of problems with the brakes on his car. Similar complaints were made by Renault’s Vitaly Petrov after the second day’s running.

  1. Nick Heidfeld – Lotus GP-Renault – 1:20.361
  2. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 1:20.493
  3. Michael Schumacher – Mercedes – 1:21.053
  4. Lewis Hamilton – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:21.099
  5. Kamui Kobayashi – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:21.242
  6. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – 1:21.574
  7. Sebastien Buemi – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:21.681
  8. Heikki Kovalainen – Team Lotus-Renault – 1:21.711
  9. Rubens Barrichello – Williams-Cosworth – 1:22.227
  10. Paul di Resta – Force India-Mercedes – 1:22.945
  11. Jerome d’Ambrosio – Virgin-Cosworth – 1:25.471

Day 4 (February 13)

After three days plagued with rear wing and KERS problems, Williams finally got a clean day of running in and it was Rubens Barrichello that took advantage to top the time sheets with the fastest time of the test. Some of that could be put down to the fact that most cars spent the day on long runs trying to gauge tire degradation over long stints. Second fastest was Kamui Kobayashi in the Sauber with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso running the most laps and rounding out the top three.

This was the first test of the year that had any wet weather running. With about a half-hour remaining, the rain started which locked in Barrichello’s time as the fastest. Only Barrichello, Alonso, Buemi and Rosberg ventured out onto the wet track. Surprisingly, it was the Toro Rosso of Buemi that was the fastest in wet conditions. However, there weren’t enough laps run to put much stock into the running.

  1. Rubens Barrichello – Williams-Cosworth -1:19.832
  2. Kamui Kobayashi – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:20.601
  3. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 1:21.074
  4. Sebastien Buemi – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:21.213
  5. Bruno Senna – Lotus GP-Renault – 1:21.400
  6. Heikki Kovalainen – Team Lotus-Renault – 1:21.632
  7. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:22.103
  8. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – 1:22.222
  9. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:22.278
  10. Jerome d’Ambrosio – Virgin-Cosworth – 1:22.985
  11. Paul di Resta – Force India-Mercedes – 1:23.111

Once again, I think it’s safe to say that we can’t read too much into this week’s testing times. Teams were running different testing programs and different fuel loads. However, it might just be a good sign that we saw four different drivers and four different team top each day’s running. I don’t think anyone expects Williams or Mercedes to regularly contend for wins but they seem to have good raw pace to surprise folks every now and then.

One thing that we do know is that there is still a lot of development work to be done by most teams. Williams and Lotus seem to be having the most problems with their cars right now. Most teams, apart from Red Bull, have suffered some sort of problem that interrupted their running. Mind you, Red Bull didn’t have any reliability problems until the season got underway last year. Sorting out reliability issues will still likely be the best way to beat Red Bull in 2011.

Best Times of the Week

  1. Rubens Barrichello – Williams-Cosworth – 1:19.832
  2. Michael Schumacher – Mercedes – 1:20.352
  3. Nick Heidfeld – Lotus GP-Renault – 1:20.361
  4. Felipe Massa – Ferrari – 1:20.413
  5. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 1:20.493
  6. Kamui Kobayashi – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:20.601
  7. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:21.009
  8. Lewis Hamilton – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:21.099
  9. Sebastien Buemi – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:21.213
  10. Jaime Alguersuari – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:21.214
  11. Bruno Senna – Lotus GP-Renault – 1:21.400
  12. Sergio Perez – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:21.483
  13. Mark Webber – Red Bull-Renault – 1:21.522
  14. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – 1:22.574
  15. Heikki Kovalainen – Team Lotus-Renault – 1:21.632
  16. Daniel Ricciardo – Virgin-Cosworth – 1:21.755
  17. Adrian Sutil – Force India-Mercedes – 1:21.780
  18. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:22.103
  19. Timo Glock – Virgin-Cosworth – 1:22.208
  20. Vitaly Petrov – Lotus GP-Renault – 1:22.493
  21. Pastor Maldonado – Williams-Cosworth – 1:22.591
  22. Paul di Resta – Force India-Mercedes – 1:22.945
  23. Jerome d’Ambrosio – Virgin-Cosworth – 1:22.985
  24. Jarno Trulli – Team Lotus-Renault – 1:23.216

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