Yesterday was the final day of the four day test at Circuito Ricardo Tormo in Valencia. The teams are in very different stages of their 2008 car development so no conclusions should be made yet, but there are already some signs of what may come.
Ferrari seems to be ready to mount another title challenge. Both Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa had good runs in the new Ferrari. Massa was fastest on Tuesday, Raikkonen on Thursday. It can be said that Ferrari is the fastest car at the moment.
McLaren did not do too bad either. Heikki Kovalainen is settling in the car pretty well and he even managed to set the new lap record on this F1 test track. He later disclosed it was on very low fuel, but nevertheless the combination of Heikki Kovalainen and McLaren car looks impressive. Lewis Hamilton was in the car on Wednesday and Thursday only, both time outpaced by his team mate. It may mean that Heikki will be formidable opponent, it may also mean each of the McLaren drivers had different test duties.
Williams, the pleasant surprise. At this stage of the testing season clearly the third fastest car, no matter whether driven by Rosberg or Nakajima. They however have to keep up their job, because there are several teams right behind them … Considering that they only came out with the new car this week in Valencia, the performance of Williams is very impressive.
The automotive lighting producer Hella held a demonstration of new motor racing circuit lighting system at Melbourne’s Calder Park Raceway on November 12, 2007.
This demonstration included test drives by current Red Bull Formula 1 Team driver, Mark Webber, five time World 500cc Champion Mick Doohan and Australian Formula 3 Championship driver Leanne Tander.
Here are few photos from the demostration provided by Hella:
Five time World 500cc Motorcycle Champion Mick Doohan testing the ARTIS illumination ystem at Melbourne’s Calder Park Raceway on November 12, 2007.
Red Bull Racing Formula One driver Mark Webber tests the Artis system in an Elfin sports car.
It has been announced yesterday that the F1 teams will be testing slick tyres during the upcoming test in Jerez. So the slicks are returning to the place where they featured last time, 10 years ago at the European Grand Prix 1997 in Jerez. And what a race it was… It was the final race of 1997 season, with Schumacher leading Villeneuve by 1 point …
Famous qualifying – 3 drivers recorded identical time in qualifying for the first time in the F1 history – Jacques Villeneuve, Michael Schumacher and Heinz-Harald Frentzen
Famous win – Mika Hakkinen won his first F1 race
Famous incident – Michael Schumecher hit Jacques Villeneuve during Villeneuve’s overtaking attempt and later got disqualified from the whole season
The race was won by Hakkinen, ahead of Coulthard (both McLaren) and Jacques Villeneuve (Williams). The 3rd place was enough for Jacques Villeneuve to claims his first and only Formula 1 Drivers Title.
Check the rest of this post for the video highlights from 1997 European Grand Prix in Jerez
Well, only for the Jerez test in December but nevertheless it is a sign that FIA is seriously considering bringing them back.
Slick tyres were expected to return for 2008 season but the plans were ditched without much explanation. This test will be aimed at collecting the data before the possible 2009 return of slick tyres.
Statement from Bridgestone:
“Bridgestone are supplying these tyres as a response to a request from the teams and the testing committee, as the teams want to gain data as they look to the 2009 season.”
The tyres are believed to be similar to those Bridgestone supplies to the GP2 series.
It is hard to believe that Max Mosley and FIA are actually taking some steps to improve the racing …
There was no Michael Schumacher on track on the final day of Barcelona testing, so the honours could go to Massa. The times and order are not that important for the teams at this stage of testing. Except probably for Force India, the team that is using this and the next test in Jerez to select their drivers. In Barcelona Klien did a bit better than Liuzzi…
Everywhere else this test was mainly about the new ECU and no traction control or some new components for the 2008 cars. Being on the top of the time sheets definitely feels good anytime, but does not mean much right now.
