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Raikkonen Fastest on First Day of Pre-Season Testing

Kimi Raikkonen in the new Lotus E20 was the fastest man in Jerez today - Photo Credit: Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic

Kimi Raikkonen in the new Lotus E20 was the fastest man in Jerez today - Photo Credit: Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic

 

Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest lap in Jerez today as F1 teams ventured out on track to, in most cases, test the brand new cars that they have recently unveiled.

Of the twelve teams that make up the F1 grid, only Marussia were absent from the Circuito de Jerez today. Nine teams were running their new cars, with Mercedes and HRT choosing instead to run modified versions of their 2011 models.

It would be foolish to read too much into today’s times, but Raikkonen’s best lap of 1:19.670 was faster than any driver managed in the pre-season test at this circuit last season. The Finn went on to complete 73 laps in the new Lotus E20.

Paul di Resta completed 101 laps and finished the day second fastest, but the most mileage was completed by Sauber, with the new C31 completing 106 laps in the hands of Kamui Kobayashi.

Mercedes were the only team to give both their drivers and outing today. Nico Rosberg set the third fastest lap in the morning whilst Michael Schumacher, who came out after lunch when the track was generally slower, finished the day sixth on the timesheets.

Red Bull started late this morning after a part was delayed at the airport by fog, but Mark Webber eventually got out on track and finished the day fourth fastest, two tenths of a second ahead than Daniel Ricciardo in the new Toro Rosso, who was fifth. Ricciardo was forced to stop running an hour early, however, after a drop in oil pressure in the new STR7.

Neither Jenson Button in the McLaren, nor Felipe Massa in the Ferrari failed to trouble the top of the timesheets, finishing the day eighth and ninth. Heikki Kovalainen was tenth fastest in the Caterham ahead of Pastor Maldonado, whose Williams team launched the FW34 this morning. Pedro de la Rosa was bottom of the timesheets in the HRT.

 

Jerez Test Day One: Unofficial Times:

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1 Finland Kimi Raikkonen United Kingdom Lotus 1:19.670 73
2 United Kingdom Paul di Resta India Force India 1:19.772 101
3 Germany Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes 1:20.219 56
4 Australia Mark Webber Austria Red Bull 1:20.496 53
5 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Italy Toro Rosso 1:20.694 57
6 Germany Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes 1:20.794 41
7 Japan Kamui Kobayashi Switzerland Sauber 1:21.353 106
8 United Kingdom Jenson Button United Kingdom McLaren 1:21.530 60
9 Brazil Felipe Massa Italy Ferrari 1:22.815 69
10 Finland Heikki Kovalainen Malaysia Caterham 1:23.178 28
11 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado United Kingdom Williams 1:23.371 25
12 Spain Pedro de la Rosa Spain HRT 1:23.676 44

 

Jerez Test Day One: Quotes

Lotus

Kimi Raikkonen - Photo Credit: Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic

Kimi Raikkonen - Photo Credit: Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic

 

Kimi Raikkonen:  “It was a positive first day of testing and everything went almost to plan. We had no major issues and I got a good feel for the car and the tyres. The tyres were more of a challenge in the afternoon when we ran with a scrubbed set, but overall it was a positive day. The lap times don't matter today. I'm happy with the balance of the car, which feels good, and the fact that we didn't have any major issues. Also, I did more than a race distance today and did not have any physical problems at all, which is good. I'm looking forward to making further progress with the car tomorrow.”

James Allison, Technical Director: “It was a flawless morning with a slightly interrupted afternoon as we changed the second of the KERS batteries which we ran today. Overall it was a very promising day in terms of reliability and it gives us a good springboard for the rest of the test. So far Kimi's feedback on the car has been complimentary in terms of the balance, the braking and other features. The steering is slightly heavy for his liking at the moment, but we already have a different steering rack being completed which he will use in Barcelona.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “We enjoyed a strong first day with the E20 in both performance and reliability and this is a testament to all the hard work done by everyone at Enstone over the winter. It's always nice to be top of the timesheets, but the main encouraging factor from today is the car's reliability; apart from a small KERS problem this afternoon it was fautless. We ran on the medium compound Pirelli tyre all day and it seemed to hold up pretty well, showing similar degradation to that we saw last year, so I think there'll be exciting racing once more in 2012.”

 

Force India

Paul di Resta - Sahara Force India F1 Team

Paul di Resta - Sahara Force India F1 Team

 

Paul Di Resta: “A good start to our winter test programme with 101 laps completed, which allowed us to get through all our objectives and a bit more. The baseline balance felt pretty good and the car performed consistently over the longer runs, which was useful for collecting the data we need. So I think we can be positive heading into tomorrow and the next three days will be interesting as we have more test items to evaluate. On a personal level it's also nice to spend such a busy day in the car to shake off the rust and assess my fitness level.”

