Formula 1 &Nerd stuff 09 May 2007 12:02 pm

Red Bull closing the gap

Since the beginning of the 2007 Formula 1 season, there have been two major, multi-team test sessions (exclusing the Friday testing) – at Sepang (prior to the Malaysian Grand Prix) and, last week, at Barcelona (prior to this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix).

Lap times from the tests show that Red Bull Racing has taken a significant step forward. The team is now quicker than engine supplier Renault’s own team on most days of testing – previously, RBR was giving about a 1% lap time advantage to Renault. In fact, RBR has even been quicker than McLaren several times.

The team attributes the improved form to new aerodynamic components and the just-introduced seamless shift gearbox. The team has stated that it will run the seamless shift gearbox this weekend, and that it’s worth some three tenths of a second per lap. It will be interesting to see whether the ‘box is up to a full weekend of racing – it has proven to be somewhat fragile during development testing, although insiders have stated that the gearboxes looked ‘like new’ wehn pulled down after the Barcelona tests.

As ever, testing times must be taken with a ‘grain of salt’. It’s difficult to know how much fuel the teams are running in the cars – and fuel load can make a BIG difference in testing times. Nevertheless, things look much more positive for RBR, and Mark Webber’s fans will be expecting a great race from him on Sunday.

The big question in many observers’ minds is whether anybody will be able to come close to Ferrari. I haven’t included Ferrari on my analysis – but they were VERY strong in last week’s tests.

Click on the thumbnail to see the full analysis.

F1 testing analysis

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