Day 3 Times:
1. Massa – Ferrari – 1:21.044
2. Kovalainen – Renault – 1:21.136
3. Montagny – Toyota – 1:21.363
4. Vettel – Toro Rosso – 1:21.486
5. Coulthard – Red Bull – 1:21.555
6. Badoer – Ferrari – 1:21.741
7. de la Rosa – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:21.805
8. Rosberg – Williams – 1:21.820
The f1gpudpate.net revealed “exclusively” that “The Force India Formula 1 team will reveal its 2008 driver line-up after the team completes its three-day test session in Jerez next month”. Fine. But then they say “The team is currently testing in Barcelona with five different drivers and it is very likely two of them will be chosen to become the team’s official race driver. The “two of them” part caught my attention. Isn’t Adrian Sutil already a confirmed driver for Force India F1 for 2008 ? This is what he said just a day ago while acknowledging that he is lucky to have a race seat with Force India next season.
“I’ve had a very nice season working with this team, and I’m glad that I have a drive for next year, when a lot of drivers are still looking.”
So why is Force India talking about choosing 2 drivers ? It may be a typo from f1gpudate, it may be that they count Sutil as one of the 2 as he also testing for the team this week. But it also may mean that Force India is also considering their options should Sutil move to another team… This is what Sutil told The Telegraph:
“I would love to be driving with Lewis again. Maybe some time in the future. But next year would be good.”
It is obvious what team is on Sutil’s mind. In the meantime, Liuzzi, Sutil and Klien were closely matched on their first day of testing with Force India.
Michael Schumacher surprised few including himself with his speed on his return to the Ferrari F1 car after over a year away. He topped the timesheets on both Tuesday and Wednesday tests in Barcelona. This is not a Michael Schumacher fan site, but one has to give it to him, he has the racing in blood. And it seems it does not matter whether it is on 4 or 2 wheels. During his recent run on Ducati MotoGP motorbike, Michael Schumacher recorded a lap only 6 second slower than the current MotoGP champion Casey Stoner… See the video.
As David Coulthard said the other day, making case for himself too:
“It shows that age does not matter – if he was back in Formula One, he would be at the front. If McLaren is still looking for a driver, Michael would be a fantastic solution. Just as Paul McCartney can never unlearn great music, Michael will never forget how to drive a car damn fast.”
The second day of Barcelona test and Michael Schumacher was the fastest man on the track again. His best time was about 6 tenths faster than Massa’s.
Force India cars took over the bottom end of the time sheets. The day ended better for Klien but he was only a tenth of a second quicker than Sutil and Liuzzi. These guys are not making it easy for the team …
After Andreas Zuber on Tuesday, Honda gave today chance to test the F1 car to another GP2 driver – Luca Fillipi. He was only 2 tenths slower than Button.
Barcelona Test Day 2 Times:
1. M.Schumacher – Ferrari – 1.21.486
2. de la Rosa – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:21.857
3. Kovalainen – Renault – 1:21.894
4. Massa – Ferrari – 1:22.044
None of the 2007 top 4 drivers was in action (one of them does not even have a team as we speak) but still, to jump in a car after year away and top the time sheets is impressive. Love him or hate him, Schumi still has it. Some of the current drivers should hope he does not start enjoying the track action again…
Coulthard gave him thumbs up:
“I think there is a guy called Michael. It looks as though he’s got a talent. He will make his way to F1.”
But some were not impressed even before the test:
Three days of testing on the revamped Spa circuit began with Hamilton on top of the timesheets on July 10, ahead of Kubica and Massa. There were pretty huge gaps between the teams on the day one, likely caused by the changing track conditions and new parts on the cars.
After 2 days of testing on Monaco style track layout drivers switched to Montreal design. This track seems to be best suited to Ferrari as Kimi Raikkonen drove fastest laps on both days. McLaren did not perform as well as during first 2 days at Paul Ricard. It looks like the Monaco track will suit McLaren better than Montreal. It also looks like Hamilton suits the car better than Pedro de la Rosa … Renaults did good on both days with Kovalainen 3rd on May 17 and Fisichella 2nd on May 18. Honda was slow on both days and it did not matter which one of their 3 drivers was behind the wheel. But really not sure what to make of all these times, especially when you see Scott Speed clocking 2nd fastets time on one day, and then his team mate being slowest the next day …
May 17 Times Here
May 18 Times Here
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