Published Wednesday, 29 February 2012
The last pre-season test will be taking place this week from the 1st-4th of March in Barcelona, Spain with an in-season test taking place at Ferrari's Mugello circuit in Italy, from the 1st-3rd of May.
Amongst the sea of test programmes two high priority areas for the teams will be getting their cars base settings and understanding how to get the best out of this years tyres compounds. Due to this type work going on it can be hard to judge the true speed and pecking order of the teams and this is probally best illustrated by the fact that nobody would have predicted the top three fastest drivers last week.
On the last day of testing in Barcelona Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi at the wheel of the Sauber C31-Ferrari did his fastest lap of the week, which went on to stand as the overall fastest time for the weeks test. Kamui Kobayashi commented "I'm quite happy. We achieved a very good mileage today. The set up changes we did in the morning meant an improvement in lap times, which, of course, is very positive. There is still a lot of work to do in terms of understanding the car and the different tyre compounds at different fuel levels, but we are working in the right direction. I think it was a good test for us."
Giampaolo Dall'Ara (Head of Track Engineering) commented "It was another positive test day for us. We started in the morning with some further aero comparisons and set-up work. Before lunch Kamui did qualifying runs. Qualifying was actually a weakness of ours in the last two seasons and we have to resolve this. This obviously requires proper practice. Kamui started with the medium compound before he used two sets of soft tyres, and in the end he got his first taste of the 2012 super soft compound. He did his fastest lap on the second set of softs.
This lap time now stands as the overall fastest for this week, but of course this doesn't mean much because proper comparisons are never possible during testing with each team running different programmes. In the afternoon we did longer runs for race preparation."
Second Fastest time was provided by Williams Pastor Maldonado and commented " It has been a positive test for the team. We've had no problems with the car, getting in some good mileage across all four days. We now have a great deal of data to analyse so we will keep pushing to improve our car for the next test. I am looking forward to coming back next week for the final test, and getting back to racing very soon."
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer confirmed the positive feeling amongst the team by also commenting "We've had a really productive day's testing to end an excellent couple of weeks.
Today Pastor went through a competitive race simulation and both the car and he performed very well, ending the day with some long run comparisons. We have gathered a prodigious amount of data over more than 3500kms of testing and we will now regroup back at the factory to understand how to further improve the set-up and development direction ahead of the next Barcelona test.
The third fastest time came from Sahara Force India's 2011 rookie of the year Paul Di Resta who clocked up 101 laps in Barcelona.
Paul Di Resta commented on Friday's running "It was another successful day and a good way to end the week. I had a small trip through the gravel in the morning, but nothing that caused too much of an issue, although we lost half an hour of running.
The important thing is that we still managed to do our long runs in the afternoon and I could feel the changes we made compared to yesterday. It's given me a good impression of the car's balance and consistency, and we've seen that our long run pace is improving step by step."
Jakob Andreasen, Chief Engineer commented "Today's programme with Paul completes another very productive test for us. Having focussed on reliability in Jerez, we've been able to come here and get straight on with performance work to really start understanding the car. We've built up some good knowledge of all the dry tyre compounds, collected lots of aero data and given the drivers a good opportunity to experiment with setting up the car. What is encouraging is the feedback from both Nico and Paul, which is positive about the handling of the car, especially over longer runs. It's good to hear those comments at a high-speed aero circuit such as Barcelona, which suggests our development steps are leading us in the right direction."
With only this week's test before the season's opening round in Albert Park Australia, (16th March) bragging rights will be at the fore as the week concludes and the closing sessions will take on the feel of a qualifying session.
© UTV News