Pre-season testing for the 2012 Formula One season started at Jerez in Spain this morning, with all of the teams except Marussia present. It was a day of testing of all of the systems on the cars, getting used to the new tyres, and getting as much mileage on the cars and drivers as possible.
Testing was preceded by the launch of the new Williams Renault FW34, which was driven during the day by Pastor Maldonado.
The morning was dominated by Kimi Raikkonen who was quick from the start in the Lotus. He ended up setting the fastest lap of the day in 1m19.670s, almost two tenths quicker than the fastest time set at Jerez during the second four-day test in 2011.
Fastest lap times and laps completed are as follows:
|1||Kimi Raikkonen||Lotus E20||1m19.670s||75|
|2||Paul di Resta||Force India VJM05||1m19.772s||101|
|3||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes W02||1m20.219s||56|
|4||Mark Webber||Red Bull RB8||1m20.496s||54|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso STR7||1m20.694s||57|
|6||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes W02||1m20.794s||42|
|7||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber C31||1m21.353s||106|
|8||Jenson Button||McLaren MP4-27||1m21.530s||62|
|9||Felipe Massa||Ferrari F2012||1m22.815s||69|
|10||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham CT01||1m23.178s||28|
|11||Pastor Maldonado||Williams FW34||1m23.371s||25|
|12||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT F111||1m23.676s||44|
While lap times are fairly meaningless at this stage of testing, it is important for each team to do as much running as possible, and so mileage is perhaps a better indication of progress. Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber (pictured above) completed more laps than any other car with 106, followed by Paul di Resta’s Force India with 101 and the Mercedes W02 of Rosberg and Schumacher with a combined total of 98 laps.
In the case of Mercedes, they are not putting mileage on their new car at this point, although it is possible that they are running some parts from the as yet unseen W03.
Red Bull and McLaren were fairly quiet, with minimal running in the morning, but we can expect to see more mileage from them as the week progresses. Ferrari spent much of the day with a “periscope” on top of the airbox for aero tests. It looks like the Scuderia has not yet done much in the way of performance testing.
The day was fairly incident-free, with only two red flags. The first was caused by Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso coming to a halt at the first corner with an oil pressure problem. The second stoppage was due to Kobayashi running out of fuel on the back straight as part of a fuel consumption test. Caterham’s day came to a premature end after only 28 laps, a damaged starter shaft preventing the team from starting the car, but the team was positive about the performance of the new CT01. Williams covered only 28 laps with the FW34 after some teething problems restricted their running, but the team are generally positive about the new car.
Testing resumes tomorrow morning at 9am CET.