Button leads first test of 2013

2013 F1 season

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Jenson Button, McLaren, Jerez, 2013McLaren started 2013 the way they ended 2012, with a mixture of performance and unreliability.

Jenson Button was sidelined with a fuel pump problem early on, missing a significant part of the test, but returned to the track to set a best time of 1’18.861.

Mark Webber was second fastest for Red Bull, having taken the quickest time of the day from Romain Grosjean with half an hour to go.

Fourth quickest was Paul di Resta, who also set the most laps of any driver in the session.

At the other end of the scale was Nico Rosberg, who stopped after 14 laps after a wiring loom fault caused a fire on his W04.

Following Rosberg and Button, the final red flag of the day appeared when Max Chilton spun at Curva Dry Sack with two hours remaining. He will be in the car again tomorrow but Marussia are yet to confirm who will drive the car on the remaining days or who his team mate will be.

DriverCarBest timeLapsDifferenceTyres
1Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes MP4-281’18.86137Hard
2Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault RB91’19.709730.848Medium
3Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault E211’19.796540.935Hard
4Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes VJM061’20.343891.482Medium
5Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari STR81’20.401701.540Hard
6Felipe MassaFerrari F1381’20.536641.675Medium
7Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari C321’20.699791.838Hard
8Nico RosbergMercedes W041’20.846141.985Medium
9Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault FW341’20.864842.003Medium
14Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault CT031’21.915643.054Soft
23Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth MR021’24.176295.315Medium

2013 F1 season

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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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70 comments on “Button leads first test of 2013”

  1. @keithcollantine Model names of Sauber and Ferrari are mixed up

    1. or maybe Keith have just foreseeing the future…

      1. Like he already knows how 2013 is going to end for McLaren.

        1. I guess he just decide to abandon this season to focus on the 2014 new regulatios

          1. Does he work at Mercedes too?

  2. Looks like Mercedes are continuing their 2012 form….

  3. so 1st test and no real change at the top, Mclaren, Red Bull & Lotus …not sure if it tells us anything so early in but it does point the usual suspects being up there at the top at the 1st race. I do think Mercedes might just have a challenge to keep up and expect Ferrari to improve

    1. firstLapNutcaseGrosjean (@)
      5th February 2013, 16:34

      It tells us that Mclaren has realibility problems, again. The lap times doesn’t matter. I wonder from where are they importing car components. China?

      1. What about Mercedes?

        1. Mercedes needs to improve and give Lewis a good car. The first day of testing is quite disappointing. I would love to see how Nikki Lauda reacts to this.

          1. I expect he’s not that bothered.

    2. These first days do not count for much. Last year Rosberg was the fastest after the first four days

      1. That was 2 years ago, and then he was running an older spec car with more downforce.

    3. Considering Merc GP are right there with Ferrari, and you are just using circumstantial evidence…it does not say that Merc are in 2012 form. Especially if you give Ferrari the benefit of improving but no a car that is .3 seconds behind them…

  4. also it does seem that the cars with the vanity panels on the nose do look much better than the stepped noses

  5. Not much can be said about the first day really. What I will say is that Caterham were 1.2 seconds faster than their first day in testing last year, and four tenths down on their fastest overall, and McLaren were faster in this session than at any point during last season’s Jerez test (by them). Obviously this was going to happen with the softer tyres and the upgrades, but still interesting.

    1. I think Caterham had a good day. Hopefully a good start to the season.

      1. While as mentioned you can’t read too much from the first day, of all the teams on the grid Caterham really need to improve this year and start fighting for midfield positions. Here’s hoping they do!

    2. The tyre compounds are softer now, which would likely explain much of your observation.

  6. Very early days, but McLaren’s speed an consistency can’t be a bad thing. Mercedes time wasn’t bad considering the lack of laps and how early it was set in the session, but its impossible to gain anything at all from such a short amount of laps. Lotus put in some good times, but didn’t quite have the consistency over a run that the Red Bulls and McLarens had, perhaps meaning its not so easy to drive, but again, it’s too early to tell really.

    Good to see all the midfield teams putting in similar times, so hopefully we’ll see a tight midfield this season.