Andrew Green, Technical Director: “To complete over 100 laps on the first day of testing is the ideal way to begin our week in Jerez. We made good progress with the job list and managed to complete all the objectives set for the day. We ran on the new 2012-spec hard and medium Pirelli tyre compounds throughout, which will help give us some consistency when analysing the data tonight. As usual, Paul's feedback was excellent and we're starting to get a good idea of the set-up direction we should take for the coming days.”

Reserve driver Jules Bianchi will be in the Force India tomorrow morning, with di Resta taking over again in the afternoon.

 

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg: “We made a very good start to our testing programme today and completed 56 laps this morning. I was driving the 2011 car, so it felt comfortable straightaway. We tested some different things in perfect weather conditions and started learning about the 2012 Pirelli tyres and how they work. I was really happy to be out on track in my Mercedes and I know that, back at the factory, our development of the new car is running according to our plan.”

Michael Schumacher: “After a long break, it feels terrific being back in the car and hitting the circuit again. Our main job was to get a first impression of the tyres for 2012 and to start understanding them. They feel like a step forward, more consistent and comfortable to drive, and the biggest difference is with the rear tyre. Thanks to everybody at Pirelli for their good job this winter. Let’s see what we can learn tomorrow.”

Schumacher will be in the car all day tomorrow, with Rosberg returning on Thursday. The team will not be running on Friday, the fourth day of this Jerez test.

 

Red Bull

Mark Webber - Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Mark Webber - Paul Gilham/Getty Images

 

Mark Webber: “It was good [today]. I felt quite comfortable in the car quite quickly. It's very early days, but so far so good. We had a small delay this morning with a part due to fog at the airport. It's never part of the plan to give up running time, but you can't control mother nature. However, we made a good recovery, got 54 laps done this afternoon and we'll aim for a better day tomorrow.”

Ian Morgan, Head of Race Engineering: “The delay meant we didn't get running until midday, which is a little bit frustrating, but otherwise I think this has been the best car build we've ever had. Fortunately the delay wasn't too severe, as it was very cold early this morning and for the first hour and a half I don't think the track was in great condition anyway. So we probably only lost an hour or so of proper running. When Mark did get going, it was pretty smooth and we didn't see anything unexpected. We have done a lot of simulation work and today pretty much confirmed what we are getting from that. It's nice to repeat it on track and we're happy with how things went.”

Webber will be back in the car tomorrow, and then world champion Sebastian Vettel will take over for the final two days of testing in Jerez.

 

Toro Rosso

Daniel Ricciardo - Photo Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Daniel Ricciardo - Photo Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

 

Daniel Ricciardo: “It was really nice to be back in the cockpit for the first time since the Brazilian Grand Prix in November and being the first person to drive the STR7 was a little bonus. It was great to experience taking a completely new car out of the garage. We had a very productive morning, doing over 40 laps and we made good progress with our programme. Then in the afternoon, we did a couple of longer runs, but had to cut it short, although we only lost an hour. I was using the Medium tyre on that last run, having used Hard tyres for the rest of the day. So, overall, a good start and I'm looking forward to another productive day tomorrow, because this car is very enjoyable to drive. It was a good feeling going fast again. It's too early to give a true assessment of the car, but out of the box this morning, it seemed balanced and quite stable. It gave me a good feeling when I put the power down.”

Franz Tost, Team Principal: “We completed 57 laps today, so we are quite pleased with the first outing of the new car which seems to have a good base from which we can move forward. Daniel felt confident in the car and we ran trouble free until we lost some oil pressure, at which point the engine protector did its job and stopped the car. We are now investigating this loss of oil pressure, but we are confident we can have another good day tomorrow. As the failure happened at four o'clock, we only lost one hour's track time which we expect to make up for tomorrow. The car looks nice but the important thing is that it should be fast. My first impression, having enjoyed the rare experience of going out onto the track to watch it in action through some corners this morning, is that the basis of the car is quite good and healthy.”

 

Sauber

Kamui Kobayashi - Photo Credit: Sauber Motorsport AG

Kamui Kobayashi - Photo Credit: Sauber Motorsport AG

 

Kamui Kobayashi“I'm happy. The new car feels fine. We managed good mileage today despite a small problem in the morning session. Running today wasn't about performance but focused on checking systems and reliability. Nevertheless I got the impression the new Pirelli tyres might be good for us. I am looking forward to the next tests and to further work on the car.”

