Where do the teams rank after the first test?

By on Friday, February 4, 2011

So the first of the four tests have come and gone, with various teams setting the pace and a few runners having various issues. 7 of the 11 teams tested new cars, whilst the other 4 gathered valuable data regarding the new Pirelli tyres.

But where do the teams stand, and what can be summed up at this very, very early stage?

Red Bull launched the RB7 on Tuesday morning and just a few hours later, it looked like the car to have. Trackside spectators commented that the car was on rails and over the 3 day test there were no problems with it. It is also reported that Red Bull did not fully use their KERS and the team were very secretive over the RB7. It looks like a quick car and with Adrian Newey at the helm of the designing team, you're never going to doubt his ability to put a good package together.

Ferrari's 'radical' F150 turned out to look rather conservative when it was launched a week ago. Expect them to turn up to Bahrain with a very different looking car, if not then fans might be worried over the Scuderia's hopes. German media AMUS reports that insiders at the team reckon they are lacking 0.5s to Red Bull, and Ferrari spent a while fiddling with the set-up to make the tyres last longer. Felipe Massa also lost a lot of running with a spectacular engine failure on Thursday morning. As said before, it's early days yet, but already some are claiming that Ferrari are behind Red Bull.

Renault's R31 was launched on Monday and immediately it was noticed that the exhaust system was different to the other teams. It is expected that other teams will try to copy the system but exactly how much it would gain Renault is unknown. Kubica's 95 laps of running showed the heating issues were solved and the fastest time on Thursday - also the fastest time of the week - is good PR.

The Mercedes W02 is one of the most attractive cars aesthetically, but how it runs is still up for debate. The team was hit by mechanical problems and the times were not hugely speedy. AMUS again states that Schumacher is not happy with the tyres and hopes they will be different before the first race in Bahrain and they add that - like Ferrari - Mercedes has been too conservative.

Williams' approach to KERS has been different from everyone else's and it seems to be working fine. Their tightly compacted gearbox doesn't appear to be causing any problems and this is obviously a benefit to the team. The times weren't great but Barrichello was focusing on long runs. Maldonado's time was far more optimistic, although the deficit to Red Bull is predicted at 0.8s a lap.

Sauber appear to has a very neat and compacted car, and with James Key at the helm they have a very good direction. Sauber has a Ferrari gearbox unit and Ferrari KERS and this results in a rear end rather similar to the F150. Times are fine although to be taken with a pinch of salt after their impressive 2010 testing form and disappointing early season pace.

Times: (2011 cars only)

1m13.144s Kubica
1m13.307s Alonso
1m13.614s Vettel
1m13.936s Webber
1m14.017s Massa
1m14.299s Maldonado
1m14.458s Perez
1m14.537s Schumacher
1m14.645s Rosberg
1m14.801s Buemi
1m15.621s Kobayashi
1m15.679s Trulli (on Friday, private test)
1m15.910s Kovalainen (on Friday, private test)
1m16.023s Barrichello
1m16.351s Petrov
1m16.474s Alguersuari

AMUS Rankings of where the teams stand:
1. Red Bull
2. Ferrari & Renault
3. Mercedes, Williams

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