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Reliability of the top teams: McLaren and Mercedes gain

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Reliability of the top teams
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T he lap times of the test drives in Jerez and Barcelona are still enjoy with caution. There are too many strangers to establish a clear pecking order. None of the five top teams have really shown what they can do. Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes refrained from running out of petrol.

Lotus went all out in Jerez and was also quick, but in Barcelona the black car failed to prove that Jerez was not a one-shot. Romain Grosjean had to abandon the test after seven laps due to a chassis problem.

The big teams will probably only let the cat out of the bag during the final test this week in Barcelona (March 1st to 4th). If any. In 2011 Red Bull didn't really drive for time once. Anyone who has as much self-confidence as the two-time world champion doesn't have to.

In contrast, the number of rounds is meaningful. They confirm the impression you get from the outside. Namely, that McLaren had a much easier entry into the test winter than a year ago. That the new Mercedes also runs without major breakdowns. And that Ferrari has not really started testing because of its stubborn car.

Red Bull with gearbox and heat problems

Not much has changed at Red Bull. After eight days of testing, the mileage is roughly the same as last year. Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber have covered 51 kilometers more than at the same time in 2011. Where KERS was worried last year, it is now the transmission. Or the exhaust that has boiled suspension parts soft. The mechanics tinkered with new heat protectors for the wishbones in the direct vicinity of the exhaust.

The car is not always broken after two hours of standstill. When Mark Webber spent most of the morning in the garage on the last test day on Friday, the reason was quite banal. The mechanics rebuilt the setup. Modern Formula 1 cars are so complex that replacing the front dampers can take more than an hour. In the absence of space, the fitters work like surgeons.

McLaren enjoys the new feeling of being able to do over 100 laps every day. After eight days of testing, you have 973 kilometers more on the clock than in 2011. Team principal Martin Whitmarsh is pleased: 'Last year we drove the first race distance in Melbourne. Now we have a car that we can drivecan work. '

New Silver Arrow shows stable

It's exactly the same for Mercedes. The Silver Arrows have only been on the road for five days so far, but in direct comparison with the previous season it came out 665 kilometers more Despite a hydraulic defect and a gear oil leak. 'We no longer have to keep improving,' reports team boss Ross Brawn. 'Last year, the cooling problems kept us in suspense for a long time. Now the car is running and we can concentrate solely on making it faster. '

At Ferrari, seven and a half days of testing were spent trying to understand the new F2012. On Friday at noon they thought they had found the right direction The test drives should really begin with the last selected aero configuration. On Friday afternoon Felipe Massa drove a tire comparison for the first time.

The start-up difficulties are clearly reflected in the mileage. Ferrari has covered 884 kilometers less in eight days than before one year. 'I drove a race distance on the first day,' remembers Fernando Alonso. 'We were a second and a half too slow for that in Melbourne.' The Spaniard hopes that this will turn around this time. Ferrari still has four days to spare.

Lotus loses almost three days of testing

Lotus has five days of testing due to a chassis problem. One of the three lost days is returned, two are in de n wind shot. Actually three, because the seven rounds of Grosjean on the first day in Barcelona cannot be called a sensible test.

Despite the breakdown in Barcelona, ​​Lotus managed 373 kilometers more in five days than the previous Renault team twelve months ago. Even if Lotus is still really pedaling the remaining five days, one will no longer come to the value of 3,919 kilometers after twelve days in 2011. The only consolation: You're better off than Ferrari. Nobody takes the four good days in Jerez from Lotus.

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