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: “We had a productive first day of testing; the car proved to be reliable which is always a good start and enabled us to do some long runs. The systems' checks were positive and the temperatures are alright as well. For evaluation we worked on tyres and set-up and were running different fuel loads. We also carried out some mechanical work and did intense pit stop practice with new procedures in place. At the end of the test programme we finally checked the fuel system.”

Sergio Perez takes over at Sauber for tomorrow and Thursday, with Kobayashi returning to the car on Friday.

 

McLaren

Jenson Button: “It's been a good day: this morning, we ran through our installation and systems checks and the running was good. We've been gathering data on aerodynamics, downforce levels, temperatures and the feeling inside the cockpit.

“We did a 15-lap timed run this afternoon, which is a good starting point for us – and the consistency was okay. It's been a positive day: there are no niggly areas with the car, which is nice. Overall, today was just a starting point, and was all about putting miles on the car. There are some promising signs, so I'm happy.

“It's now important for us to get a clean day of running tomorrow, put some miles on the car and find a direction that we like. Today's a very good basis for the next few days.”

Button will be back in the McLaren tomorrow.

 

Ferrari

Felipe Massa - Photo Credit: Ferrari

Felipe Massa - Photo Credit: Ferrari

Nikolas Tombazis, Chief Designer: “Today we absolutely did not have an eye on the stopwatch, preferring to concentrate on gathering as much data as possible in order to get as good an understanding as possible of the behaviour of the car. We have much to do, but all in all, there are reasons to be pleased with the three hundred kilometres that we put together with Felipe at the wheel.

“We had to experiment with different solutions and that will be the case for the next few days as well: it's obvious that some delivered what was expected while others did not, but that's the purpose of testing, getting to understand how a car behaves and how best to develop it.”

Felipe Massa will be back in the car tomorrow.

 

Caterham

Heikki Kovalainen - Photo Credit: Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic

Heikki Kovalainen - Photo Credit: Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic

 

Heikki Kovalainen: “It's good to be back at work after the winter break and great to see how up for the season ahead the whole team are. We were first out on track this morning and the early feeling I had from the car was good. It's far too early to tell how much we've progressed but it already feels like we're going in the right direction. We obviously didn't want to end early today but we couldn't sort out the starter shaft issue in time to get back on track, but I'm reasonably pleased with what we have achieved today and I know the team will put in the work tonight to get us back out on track tomorrow and pick up where we left off today.”

Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: “It is always a good feeling to see the new car out on track for the first time after all the hours everybody in the team has put in over the last few months to get us to this point. We had to bring day one to an early end after damage to the starter shaft meant we were unable to start the engine which is a shame because it was an unusual issue and we had enjoyed a positive morning, working through the usual day one system checks and running without any reliability issues on the car until that point. Heikki's early feedback on the car is good and there is plenty to come from this car so we are looking forward to a positive next three days in Jerez.”

 

Williams

Bruno Senna (left) and Pastor Maldonado helped to launch the new Williams FW34 this morning before testing got underway - Photo Credit: Andrew Ferraro/Williams F1

Bruno Senna (left) and Pastor Maldonado helped to launch the new Williams FW34 this morning before testing got underway - Photo Credit: Andrew Ferraro/Williams F1

 

Pastor Maldonado: It feels great to be back with the team and to start putting some mileage on the FW34. The car felt good and the systems were all working well this morning. I like the feel of the new Renault engine as well. It's still too early to make any predictions, but we are pushing hard and working to understand the car better.”

Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: “We performed a number of systems checks on the car today, including testing our new engine installation and some aerodynamic correlation runs. Unfortunately testing was cut short with a couple of initial teething problems which we are currently investigating. We intend to get these fixed this evening in time for a full test programme with Pastor tomorrow.”

 

HRT

 

Pedro de la Rosa - Photo Credit: HRT

Pedro de la Rosa - Photo Credit: HRT

 

Pedro de la Rosa: “I really enjoyed myself today to be honest. I have to admit that I was a little bit nervous at the beginning of the day, because I barely knew anyone in the team or the car itself, but I'm very satisfied with how it went. Today the main thing was to do some mileage, not try things out, simply to get to know each other and I think the team did a great job. I felt very well surrounded, both by the mechanics and the engineers who worked with me. They all did a fantastic job. I want to insist on the work everyone did today because we were all new to the team. I think the sensations were positive for everyone”.

Luis Pérez-Sala, Team Principal: “We've gone through a couple of months of intense work and it was very important for everyone to be here and get things going on the track. I must say that I am very proud of the job done by everybody to achieve this. A large amount of the team and the materials are new so we needed to put these into practice. Everything went well, with no relevant problems, and we've taken another step, albeit a small one, in the right direction which is what matters right now”.