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Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi topped the fourth and the final day of Barcelona test by posting a lap time of 1:22.312s. The Japanese driver switched to Pirelli soft compound during the morning and that was enough to help him post the fastest lap time of the day.
Maldonado, who topped yesterday's session posted the second fastest lap time( 1m22.561s) of the day, while Force India's Paul di Resta finished third. While most teams preferred longer runs in afternoon session, Scott preferred a stint on super softs which helped him beat Button's lap time of 1m23.200s.
Ferrari's Felipe Massa was fifth in the Ferrari F2012 followed by Webber. Vergne was just 0.018 sec slower on his fastest lap in the Red Bull junior team. Rosberg was 9th in the Mercedes with a lap time of 1m23.843s, while Caterham's Heikki Kovalainen finished 9th.
Marussia couldn't compete in the final day of Barcelona test due to a suspension problem. “It’s a real shame that after three very positive days with the car we’ve encountered this issue on the final day,” said team principal John Booth. “We can’t be too downhearted though, having achieved over 1500kms of near faultless running from a car that has served us so well from a reliability perspective.
The final pre-session test will take place in Barcelona from March 1-4.
1. Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, 1:22.312, 145 Laps
2. Pastor Maldonado, Williams, 1:22.561, 134 Laps
3. Paul di Resta, Force India, 1:23.119, 101 Laps
4. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:23.200, 115 Laps
5. Felipe Masssa, Ferrari, 1:23.563, 103 Laps
6. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:23.774, 85 Laps
7. Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, 1:23.792, 92 Laps
8. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:23.843, 139 Laps
9. Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham, 1:26.968, 70 Laps
Long Runs with Hard Tyres means normally you wouldn't be chasing the time sheets but whether it was intended or not, Sebastian Vettel finished on top in the day 1 of the second Pre season test. Things are finally settling down and one can expect that Red Bull are hiding their pace very much in these Pre season tests. The track conditions were also warmer and that didn't help anyone in chasing times, so majority of the Teams opted to run long runs rather then hunt for lap times and this meant that running order for most drivers were same as the morning charts
Nico Hulkenberg of Force India enjoyed his second proper run with the Team and was happy and positive with the way how things were shaping up. The German finished with 97 laps to his name said that the team ran Aero tests in the morning along with comparing various tyre compounds and then chose to do long runs in the afternoon. He also admitted that the car looked better on this track then at Jerez and that reliability wise things looked okay for the team. The German's laptimes was just 0.175's off the pace of Vettel. And Nico was heading the time sheets much of the morning session before late surge from Vettel put him on top
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They chose to run the first test with their 2011 contender. The odds were against them, Some speculated that they have something innovative. They had a shakedown last week followed by a private test on Sunday. Now, earlier in the day, Mercedes officially unveiled their 2012 contender claiming it to be the result of their work done for the last two years. Although admitting to the fact that they haven't have any technical breakthroughs to hide, Mercedes are hoping that their car which has some clear solutions for the 2012 rules will help them make a step forward
Taking over a championship winning team, Mercedes has always been stressing on the fact that they were in the process of rebuilding, In 2010 and 2011, Mercedes finished fourth, Although there weren't any single podiums in 2011, Mercedes is hoping for change in luck and they are going into the 2012 season with an unchanged line up. This year also marks the last year of three contract between Micheal Schumacher and Mercedes. Speculations vary from an retirement at the end of the season to an extension that will see him race until the end of 2013 season
Late last year, Mercedes also signed Ex Ferrari man, Aldo Costa, and Ex Renault man Bob Bell along with Geoff Wills who last worked for HRT. These people have long reputation for their work and are expected to turn things for Mercedes.
2011 hasn't been the year that Jarno Trulli would have hoped for, Having struggled although the year especially in Qualifying, Trulli was outshone by his Team Heikki Kovalainen in all departments, In the middle of the season at Germany he was replaced by Karun Chandhok for a one off race and thus fueling speculation that Trulli is well on his way out. But throughout the season and even during the winter break, Tony Fernandes kept on stressing that both Trulli and Heikki will see through the 2012 season.
On the other side, Vitaly Petrov having been dropped by Lotus after the end of the last season was left without a drive and having a slow sponsor on board didn't help his cause either as he was left hunting and even attended a Pirelli programme indicating that he would the Pirelli Tester.
But with the modern day world not depending on two or three parties, Rumors were flowing all over that Petrov would be heading to either HRT or Caterham and with lots of reports that were coming in over the winter suggesting that Petrov was heading to Caterham and the deal was not being signed because of a sponsor not firm on a commitment.
Earlier today, It was announced by Caterham that Vital Petrov has been signed and that he will be replacing Jarno Trulli with immediate effect.