    Nothing else of much significance learnt today, but a hint to trying to read the testing times: completely ignore the fastest laps, compare the slowest consistent stints of each team, particularly the top teams like McLaren and Red Bull. I say this as I’m astounded at the number of serious Button WDC predictions I’ve heard already just because of one lap time!

    1. I say this as I’m astounded at the number of serious Button WDC predictions I’ve heard already just because of one lap time!

      He also set the second fastest time, and his multi-lap runs in the low 1m20s were equalled by none. I’d say the signs of McLaren being quick are quite strong.

      1. Or, as Button implied, they were just simply running less fuel. Every lap of fuel less in the car can make them a tenth faster.

    2. Or its just the first test and not everybody has their setups quite there yet

  7. Good on McLaren for hitting the top of the sheets after spending most of the day in the garage. Even though it doesn’t really mean a whole lot in terms ultimate performance, I’m sure they’re happier there than they would be lower down, or still stuck in the garage.

  8. I never really understood testing. Can someone please explain to me what the purpose of testing is and what teams strive to do during this period ? Apart from the obvious like they are trying to correlate expectations and tweak things…

    1. LoreMipsumdOtmElor
      5th February 2013, 16:43

      Well, first of all you have a new car and might just check if it actually works before going to the first race ;)

    2. It allows the teams to gather as much on-track data as they can before Melbourne such as lap times, tyre wear, fuel consumption, downforce levels, car setups etc. It’s also the only chance the drivers have to get to grips with the new cars before the season starts.

      1. Oh man, how awesome would it be if the teams were required to use separate race and test drivers so the first time the racers drove it was australia quali!

    3. Tires, team building and getting use to are also addressed, bu more important than anything giving us fans a season mouth watering experience

    4. I suspect the first test is mostly mechanical checks, looking for obvious faults such as “wiring loom faults”. Also at some point they all run out of fuel to check the gauges are working correctly.

      Lots of laps like Force India & Williams is a good sign.
      Going home early or staying in the garage are the signs to look for not speed at this point.
      (Lotus last year with a carbon fiber chassis issue), staying in the garage a lot (Ferrari 2012 burning car & aero issues) & (McLaren 2011 with the malfunctioning octopus)

      Setup and speed come later.

    5. To give f1 fanatics something to talk about until the season starts?

  9. McLaren started 2013 the way they ended 2013 ? or ended 2012 ?

  10. That’s a great name for a corner: Curva Dry Sack

    1. Sounds like some sort of horrendous skin condition :)

      1. Haha.. Nice

    2. Kurva in many eastern european languages means a prostitute. That sure is a funny name for a corner. XD

      1. Sure @brace, but the word is derived from the word for corner/bend in German (Kurve), which is not dissimilar in sound from Italian and Spanish, making it more a funny name for prostitute than for corner!

  11. Be right back just heading out to put €100 on Button for the title :P

    1. Ehem ehem Perez I would say !

      1. No chance, he wont be within 25 points of JB at the end of the season

        1. You’re right. He wont be within 25 points of Button, he’ll be way ahead.

          1. Perez with more points than Button at the end of the season? That’s the most hilarious thing I’ve heard in years…

      2. Considering how close Button ran Hamilton and given the fact that Button is hugely respected F1 racing driver and WDC, you must have an incredibly high opinion of someone who has only raced in F1 for a couple of seasons.

        1. Well if you remember hamilton run pretty tight to a former double champ, so I see Perez much better position, specially as mclaren done it before and Perez is fast you’ll see. This could be very well Button last season in Mclaren actually

  12. McLaren to dominate the season, confirmed.

    1. You mean, dominating every race until they retire? ;)

      1. Excellent point.

  13. I love the start of a new season. We all know you can’t read much from the first test day & times but it doesn’t stop people getting excited & throwing all their predictions at the fastest driver. In this case Button. So maybe people have already dubbed him WDC 2013 but there is more to come & we haven’t even seen what the BIG 3 can do in Hamilton, Alonso & Vettel.

    Place your bets now but be careful as tomorrow you may have changed your mind

    1. Yes but come on, we’re all so excited and have missed it so much, we’re like a bunch of addicts that have had to wait 3 months for a fix. Roll on tomorrow for the next fix. and the next set of rampant speculation. Love it. :)
      BTW not a good idea to bet when you’re high!

