Testing in Barcelona

The first thing to say about this week’s test in Barcelona is that the times recorded are irrelevant because different teams were doing different things and one cannot make any sensible comparisons, so headlines such as “Wolff faster than Vettel” are wildly misleading. The fact that the fastest time of the test was Pastor Maldonado’s 1m24.871s, which was nearly four-tenths faster than Lewis Hamilton’s pole position, puts the whole thing into perspective. The track was obviously faster but who knows what spec the car was running in? Sebastian Vettel set the fastest lap of the race at 1m28.918s, but went a second faster in the test, but was still way down the order. Maldonado did 102 laps in one day, while Lotus test driver Charles Pic was fifth overall with 70 laps and a best of 1m26.661s. Most teams split the test between drivers, although Ferrari gave the whole test to Kimi Raikkonen. He was fourth quickest after 115 laps with a 1m26.480s. Mercedes kept busy with Rosberg and Hamilton both running with Nico second fastest with a 1m25.805s after 102 laps and Lewis sixth overall with a 1m26.674 after 79 laps.

Putting things into perspective was usual back marker Max Chilton, who was third fastest overall in his Marussia, with a 1m26.434s.

Seventh fastest was Esteban Gutierrez in his Sauber, who did a 1m26.972s during his 85 laps of running. Susie Wolff was next but did only 55 laps, recording a best of 1m27.718s.

Jules Bianchi was ninth fastest but was half a second behind, although he did the same number of laps as Wolff.

The Williams was obviously run in different spec for Felipe Massa, as he recorded a similar time to Wolff but ought to have been far ahead given his F1 experience. If they were running the same spec and Susie was that fast, Felipe will need to look for work as she would become a much better bet for sponsors if she was as fast as Massa.

Others to appear were Daniel Juncadella in a Force India and Stoffel Vandoorne in a McLaren (below) both doing sufficient miles to qualify for Superlicences. Sebastien Buemi was back in a Red Bull for the first time in years. The only major excitement was a crash for Kamui Kobayashi, which meant that Caterham tester Robin Frijns could not run on the second day.


34 thoughts on “Testing in Barcelona

  1. I believe the times making headlines were done on the super softs while some teams choose to mainly use the mediums and hards to evaluate their changes against data gathered over the weekend.

    1. Ok then I guess Maldonado suddenly found a huge amount of time and will win all the remaining races.

    2. They had better temperature and the track was clean. It’s an abrasive surface though so super-softs are 1-lap wonders.

  2. Joe, whats your overall take on Robin Frijns, his speed relative to others in the fray and potential for a race seat in 2015 or year after ?

  3. F1 has at last got a good looking girl that’s fast. I can’t believe it. Mind you her Scottish/German accent is rather unique. Like Paul Di Resta blended with Adrian Sutil.

      1. Who cares if it’s sexist? She looks great and if she has the speed then that’s awesome. They don’t have male studs holding the pit boards on the grid and I kinda like it that way. The smell of oil and petrol, the noise, the men driving the things and the sexy girls are all part of the F1 image. To have a sexy one driving is the icing on the cake.

        If I wanted to read about fairness, sexism and all that crap then I’d be buying a guardian paper.

      2. Maybe he’s straight, with red blood in his veins…you know, a minority.

        Living in a lefty country rubbing off on you Joe?

      3. Well Alonso is a good looking chap but I’m afraid unlike Suzi I would kick him out of bed! 🙂

      4. It may be a total double standard – but the reality is that looks help. Especially when it comes to sponsorship and team PR.
        To say that an attractive appearance in female sports figures does not play a role in their careers is wishful thinking.

        1. Unfortunately that’s very true and looks do play a major part, even more so for female athletes. Its the reason why Maria Sharapova earns much more in endorsements and sponsorships then Serena Williams does even though Williams has won far more Grand Slams.

          From a pure marketing perspective if an F1 team had three drivers who were all exactly as quick as each other, one was a man, one good looking woman and one ugly woman and only one seat I would bet everything I own that they would pick the good looking one.

      5. In F1, there are some good-looking boys and some not-so-good-looking boys… The former seem to do better at attracting personal sponsorship, for some reason… A good-looking girl (in Josh’s opinion, at least, as he expressed it) is a bonus simply because she would compound the effect of her novelty, and overturning a few misconceptions and ploughing a furrow for those who come after her.

      6. I seem to remember and Audience with Joe event in Montreal that spent many minutes discussing the fact that F1 drivers tended to be good looking chaps, although honourable exemptions was made for BobKub and Vitaly Petrov who were deemed “less aesthetically pleasing”.

        This in a room whose occupants were dominantly male…

        1. Isn’t it really simple?

          F1 drivers tend to be drawn from the middle & upper end of the income spectrum – almost no parents will prioritise go-karting over good dentistry and orthodontistry.

          Once into F1 they’re all earning enough, even if it’s via sponsors, to get their teeth whitened, go to a top-end barber, get a manicure before every race.

          Physically they’re all obliged to be nothing more than lean muscle. There’s no chance you’ll see an F1 driver with a double chin.

          That’s a result of large amounts of exercise, which requires a good diet and usual also results in getting plenty of sleep. You don’t see F1 drivers wearing the pallid, frazzled look of half the pre-caffeine commuters on the bus every morning.

          At race weekends they tend to be wearing team gear – it probably doesn’t need to be made to measure, but you can bet that it would be more than possible.

          At awards evenings, nothing but made-to-measure suits, I’m sure.

          And of course, to make it into F1 you pretty much have to be a walking embodiment of confidence. Everything about the way they all stand and walk and talk says “I’m great, look at me” – it’s part of the job description. Except for Kimi, for whom it’s “I’m great, go away and leave me alone”, which works even better.

          As if all that weren’t enough already : it’s selection bias.

          Getting through the late teenage years, through the feeder series and into F1 tends now to require external funding from sponsors or a young driver scheme or both. And it’s much easier to get that if you’re “aesthetically pleasing” than not, I’d happily bet even with worse results.

          Time and again it’s been shown that visual characteristics deceive people’s perceptions of talent and competence. They’ll lead people to go easy on the faults of the attractive person and over-criticise the faults of the ugly one. Often all of this is subconscious, people don’t realise that they’re being racist/sexist/heightist/etc. (fun fact: height correlates strongly with average wage even in white collar industries where it clearly has no bearing).

          F1 drivers are attractive in part because of the correlation between what it is to be an F1 driver and how “male attractiveness” is defined in modern society, but also because the unattractive ones find it much harder to get in.

          1. You make some very good points. Assuming that talent and looks are unrelated (a big assumption, I grant you, as perhaps the genes for chiseled buffdom are the self-same that impart superior hand-eye coordination?) the empirical evidence certainly seems to suggest that being a bit of a looker is a help in establishing a successful Formula One career.

    1. How can something be “rather” unique? Unique means there’s one of them. It’s either unique or it isn’t.

    1. The significant bit is that Susie was around as fast as Felipe? Am i correct in that assumption? Therefore, the settings or the Massa, must have been put in to place for Susie to be quick, as she hasn’t been that fast in other series. Therefore, Williams must have been using the test to attract sponsorship on the back of a supposed good performance from Mrs Wolff…simples!

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