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Track Observations for Winter 2012 testing


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#201 King Six

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 17:17

Let's be honest here it doesn't take a genius to tell us that McLaren and Red Bull look fast and Ferrari are having some problems. The real interest is how all the other cars are doing in terms of observation, so far very very rarely are people commenting on the other cars outside of these three. Maybe the odd comment about Lotus and Force India...

You don't need experts to tell you of the situation of McLaren and Red Bull :lol:

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#202 bass6

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 01:50

Got back from Barcelona today. I saw most of Saturday's testing and Sunday afternoon.

I'd never been to a test session before and it was bit of a last minute decision to go, but it was great and I'd recommend to any fan (who's in a position to be able to go) to consider going to next year's Barca test. For €20/day you can spend the whole day at the track, wander around pretty much where you like (not the pits of course), see the new season's cars for real and how they look on the track, enjoy warmer than UK weather and of course Barcelona's a fun city to spend time/evenings in. I didn't realise how hilly the Catalunya circuit is til I walked round it - there's really big elevation changes that don't really show on the TV.

From my (very much amateur!) observations from the track I'd put the teams in this order for Melbourne:

1. Red Bull. No surprise, I only really saw the car on Saturday with Webber but it did look good. They're definitely doing something with their exhasust - the car would slow down for the corner normally then that distinctive popping sound with a lower exhaust note before jumping back into the high pitch whine as the car accelerated out of the corner. The only other car that did this was the Sauber. It's a shame I didn't really get to see Vettel run.

1= McLaren. Another safe prediction, but you gotta call it how ya see it. The car just looked great, balanced and the drivers able to get on the power early. Very pretty too. I did see Lewis have a couple of moments at Turn 7 when the back stepped out suddenly.

Then it gets tricky.

3. Lotus. The disadvantage of being trackside is you can't see the actual laptimes, so you rely more on impressions and, especially on Sunday, Kimi looked really impressive, pounding round, tidy lap after tidy lap.
3= Mercedes. Can't say the car made any particular impression trackside, just seemed solid and the vibe coming from the team seems good. A more settled driver line up than Lotus.

Then it gets really tricky!

5. Sauber. The only other team with the weird popping exhaust sound in corners. The car looked good from the trackside.
6. Force India
7. Ferrari. I know Alonso put in some OK times but the car looks a real handful at the moment. Lots of understeer, sometimes oversteer, very hesitant in getting on the power after corners. I'm sure Ferrari won't be in this position for long once the season progresses but at the moment the car doesn't look happy at all.
8. Toro Rosso. The car actually looked quite tidy on the track, I've put them low 'cos of the relative inexperience of the drivers.


9. Williams. Senna had a couple of big moments at Turn 3 on Saturday, the car seemed a bit wayward though looked better as the day progressed. I think Williams are behind the main midfield.
10. Caterham. Definitely an improvement from last year, snapping on the heels of the midfield, wouldn't surprise me if they beat Williams. Ugliest car though.


Marussia/HRT No idea obviously, just for fun I'll predict Marussia to nudge ahead of these two.


Anyway, was great fun to be there, can't wait for the season to start, it'll be interesting to see if these predictions are anywhere near the mark!



#203 TheBunk

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 02:32

Got back from Barcelona today. I saw most of Saturday's testing and Sunday afternoon.

I'd never been to a test session before and it was bit of a last minute decision to go, but it was great and I'd recommend to any fan (who's in a position to be able to go) to consider going to next year's Barca test. For €20/day you can spend the whole day at the track, wander around pretty much where you like (not the pits of course), see the new season's cars for real and how they look on the track, enjoy warmer than UK weather and of course Barcelona's a fun city to spend time/evenings in. I didn't realise how hilly the Catalunya circuit is til I walked round it - there's really big elevation changes that don't really show on the TV.

From my (very much amateur!) observations from the track I'd put the teams in this order for Melbourne:

1. Red Bull. No surprise, I only really saw the car on Saturday with Webber but it did look good. They're definitely doing something with their exhasust - the car would slow down for the corner normally then that distinctive popping sound with a lower exhaust note before jumping back into the high pitch whine as the car accelerated out of the corner. The only other car that did this was the Sauber. It's a shame I didn't really get to see Vettel run.

1= McLaren. Another safe prediction, but you gotta call it how ya see it. The car just looked great, balanced and the drivers able to get on the power early. Very pretty too. I did see Lewis have a couple of moments at Turn 7 when the back stepped out suddenly.

Then it gets tricky.

3. Lotus. The disadvantage of being trackside is you can't see the actual laptimes, so you rely more on impressions and, especially on Sunday, Kimi looked really impressive, pounding round, tidy lap after tidy lap.
3= Mercedes. Can't say the car made any particular impression trackside, just seemed solid and the vibe coming from the team seems good. A more settled driver line up than Lotus.

