Mercedes stay on top in Jerez test

2012 F1 testing

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Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Jerez, 2012

Mercedes remained on top of the time for a second day in Jerez with their 2011 car.

This time it was Nico Rosberg’s turn to lap the Spanish circuit quickest, setting a time of 1’17.613, almost a second quicker than Michael Schumacher’s best effort in the W02 yesterday.

That concluded Mercedes’ involvement in the test as they will not be present for the final day’s running. The team will launch its W03 before the next test in Barcelona.

It was a largely wasted day for Force India after Jules Bianchi crashed and damaged the team’s car on his third lap of the day. The team’s reserve driver damaged the right-rear of the car

That forced the team to abandon plans to give Nico Hulkenberg his first run in the new car. The F1 returnee will instead get to drive the VJM05 for the first time tomorrow.

“I made a small mistake on my second run,” explained Bianchi. “The tyres were a bit cold and I spun into the gravel and touched the wall with the right rear wheel.

“It was not a very big impact, but it caused some damage. I’m very sorry because my mistake has cost the team a lot of time and effort.”

Another reserve driver who hit trouble during the test was Giedo van der Garde. The Caterham driver spun and stopped with just over an hour remaining in the test.

Romain Grosjean was fastest earlier on in the day, setting a 1’18.419 as he drove the Lotus E20 for the first time. Like Rosberg, Grosjean registered well over 100 laps of the circuit. The Lotus driver stopped on the track with five minutes remaining in the session, bringing out the red flag for the third and final time.

Sebastian Vettel was third-fastest on his first day in the new Red Bull RB8. Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz was in attendance to see the world champion trying out his latest car for the first time.

Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso also made their first appearances for McLaren and Ferrari respectively – the latter greeted by an enthusiastic crowd in his home country.

At Williams Bruno Senna had a productive day in the FW34, completing more laps than Pastor Maldonado had managed in the previous two days combined.

Jerez test times

DriverCarBest timeLapsDifference
1Nico RosbergMercedes W021’17.613118
2Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault E201’18.4191170.806
3Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault RB81’19.297961.684
4Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes MP4-271’19.464801.851
5Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari STR71’19.734792.121
6Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari C311’19.770482.157
7Fernando AlonsoFerrari F20121’20.412672.799
8Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault FW341’21.2931253.680
9Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault CT011’23.324745.711
10Jules BianchiForce India-Mercedes VJM05No time3

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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62 comments on “Mercedes stay on top in Jerez test”

  1. I know testing times shouldn’t mean anything but it really bothers me to see Ferrari so slow. That article about Massa not being happy doesn’t help either..

    1. I think what’s worrying is Massa’s not being happy. As for the times, Ferrari’s beein doing similarly to McLaren in terms of difference to the best time each day…

    2. Ferrari’s new approach really concerns me

      for me they had possibly the best car last year except the EBD, look at silverstone and what happened when the EBD was banned

      now that’s been banned and they have decided to follow a different path. Personally I think there doing that for the sake of doing something different and that’s always dangerous

      I hope it works out for them because whoever you support i’m sure we can all agree on at least 1 thing…having 1 team out of reach of the rest of the pack is bad for the sport

      personally i’d like to re-watch 2010 over 2011 any day of the week

      1. Personally I think it is a little early to be concerned about Ferrari’s ‘slow’ times…how do you know they are slow? You don’t know what they are testing right now.

        As to Massa ‘not being happy’…the article I read only had him saying that they have a lot of work to do because the car is quite different…so what else is new? The day F1 is not ‘a lot of work’ is the day it is no longer the pinnacle of racing. Unless there are other quotes I didn’t read him saying he wasn’t happy or that the car is slow. Just that they have a lot of different things to try in the process of learning this car, which is a departure from the past few years.

        How about giving them some time with a car that they have gone out on a limb with because that is what they knew they needed to do to try and compete with Red Bull? Based on how they rated last year, they weren’t going to progress by sitting on their hands and making small tweaks, so I say let’s give them half a chance. Especially when most of the posts around here in the last 3 days have been to say don’t trust these testing numbers.

        1. I also note from a few other articles that FA has come out saying he has faith in what Ferrari have done with the new car. And LdM has said FM needs to do something great this year, being his last year on contract at the moment, and given that he scored less than half of FA’s points last year.

          ie. methinks FM is feeling under the gun and perhaps was hoping this car was going to suit him immediately without ‘so much work.’ He needs to keep the positive attitude that he claims he has, as stated by him on the day of the presentation of the car the other day.

      2. Ferrari’s new approach really concerns me

        I think Ferrari’s new approach is called sandbagging.

        1. @Klaas…I’d be surprised if they have the luxury of the time to do that.