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Bruno Senna who spent his first day of testing in understanding the car and putting up more miles under his belt has spoken out saying that the Team needs to be a bit more edgy while not going over the edge. FW34 was a result of hard-work that the Team has put through after a major technical reshuffle after a dismal outing last year. And Senna is confident that he and the Team can extract more out of the car which he deemed as good to drive, but for that they have to understand the car bit more and work on the deficiency it has. And According to Senna, The Team has identified some of the deficiencies and has already talked to the design team about the possibilities of alternatives.
Williams are also returning to Renault Engine, And Senna noted that this car has more traction at the rear then its predecessor. While also confirming that they have opted to do long runs and not to focus on setting a laptime here as the focus for this test is to gather more data about the car and not to attack the time sheets. Senna indicated that he may be willing to push for times at the Second Test when he understands the car more
Meanwhile, It was also confirmed by Williams that Dominic Harlow, The Ex-Force India man will be assume the responsibilities of Senior Operations Engineer and will focus a lot on Race Weekend Support to the Team.
Williams has been under significant Technical overhaul and hiring of Dominic Harlow will be strengthening its technical staff. Harlow entered the Silverstone based Team way back in 2005 when the Team was under Jordon and was the Chief Race and Test Engineer from 2007
In what comes a major setback to the Spanish Team, HRT itself revealed through a Social networking site that it has failed the mandatory crash tests. The Team revealed that it failed two of the crash tests by a small margin while one of the tests could not be carried out
17 mandatory Tests has to be passed before the car can hit the track. But the Team actually breathed a sigh of relief as the it has passed the Chassis Crash Test which is one of the most difficult of all.
This means that the Team's plan to test their new car at the Second Pre Season Testing won't be possible as the Team will work against the clock to get new parts manufactured and hope that it can get its car for the Final Pre Season Testing starting on March 1
It has to be noted that in the last couple of season's, HRT hasn't managed to any significant testing and this is the first time they planned to compete in all the Pre Season Tests. The Team is under a major overhaul as it is shifting its base to Spain under new ownership while the Technical staff has also changed while Pedro de la Rosa has been hired as one of its drivers to partner Narain Karthikeyan.
Meanwhile The Team hasn't yet confirmed whether it will field the 2011 car again for the Second Tests or abandon it all together.
The trend continued from Day 2 as Rosberg sets the fastest lap-time on Day 3 of the Pre Season Testing. The 2011 Mercedes car is on a roll as the 2012 cars are still trying to collect more mileage or work with their own program. Nico Rosberg 's laptimes was also quicker then what Schumacher set in Day 2. Mercedes were happy with the way how things are going at the moment as they program of clocking more miles in the car in a bid to understand the behavior of the Pirelli Tyres and Rosberg after the day said that these Tyres will play a major role in the season as all the compounds are close together
Romain Grosjean who is getting his first taste of Lotus was the second quickest and his lap-time is the quickest of all the 2012 cars which prompted Lewis Hamilton to say that the Lotus is by far impressive. Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton also driving for the first time in their respective cars were third and fourth fastest while Jean-Eric Vergne took over from the Ricciardo finished fifth
Fernando Alonso and Ferrari had another low profile day as the Ferrari seem to be working yet another different program as the Team now confirms they are not satisfied with their car. Alonso finished 7th and a hydraulic issue hampered his running in the morning.
There was no troubles whatsoever for Bruno Senna as he looked solid in his first run for the Williams Team. Senna notched up a nice 125 lap drive that assured he got more mileage under his belt as he begins his first proper season.
Giedo van der Garde who is driving for the Caterham had a run through the gravel and was looking a bit rusty and finished couple of seconds off the pace of Senna.
Jules Bianchi who was resuming his duties at Force India had to park his car in the gravel as he spun his rear and hit the Barriers which resulted in some significant damage to the car which meant Force India who so far had a successful outing had to abandon their program as the Team now awaits for parts from the factory although the Team is expected to hit the track on Friday
It was a routine day other then the Test drivers who had an off run and very few Teams having issues with the car. Otherwise Thursday was a good day with some of the drivers getting their first taste of the machinery. 2012 Cars haven't yet caught up the 2011 machine and it is understandable. The impressive Lotus have made a strong point but there has been questions raised on whether the Team tried to run a qualifying simulation. Ferrari are by far looking more confused as their aggressive approach hasn't helped their cause yet. Mclaren seems to have improved with Hamilton putting the car in strong fourth.
It started off well, But it was a surprising trend in the end as 2011 cars sandwiched the 2012 cars as Micheal Schumacher in his 2011 Mercedes finished well ahead of Mark Webber who was driving his 2012 car. It was also an exciting day for few teams as they notched up more then 100 laps showing class of reliability and collecting data as they looked on to put more miles in their cars. Force India are leading the 2012 cars pack as they are one of the few teams to put over 200 laps in first two days of testing
Mercedes with an aim of giving more time for the new car and also looking to gather more data of Pirelli Tyres with a stable platform should be happy with the way how things are standing at the moment. Mark Webber who lost much of the track time yesterday, Should also be happy with the way how his program went in the second day as he did 97 laps. Daniel Ricciardo finished third with exact 100 laps to his name