Mike Stevens | Feb 14, 2012
  • New Ferrari '20pc ready' after Jerez test - Alonso
  • Sauber not 'reading tea leaves' after Jerez test
  • No 'revolution' seen on 2012 grid yet - Sauber
  • New Lotus 'definitely better' than 2011 car - Grosjean
  • McLaren stops Hamilton answering 'pathetic' insult
 

New Ferrari '20 percent ready' after Jerez test - Alonso

Fernando Alonso managed to brighten Ferrari's spirits before the opening test of the 2012 test concluded.

His best time in Friday's proceedings was set with soft tyres and still shy of the promising Lotus' earlier pace, but it nonetheless triggered sighs of relief within the Maranello ranks after a troubled early start.

"At the beginning of the test we had arrived and put our wheels on the ground and were slower than we expected," Alonso is quoted by Italy's Autosprint.

"We had to change the way we were working with the car and we are still learning; we will come to Barcelona more prepared."

"In four days we went from black to white," Alonso is quoted in Spanish by El Mundo, "but we still have a lot of work to do, particularly on the reliability."

He is quoted by AS newspaper: "Where will we be in Melbourne? No idea.

"From what we have seen so far, the highlight of the car is that it heats up the tyres so that you can use them to the maximum from the first lap, which is something we could not do last season.

"We still have much to do in the area of the aerodynamics and, above all, the reliability."

Alonso - like Ferrari in general - is a regular critic of F1's testing limitations and he admitted it may be a factor in getting the all-new F2012 ready for Melbourne.

"Unfortunately there are only two more tests, which is one less than last year. At Montmelo (Barcelona) we need to be doing at least 100 laps (per day).

"At the moment we are at maybe 20 per cent of what we need to do (before the season) overall."

(GMM)

 

Sauber not 'reading tea leaves' after Jerez test

It is too soon to be picking the winners and losers ahead of the 2012 season, reigning back-to-back world champion Sebastian Vettel insists.

An early analysis might suggest Ferrari is struggling whilst Lotus could be set to join the pacesetters this season.

But German Vettel, who drives for 2010 and 2010 constructors' champions Red Bull, said after the Jerez test that it is way too soon to be drawing conclusions about his rivals' form.

"There is a bit of a reference when you look at what runs they've been doing, but if you look at previous years at this time of year it's all up and down. Nothing really shows yet," he is quoted by PA Sport news agency.

"Now we wait for Mercedes (to launch their 2012 car) and then we will know a little more, certainly at the last test in Barcelona," added Vettel.

"The change in rules have also given people an opportunity to catch up, so we'll see what happens."

One of those with potential to catch up is midfield team Sauber, but boss Peter Sauber insisted that Jerez provided "no more than a snapshot" with two group tests yet to run before Melbourne.

"For me, any attempt to create a pecking order based on Jerez is no more than reading tea leaves," he told the Swiss Sonntagsblick newspaper.

Sauber agreed with Vettel that the final test in Barcelona next month will "lift the fog" ahead of the trek to Australia for the season opener.

"Only at the last test will we see the teams using their technical packages for Melbourne," he said.

Vettel added: "Lotus looks quite good from what I've seen -- fast and consistent.

"Ferrari and McLaren are the big unknown, and perhaps us as well," he is quoted by Spain's Europa Press.

(GMM)

 

No 'revolution' seen on 2012 grid yet - Sauber

After the double diffusers, F-ducts and blown exhausts of the past few seasons, Peter Sauber is sure a "revolutionary invention" has not yet been seen in 2012.

The world of F1 watched the opening pre-season test of 2012 play out last week at Jerez, where clever solutions to the new exhaust clampdown and Mercedes' innovative F-duct-style front wing circulated at speed.

"The big question," agreed team boss Sauber, "is whether anyone has come up with another revolutionary invention after the banning of the adventurous engine control (of 2011).

"So far it doesn't look like it," he wrote in a column for Blick newspaper.

"At the rear of the cars there are different solutions for the guiding of the exhaust gases, but this was not unexpected," added Sauber.

Another point of note at Jerez was the obvious visual difference between the radical 'step' noses and the much more conventional solution on the McLaren.

"It means nothing else than that they are using a less-high chassis," Sauber reported. "This is interesting because of the apparent aerodynamic disadvantage.

"But equally clear is that McLaren would not have done it if they had not found another way to generate the corresponding downforce," he insisted.

(GMM)

 

New Lotus 'definitely better' than 2011 car - Grosjean

Romain Grosjean is happy the early signs of his relationship with new teammate Kimi Raikkonen are positive.

Last week, the newly-acquainted pair spent time at Jerez, where their new Lotus car was the surprise standout performer of the first pre-season test.

Another "really pleasant surprise", according to GP2 champion Grosjean, was "Kimi".

"It took a little time and I did wonder what kind of relationship we would develop, but I think he is a really nice guy. Whatever I have asked, he has answered."

Arguably more important, of course, is their black and gold car, and it set tongues wagging by proving the standout performer at Jerez.

"It is definitely better than our one of last year," Frenchman Grosjean is quoted by Finnish broadcaster MTV3.

And he said both he and Raikkonen are likely to develop it in harmony.

"I did not see anything strange," said Grosjean when asked how his and Raikkonen's driving styles compare, "the telemetry was nearly identical."

Also more than pleased is Lotus' technical director, James Allison.

"The best thing about the week was the drivers' feedback," he said. "We had not heard anything as positive in the last couple of seasons."

(GMM)

 

McLaren stops Hamilton answering 'pathetic' insult

McLaren has once again stepped in to prevent Lewis Hamilton from answering a reporter's question about the Adrian Sutil affair.

At the recent launch of the MP4-27 car, a reporter asked Hamilton about his former friend Sutil's accusation he is a "coward" for not appearing as a witness at the recent assault trial in Munich.

"We've been told that Lewis shouldn't really go there because it (the conviction) might go under appeal," the spokesman quickly intervened.

Hamilton smiled: "I'll listen to him."

The Briton's former F3 teammate did indeed file an appeal, but not before Sutil's father Jorge described Hamilton as "pathetic" in the German press.

Asked about the latest insult from the Sutil camp, Hamilton was once again prevented from answering in the Jerez paddock by a McLaren media minder.

"That question is not permitted," the spokesman is quoted as saying by Auto Motor und Sport.

The German magazine article read: "We say that Hamilton should have the courage to speak for himself."

In other courtside F1 news, former Benetton driver JJ Lehto's attempt to appeal his prison sentence for manslaughter got off to a dismal start, the Swiss newspaper Blick reports.

Finn Lehto's lawyer reportedly appeared in court to file the appeal but was "immediately arrested himself, apparently because of money laundering".

(GMM)

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