Grosjean keeps Lotus on top as Mugello test ends

2012 F1 testing

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Romain Grosjean gave further indication of Lotus’s pace by setting the fastest time on the final day of testing at Mugello.

Grosjean’s lap of 1’21.035 put him almost a quarter of a second ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

Kimi Raikkonen was originally scheduled to drive the final day for Lotus but following the rain on Tuesday Lotus decided to run Grosjean for the remaining two days. Trackside operations director Alan Permane said it would allow them to “make better use of the time” they had left.

Fernando Alonso was third-fastest in the Ferrari, which sported a revised exhaust arrangement.

But Alonso lost around two hours in the morning after spinning off and hitting the barrier, damaging the front of the car. He had set the fastest time so far shortly before his crash.

The red flag came out twice more during the day’s running. Paul di Resta stopped during the morning, having been given extra time in the car following the team’s problems yesterday.

After the lunch break Heikki Kovalainen brought the red flags out again when he went off at the first corner.

Pastor Maldonado spent most of the time doing aerodynamic tests for Williams before moving up to seventh in the afternoon. Late improvements from Nico Rosberg and Oliver Turvey lifted them into eighth and ninth.

DriverCarBest timeLapsDifference
1Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault E201’21.03566
2Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault RB81’21.2671060.232
3Fernando AlonsoFerrari F20121’21.363980.328
4Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari STR71’21.6041170.569
5Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari C311’22.2291181.194
6Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes VJM051’22.325551.290
7Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault FW341’22.497631.462
8Nico RosbergMercedes W031’22.5791291.544
9Oliver TurveyMcLaren-Mercedes MP4-271’22.662991.627
10Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes VJM051’23.002341.967
11Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault CT011’23.1691392.134
12Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth MR011’23.4661102.431

Mugello test combined times

1Romain GrosjeanLotus1’21.0350.000
2Sebastian VettelRed Bull1’21.2670.232
3Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’21.3630.328
4Kamui KobayashiSauber1’21.6030.568
5Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso1’21.6040.569
6Mark WebberRed Bull1’21.9970.962
7Sergio PerezSauber1’22.2291.194
8Felipe MassaFerrari1’22.2571.222
9Nico HulkenbergForce India1’22.3251.290
10Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso1’22.4221.387
11Pastor MaldonadoWilliams1’22.4971.462
12Nico RosbergMercedes1’22.5791.544
13Oliver TurveyMcLaren1’22.6621.627
14Paul di RestaForce India1’23.0021.967
15Heikki KovalainenCaterham1’23.1692.134
16Michael SchumacherMercedes1’23.4042.369
17Timo GlockMarussia1’23.4662.431
18Charles PicMarussia1’23.9822.947
19Jerome D’AmbrosioLotus1’24.0483.013
20Vitaly PetrovCaterham1’24.3123.277
21Gary PaffettMcLaren1’24.4803.445
22Bruno SennaWilliams1’24.8423.807
23Jules BianchiForce India1’25.4754.440
24Rodolfo GonzalezCaterham1’27.1976.162
25Valtteri BottasWilliams1’29.1798.144

2012 F1 season

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Image © Lotus F1 Team/LAT

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Keith Collantine
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35 comments on “Grosjean keeps Lotus on top as Mugello test ends”

  1. Looks like after the first day everyone now got a healthy amount of laps in. I hope it help keep the field close together!

  2. Quick question: do teams have to use the same engines allocated for the races for these in-season tests or can they use brand new engines which don’t count as part of the race engines allocated for the season?

    1. They have separate engines and gearboxes for testing. No limit of what you use during tests

      1. @Todfod Testing is limited – just that it comes from a different pool to the engines you use for the season. Limited to 2 gearboxes and 4 engines for if I remember correctly.

  3. Lotus look very quick indeed, as do Red Bull. I think probably the only reason that the Ferrari is where it is is due to them doing a qualifying simulation; I’m not expecting them to be particularly competitive when it comes to Spain. Mclaren do look a bit like they haven’t gained much pace relative to the others, which is unlike them, normally they are very good in the development race.

    1. Mclaren is going to bring their aero package in Spain…they were just evaluating their simulation with real car in this test, so they can get better feeling of new parts when they test them in simulator. I say that’s a very clever thinking from them.

      1. @snafu – I wasn’t aware of that, so thank you. I thought there fundamental lack of pace was either due to the fact they were using their test drivers or due to the type of simulation work they were doing. So were they just running the early race spec car? In treating that they wouldn’t trial the aero package on the last day at least..

        1. I think it was Bahrain’s spec car
          most of their preparations for a new package is done in simulator prior to race weekend. and they always had enough time to test it on track in FP1 and FP2 when there was no in-season testing allowed…so maybe they feel confident about the direction they took for their development and used Mugello as a free time on track.
          what I’m trying to say is that these times are all unofficial and shouldn’t be taken very seriously.

    2. Maybe, due to using their test drivers, they’re trying to improve further the correlation between the simulator and track, so that they can better develop their car throughout this and other seasons?

      Mere speculation of course, but definitely food for thought.

    3. Brian @clustr1
      3rd May 2012, 18:19

      I think the Ferrari performance could be better than you think. Their new exhaust is clearly now inline with the other top runners this year, taking advantage of the down-wash to blow over the diffuser. Their previous design was way off the mark and revising it required a ton of development (I think they would have had to pass another crash test). Only time will tell, but I really like the way it looks!