Then it gets really tricky!

5. Sauber. The only other team with the weird popping exhaust sound in corners. The car looked good from the trackside.
6. Force India
7. Ferrari. I know Alonso put in some OK times but the car looks a real handful at the moment. Lots of understeer, sometimes oversteer, very hesitant in getting on the power after corners. I'm sure Ferrari won't be in this position for long once the season progresses but at the moment the car doesn't look happy at all.
8. Toro Rosso. The car actually looked quite tidy on the track, I've put them low 'cos of the relative inexperience of the drivers.


9. Williams. Senna had a couple of big moments at Turn 3 on Saturday, the car seemed a bit wayward though looked better as the day progressed. I think Williams are behind the main midfield.
10. Caterham. Definitely an improvement from last year, snapping on the heels of the midfield, wouldn't surprise me if they beat Williams. Ugliest car though.


Marussia/HRT No idea obviously, just for fun I'll predict Marussia to nudge ahead of these two.


Anyway, was great fun to be there, can't wait for the season to start, it'll be interesting to see if these predictions are anywhere near the mark!


Interesting read.

I was wondering why you havent said anything about the Force India? It was very quick at Jerez. How did it perform here?

#204 jjcale

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 10:00

Got back from Barcelona today. I saw most of Saturday's testing and Sunday afternoon.

....
Anyway, was great fun to be there, can't wait for the season to start, it'll be interesting to see if these predictions are anywhere near the mark!


Cheers.

Where did you sit and which parts of the track could you see?

Edited by jjcale, 06 March 2012 - 10:01.


#205 windtravels

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 10:12

thanks for the report bass6

#206 bass6

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 15:32

Interesting read.

I was wondering why you havent said anything about the Force India? It was very quick at Jerez. How did it perform here?


Thanks TheBunk. It's so hard from the track to really see who's quick or not, my eyes certainly can't discern the fractions of a second between lap times. What you can see is how comfortable the cars look on the circuit, understeer/oversteer, how early drivers can get on the throttle, consistency of line, stuff like that. Cars from the top teams just seemed a little more planted, more stable braking into corners, the drivers earlier on the gas coming out of them.

I didn't say anything particular about Force India 'cos I couldn't think of anything specific to say about them - the car looked tidy like the Sauber/Toro Rosso though from what I could see perhaps not quite as good as the Lotus. It's all pretty subjective though - I wouldn't put any money down on the basis of what I saw at the test!

The cars that stood out as being good were McLaren and Red Bull.

The cars that stood out as being not yet sorted were Ferrari and Williams.

Cheers.

Where did you sit and which parts of the track could you see?


The great thing about testing is you can sit and try out different places throughout the day. Following advice from ivand911 on this forum I spent some time sitting in the grandstands above turns 11 and 12 - this is an elevated position giving a view of the car's entry to turn 10, progress through the twisty 11 and 12, short acceleration to turn 13 after which the car drops out of view going downhill to turn 14. The Ferrari was understeering a lot at turn 12.

Turn 9 is a good high speed corner also on the crest of a hill so it asks a lot of the car to make the turn as the track falls away. Quite a few cars looked a bit tail happy here.

I spent time at turn 7, a sharp left after a short straight, lots of cars riding the kerbs here and this is where I saw Lewis losing the back end a couple of times. You can also see and hear the cars on the pit straight going the other direction.

At turn 5 you can get quite close to the cars but it's not that revealing as its a slow downhill turn where the camber of the track seems to scoop the cars round.

Turn 3 is I think the fastest corner of the circuit. There weren't any grandstands or seats here but there was a group of about 8 men with very serious cameras and massive telescopic lenses on tripods, snapping every car as it came through the fastest point of turn 3. There were quite a few fans all around the circuit generally, taking photos with their mobiles or domestic cameras, but these guys seemed different, more focussed and with much more professional looking gear - I wondered if they might be spotters for some of the teams?

It was also fun to sit in the main grandstand opposite the pits and watch the mechanics bustling away behind screens, which were then pulled aside when a car was being released. I saw Ferrari do a simulated pitstop with Alonso. As the cars came along the main straight at full speed the engine noise of the cars was particularly piercing here - thrilling but painful - the only place where you needed to protect your ears.


#207 jjcale

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 19:01

....

The great thing about testing is you can sit and try out different places throughout the day. Following advice from ivand911 on this forum I spent some time sitting in the grandstands above turns 11 and 12 - this is an elevated position giving a view of the car's entry to turn 10, progress through the twisty 11 and 12, short acceleration to turn 13 after which the car drops out of view going downhill to turn 14. The Ferrari was understeering a lot at turn 12.

...


That was good advice... thanks again for the info.

