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2012 F1 testing: Driver and team report from Barcelona – Day 2

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Red Bull Racing Sebastian Vettel: “I’m happy that we got a lot of laps done. Unfortunately, we had a little bit of a problem, it was small, but with testing you stop whenever there’s an issue, take a look and see what’s what and that always takes up a bit of time. But nevertheless, in the afternoon I was quite happy. We got a lot of laps done, more than 100, so we got through most of the programme”.

“I think we are on the right road with the car,” he added. “The first impressions at the last test were fine. The car reacted the way we expected. I keep talking about the loss of downforce compared to last year, as we don’t have the tools we had, but this is the same for everyone, not just us. So, we’ll get on top of it and we’ll spend the coming days trying to make improvements, find more performance and make the car faster. But so far, so good.”

Head of Race Engineering Ian Morgan said: “It was again so cold this morning that we had problems with pit stop practice, simply because the equipment was freezing up as we tried to use it. After that we ran a bit of a free practice simulation, but we discovered a small problem, which lost us some time. It was only a minor issue and didn’t require major work, but it meant that we had to run a compressed Quali simulation before lunch. Afterwards we got through a whole race distance, which, at the car’s first go, is always very encouraging. Mark is in the car tomorrow for his race simulation, so we hope we can get through the full programme with him with no dramas.”

McLaren Mercedes Lewis Hamilton: “To have completed more than 1000km in the past two days is incredibly encouraging – the whole team should feel proud.

“The car behaves really well in the high-speed corners – I think the baseline of our car is higher than it was last year – and it’s better overall at high-speed. It’s performing well in Turns Three and Nine, too.

“We don’t know the fuel-loads of the other cars, so it’s still hard to determine the pecking order. We didn’t bring any upgrades here, but our understanding of the car has developed since the test in Jerez. We’re learning more about how the tyres work, how the temperatures behave and how to balance the car using set-up. It’s been an extremely productive few days – and I think Jenson will continue to improve the car tomorrow.

“Now, I’m just looking forward to the final test – it’s where you get a really good feeling of where the car will be. It’s also exciting because it’s the last stop before the first race!”

Ferrari Fernando Alonso: “We are trying different components on the exhausts and other areas,”. “Then on the track and back in Maranello, everyone is working hard on analysing the data in order to improve the performance, a job that takes time. In Jerez, we said that we would start from a more solid base in Barcelona and that has been the case and we hope it will be the same next week at the final session. Then, we are trying to put everything together to be as well prepared as possible for Melbourne, when we will really understand where we are. Our targets are ambitious, which they have to be given we are Ferrari and they remain unaltered: we want to be in good enough shape to win right from the very first race. I think we are probably not the quickest today, but neither are we the slowest. In Australia, when the temperatures should be very different, we will know where we are compared to the others.”

“At the moment, we are not where we want to be, nor where we want to be in Australia, but I remain optimistic. We still have six days of testing and we will see how it goes. It’s also hard to say how the others are doing: Red Bull is definitely very strong, as is normal in fact, given how they have gone over the past three years, but you can’t say that McLaren or Mercedes for example, who seem to be behind, are not strong themselves, maybe even more so than Red Bull. This has been a more laborious winter for us than in the past because we have a more complex car, which features very innovative ideas but that requires greater effort from everyone, from the drivers who drive it, the engineers who run and develop it and the mechanics who have to put in over twenty hour days. It’s always nice to have a car that is immediately ready, quick and reliable, but that is not always synonymous with winning. Last year, we did a race simulation at the end of the first test and then in Melbourne we were a second and a half off pole position.”

Mercedes AMGNico Rosberg:“It was good to get into proper testing today. Early in the morning, it was a bit too cold on the track to collect some decent information, however later we were able to get into our planned work. In the afternoon session, unfortunately we had a transmission oil leak which meant that I wasn’t able to complete any further running. That doesn’t affect my positive feelings about our test programme, and things like that can happen in the early stages of running a new car. Now I am looking forward to driving again on Friday.”

Force IndiaNico Hulkenberg: “We started the day with some aero work – trying some constant speed runs and collecting more data. Then, the rest of the day was spent working on the balance of the car and trying out all four tyre compounds. I did some short runs, long runs and just got a feel for the tyre characteristics and how the car reacts to them. Once again the car has been very drivable all day and our baseline set-up has proved to be a good starting point for running all the different compounds.”

Jakob Andreasen, Chief Engineer: “Nico’s second day in the car saw a continuation of the programme we started yesterday with aero runs, balance and set-up work, and a full day of tyre comparisons. We got through all the items on the job list and once again the car has run faultlessly, which is a credit to the design team at Silverstone. Nico’s feedback on the handling of the car continues to be positive and we now have a good feel for the set-up directions we need to take to extract even more performance.”

Williams F1Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: Valtteri did a good job today completing 117 laps without issue, working on general car set-up with a run plan tailored around familiarising him with a typical Friday P1 race session.

Valtteri Bottas: I really enjoyed today. It was great to get back in the car as I have been waiting for this day since I took part in the young driver test in Abu Dhabi last year. The FW34 again showed good reliability, as we completed 117 laps while doing some interesting tests with the car set-up. I’m looking forward to assisting the team at race weekends this season and can’t wait to drive the car again.

Sauber F1Giampaolo Dall’Ara (Head of Track Engineering): “This was a far more positive day. Despite an exhaust problem in the late afternoon, we went through a good programme. Quite a few high priority points have been ticked off the job list. In the morning we started with aero comparisons, and then did some proper mechanical set up work. We also carried out a full comparison of all tyre compounds – super soft, soft, medium and hard – and ran different fuel loads. Of course it is not possible to really judge the car’s performance yet as we don’t know the other teams’ programmes, but today was productive and now we can work out the programme for tomorrow when Kamui takes over.”

Sergio Pérez: “Today was a lot better, even though in the end we lost a bit of track time because of the exhaust problem. I am happy with how things went, we have gathered plenty of information to go through now and I believe we are working in the right direction. I hope we get some more work done with Kamui driving the next two days, and then we will be well prepared for next week’s final pre-season test session.”

MarussiaCharles Pic: “Another good day for me today with more important mileage. It was a very interesting morning as we tried quite a few set-up changes and it was very good for me to gain this experience. This afternoon we completed two long runs as part of a race simulation to enable us to work on tyre degradation and we made a run with low fuel at the end. The past two days have been good for me and I’m looking forward to being in the car again on Friday.”

John Booth, Team Principal: “Another productive day with Charles getting plenty more mileage under his belt. Today’s programme was centred around set-up work in the morning and further long run work this afternoon. Charles is getting more and more adept at understanding the behaviour of the car to set-up changes and is working well with his engineers and crew. Tomorrow we look forward to getting Timo back in the car and allowing him to spend some time evaluating the 2012 tyre compounds.”

Toro RossoDaniel Ricciardo: “The afternoon did not go to plan, but the morning was positive and we did all the runs we had planned for the first part of the day. We worked on making adjustments to the car balance, also trying some different mechanical changes to the car, which is why I did mainly short runs. I could feel the effect of these changes and the car reacted in the way we expected.”

Images © Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes AMG


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