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Formula 1 test Barcelona: Report from the driver's warehouse

Michael Schmidt: Exclusively from the paddock
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D he paddock in Barcelona is bursting at the seams. There are more vehicles and more people in the sanctuary of Formula 1 than at a Grand Prix. The Formula 1 crowd mixes with sponsor guests and the paying audience. The largest cluster is clustered around the Ferrari motorhome. Everyone waits for Fernando Alonso to show up. The superstar shows himself to his fans for an estimated 20 seconds. He rushes from the technical meeting room to the motorhome, where Ferrari is serving lunch. After all, the new Ferrari star stops for a quick photo with a cheeky fan who makes it near him.

Michael Schumacher remains invisible

Lapwits are also waiting around the Mercedes area. Finding Michael Schumacher and taking photos is the name of the sport. When Nico Rosberg, who has no test today, poses for a few photos, the fan base briefly leaves their observation post. You're unlucky. Schumacher remains largely invisible. The record world champion commutes between technology truck and his own motorhome. Both are in a screened area.

Speaking of the mobile home. One could assume a trade fair, so many mobile apartments are now in the paddock. Hardly a driver goes to the hotel. Sebastian Vettel has a modest home on wheels compared to the Mercedes drivers. Twelve meters long, but independent of a power connection. Father Norbert drove the camper himself from Heppenheim to Spain in 14 hours. Rosberg and Schumacher let go. Vettel's white vehicle is the base camp for father, son and a friend during the four days of testing in Barcelona. The Vettel clan has had enough of hotels since Jerez. Despite the five-star hotel in Jerez, you lived with a few cockroaches in your room.

The lunch break only lasts an hour. Nico Hülkenberg sits in the Williams tent with his trainer and the rest of the team. Then technology guru Patrick Head arrives and suddenly there is unrest in the team: Head is feared in the team. 'Whenever there is bad news,' grins test chief Dickie Stanford, 'I make sure someone else calls Patrick.' Head sits down next to two engineers who report the day's program to their boss with red heads.

Coulthard analyzes the new F1 generation

David Coulthard commutes back and forth between Mercedes and Red Bull. 'Actually, I have three hats on,' laughs the Scot.'I'm an advisor to Red Bull, an ambassador for Mercedes and a TV commentator for the BBC.' Coulthard has just returned from the racetrack, where he and Mercedes racing director Norbert Haug looked at the cars.

Coulthard stops in the second, third, tenth corner and the chicane. His impression: 'Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari look stable. The McLaren seems to have a few problems with traction. The Sauber is nervous on the front axle, but fast. The Renault looks sluggish, but probably has a lot of fuel on board. The Toro Rosso will be I'm not smart. Alguersuari drives very strange lines. The Williams still has too much understeer. '

Teams don't waste a second

Sebastien Buemi is just arriving. He will take over the job from Alguersuari on Saturday. Hulkenberg is in a hurry in the evening. His plane leaves at seven o'clock. So he has to answer the question of how he works with Rubens Barrichello. 'We hardly see each other. When he comes, I'll be gone again.' Days off on the track are annoying for racing drivers. They prefer to fly home, train or do laps in the simulator. Hülkenberg's program to Bahrain doesn't sound very exciting: PR appointments, fitness, simulator. At 2 p.m. on the dot, the quiet on the Circuit de Catalunya is over. The teams don't waste a second with just 15 days of testing.


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