Photo courtesy Sahara Force India Formula 1Enlarge Photo
They've revealed the new cars for the 2012 season and now's the time for the Formula One circus to show how they work in the real world of testing.
Formal practice began today at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain, with a total of 12 drivers taking to the circuit in both morning and afternoon sessions. By the end of the day - and all testing times are unofficial - Kimi Raikkonen set the quickest time in 75 total laps, at 1:19.670 in the new Lotus E20.
Although the Finn hasn't driven a new-style F1 car for two seasons of competition, that was no deterrent to the 2007 World Champion. "It was a positive first day of testing and everything went almost to plan," Raikkonen said. "We had no major issues and I got a good feel for the car and the tires. The [Pirelli] tires were more of a challenge in the afternoon when we ran with a scrubbed set, but overall it was a positive day."
Raikkonen believes, as everyone does, that today's times really don't matter. Neither will any other test times, but it's still nice to sit atop any timing pylon - whether official or not. "I did more than a race distance today and did not have any physical problems at all, which is good," Raikkonen admitted.
Sophomore Paul Di Resta took the VJM05-02 chassis to second place in his 101 laps of testing at 1:19.72. The Sahara Force India Team conducted system checks, data collection and setup work. "A good start to our winter test program 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," he said.
Nico Rosberg was this for Mercedes AMG at 1:20.219 in 56 laps, followed by Mark Webber with Red Bull Racing, turning 1:20.496. After a delayed started in the RB8 Webber said of the car's debut, "It was good. I felt quite comfortable quite quickly - but - it's early days. We had a small delay this morning with a part due to fog at the airport and it's never part of the plan to give up running time, but you can't control mother nature." He completed 54 laps.
Photo courtesy Red Bull RacingEnlarge Photo
Photo courtesy Sauber F1 TeamEnlarge Photo