Formula One: 2011 Barcelona Test 2 Recap

With the Bahrain Grand Prix cancelled because of political unrest, pre-season testing was extended for Formula One. All 12 teams were in attendance for the final test which was once again held at the Circuit de Catalunya, host to the Spanish Grand Prix. Not surprisingly, Red Bull and Ferrari were the fastest looking cars once again. However, a few more teams laid down some times to show that they wouldn’t be pushovers either.

Day 1 (March 8th)

For a short while, Sergio Perez was on top of the time sheets but it was discovered that he cut a corner on his fastest lap so it was Red Bull’s Mark Webber who once again topped the time sheet. Jenson Button finally started to show some solid pace in the McLaren. Lotus Renault GP captured the third and fifth spots on the day and look to be solidly in the top four teams. Depending on the development pace of the Williams and McLaren, they could even be the #3 team in the championship this season.

The day was far more interesting for some of the action away from the top of the time sheet. Button’s McLaren ran a small box on the nose during the morning which was supposed to help assess front wing airflow. Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg shared the Force India despite di Resta being the race driver and Hulkenberg just the reserve. Team Lotus ran the two drivers from GP2’s Team Air Asia, Davide Valsecchi and Luiz Razia. At the very back was Virgin and Jerome d’Ambrosio. The Belgian never ran a flying lap and instead ducked into and out of the pits on a parts assessment program.

  1. Mark Webber – Red Bull-Renault – 1:22.544
  2. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:22.910
  3. Vitaly Petrov – Renault – 1:22.937
  4. Sergio Perez – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:24.117
  5. Nick Heidfeld – Renault – 1:24.735
  6. Paul di Resta – Force India-Mercedes – 1:25.039
  7. Davide Valsecchi – Lotus-Renault – 1:25.406
  8. Sebastien Buemi – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:26.004
  9. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India-Mercedes – 1:26.030
  10. Luiz Razia – Lotus-Renault – 1:29.121
  11. Jerome d’Ambrosio – Virgin-Cosworth – 1:32.060

Day 2 (March 9th)

The day on the calendar and the name on the side of the car might have changed but the result stayed the same. Red Bull’s RB7 topped the time sheets for the second straight day but with world champion Sebastian Vettel at the helm. It was a good day for Red Bull overall as Toro Rosso continued their strong testing pace with a second fastest time for Sebastien Buemi.

Most trailing teams ran into problems or were testing new parts. McLaren had hydraulic issues that forced the abandonment of a race simulation. Ferrari and Mercedes were both running a new exhaust and aerodynamic parts. Force India was delayed by fuel pressure problems. Williams once again suffered a major failure of their KERS which limited running to just 29 laps. Virgin lost part of their day to an electrical fault.

  1. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – 1:21.865
  2. Sebastien Buemi – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:22.396
  3. Vitaly Petrov – Renault – 1:22.670
  4. Lewis Hamilton – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:22.888
  5. Felipe Massa – Ferrari – 1:23.324
  6. Paul di Resta – Force India-Mercedes – 1:24.334
  7. Kamui Kobayashi – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:24.436
  8. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:25.807
  9. Jarno Trulli – Lotus-Renault – 1:26.090
  10. Pastor Maldonado – Williams-Cosworth – 1:26.989
  11. Jerome d’Ambrosio – Virgin-Cosworth – 1:28.892

Day 3 (March 10th)

He was quick on the first day but lost out on top spot due to cutting a corner. That doesn’t mean that Sauber rookie Sergio Perez isn’t quick. He set the fastest time in his last pre-season test before the start of the 2011 season. Ferrari and Red Bull were second and third with Massa and Webber at the wheels of their respective cars. It is believed that Webber never ran as light as the two cars ahead of him but having multiple constructors in touch with the Red Bull is a good sign for the season.

Once again, reliability was an issue for some teams. Despite being on top of the time sheet, Perez’s Sauber suffered a KERS failure in the afternoon. KERS was also the Achilles’s heel of the Renault which limited Petrov’s mileage. The other Lotus team suffered even greater headaches. Jarno Trulli only ran six laps before requiring a gearbox change and a new radiator. It didn’t get better for Heikki Kovalainen in the afternoon. The replacement radiator was damaged in transit so his running was limited too.

