Consolidated times of 2012 pre season testing Jerez Spain
I put together the consolidated times for the 4 days of Jerez preseason testing. My objective is to read thru this times and find some base for discussions. Here are the consolidated times at Jerez:
(1) Rosberg Mercedes 1m17.613s (2011 car)
(2) Grosjean Lotus 1m18.419s
(3) Schumacher Mercedes 1m18.561s (2011 car)
(4) Alonso Ferrari 1m18.877s
(5) Webber Red Bull 1m19.184s
(6) Vettel Red Bull 1m19.297s
(7) Hamilton McLaren 1m19.464s
(8) Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m19.587s
(9) Vergne Toro Rosso 1m19.597s
(10) Raikkonen Lotus 1m19.670s
(11) Perez Sauber 1m19.770s
(12) Di Resta Force India 1m19.772s
(13) Kobayashi Sauber 1m19.834s
(14) Hulkenberg Force India 1m19.977s
(15) Senna Williams 1m20.132s
(16) Bianchi Force India 1m20.221s
(17) Massa Ferrari 1m20.454s
(18) Button McLaren 1m20.688s
(19) Maldonado Williams 1m21.197s
(20) Kovalainen Caterham 1m21.518s
(21) De la Rosa HRT 1m22.128s
(22) Trulli Caterham 1m22.198s
(23) Der Garde Caterham 1m23.324s
All of the F1 news outlets and even the team managers are saying that lap times do not matter at this time since they are just testing parts, figuring out how the car behaves, etc, etc, etc. Anyhow I am a stats-oriented person, so here my analysis:
Mercedes: So far only testing the 2011 car with the new pirelli spec tire to have a base for the 2012 car. Is this the winning strategy? or their 2012 car was not ready for prime time? We will see how this plays into the championship. Rosberg managed to be faster than Schumacher. We do not know if they were running the blown diffuser (high downforce), so we can not have any conclusions.
Lotus: Great run for Grosjean, his best lap time very similar to Schumacher. If Mercedes 2011 car was indeed running the blown diffuser then Lotus have a very competitive car. Raikkonen surprised on day 1 of pre season testing. But then kept a low profile for the rest of days. We should keep any on his moves.
Ferrari: Mix results, hard to read. On the one hand, we have Massa with uncompetitive lap times as he only managed 17th place. On the other hand, Alonso managed the 4th best lap time. Smoking gun? Some say he was running low fuel, but who knows? Still if we take Grosjean as the reference, Alonso was 0.4s off the pace.
Red Bull: It appears they are not hiding anything, both Vettel and Webber have a similar racing pace, Webber faster by 0.1s. The fact that both are so close in lap times could mean that they got the formula right. They did not want to show off, just yet. Long runs, testing components.
McLaren: Same as Ferrari with mixed results. Hamilton very close to the Red Bulls (+0.2s), but Button down in the order and close to Massa. None of them, neither Hamilton nor Button tried to impress during the testing. Very quiet so far on their impressions about the car. Maybe Hamilton did not want to impress and remain quiet for the week due to the Sutil affair.
Toro Rosso: The best of the rest, very, very close to McLaren. They might find themselves leading the mid-field, or at least it appears so far.
Sauber and Force India: Very competitive between each other, if both teams can gain some tenths of a second, they can join Toro Rosso in the fight for the best of rest.
Williams: A bit of mixed results. We found Senna lapping very similar to the Saubers and Force Indias, but on the other end Maldonado (on his second year at Williams) was closer to the end of the field. Have they improved? time will tell.
Caterham and HRT: Definitely needs improvement, specially HRT since their car still missing some key crash tests to pass FIA homologation. Caterham bringing 3 drivers so they get maximum time. Similar to Force India strategy.
Final conclusions: Lotus = Surprise, Red Bull = same pace of 2011, Ferrari = McLaren = mixed results , Mercedes = show me the 2012 car.