Fernando Alonso was the fastest driver on the fourth and final day of the pre-season test in Jerez, with a best lap of 1:18.887.
The Spaniard, however, completed only 39 laps, showing that there are still some reliability issues to be worked on with the new Ferrari F2012.
Jean-Eric Vergne was second quickest, completing 80 laps in the Toro Rosso STR7.
Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull lost the morning session to to an engine-related electrical issue with the RB8, but recovered to finish the day third on the timesheets.
Lewis Hamilton, Romain Grosjean and Kamui Kobayashi where fourth, fifth and sixth fastest respectively. Nico Hulkenberg finally got his chance to try the new Force India after a crash yesterday morning for reserve driver Jules Bianchi meant that the German could not take to the track on Day Three.
Bruno Senna was once again completed more laps than any other driver, adding another 125 today to the 125 he managed yesterday.
Jarno Trulli got his first chance to drive the new Caterham, complete with KERS. The Italian did 117 laps, but finished the day nearly two seconds slower than Senna.
Jerez Test Day Four: Unofficial Times
|2||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:19.597||80|
|3||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:19.606||50|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:19.977||90|
Jerez Test Day Four: Quotes
Fernando Alonso: “This time is worth nothing as is the one I set yesterday and those of the previous days. Yesterday, we worked mainly with the hard tyres and the others ran the softs and we were seventh. Today, we fitted the Softs and maybe the others did not and we are first. That's all it is.
“We got on with our job, even if today and yesterday we had some reliability problems we could have done without which prevented us from doing everything we would have wanted. For me, it was good to be back in the car after two and a half months and feel once again all the emotions that come with driving a Formula 1 car. I think that, from the start of the test up to today, we have improved a great deal, it's like night and day, but there is still much to do, especially on the aerodynamics and on reliability. Then, we will see if it is really a sign of great strength to have immediately done so many kilometres: last year, on the first day we did a lot of laps and then we know how things turned out, so maybe there was too big a marginâ€¦”
“Everything about this car is new, with very few parts carried over from last year's and there are many innovations, which have come out of a different philosophy to the one adopted in the past. For example, the power steering: it's new and we worked a lot these past days on sorting it out and today we began to see the benefits for the first time. As I said earlier, there is much to do, but that doesn't scare us.
“These past few days we have done a great deal of laps, just to gather data, without being able to do much work in any depth on the set-up, therefore I think that, when we will be able to do that, we will also improve the performance. Already, here at Jerez, the moment we did make some changes, we got the response we were expecting, even if it's true that the fact the car is more complex from a mechanical and aerodynamic point of view definitely makes the tasks more complex. Today we saw a good example of that: we have only done around forty laps partly because it took so much time to carry out the changes we needed to make on the car to complete our programme. I think that in Barcelona, when we will be back on track, the situation will be different and we will be much better prepared compared to this test, where above all we had to learn how to get to grips with this car. Even we the drivers have more to do, because with so many new things on the car it's even more vital we give the right feedback to the engineers.
“We will see [about our championship chances], as there are still several weeks to go to Melbourne. Here, day after day, we have progressed, getting ever more confident in the car: we must continue in this direction and improve, but it is much too early to draw any conclusions. The Lotus in the running for the title? I don't know as even for them it's a bit early and I would rather just say I am very happy to see Kimi back: he's a great driver and a great person.”
Jean-Eric Vergne: “A good second day for me as we worked through everything on our work plan and completed a lot of kilometres. After making some adjustments, I feel more comfortable in the car and I can also get an understanding of the effect of the set-up changes that we tried and they seem to have moved us forward. A positive day, so now I'm looking forward to the second test session.”
Laurent Mekies, Chief Engineer: “Overall, a positive first test for us. There is plenty of excitement when you run a new car for the first time, as it is the result of so much work from everyone in the organisation. We did a reasonable amount of laps and we did not have any major issues with the car. This meant we were able to start our work of getting to know everything about it and understand how to make it work as well as possible. In parallel to this, we were running Daniel and Jean-Eric for the first time since they were signed as our race drivers: they both did well, establishing their relationship with the team. We are looking forward to running again in Barcelona in just over a week, as these four days went by very quickly.”
Sebastian Vettel: “I'm happy with the progress we've made, I think we managed to get a lot done. Of course, this morning [with the engine problem] was a bit of a setback but these things happen.
“Something like this is simply part of testing, this is the reason why we are here. Of course we would like to get more laps done, but that can’t be changed now. So we go back to the factory, look at everything we have learned from this week and prepare for the next test in Barcelona, where I'm looking forward to putting some more miles on the car.”
Ian Morgan, Head of Race Engineering: “It was frustrating to lose those hours in the morning as we had a lot to get through, but when Seb did get out, we made a pretty good recovery and we actually managed to get almost everything done.
“It's been quite encouraging [over the last four days in Jerez. We are where we expected to be, based on the data we had from the factory. That's good for later in the season as if you've got good trust in the tools at your disposal at home it makes development work on the car a lot easier.
“In terms of the problems we had today, well, all I can say is it is part and parcel of testing. You take a complex car and put it on the track for the first time and it only takes one small thing to go wrong to upset your programme. We'll ship the car home in one piece now, take a look at everything, pull it apart and then rebuild it for the next test in Barcelona. But, all in all, a very positive week here I think.”
David Redding, Team Manager: “Today was a good day of testing. The first hour or so was spent aero data gathering, then Lewis embarked on two or three hours intensive set up work, exploring suspension geometries and general car set up. The afternoon was then spent comparing tyre compounds.
