Thursday, 10 May 2012

Mugello - A Test Too Far?

Schumacher in the Mercedes F1 W03 on day one

After last week's Mugello test, the idea of in-season testing doesn't seem to have gained itself many new fans. With most of the first day's testing cancelled due to heavy rain, it wouldn't have been surprising if HRT were sniggering to themselves while moving into their new headquarters, having chosen to opt out of the test. Maybe it wasn't the best of ideas to place the test in the unpredictable spring months, with the August mid-season break perhaps being a better choice.

The circuit choice was also under criticism as well, from the unlikely source of Caterham's Vitaly Petrov. The Russian driver claimed that the track was not safe enough for Formula One cars, explaining that the track was not wide enough. He was quoted saying, 

"If you lose it, the walls are so close and you will smash into the tyres. It is not for Formula 1 and, if you lost the steering or the tyre pressure dropped or whatever, then it will be a big crash."

Petrov seems to be alone in his views on Mugello, with many drivers such as Rosberg, Alonso, Jean-Eric Vergne voicing their approval, Mark Webber in particular took time out to tweet his own view on the Spanish track,

"Did 10 dry laps today around Mugello, which is the same as doing 1000 laps around Abu Dhabi track in terms of satisfaction.#realtracks #fast"

Gary Paffett testing the McLaren MP4-27 in Mugello

Many questioned McLaren's judgement for not bringing Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton to the Mugello test,  especially once it was revealed that McLaren had brought along their new toy, a revised front nose. The Woking outfit seems to have gone more towards the 'platypus' nose approach adopted by virtually every other team on the grid, with Martin Whitmarsh all but confirming that the revised nose would be used at the next race in Barcelona. Hamilton was quoted in the media before the test saying,

“I need to get back in the car. We need to figure out why the tyres are going off.” 

With the emergence of this new nose, it is even more curious that neither of the main drivers were present at the test, to see and feel for themselves the results of the higher nose.

With Barcelona next on the race calendar this weekend, hopefully we can finally see where everyone stands!