F1 2012 Jerez Testing: 5 Things That Matter No Matter What Happens in Testing
The winter testing of 2012 is set to start tomorrow in Jerez. Winter testing is very difficult to interpret because the cars are not competing against each other.
They are simply testing the various components of their car and comparing real data to their computer simulations. However, every year people try to read out the coming year in all the raw data.
I'm not going to bother with any of that. Here are five areas I guess we'll be talking about no matter what happens in the testing. These are issues we'll be waiting to see played out beginning on the 18th of March.
Beauty or the Boxer-Nose?
Who will prevail? The 2012 McLaren with its elegant nose or the group of punch-drunk honkers around it?
A better question might be, on which types of circuits will the boxer be quicker in the corners? Where will the sleek McLaren fly down the straights?
Don't expect winter testing to give you an answer.
Who Will Be Known as the Comeback Kid?
Schumacher has already been back for two years. Kimi only left two years ago. Schumacher proved himself over a number of years, but Raikkonen has never consistently been the best.
Schumacher came back when he was 41, Raikkonen will be coming back at 32. Neither will most likely have a race-winning car to drive.
If they do, Raikkonen will blow away his partner; Schumacher hasn't got the best of Rosberg yet. They had a great rivalry in 2006, and I see it picking up where it left off.
Schumacher will probably have the better car, but that doesn't mean he'll prevail.
How Long Can a 'Soft-Drink Company' Keep It Up?
They can last as long as Adrian Newey keeps cranking out the winning designs. McLaren and Ferrari have proven themselves able to claw back seconds, but it would help if they didn't start too far off.
For the past two seasons, Newey and the Red Bull team have put cars out there that are so far ahead that the others don't even have a chance.
Can Red Bull get a third consecutive constructor's title? Don't count them out.
Can Massa Sustain His Rivalry with Hamilton?
Ferrari have as much a say in this as anyone. If they can't catch up a little, Massa won't be able to get his car into a place where he can compete with Hamilton.
If Ferrari hold up their end of the bargain and produce a worthy competitor, can Massa use it to effect?
I have my doubts, but I'd love to be proven wrong. Massa and Hamilton had one of the best feuds in recent years, and I hope it'll keep going strong.
Can a Non-Champion Driver Win It All This Year?
I can't be certain if that is in fact Massa in the Ferrari in the middle, or whether it's Alonso. In any case, Mark Webber, Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg are the best hopes for a new champion this year.
Neither stood out for any good reason last year. Rosberg doesn't have a proven race-winning car; Massa and Webber both do. Webber has, in fact, won races very recently. Can he pull it together for a successful run for the championship?
Can Massa surpass Alonso, who has gotten the best of him so far? Will Mercedes deliver a championship-winning car and let Rosberg be the one to win it?
Or maybe Grosjean will be the standout of the season and lead Lotus to a title?
We won't know anything about the answers to this question for a while.
And even though I know it's pointless, I'll be checking for updates constantly and trying to discover this year's champion in the hundredths-of-a-second differences between car A and B.
Can't wait to hear some views on these questions.