The ultimate Formula 1 test record 2010

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Formula 1 balance of power before Bahrain
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D he simulation programs of the teams are running at full speed. Lap times, sector analysis, speed measurements and GPS positioning result in a relatively clear picture if the data input is calculated with the appropriate software. While the fans are still wondering who will be the favorites in the first Grand Prix next week, those affected already have a very good idea themselves.

Ferrari caught up again

Up to the 14th of 15 test days in all projections Ferrari in the front. But then Red Bull and McLaren . Delivery vans with new parts from the wind tunnel arrived in the paddock every hour. Virtually every car changed its appearance during the four days of the final test in Barcelona. But at Red Bull and McLaren there was a real push forward.

On one lap, apart from the newcomers, the field was in less than a second. This is a good indicator that training will be tight like last year. 'Unless someone bluffed,' warns Mercedes sports director Norbert Haug. 'I don't think that everyone was using the minimum amount of fuel for the fastest laps.'

Analysis with the long run times

Mercedes -Test pilot Nick Heidfeld declares that the Milkmaid calculation, according to which ten kilograms per lap cost 0.35 seconds, is not linear. 'That can be true with smaller amounts of fuel. But when there are more than 100 kilos in the tank, every kilo too much has an even more dramatic effect.' Nevertheless, the so-called long runs are the only reference point for comparative calculations. If you want to survive a race distance, you have to fill up with fuel.

And that leaves between 160 and 170 kilograms of gasoline in the tank. Therefore, all extrapolations refer to the starting point of a racing simulation. Then it is calculated down and observed how the lap times develop depending on the decreasing weight and the tires used. And there was a confusing picture on the very last day of the test.

RedBull and McLaren leap forward

After an imaginary Grand Prix on Friday, the following surprising sequence applied: Ferrari ahead of Sauber, Toro Rosso, Red Bull, Force India, Williams and McLaren. Mercedes dropped out of the race because of a defect that kept Michael Schumacher in the pits for an hour.

When the teams had their cars updated on Sunday, Red Bull and McLaren made a huge leap forward. 'Lewis Hamilton was damn fast, according to our calculations faster than Massa,' reveals Haug. Red Bull driver Mark Webber only simulated parts of a race, but also showed an impressive pace. Heidfeld believes: 'Red Bull didn't show everything.' Ross Brawn recognizes from the GPS analysis of his technicians: 'In fast corners and when braking, the Red Bull is excellent. And in the slow corners they have improved a lot.'

Medium tires clearly more constant than soft

Michael Schumacher started his Grand Prix with the same lap times as Hamilton, but then collapsed. At the end of the first turn, the McLaren was one second per lap faster than the Mercedes GP. But this could also have been due to the tires used. Hamilton was on the road with the 'medium' brand. And they showed a breathtaking consistency. Schumacher drove 'soft', which according to team boss Ross Brawn were too soft for the Barcelona route.

After the tire change it was the other way around. Hamilton had the tires on it that had caused problems at Schumacher. 'And then he didn't look great anymore,' interjects Ross Brawn. In contrast to Friday, Hamilton drove a two-stop race. Apparently one has learned from the disaster of the Friday simulation. Hamilton would have been lapped by Alonso. The Ferrari was much more gentle with the tires over a long distance. And Hamilton takes his soles harder. The McLaren lacked the new front wing, the modified baffles and the modified engine cover that literally gave the car from Woking a boost on Sunday.

Balance problems at Mercedes

Mercedes GP could not yet keep up in the concert of the big four. 'We have problems with the car's balance,' admits Brawn. Depending on the curve, the car falls from understeer to oversteer or vice versa. That eats up tire rubber, especially in the front. A new aerodynamics package in Bahrain is intended to remedy this. When it comes to new technology, Mercedes GP has most up its sleeve. Ferrari held back with innovations in Barcelona. Another step is expected there too. At Red Bull only small parts come in, and McLaren has missed its powder. 'As far as I know, the Barcelona version was the Bahrain version,' said Hamilton in Spain.

Of the teams in midfield, Sauber, Toro Rosso, Williams and Force India can be dangerous for the big teams. In frontespecially in the fight for the best starting positions. 'If someone risks a lot with the choice of tires,' believes Haug, 'he can run into the front.' Adrian Sutil was only two tenths missing in the battle for Barcelona’s best test time. The Sauber C29 showed good cross-country skiing characteristics, while the Williams convinced more on one lap.

Also Toro Rosso is the name of the team bosses of the top teams with an exclamation mark in the notepad. The endurance runs by Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari raised eyebrows among the competition.

Ferrari wins reliability classification

In total, the teams trampled 56,723 kilometers before the season . Enough to be ready for the start of the season. Michael Schumacher is amused at a time when testing was placebo. 'In 2005 we achieved 95,000 kilometers at Ferrari, but we still didn't move forward. Today we're doing our homework in the simulator and in the wind tunnel.' When it comes to stability, Mercedes is well equipped. The engines remained intact. Most recently there was a hydraulic leak in the transmission.

Completely different from Red Bull. None of the top cars was broken down as often as the runner-up world champions. Ferrari is best in class with 7,320 kilometers on 15 test days. Makes an average of 488 kilometers per day. Timo Glock could be jealous. The Virgin pilot managed a total of just 978 kilometers.

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