Testing form beginning to show in Barcelona

Posted on February 20, 2011

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Formula One’s drivers have started talking about who has the best machine as the teams start to step up performance in testing.

The teams have been practising pit stops as they build up to the new season. Credit: Red Bull/Getty

What will be a surprise to nobody is Red Bull are incredibly fast: Sebastian Vettel topped the time sheets both of his days in Barcelona on Friday and yesterday.

Ferrari are also looking very strong, with near bullet proof reliability so far. They had a bumpy day in Barcelona yesterday but the Italian squad have still covered hundreds of laps.

McLaren look and sound pretty worried about where they are, with both drivers sounding irritated about their lack of mileage. Despite the striking design features on the car, their lap times have been decidedly middle order most of the time and that’s been almost exclusively on runs of only 10 laps or so.

And Mercedes’ line about this car being only about reliability and not about pace and performance is as transparent as it sounds. Nico Rosberg was quickest today but it was a low fuel sprint. It’s not what I was expected from Ross Brawn’s squad and Michael Schumacher must be beginning to think his comeback is fated to be troubled.

The big movers down the field would appear to be Toro Rosso. They’ve been showing some good pace in Barcelona. Team Lotus look ok too, far better than Virgin Racing, especially compared to the other new teams. It’s important to remember Sauber’s test form last year though – a lot mof glory runs to get up the leader board, no doubt aimed at attracting sponsors.

That having been said, this is the first Grand Prix venue we’ve been at for testing and there’s a reason the teams have spent much of the weekend doing race simulations. They’re doing performance work and, while direct comparisons remain a little unfair, the picture is becoming clearer.

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Posted in: Formula One, Testing