          1. Also if they have to change those exhausts (as I think they might) they will be well behind. Maclaren seem to be following the same sort of idea but at least their exhausts are open at the top, which may leave them further within the rules.

          2. It’s easy. You can get just as good data early on by running with full tanks.

        2. It should be ccause I dont think they should continue to constantly try to prove something a big team objective is to win not to show up.

    3. And now Pat Fry says they are not happy:

      Just 3 days and they are unhappy…

      1. Fair enough…they are not happy with where they are right now and with missing the shakedown due to snow. Lot’s of work ahead of them to understand the car. That still doesn’t tell me the car is slow. Just that there are so many variables due to the changes they have made that every remaining day of testing is crucial to help them understand the car more. Same with all the other teams, although Ferrari perhaps had to do some more radical things vs. their previous cars than perhaps Red Bull or Mac this year. I still say let’s give them the time to analyse things from this test, let them get the next 12 testing days under their belt, and let them get Friday of race one done as well, and I’m sure they will have a much better understanding of the car for Saturday quali. Nobody said F1 was easy. Success after overcoming a bigger challenge is more rewarding.

        1. Wow, I think Domenicali can use your comments as a source of inspiration before giving the testing report to Luca ;)

        2. I still say let’s give them the time to analyse things from this test, let them get the next 12 testing days under their belt, and let them get Friday of race one done as well, and I’m sure they will have a much better understanding of the car for Saturday quali.

          Surely. But it’s not a good sign if the technical director comes out and says they are not happy…

          They could’ve used your words, but he chose to say: “I am not happy with where we are at the moment.” That doesn’t show much confidence if I’m honest…

        3. for the record I never said I thought Ferrari were slow OR that I was concerned about how their testing was going…I’m a Mclaren fan and learnt the hard…but enjoyable…way last year testing is no sign of things to come

          I merely meant that ‘radical’, ‘extreme’ & ‘different’ have been tried a lot recently…and failed a lot recently, what’s succeeded has been clever & simple, neat & tidy…Ferrari had all of that in their car last year with the exception of clever – as as EBD has been banned these cars no longer need to be clever

          Sure Mclaren, Ferrari, probably Redbull and Mercedes will try to blow things this year but I’d bet me hat and coat on a cold winters day (such as today) that they wont get to race them

          Personally I think Ferrari should have stuck to their approach and done what they do best (and not have had a fugly nose

          1. @The Edge…my comments were probably more directed at the sentiment the first poster Antranik expressed of Ferrari being slow which I think remains to be seen.

            I just think they felt they couldn’t stay the course because obviously the were only 3rd in the Constructors last year, so they felt they needed to take some risks and hope to nail it…seems they haven’t nailed it out of the box, but I also don’t think they are surprised that they are into a whole new learning curve with this new effort. Surely they could only have hoped that they wouldn’t have any curve balls thrown at them from weather, and that they immediately could find a magic setup from which to work, but I think it would be more normal in F1 to have some hard work and analysis to do when the car gets changed a fair amount. I don’t think they even know yet if the car is slow or fast. They just need time to explore and find the setups to work from and it sounds like they haven’t found the benchmark yet.

        4. They Red Bull guys aren’t exactly extatic either. Yes the car is decent but AN is grumbling about restrictive rules and Vettel seems to have lost a little bit of the glint in his eye. I dont think anyone is sandbagging at the moment and the challenge of understanding how to get the best out of the new tyres and the new exhaust configuration is concerning everyone execpt for Kimi(naturally) and the 2 mercedes drivers(strangely). Michael is fairly controlled but Nico is beaming.

      2. @fer-no65 Fry didn’t sound too upbeat on the interview he gave on the launch of the car. I’m sure they will be fine, i’d never expect them to be happy. Ferrari aren’t happy until they’ve got trophies at the end of November.

          1. sid_prasher (@)
            10th February 2012, 4:48

            I am hoping he is just unhappy about being behind their planned schedule.

          2. @sid-prasher Probably. It will be quite frustrating.

  2. Redbull are looking very good

    did some very long and consistent runs this afternoon

  3. The Mercedes nose shape is probably the closest thing to a step nose seen in 2011. Perhaps their 2012 car won’t need such an overhaul in that department and they can simply evolve the design, rather than need to start afresh like Ferrari.

    1. Except they are running with EBD… Which changes the cars performance dramatically

      1. Except they have Ross Brawn, a man not untrained in finding a technical exploitation of a loophole that could win a championship. They will have arguabiy the best knowledge of the tyres on the grid and that could make all the difference. Of course they ould have been caught out by the late rule change but the team’s body language seems to suggest otherwise. Even so, its hard to see anyone running away at the front this year.