    2. That’s exactly it, I would like to see what the top drivers can do in their respective cars. Shame that Rosberg couldn’t run the majority of the session, the Mercedes is the car I’m most curious about (mainly due to Hamilton driving for them now).

      Hopefully we’ll see some fault-free running tomorrow for the top teams to get a better comparison of the cars.

  14. McLaren started 2013 the way they ended 2013, with a mixture of performance and unreliability.

    how did they end 2013? :P

    1. you need “vision”

  15. Hmmm Mercedes does look quick though 2 seconds slower than button on only 14 laps that barely enough laps for installation and to get a feel for the car …..

  16. I’m kinda disappointed the Marussia was so much slower. I wanted them to surprise me and be as fast as Caterham. Both of the drivers today are new, so maybe the comparison is fair.

    Seeing Red Bull perform good again makes me afraid of them winning this year aswell, really really afraid. But well, it’s just the first test and usually doesn’t mean much, lets see what happens.

  17. Really there’s no point in looking at the times. Even comparing them to last year’s pre season testing is rather pointless due to tyre changes, track conditions etc.

    Anyone pointing to Mclaren domination should think twice. As shown last year, speed is nothing unless backed up with great teamwork and reliability. Mclaren fans will be happy to see button at the top of the time sheets, but had today been a race day, Button would be coming away with no points.

    Its so hard not to get excited seeing the times and jumping to conclusion but its just so early into 2013 testing that I’m not at all worried for merc nor putting a bet on Mclaren domination.

    The only thing today did prove for me is that I’m a huge F1 fan ! I did very little work and will be playing f1 2012 when I get home :) I really can’t wait to get to Australia and get the season started !!

    1. Neverthless, 1m18.8 is an impressive lap time at Jerez for recent F1 cars.The lap record is just 1m15.6 made by F2004 if my memorization is right

      1. I don’t think a 1m18.8 is that impressive for a modern f1 car. Looking at last year’s times the Ferrari managed that exact time and that was a dog of a car this time last year. Also Rosbergs 2012 time was over 1.2 seconds faster on a 1m17.6. For sure it’s quite a good start for Mclaren but still I feel it’s way too soon to jump on a Mclaren domination.

  18. I hope Mercedes manage to get a new floor and brake ducting etc to the track for tomorrow, because it looked like the fire might have damaged all of that. But we must remember that before that Rosberg had been setting a string of fast laps that kept standing for a long time.

  19. An interesting first day of testing, with most drivers getting straight to business rather than dawdling with endless in- and outlaps. McLaren showed good speed already, especially considering they usually don’t go for quick laps early in testing, if at all.

    Rosberg’s early laps in the Mercedes were promising, but losing almost the entire first day of testing is disappointing.

    The pace of the new Caterham is slightly encouraging, although I found it worrying that besides the handful of quick laps, there were hardly any decent laps. Certainly I didn’t see any long, consistent runs.

    I think Marussia could have gone a bit quicker, only Chilton went off just as it looked like they were building some speed. Also, it wasn’t clear to me whether he went off because of a suspension failure, or whether the suspension had broken after he had gone off and the team was being nice to him in public.

    Finally, I also found Toro Rosso’s day encouraging. Unlike the Caterham, they could produce quick laps with some consistency, although I suspect the midfield will be too tight to infer much from winter testing.

  20. Is there any way we can find out what tyre compounds the teams ran their fastest laps on? McLaren say that Button’s fast lap was on hards. Very impressive if true, especially since he ran a couple of laps afterwards so his fuel wasn’t that low.

  21. Interestingly, Button did that kind of lap time with merely 37 laps, which are significantly less than his rivals

  22. For sure, it’s definitely pointless looking at the laptimes in the first test, unless they are insanely quick or slow.
    For sure, definitely.

  23. Who drives tomorrow’s mclaren ?

  24. Curious as to what happened with Chilton, anyone any idea?

    1. @andrewtanner I was chatting to a photographer yesterday who had some pics, looks like he lost it under braking. She said he looked very surprised when he first got out of the car, and I see he’s suggested there was a failure at the rear.

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