  1. Sergio Perez – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:21.761
  2. Felipe Massa – Ferrari – 1:22.092
  3. Mark Webber – Red Bull-Renault – 1:22.466
  4. Rubens Barrichello – Williams-Cosworth – 1:22.637
  5. Michael Schumacher – Mercedes – 1:22.892
  6. Nick Heidfeld – Renault – 1:23.541
  7. Heikki Kovalainen – Lotus-Renault – 1:23.990
  8. Vitaly Petrov – Renault – 1:24.233
  9. Adrian Sutil – Force India-Mercedes – 1:24.334
  10. Jaime Alguersuari – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:24.779
  11. Jerome d’Ambrosio – Virgin-Cosworth – 1:27.336
  12. Jarno Trulli – Lotus-Renault – 1:34.485

Day 4 (March 11th)

I guess we can’t quite count the Silver Arrows out of the running for the championship just yet. On a one-lap qualifying run, seven-time champ Michael Schumacher topped the time sheets for the second time this winter. Proving that his pace wasn’t a fluke, teammate Nico Rosberg timed in 3rd, only half-a-second back. Splitting the Mercedes pair was Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso who covered two Grands Prix distance during the Scuderia’s second-to-last day of testing.

Teams were still having reliability problems. McLaren and Williams both required engine changes during the day. Maldonado was the unlucky Williams driver who lost out on running time. Not all news was bad news. Lotus managed to run 137 laps on the day which is a vast improvement from their typical day’s lack of reliability.

Also of interest is that HRT finally debuted their 2011 challenger with two days of running remaining. However, they didn’t have all the parts on-hand so they didn’t do any testing. Still, they’re ahead of last year’s car preparation pace.

  1. Michael Schumacher – Mercedes – 1:21.249
  2. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 1:21.614
  3. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:21.788
  4. Nick Heidfeld – Renault – 1:22.073
  5. Rubens Barrichello – Williams-Cosworth – 1:22.233
  6. Kamui Kobayashi – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:22.315
  7. Jaime Alguersuari – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:22.675
  8. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – 1:22.933
  9. Heikki Kovalainen – Lotus-Renault – 1:23.437
  10. Paul di Resta – Force India-Mercedes – 1:23.653
  11. Adrian Sutil – Force India-Mercedes – 1:23.921
  12. Pastor Maldonado – Williams-Cosworth – 1:24.108
  13. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:25.837
  14. Jerome d’Ambrosio – Virgin-Cosworth – 1:27.375

Day 5 (March 12)

Well, the final day of F1 testing was washed out because of rain. Between the five drivers at the Circuit de Catalunya, only 101 laps were run on the day. Conditions were so bad that only three drivers set times. Nico Rosberg was fastest followed by Pastor Maldonado and Lewis Hamilton.

And as for the crew at HRT, they didn’t run again today. The previous day’s missing parts were still stuck in customs. At least they’re used to starting the season without having turned a wheel before the first practice of the first Grand Prix.

  1. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:43.814
  2. Pastor Maldonado – Williams-Cosworth – 1:44.333
  3. Lewis Hamilton – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:44.560
  4. Michael Schumacher – Mercedes – No Time
  5. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – No Time

With pre-season testing all wrapped up, I think we can safely conclude that Red Bull and Ferrari are far ahead of the field. Running their Melbourne aerodynamic package, it seems as though Mercedes has climbed into the best of the rest picture with Renault and Williams. Sauber, Toro Rosso and shockingly McLaren seem to be in the next group. Force India and Lotus follow that group in my provisional ranking with Virgin and HRT rounding out the field.

Best Times of the Week

  1. Michael Schumacher – Mercedes – 1:21.249
  2. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 1:21.614
  3. Sergio Perez – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:21.761
  4. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:21.788
  5. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – 1:21.865
  6. Nick Heidfeld – Renault – 1:22.073
  7. Felipe Massa – Ferrari – 1:22.092
  8. Rubens Barrichello – 1:22.233
  9. Kamui Kobayashi – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:22.315
  10. Sebastien Buemi – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:22.396
  11. Mark Webber – Red Bull-Renault – 1:22.466
  12. Vitaly Petrov – Renault – 1:22.670
  13. Jaime Alguersuari – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 1:22.675
  14. Lewis Hamilton – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:22.888
  15. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:22.910
  16. Heikki Kovalainen – Lotus-Renault – 1:23/437
  17. Paul di Resta – Force India-Mercedes – 1:23.653
  18. Adrian Sutil – Force India-Mercedes – 1:23.921
  19. Pastor Maldonado – Williams-Cosworth – 1:24.108
  20. Davide Valsecchi – Lotus-Renault – 1:25.406
  21. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India-Mercedes – 1:26.030
  22. Jarno Trulli – Lotus-Renault – 1:26.090
  23. Jerome d’Ambrosio – Virgin-Cosworth – 1:27.336
  24. Luiz Razia – Lotus-Renault – 1:29.121

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