    2. That being said, McLaren were running lower suspension altogether last year and kept it, so they are “more” ahead of the game than Mercedes, or indeed any team.

      1. I think it’s more a case of the new rules suiting their car philosophy.

  4. I’m happy Williams got some laps in. The FW33’s reliability in the beginning of last season was atrocious.

    1. Yes but they are at the bottom of the all the time. Sure testing times can be deceiving but if they never show some speed then they might mean something.

      1. They have said they are not going to do any qualifying runs in Jerez, and i imagine with the new engine that Kers, gearbox & cooling integration along with new engine mappings as well as the added bonus of a new driver and technical team that they have bigger things to go for than a time on the board,

  5. I bet Hulkenberg was pretty annoyed with Bianchi – I know I would be if I were him.

    As for Ferrari, I want to believe that they can mix it up with Red Bull and McLaren this year, but there’s just a niggley part in my mind that says that they’ve possibly been too aggressive. As was said above, they had a solid car in Silverstone, when the EBD was restricted with the engine mapping taken away, so surely they should have evolved on that concept if their car wasn’t gaining much of a benefit from it as Red Bull and especially McLaren had done.

    It’s also nice to see that Lotus can continue the quick times with Grosjean, even if times at this stage do mean nothing.

    I also can’t wait to see the new Mercedes, as I have a feeling that they’re going to show more improvement than they did last year.

    1. Well Hulk did the same thing to Di Resta in Valencia last year, what goes around comes around.

    2. Imagine the controversy if Mercedes demoted Ferrari to 4th best! O.o

      Now that would be interesting.

      I wonder who would get fired? That’s usually Ferrari’s solution nowadays.

      1. Its a pretty good solution considering it would be that persons fault… No point keeping dead weight.

        1. But when you do it too often you destabilize the team, and you make conditions automatically very difficult for the next poor sod.

  6. I think Mercedes are collecting a world of extremely valuable tyre data, at least 3-4 GPs worth of real tyre figures at slightly different conditions and fuel loads, knowing the precise downforce levels car produces and balance it has, since it’s last year’s.
    And they still have plenty of time to upgrade their design for 2012 to address discovered tyre and balance issues, since they know exactly how new rubber works.
    Good looking.

    1. Infected Crayons
      9th February 2012, 20:46

      It really wont make a difference, its just the first test. No one really knows how they will behave in real world conditions. Since its colder than the last ice age, tire behavior will be dramatically different. They are running their 2011 car because they don’t have the 2012 car ready. Just like HRT!

    2. I agree, they have really split testing in 2 halves and using a known reference to understand the tyres could make all the difference. If they manage to gain a step on the others, Mercedes will throw everything at it to stay there. They have arguably the best driver feedback as well. With new tyres and new aero regs mercedes may have just got it right.

  7. Infected Crayons
    9th February 2012, 19:36

    The last year was the worst year in F1 history since Schumi’s days. In this era, I wonder if we could actually bother to watch races unfold like last year, year after year?
    Just a question!

    1. What didn’t you like about last year?

      1. Infected Crayons
        9th February 2012, 20:19

        Its always great when we have an awesome car which is head and shoulders above the rest, its always very disappointing when you have a driver so far superior than his team-mate. I have never been against a team dominating, but when it becomes one driver and one team then its just boring. Just Boring. Last good year was when we had 2 drivers from 2 teams ( 2008 ) before that it was 1 team and 2 drivers ( 2007 ). Anyway, having watched F1 for more than 15 years now, I can see why new fans would be confused at the “spectacle” because most of it is now fake. Sorry.

        1. 2007 had 2 teams and 4 drivers fighting over the wins.

        2. @infected crayons , it is only testing and I am sure SV will end up with fastest time or crash-out trying, but so far MW is a tenth up on him.

    2. I agree, on the whole last year was desperately boring, and did remind me of the depressing Schumi days…I don’t know if I can cope if this year is the same..

      1. Infected Crayons
        9th February 2012, 20:40

        For me the races has been the worst, slow teams, fake gadgets like “DRS” and “KERS” which do not add anything understandable for a viewer. Last year I only watched half the races live, this year it will be even worse since all of them look like they have been made by cardboard boxes. Must I remind you of the flowing and beautiful cars of 2008? that for me was the best year, since then its just embarrassing. F1 seems to have lost its plot ( just like Big Brother! )

        1. I don’t think things are bad at all. I think the sport and its fans are far too harsh.

          1. Infected Crayons
            9th February 2012, 20:55

            This is not a sport anymore, its a very costly reality tv show featuring ferrari ( amongst others). I’m sure most would disagree.

          2. O.o

            I think you you tried to turn F1 on it’s head like you would have it do. You would quickly find that turning back time can’t be done.

