Pre-Season Testing: Jerez – Day 1

Testing gets underway today at the Circuito de Jerez today, with all the teams except HRT in action with their 2011 cars.

The drivers on track today are:

  • Red Bull Racing – Mark Webber
  • McLaren – Lewis Hamilton
  • Ferrari – Felipe Massa
  • Mercedes – Nico Rosberg
  • Renault – Vitaly Petrov
  • Williams – Pastor Maldonado
  • Force India – Adrian Sutil
  • Toro Rosso – Daniel Ricciadro & Jaime Alguersuari
  • Team Lotus – Jarno Trulli
  • Virgin Racing – Timo Glock

I will post a quick summary of the day’s action this evening, but for anyone wanting to follow the testing, here are some useful links:

Autosport Living Text Commentary

AT&T Williams Living Timings

MS Free Live Timing (Greek site – but useful as you can click on each driver to see a full list of their lap times)

In a nice touch, all the cars are running with “Get Well” messages for Robert Kubica written in Polish somewhere on the car (as can just be seen on the engine cover of the Renault in the photo above). I would just like to take this opportunity to echo that sentiment.


Lotus Renault GP to run Senna and Heidfeld at Jerez

Lotus Renault GP have announced that both Bruno Senna and Nick Heidfeld will be given a chance to drive the R31 in the upcoming Jerez test.

The change comes as the team looks to replace the injured Robert Kubica who’s future in the sport is still not clear after his horrific rally accident on Sunday.

Vitaly Petrov will drive the R31 on both Thursday and Friday, before handing the car over to their 3rd driver, Bruno Senna, and Nick Heidfeld, with the former BMW Sauber driver many peoples’ favourite to get the nod over Senna if it looks like Kubica will be out for an extended period. The team will confirm the running order for the weekend on Friday evening.

Personally, I would like to see Bruno get a chance to impress in a potential front-running car after struggling to make an impression in the under-performing HRT last year. Lest we forget, he came very close to partnering Jenson Button in 2009 before Honda pulled out of F1 and Ross Brawn opted to retain Rubens Barrichello due to his experience and the lack of testing time.

Marussia Virgin Racing MVR-02

Over the next few days I’ll be writing about each new car in turn, starting with Virgin Racing, who finished the 2010 season in 12th place, and working through in order to Red Bull Racing who of course topped both championship tables.

For 2011 Virgin Racing gains title sponsorship from Marussia, who have also bought into the UK based team, and will this season race under a Russian Licence. Timo Glock drove for the team in 2010 and remains with them for the 2011 season, he is joined by Belgian Jerome D’Ambrosio.

The car they will both be driving will be the MVR-02, once again designed entirely using CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) by Nick Wirth’s team at Wirth Research. Speaking at the car launch in London on 7th February, Wirth was positive that the car would be a step forward from the VR-01 used in 2010:

“We are extremely pleased to have proved the digital design process in Formula One last season and to have demonstrated that it is possible to compete at the highest level of motor sport with a car designed wholly in computer simulation. Having said that, we faced a very steep learning curve and experienced some tough lessons, which we have applied to our design programme for 2011.

“I am confident that we have made real progress with the MVR-02, producing a car with more downforce than the VR-01 and having made significant gains in terms of weight, stiffness and overall quality. It also provides a good basis for development over the course of the season.”

While the car initially looks distinctly underwhelming, the team has worked hard to refine every area of the car, particularly the hydraulics and gearbox which hampered their 2010 campaign. It should be remembered that another car Wirth was involved in the design of, the Acura LMP2, was nothing special upon its launch, however it was refined over time to win the LMP2 class at Le Mans by 6 laps in 2010. An all CFD approach might still seem like a gamble, but it would be foolish to write of this team just for that.

The team will naturally be aiming to avoid finishing at the bottom of the table this year and, at the very least, will be aiming to beat fellow 2010 debutantes HRT and Team Lotus.

Marussia Virgin Racing Official Site

New Season, New Blog

So the 2011 F1 season is nearly upon us, all the cars are out and the teams are hard at work fine tuning them ready for the first race in Bahrain.

I decided that now was the right time to start an F1 Blog – not the most original idea ever!! The design of the site right now hasn’t even been thought about – I’ll be updating things over the next few weeks and might try some things and decide I don’t like them so change them.

I will try and post opinion pieces and race reviews and I will try to keep things interesting, but I will admit to being new to all this so please bear with me while I learn the ropes!!

This is a blog so I will make no apologies for any opinions, bias or favouritism, but here’s the deal; I won’t try and hide my preferences or bias and you’re free to disagree with me – but please do so respectfully. I will delete any posts I judge to be offensive, but I promise not to delete any just because the author disgrees with me.

Oh and you can follow me on Twitter: @f1gridslot