F errari tried part of his big facelift. Sauber presented 90 percent of what is to celebrate its racing premiere in Barcelona. Toro Rosso, Williams, Caterham and Force India experimented with new exhaust solutions. Mercedes tested new front wings, rear panels and the carbon transmission. But the main focus was on tire management. The lap times underline that. Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher have always been on the road in racing trims.
Red Bull, Lotus and McLaren keep a low profile
But what do Red Bull, Lotus and McLaren made? There were hardly any new parts to be seen on the cars. Also no trace of long runs. One was content with portions between three and ten rounds. Shipping boxes from Milton Keynes were stacked behind the Red Bull vans, but there wasn't much new to see on the RB8.
'It won't come until Barcelona,' revealed Sebastian Vettel. Consultant Helmut Marko confirmed: 'This test was aimed at better understanding our car. We tried many different settings and measured many things. And we now know better how to warm up the tires for the qualifying laps.' What can we expect in Barcelona then? The doctor laughs mischievously: 'New parts.'
Lotus a candidate for victory for Barcelona?
Lotus also brought a largely unchanged E20 to Mugello. The black car is that fast too. No matter where he appears. Two best times of the day prove it. Track spy Helmut Marko had to admit: 'The Lotus makes the best impression, especially in the fast passages.' That would mean that Lotus is a candidate for victory at the Spanish GP.
The program at Lotus was similar to that of Red Bull. You have different aerodynamic configurations and tried to filter out the best mix. New brake drums are the order of the day for Barcelona. Today they don't just play an aerodynamic role. The waste heat from the brakes also determines the tire temperature.
That was a weak point of the Lotus E20. 'It takes too long to get the tires into their working window from below. Once we're inside, they work well. Our car handles the tires best over a longer distance. But then it is mostly for the fast qualifying lap too late, 'says team owner Gérard Lopez.
McLaren drives measuring devices for a walk
McLaren provided the first puzzle when the drivers were cast. TheRegular drivers stayed at home. Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey were on duty. Anyone who watched McLaren over the three days has to admit that Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button would have been superfluous. The test drivers were also able to reel off the program.
Paffett and Turvey mainly drove measuring devices for a walk. In front, on the side, behind the airbox, behind the diffuser. Later they drove in five-lap portions in a circle, repeatedly interrupted by setup changes. On the last day you unpacked a new nose for a few laps. However, the higher front was not extensively tested.
What happened under the fairing was not communicated. McLaren left the first set of engineers at home. Nico Hülkenberg nevertheless sees a point in the program of the World Cup runner-up: 'They know exactly what they are doing. With them everything has a hand and foot.'