            It’s different. But that doesn’t automatically make it worse.

          3. I agree with Mike. DRS isn’t popular (I don’t like it either), but otherwise, if one team keeps producing the best package and a driver dominates, that doesn’t mean this isn’t still a sport.

          4. Ladies and gentlemen, please! We, the long suffering F1 fanbase cried loud and clear about there being no overtaking for years – pretty much from the time the grooved tyre rules came into force way back in 1998 (and probably before that too). The FIA tried raising the front wings, pushing the rear wing forwards, changing the qualifying method several times, an adjustable front wing, then in 2009 banning all the flicky bits, KERS, bringing back slicks and a skyscraper-like tall rear wing.


            All to try and improve the chances of races being determined by on track passing instead of pit stop strategy. Stirling Moss put it well in one of the turn of millenium magazines (Motorsport) when he said “I always prefer to see cars pass each other while they are moving (i.e. on track) rather than when they are standing still (in the pits)”.

            DRS has delivered. Pirelli has delivered. We now have the best racing I’ve seen in F1 – ever. Sure there may have been the odd spectacular race over the last 15 or so years prior to DRS (Suzuka ’05, Brazil ’08 etc) but consistently over an entire season? Forget that Vettel was out in front most of the time, but the rest of the racing was brilliant.

            So in short: shut up and stop crying about the ‘artificial’ DRS and enjoy F1 2011/2012 style for what it actually produces – awesome racing in the world’s fastest circuit racecars.

          5. @Clay Well said, almost every race last year was brilliant.

  8. In interesting line from Lewis that no-one seems to have picked up on:

    You never know what fuel loads people are on. I think we’ve been quite aggressive with our fuel loads

    A bit ambiguous, but from the times I would suggest he means they’ve been running with very high fuel. If they have been running more than other teams it looks positive.

    1. yeh, i saw this and was trying to decipher what he actually meant…it could mean, as you just said; they were running high fuel mainly….or could it mean that they tried both extremes? so they did really heavy and really light…..That worries me but I always look for the negative in things, what you’ve said has reassured my initial thougts that perhaps they were running heavy..

      1. If you look at the variation in their lap times there’s no way they went to both extremes in my opinion. This also seems unlikely because of the general positive vibe from Mclaren. They wouldn’t be happy with Lotus (still typing Renault instinctually) being 1 second faster if they had gone to the extremes!!

  9. Does anyone else find it irritating that Merc are being reported the fastest? They’re running the 2011 car with a blown diffuser they’re going to be faster than other cars!!!

    They shouldn’t be included in the timesheets, this is about 2012 cars not 2011 cars.

    End of.

    1. well they are in the test and they are fastest. You don’t want to start reporting lies like Andrew Benson yesterday

      1. Don’t get me started on andrew benson…..he’s so contradictorary, first he anounces that beacuse its testing, the lap times are pretty irrelevant (fair point). He then decides it’s a good idea to take an average of everyones laptimes and use that as his indicator for the general performance of the field,… what he called “number crunching” hhmm.. I’m in no way a statistition but even if the lap times were valid, thats definitely not the way to go about it….

    2. While I agree its not that relevent but its not all 2011 parts, they are testing 2012 parts and with a known car they can gather more accurate information on how the tyres work and the effect they have. The others are developing cars with major changes in 2 specific areas that have a linked effect and the more radical the car, the more difficult to understand the relationship. Could me the big idea this season, not an innovation though but a strategy that makes the difference. One thing is fairly obivious though, Schumacher and Rosberg seem very happy and the postponment is not botherinng them in the least. You have to ask yourself what do they know that is making them so happy when with limited testing every km in a new car is important.

  10. I watch F1 for 30 years. I remember the first one I really understood what was going on – Monaco GP 1982. Later, I realized it was one of the epic races.
    However, F1 was interesting for me always, even in Schumacher’s era, although he was never my favorite driver. F1 is a blend of technology and sport always interesting for tech oriented people. I’m sure that prevails at the most F1 fans.
    Regarding Merc, they were riding incredibly low rake. Low rake doesn’t help EBD much. Consequently I wouldn’t be surprised if their new car is as fast as old one.

    1. Ditto, races are never boring to me either.
      Theoretically they could simulate the expected loss of downforce with setup to mimic the 2012 cars.
      To finish the test a day earlier is unusual, surely there’s always somethihg to test.

  11. Well this sport will always have change constantly ……the teams i only hope and pray that we have at least 4 -5 teams fighting for the championship which will be amazing for the sport……..but then this year is a test for all the world champions to see who can come out the winner which will be a real treat to watch….Sebastian will have his hands full this year defending ………cant wait

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