Red Bull and Ferrari alter testing days
23 February 2012 – Red Bull considered skipping the final day of this week’s Barcelona test in order to enjoy a private day at the Circuit de Catalunya next week, GPUpdate.net has learned. Reports are also spreading in the paddock that Ferrari may be attempting a similar tactic by missing either Thursday or Friday of next week’s final pre-season test.
The word began to travel after Mercedes missed the final day of the opening test in Jerez, swapping it for a sole day in Barcelona last Sunday. Any such change must be agreed by all rival teams before a final confirmation arrives from F1 governing body the FIA.
On Thursday, Mark Webber parked his car at Turn 8 half an hour before the end of the session. It was initially believed Red Bull may be suffering a similar fate to Lotus, in that a problem had prevented any further running this week, although this soon translated to the feeling that the World Champions could be attempting to gain a day of private running. After stopping on-track, Webber was quoted as saying that Red Bull must improve before the season-opening event in Melbourne, with ‘no question’ being the Australian’s exact words.
GPUpdate.net has also learned that Team Principal Christian Horner and other leading Red Bull representatives were meeting in a private room shortly before 6pm, conversing for at least half an hour. At the same time, in a separate but nearby room, Mercedes Team Principal Ross Brawn was engaged in deep discussion with FIA technical head Charlie Whiting. It is not known whether the two groups moved together for one collective conversation, although the two rooms in question are connected by an adjoining door.
Lotus, which abandoned this week’s test after just two hours on Tuesday because of a chassis problem, is attempting to gain at least one extra day either in Barcelona or at Silverstone; at this point, Ferrari and HRT appear to disagree with the proposal.