Barcelona Test Preview: 1st – 4th March 2012

Teams will return to the Circuit de Catalunya (Barcelona) tomorrow for the third and final pre-season test. Marussia will not be present as they failed their last crash test and it is unknown whether or not HRT will make the test with their 2012 car, however, the team stated that they were working hard to get there. It was Sauber who topped the times overall last week with McLaren completing the most laps. Lotus will be in attendance after they abandoned the last test due to a chassis fault. Red Bull and Ferrari had hoped to test Friday – Monday, instead of Thursday – Sunday, however after clarification of a rule from the FIA, which states that teams cannot test in the week preceding the first race (which means the week before the week of the GP), they have reverted back to the original schedule. This also means that Lotus and Marussia will be unable to conduct any tests after this one concludes.

Teams and drivers in attendance

Red Bull: Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber
McLaren: Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton
Ferrari: Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa
Mercedes: Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg
Lotus: Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean
Force India: Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg
Sauber: Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez
Toro Rosso: Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo
Williams: Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna
Caterham: Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov

The test will run for four days (Thursday – Sunday) with the following driver schedule:

Red Bull: Webber, Vettel, Webber, Vettel
McLaren: Button, Hamilton, Button, Hamilton
Ferrari : Massa, Alonso, Massa, Alonso
Mercedes: Rosberg, Schumacher, Rosberg, Schumacher
Lotus: Grosjean, Grosjean, Räikkönen, Räikkönen
Force India: di Resta, Hulkenberg, di Resta, Hulkenberg
Sauber: Perez, Kobayashi, Perez, Kobayashi
Toro Rosso: Vergne, Vergne, Ricciardo, Ricciardo
Williams: Maldonado, Maldonado/Senna, Senna, Senna/Maldonado
Caterham: Kovalainen, Kovalainen, Petrov, Petrov

It is not yet known if/when HRT will make an appearance at the test.

It was Sauber who topped the times overall last time out in Barcelona with Williams not far behind. These lap times were set on the last day of the test so when the track conditions were at their best. As this is the third and final pre-season test we will see a more accurate representation of where the teams are in relation to each other, although of course not completely as teams will continue to bring upgrades to the car even at the first race. Lotus will return to testing having missed last week to make sure they fixed the fault with their chassis so they will be looking to continue the progress they had been making in Jerez and hoping to make up some of the lost time. Toro Rosso appeared to have some reliability issues last time out so hopefully this time they can run without any problems. Having failed its final crash test, the new Marussia is unable to make its testing debut as planned so the team will head to Australia with no testing, apart from when they tested the 2011 car. HRT, who also failed crash tests but have since passed them, are pushing to attend this test, however it is not yet known exactly when they will make an appearance.

This third and final test will be crucial for the teams as the next time they get on track will be for free practice in Australia. They will continue with their set-up work and making sure the car is behaving as they want it to before they head off to the first race. Teams will more than likely bring updates to the first race so cars will not be the same as they are now, however, the track time is still invaluable to them.

As always full reports and times will be posted at the end of each day of testing and you can find it all here.


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