      1. @clustr1 that exhaust blows nowhere near the diffuser to be honest. It might do in the future. The modular design of their exhaust bit means they could switch to a McLaren/Williams/Findia/Sauber/STR style solution very quickly, but this particular design doesn’t blow to the diffuser at all.

      2. @clustr1 – It may be an improvement, but a second improvement? I doubt that, they may be able to improve by around 6/7ths at best, which would keep Alonso in the running the way he’s been driving recently. Don’t get me wrong I’d love to see Ferrari being competitive, but I just don’t see it happening this year.

    4. I still don’t think McLaren is any special in terms of development. They’ve been flattered with a rubbish car in 2009 and a car that peaked early in 2010, and mistakes in early 2011.

      2009 – The car was fundamentally a good, competitive car. It should be a frontrunner, had it not been for a lack of outwash endplates and the weight distribution issue.
      2010 – Development was good until Silverstone. Then it flatlined.
      2011 – The car was always competitive since the start, and really it was a question of them getting better life and more out of the tyres than Red Bull.

  4. This may just be a test with each team running different programmes, but it doesn’t escape ones attention, the ease with which the Lotus can set fastest times. I think they have the fastest car in terms of consistent handling. They have just not extracted the maximum from it.
    The tenth or 2 they lose out in terms of outright one lap speed, they make up for with the ability to maintain a higher aveage speed across a series of laps.
    Raikkonen and Grosjean are serious contenders for the driver’s championship.

    1. @OOliver I think you’re completely right,not only is the Lotus Renault a fundamentally fast car,but it seems that there is even more potential in it,waiting to be extracted.Your astute observation about the handling of the car is spot on,not only is it one of the fastest cars out there,but it seems to be very easy to drive,which in effect makes it easy to put in consistently fast laps over a long run.And as the season progresses and booth drivers get really settled in,the row pace of this car will show even more.

      1. Unless they do what they did last year and fall behind as the other teams update their cars.
        But considering how they don’t have that front exhaust hampering them this year, they should be able to keep up.

        1. @julian Yeah, I think it took them a while to admit that as nice as that idea was, it wasn;t working for them.

    2. Yep, hopefully Lotus can be in contention although, as highlighted, I am concerned that their more limited resources might hinder them when it comes to keep up with the big spenders in the coming months…

      1. As long as they get podiums, Unilever will write the checks bigger than Red Bull or Mercedes are getting.

  5. At risk of banging a drum. The reason we go to boring tracks outside of F1s core European Audience Is for £££££.

    However if F1 controlled its own commercial rights instead of giving Bernie and his CVC cohorts $500-750m a year, they could afford to drop the Arab money for desert racing on zzzzzz tracks and race predominantly in front of their core audience in Europe.

    Don’t see the NFL playing in UAE, Korea et al. . .

    1. Couldn’t agree more with that comment. If it was a Sport at all, then there would be a race in Portimao too…

    2. In the same vain, we could just have England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland play in a football tournament and call it the world cup.
      In the not too distant future, I can very well see some politician seeking to ban motor racing or limit it to 40mph.
      Europe is shrinking, manufacturing capacity and the service industry can’t sustain F1 hence the need to expand out of Europe.
      If you exclude a lot of the none European races, TV income will soon drop as they begin to lose interest. It won’t take too long before the drivers are having to sew their own overalls.

    3. I’m sorry but Europe’s races are pretty average at best.

      1. Spa ?
        Monaco ?
        Silverstone ?
        Monza ?
        Even Budapest ?

        1. Monaco’s track is great. For viewing, pretty boring if you ask me.

    4. @aj13 They can’t afford to drop anything. They’re massively in debt. Like any company, they have bills to pay. Let’s not pretend that this isn’t a business that benefits everyone in the sport. If they started ditching the more lucrative races the teams would complain that they’re not getting enough of a pay out from FOM to remain competitive with other forms of motorsport.

  6. From what I’ve read about the testing, Ferrari seem to have tested 2 new exhaust configs, new rear wing, new brake ducts, new floor, new engine cover, new turning vanes and a new beam wing.
    And Ferrari are saying they have have a lot more to come at Barcelona.

    It seems like the updates have improved their pace a bit, but as always, we wont know for sure until qualifying in Barcelona.

    1. I wouldn’t expect too much.

    2. @julian Ferrari said they’ve put up 90% of their new package here, with the remaining 10% in Barcelona.

    3. Ian (@valkyrassassin)
      4th May 2012, 21:19

      I expect Ferrari to at least be solidly in the top 10 in Spain, they shouldn’t be quite as bad. Alonso always goes well at his home track, so top 5 in qualifying at least is possible.

  7. Lotus look very quick and Red Bull too.

  8. Well they looked good in Bahrain so I expect they will be very, very competitive in Spain.

  9. The Ferrari looks very good. He did the fastest of his laps in a 9 lap run and at the very beginning of the session when there was not much rubber, temperature like vettel and grosjean enjoyed when they did their fastest laps. I just read that the car in kugel lo only had a few upgrades, but that a new front nose, rear wing, new engine cover with a s-duct Mercedes style and a new floor among other things will be put in Spain. So a second of improvement is quite possible since it is basically a brand new car.

  10. Yeah i tottaly agre..We all saw testing that alonso was on “fire” at the begining,he set 3rd time of the total testing days on HARD tyres and he was going even more faster in the lap he went off…So HARD-tyred ferrari was 1:21:3 and MEDIUM-tyred lotus was 1:21:05…I expect ferrari will be in competition with lotus for P1 at Spain..

    1. Lotus made fastest lap on 6 lap long run with hard tyres.

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