We had the opportunity to try some changes that were time consuming, so things you wouldn't normally do at a race weekend. It was good to get those fundamental changes and tests out of the way early on. The car ran reliably and without any issues.”
Romain Grosjean: “Everything is feeling good. This morning we tried a number of different things on the car, including my first run on the soft tyre. In the afternoon we tried longer runs. Once it warmed up, the track temperature was hotter than yesterday which helps our understanding of the E20 in different conditions. It's strange to think that we are already a third of the way through pre-season testing. We are pushing to get as much achieved as possible. I'm really enjoying being in the car even though it is hard work. So far my fitness has been good, my neck's not too bad, but we'll see how it feels tomorrow! I think everyone will benefit from next week away from the circuit so we can reflect on the data then go to Barcelona with some new parts for the car. I can't wait.”
Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “Our main focus for this week has been orientated around accumulating mileage and testing reliability. The E20 has proved to be reliable, meaning we've been able to include some performance work too. Our general programme has been to conduct performance work in the morning, when the track is a little cooler and there's less wind. In the afternoons, when the temperatures and winds are higher, we have conducted longer runs with heavier fuel loads. Overall during this test we've completed almost 1800 km with the car. We did have a few minor radiator leaks over the course of this test but they were easily identified and we have a solution for Barcelona.”
James Allison, Technical Director: “The most encouraging aspect from this week is the feedback from the drivers. Their comments have been full of encouraging statements, including praise for a very secure rear end, good traction and good balance. We haven't heard positive comments like those during the past couple of seasons. Even ignoring the lap times, the driver comments give us a warm feeling and the best sense of whether we've done an okay job.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “This was a very positive test for us. Kimi and Romain both did great jobs in the car. The E20 has been reliable straight out of the box. We were not in Jerez to chase fast lap times, but of course it's always good to show strong pace. Of course, it is very early days; Melbourne is one month away and that is when we will see where we are. The E20 looks good out on track, it's a nice shape and it's very well finished which is a credit to everyone at Enstone.”
Kamui Kobayashi: “If I look at the whole picture I am happy with the first test. For sure we have found the right direction to go in. The car didn't surprise us with any big issues, which allowed us to work on improvements straight away. We lost track time due to small problems and I want to thank the mechanics for all their work. Today especially they did a great job to get me out on track again. In the end I did 76 laps today which isn't too bad. We have some ideas of what our next steps will be and I'm very much looking forward to the Barcelona tests.”
Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: “Overall the results of the first test with the new C31 are promising. After we had all the initial systems checks behind us on day one, when Kamui covered 106 laps, we did a good deal of aero work and learnt a lot about the 2012 tyres. On the setup side we would have preferred to run a bit more in Jerez but this was only the first test and we will catch up in Barcelona.”
Nico Hulkenberg: “A busy first day in the car and good to get so many laps under my belt. It was my first time in the new car so I concentrated on getting comfortable and up to speed. The long runs were useful for that and it also allowed me to start understanding the new tyres. There is still a massive amount to learn and lots of data to look at, but it feels like we have a good baseline to develop from and I'm pleased with how the day went.”
Andrew Green, Technical Director: “Nico was in the VJM05 for the first time today, so the focus was on making sure he was happy and allowing him to build his confidence with the new car. At the same time we spent the morning ticking off some set-up items and working through the aero programme we started yesterday. The afternoon gave us a chance to let Nico get a better feel for the 2012 tyres as we ran both the soft and the medium compounds.
“Overall I think we can come away from Jerez feeling positive. The car has run reliably, the initial feedback from the drivers is encouraging and we've learned a lot about the set-up directions we want to explore over the coming weeks. I also want to highlight the tremendous effort from the team at the track this week, backed up by the staff at Silverstone, which helped ensure we got the most from our first test with the new car.”
Bruno Senna: ”It's been another productive day with us testing a number of different set-up directions and finding out a lot more about the car. The car has continued to show good reliability as we completed 124 laps today, which is very satisfying. I'm happy to have started my first two days in the car for Williams on a very good note.”
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: “We had a very productive day, with Bruno successfully completing a full race simulation this morning and performance development testing during the afternoon. On the whole this has been a good first test for the FW34 and we have learnt a great deal about the new car. I’d like to thank the whole team for their massive effort this week.”
Jarno Trulli: “My first impression of the car was that it is good – a definite progression from 2011 and a good basis for us to work on for the season ahead. Its reliability has been demonstrated all week here in Jerez and we have generated a lot of data, particularly on KERS and the 2012 tyres which will help us improve setups for the next couple of tests.
“We know there's a lot more to come in pure pace – perhaps we were the only team to run without dropping the fuel but we wanted to focus on running through the development program and making sure we completed the plan each day.
“For me there are a couple of real positives from today. I hadn't used KERS before, and despite the extra buttons it means on the wheel, it's pretty simple to get used to it quickly and I think we'll see the benefits of that more and more as we keep learning how to get the most out of it. Also, for me the car felt balanced pretty much straight away. The power steering is good – we can keep fine tuning it, but I think it's basically a good package with a lot of potential for us to work on. A good way to start the season.”
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: “I think we can be very pleased with how the first test has gone. Apart from an issue on day one with the starter the car ran absolutely faultlessly throughout the whole test which is a real tribute to the work put in by the whole team. We completed the whole test program, working with KERS for the first time and for me this has probably been the best first test I have ever been involved in throughout my career.
“We have been running the car rather conservatively in Jerez but for the next test we will be bringing aero updates and looking to run the final race one specification at the third test. Overall we are in a much better position going into the season than we have ever been before, so that is the first goal achieved.”