#208 prty

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 10:54

Bump :)

#209 ZuTiMa

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 11:25



Yes! please anyone at track side please share your observations.. and pics

#210 Cavani

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 13:58

Yes! please anyone at track side please share your observations.. and pics


track observations are useless , we saw how track observations for pre-season tests fared ?

#211 Lokt

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 14:03

track observations are useless , we saw how track observations for pre-season tests fared ?


So you don´t think the common consensus after pre-season testing that Macca, RB, Lotus and Mercedes looked good were accurate?

Because I thought they were pretty good.

What did you think were inaccurate?

#212 iotar

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 14:13

So you don´t think the common consensus after pre-season testing that Macca, RB, Lotus and Mercedes looked good were accurate?

Because I thought they were pretty good.

What did you think were inaccurate?

That's a rather broad statement. The consensus was RB, McL way in front and 'planted to the track' as always.

No one noticed Williams and Sauber being that good or Lotus/Mercedes close enough to the top just by 'looking at the cars'.

#213 Cavani

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 14:47

actually , if u look at the top post here from a member who was at catalunya pre-season , he classifies williams as 9th and force india ahead of ferrari where alonso finished ahead of the two force indias in 3 races . also all the observers say redbull is planted on the track , on rails blah blah blah but they weren't .

#214 Szoelloe

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 14:56

That's a rather broad statement. The consensus was RB, McL way in front and 'planted to the track' as always.

No one noticed Williams and Sauber being that good or Lotus/Mercedes close enough to the top just by 'looking at the cars'.


Well, Williams and Sauber are not that good, Lotus and Merc were spotted by many to be good but most have refused to believe what they saw. There were already doubts about RB at the last test, only Mc stood out. I would say the broad statement as you say was quite accurate, and you can't expect more from testing.


#215 jjcale

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 15:16

The outsize influence of the tyres on racing this year has meant that simply watching the "body language" of the cars in testing does not reveal as much as it used to. Lap time analysis is now a bit more important than it was relative to watching in the flesh... but the only way to tell if a car is good is to see it live, otherwise you can get caught out by sandbagging.

This test seems to be mainly about the tyres so what I said above is probably even more the case than it was in pre season.

Damn these tyres :( :mad:

Edited by jjcale, 02 May 2012 - 15:17.


#216 IceSkyrim

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 17:42

track observations are useless , we saw how track observations for pre-season tests fared ?

We knew the RedBull exhaust package v2 was less precise in turns because a track observator in Barcelona told us that both RB drivers couldn't reproduce the trajectory in the same bend, in the same stint, lap after lap. :wave:

Also that Ferrari was a tire chewer and regardless of the fuel weight the tires worn with a few laps as the tail was lose.

#217 apoka

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 20:23

track observations are useless , we saw how track observations for pre-season tests fared ?

I think track observations were quite useful in the past. This year, we don't know much even after after four races, which is why it was difficult to observe cars in testing. Still, they weren't wrong. Many said McLaren, RB, Lotus and Merc would be fast.


#218 midgrid

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 23:11

also all the observers say redbull is planted on the track , on rails blah blah blah but they weren't .


I've read numerous articles that the RB8 in its original pre-season testing configuration was indeed on rails, but that the subsequent upgrades have made it more nervous (although faster overall).


#219 bass6

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 01:40

track observations are useless , we saw how track observations for pre-season tests fared ?



actually , if u look at the top post here from a member who was at catalunya pre-season , he classifies williams as 9th and force india ahead of ferrari where alonso finished ahead of the two force indias in 3 races . also all the observers say redbull is planted on the track , on rails blah blah blah but they weren't .


I don't agree that the trackside observations are useless.

I think it's my post you're referring to at the top of this page, where, after watching the testing at Catalunya pre-season I predicted the top 10 teams as follows:

1. Red Bull
1= McLaren
3. Lotus
3= Mercedes
5. Sauber
6. Force India
7. Ferrari
8. Toro Rosso
9. Williams
10. Caterham

And after four races the WCC looks like this:

1. Red Bull
2. McLaren
3. Lotus
4. Ferrari
5. Mercedes
6. Sauber
7. Williams
8. Force India
9. Toro Rosso
10. Marussia

Ferrari have been flattered by Alonso's excellent win in the wet at Malaysia, but I don't think they are the 4th fastest car at the moment, more like about 6th/7th as I predicted. The Williams car looked a complete handful at Catalunya but has turned out better than I expected, but not much, they are 7th not 9th.

Other than that my prediction based on trackside observations was pretty much spot on!

(edit)

...and force india ahead of ferrari where alonso finished ahead of the two force indias in 3 races

..er a Force India has finished ahead of Massa in the Ferrari in all four races ;)

Edited by bass6, 03 May 2012 - 01:57.


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#220 Zava

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 13:30

bump, I didn't want to create a new thread for this, mods, please rename the topic? :blush: