... and here's the other times for you: Petrov (1:16.351), Schumacher (1:16.450), Alguersuari (1:17.214), Barrichello (1:17.335), Karthikeyan (1:18.020), Nico Rosberg (1:19.930). Thank you very much for your company today, it's been a long one without any TV feed but all your messages have kept me going. Thank you. The report from today's action is
I'll be back tomorrow to do this all again. Until then, take care.
Anon via text:
"Although I am a firm supporter of Hamilton, I think this year the new Mercedes car will carry Rosberg to the crown."
Lee Bailey on Twitter:
"First day of F1 testing over. Vettel over seven-tenths quicker than the next 2011 car. That will do nicely."
So that's your lot for day one of the opening test of the 2011 season. It seems the session ended with a red flag right at the close. I'm trying to find out who was the culprit. Vettel (1:13.769) tops the times then, with Hulkenberg (1:13.938) and Di Resta (1:14.461) second and fourth respectively in last year's Force India and Gary Paffett (1:14.292) third in the 2010 McLaren. Encouraging. Alonso (1:14.553) was fifth, Kobayashi (1:15.621) fifth with Virgin Racing's Jerome D'Ambrosio (1:16.003) seventh.
Scott Learmonth on Twitter:
"Paul di Resta faster than Alonso. I don't care if it's testing, the track is rubbering in and it doesn't really mean much. Love it."
Interesting, Paul di Resta goes fourth with a 1:14.461. This seems like a good time to point you in the direction of a video posted last week of the 24-year-old Scot
talking about his new role.
Michael Marriott, Doncaster via text:
"Can't wait to see the new McLaren. The battle between the two Brits will be interesting. The Mercedes looks nice, hope Michael can do well this year."
Roisin McErlean on Twitter:
"I think Massa has had time to get use to Alonso, and will compete more, but Vettel will be champion again."
Schumacher hasn't improved on that 1:16.450 and is still eighth. Vettel, Di Resta, Alonso and Kobayashi are now out on the track as we enter the final 15 minutes.
John, Essex via text:
"Re: Jimmy P, the Ferrari is a wolf in sheep's clothing. I don't think we've seen it's true colours yet. I am certain the car that turns up at the first race will be very different to the one at Valencia today."
Paulo from London via text:
"I wonder how many drivers will get it wrong with the many buttons on their steering wheels this year?"The issue of the number of things a driver now has to do from inside the car has been raised already by the likes of Fernando Alonso, see the entry at 1140.
Geoff Barlow on Twitter:
"I really hope the Renault is competitive this year. Kubica has the talent to be right at the top of the standings with a decent car."
Schumacher is now out and about, with a best so far of 1:16.450. Vettel (1:13.769), Hulkenberg (1:13.938), Paffett (1:14.292), Alonso (1:14.553), Kobayashi (1:15.621), D'Ambrosio (1:16.003), Di Resta (1:16.337), Petrov (1:16.351), Schumacher (1:16.450), Barrichello (1:17.335), Alguersuari (1:17.774), Karthikeyan (1:18.020) and Rosberg (1:19.930).
Sam in Poole via text:
"However fast Renault's car is this year, I can't wait to see that good-looking car at 150mph in HD this season."
James in Stoke via text:
"My old VW Corrado had a rear spoiler that raised up when you got to 40mph, that used to get stuck quite often, don't want that at 200mph."
Under an hour to go now. Let's see if Vettel's time can be beaten. McLaren's Gary Paffett moves up to third fastest with a 1:14.292 while Holty reports that Mercedes, who have not been out since Rosberg stopped out on the track earlier, hope to soon get the car back out on the track in time for Schumacher.
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt on Twitter:
"The way Sebastian Vettel has been roaring out of the pits here in Valencia, he clearly means business. He is top of the standings. Vettel's best time of 1:13.769 is more than six seconds faster than day one's backmarker Nico Rosberg in the new Mercedes. I know testing times don't mean anything - especially on day one - but that's a decent statement of intent from the world champion."
And here's more from Rosberg on the adjustable rear wing, which can be activated by the driver when he is within a second of the car in front. He did manage to try it in his brief spell on the track and says it will take getting used to. "You push the button and it lowers at the back, so you feel the car gets lighter, and then you release the button again before braking," he said. "But you think 'Jeez, what if it hasn't gone back to its original position,' because if it doesn't you are off in a big way. It's going to take some adjusting. Because it moves we don't know how quick it resets itself once you release the button again. It could be too late and it's not properly attached, so it's still a bit of a concern."
Steven Curtis on Twitter:
"New F1 season, in HD, Some positively amazing looking cars (Renault=wow) & some great racing! F1 is back baby! Excited much?!?"
Nico Rosberg only completed nine laps in that new Mercedes of his his, with the car suffering a hydraulics problem, but the German says it is a big improvement from the 2010 version. "It was good. I just felt at home straight away," he said. "I felt like at one with the car, it didn't feel like a different car that I don't know. It felt very nice. That's a very important thing straight away. I think it's just a better car in general. The whole car is just a big step forward for us. With the aerodynamics there's still a lot to come so in the next few weeks I think we will make quite a lot of progress still."
Jimmy P, Essex via text:
"I wonder if Ferrari have done enough this year? Compared to the Red Bull and Renault it's very conservative. Can't wait to see McLaren on Friday."
Paul di Resta, in his first test as a race driver for Force India, sets a 1:17.242 which puts him in seventh place.
And we're back. Miss much?
Right, I've actually got a numb bum - so I'm going to grab a quick sandwich, if that's OK. I won't be long and I'll be fully refreshed for the last push until 1600 GMT. Ace.
Williams driver Rubens Rubens Barrichello is now eighth fastest with a 1:17.582. Time for another full list of times: Vettel (1:13.769), Hulkenberg (1:13.938), Alonso (1:14.718), Paffett (1:15.350), Kobayashi (1:15.831), D'Ambrosio (1:16.003), Petrov (1:17.424), Barrichello (1:17.582), Alguersuari (1:18.260), Karthikeyan (1:18.650) and Rosberg (1:19.930).
Renault unveiled their new car on Monday this week
I've just received some more info from BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz
on the new Renault exhaust design. "Renault have come up with a first with their new exhaust, which exits at the front of the sidepods either side of the driver. I believe it vents exhaust gas around and under the sidepods. The rest of winter testing will prove if they're the only team who adopt this approach. The concept is to increase downforce from the floor by blowing high-velocity exhaust gas through it from the front as well as channelling air around the outer edge of the sidepods. Last year's exhaust trend, led by Red Bull, did the same directly through the diffuser but with 2011's rules closing off that avenue, Renault have revolutionised the 'blown floor' concept. It's brave because it might cause more problems than it solves, particularly in overheating. Renault have increased the size of their air intakes and have even placed temperature sensors by the driver's hip to measure if the exhaust pipes are making life uncomfortable for Kubica and Petrov. Testing will show if this fascinating development is the must-have technical concept of the season."
There's some action on the leaderboard, Vettel posts a 1:13.769 to set the fastest time of the day. Hulkenberg steps out of the Force India to allow Paul di Resta a drive for the final two hours. Schumacher is set to take over for Mercedes.
Dan Kelly on Twitter:
"It's a shame McLaren opted to use the old car, it would have been good to compare all the designs and see what goodies they have."
Stanway from Essex via text:
"Schumacher is obviously looking forward to this year and he was starting to show some form at the end of last season. Hopefully this year will see the return of his old self."
Marcus in Windsor via text:
"I think that the extra few days working on the car will pay off for McLaren!!"
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Valencia:
Perez finds his way in F1
"Out and about in the sunny Valencia paddock, I managed to get a quick word with new
Sauber driver Sergio Perez.
The Mexican, who turned 21 last week, is preparing to start his first F1 campaign and he is pretty unfazed by what faces him. Perez has a pretty healthy record in junior categories and finished runner-up to new Williams recruit Pastor Maldonado in F1's feeder GP2 Series in 2010. I asked him what he thought he would bring to F1 and the freckle-faced driver answered, with a serious glint in his eye, 'a cool head.'"
Force India on Twitter:
"Nico has finished his day's running and has completed 71 laps with a best of 1:13. 938, currently fastest of the runners."
James Thorp on Twitter:
"Hulkenberg has a point to prove to show he deserves a race seat, just like Di Resta had to do last season."
Longer runs for the drivers at the moment, Petrov moves up to seventh with a 1:17.424. Meanwhile, on the news, there's a feature on cuddle workshops being run in the capital for stressed out Londoners. I'll try that in the office after I clock off here, see what happens.
Scott in Norwich via text:
"If Renault's forward exhausts prove a success, no doubt it will catch on with the other teams. Still, we've yet to see what McLaren have up their sleeve. Something innovative as well, I can imagine."
Simon, Stockport via text:
"I think too much emphasis seems to be placed on Hamilton. Don't forget that Button has had more input into the car this year compared to last, should be an interesting battle at McLaren."
Alex Lumley on Twitter:
"Mercedes' car is by far the best looking so far. Hope it performs as well as it looks, would love a four-horse race for the constructors!"
Voila! Rosberg and Schumacher unveil the new Mercedes
Here's a bit more from seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, who was speaking at the launch of the new Mercedes earlier today. The 42-year-old came out of retirement last year to return to the sport, finishing ninth with 72 points. Many people questioned his return but he certainly sounded bullish as he looked forward to 2011. "Finally the waiting is over and things get started," he said. "We have said it several times already but again, we are really to building up something big together. I am very confident that this season we will be standing on the podium much more regularly - ideally in the middle."
Anon via text:
"Disagree with Colin in Glasgow. Kubica is rumoured to be going [to Ferrari] in 2012 and he'll rinse Alonso!!"
Garry from Hampshire via text:
"I suspect Red Bull will have a radically different car at the first race. They all hide developments but none more than the Bulls! Should be a great season."
whoelse on Twitter:
"I fear moveable rear wings will make F1 feel artificial. Yes I want overtaking, but using their skills, not silly rules."
Shelley Newton on Twitter:
"Yey! F1 pre-season testing has begun. Can't wait for the season to start properly. I've missed Eddie's shirts!"Haven't we all, Shelley, haven't we all.
Talking of Ferrari (that's a seamless link isn't?), the
in the wake of Alonso's failure to win the world title. Pat Fry is now head of race track engineering, replacing Chris Dyer, after Alonso could not his make his way through traffic after an early strategic pit-stop in Abu Dhabi, handing the
race and the title to Vettel.
Could it have been the worst strategic call since Michael Bolton decided to sing Motown? Not sure. Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali also admitted he considered his own position.
Colin Sleigh, Glasgow via text:
"I agree with JD, but what decent driver would want to drive alongside Alonso? It's basically like saying: 'I don't want, or don't think I'm good enough, to win the drivers championship.'"
Lee in Bromsgrove via text:
"Transfer live text yesterday. Testing live text today. A very unproductive week at work so far."
Ruairi Dorrity on Twitter:
"If Schumacher has more input in this year's car, he could be a serious contender. Or a complete flop, like last year."
It is worth pointing out that it is difficult to read too much into these times as it is impossible to know what fuel loads the cars are carrying. Also, I should mention that Nick Hulkenberg, who is the fastest man so far today, is in last year's Force India. Another run down of the times? Ok then. Hulkenberg (1:13.938), Alonso (1:14.718), Vettel (1:14.921), Kobayashi (1:15.831), Paffett (1:16.256), D'Ambrosio (1:16.398), Alguersuari (1:18.260), Karthikeyan (1:18.650), Barrichello (1:18.714), Rosberg (1:19.930), Petrov (1:20.633).
At the start of the day, Renault mentioned their "innovative exhaust system", well here's BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz with more on his
"Brave & innovative idea from Renault: routing exhaust pipe forward, exits either side of the driver. It powers the floor, adding downforce."
JD in Leicester via text:
"I think this will be the last year with Massa at Ferrari and probably in F1. Alonso will invariably stomp all over him and Ferrari need a much stronger driver alongside Alonso if they are to win the constructors' title anytime soon. I can't wait for it all to kick off, my money is on Lewis to win."
Lee Hollman on Twitter:
"Track action going good so far think that times are not to be taken too seriously at the moment but at least some good running."
Anku Thakur on Twitter:
"I think Force India will take a massive leap forward this year and Di Resta will be a hit. PS Hamilton & McLaren to win title."
Well this is going to make people sit up, Hulkenberg improves to a 1:13.938. Just as a point of reference, the fastest time set in Valencia last year was a 1:11.470 set on the final day by
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
Emily in Sussex on Twitter:
"So glad to see Alonso getting in the groove so early on. He's going to be the most determined man on the track this season. Going to be the man to beat!! Can't wait, so excited already."
Hold up, Force India test driver Nico Hulkenberg has set the fastest time of the day so far, a 1:14.045. This seems like a good time to
link to video of the Hulk,
talking about his new role and how he hopes it will lead to a race seat in 2012.
One of the main talking points over the winter break is the row over the use of the Lotus name between Group Lotus, who sponsor the Renault team, and F1's Team Lotus. The whole thing will go to a full trial on 21 March if the two sides do not settle out of court before then. A blunt talking Robert Kubica spoke on the subject at the Renault launch yesterday. Asked if was his dream to drive for Lotus, Kubica replied: "I think Lotus is our sponsor. At least from what I know it is a sponsor. So I could also say it is my dream to drive for Total. I think it would be different if Lotus owned the team and were fully involved into the team." So there.
rover on Twitter:
"My prediction is [Romain] Grosjean will replace Petrov halfway during the season due to the latter not performing."
Pete, Edinburgh via text:
"The first team that designs a car to run in dirty air rather than clean air will have the advantage me thinks! Hamilton will be the only man to beat Alonso this year, lots of fun for third!"
Pete, Wantage via text:
"The moveable wings will actually reduce good overtaking in my opinion. There will be no need to throw a move at someone if you know you can just press a button and blast past on the straight. Yawn."
Vettel posts a 1:14.921, a time which is 0.203 seconds off fastest man Alonso.
Vettel decides to break the silence and to enjoy the luxury of a clear track. Alonso and Hulkenberg also make their way out of the pits.
Everyone is taking a quick break - all 11 cars are in the pits. Meanwhile, there has been some interesting chat coming out of the Renault team over the last month or so. Just before Christmas, Vitaly Petrov said it was hard to learn anything from team-mate Robert Kubica "because he's always a closed person" which led to Renault boss Eric Boullier saying that: "If he [Vitaly] wants to deliver he has to do it by himself and not expect people to give him things for free." Ouch. That last bit is in our
if you fancy a look.
_nod on Twitter:
"Getting excited for the start of the F1 season as the news comes in from testing, I hope the 2011 Merc is as fast as it looks!"
Alonso seems to be in the groove pretty quickly this morning and he improves to a 1:14.718. The gap to Vettel is 0.841.
The introduction of adjustable rear wings and Kers for 2011 has certainly caused a stir with some of the drivers and there are fears that they are now being asked to do too much as they try to guide a car around a track. Here's Ferrari's Fernando Alonso: "Without realising it, we're losing the focus on driving. The cars become tougher to drive when you have to make all these changes from one turn to the next." Just to point out that the Spaniard's natty winter beard should be coming off in time for the first Grand Prix of the season in Bahrain next month. "My mother doesn't want it," he said. I'm just jealous because I can't grow one.
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Valencia:
"I am very lucky to have cameraman Martin as an extra pair of eyes and ears in the pit-lane. He reports that, as expected, all of the 11 teams that are running on Tuesday (Lotus are sitting out) are being very secretive about what they are up to. Every time the car emerges from the garage, high barriers are wheeled back in place to stop prying eyes. Red Bull have had their garage doors shut for most of the morning too. McLaren reserve driver Gary Paffett is at the wheel of the team's 2010 car today. His aim is to try and get to grips with this season's new Pirelli tyres. He spent a good spell this morning standing in the pit-lane, hands in pockets, looking like he had all the time in the world. Four tyres belonging to Bridgestone - last season's tyre suppliers - were also spotted in the back of a McLaren truck this morning. You don't think they put the wrong ones on do you?! Pure speculation, I stress."
Here's a full run down of the times we have so far: Alonso (1:15.371), Vettel (1:15.559), Hulkenberg (1:15.615), Kobayashi (1:15.831), Paffett (1:16.256), D'Ambrosio (1:16.398), Alguersuari (1:18.260), Rubens Barrichello (1:18.714), Hispania's Narain Karthikeyan (1:19.189), Rosberg (1:19.930) and Vitaly Petrov (1:20.633).
Ferrari on Twitter:
"The testing programme is going on as planned. Alonso completed 36 laps so far."
Geoff Hawley on Twitter:
"The Renault's dramatic, bit too dark for JPS, more like some milk chocolate wrapper. Few cars as pretty as the Jordan 191."
A quick reminder that McLaren reserve driver Gary Paffett is in the team's 2010 car in testing today. The team want to find out a bit more about the new Pirelli tyres before introducing the new car at the Jerez test from 10-13 February. Lewis Hamilton is in the chair tomorrow with Jenson Button taking over on Thursday.
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Valencia:
Vettel and Webber show off their new Red Bull
"Valencia's chilly early morning skies made it pretty difficult for Red Bull to bask in the glory of last season's championship success as the team unveiled the car they hope will bring them more good fortune. World champion Sebastian Vettel wisely kept his woolly hat pulled down and sported a blond beard as he and Mark Webber peeled away the navy cover to unveil the RB7. Both drivers smiled for the cameras and seemed in relaxed mood as they faced their first media melee of 2011. They were back in the fray but both drivers and team boss Christian Horner talked about how different it would be defending rather than chasing titles this season. Horner said: 'It's a new situation for the team. Our target is to defend those titles - all we can do is our very best.'"
They are up and running again in Valencia... and Vettel goes third fastest with a 1:15.678 before improving to a 1:15.559 to go second. So it's Alonso, Vettel, Hulkenberg, Paffett and Kobayashi.
Martin, UK via text:
"Really hoping Kers, moveable rear wings and lack of double diffusers makes 2011 what 2010 promised but didn't quite deliver. Too often last year you had very quick cars stuck behind cars that they'd caught at two seconds per lap but couldn't overtake because of the massive turbulence."
Andy in Worcestershire via text:
"I am hoping that Mercedes give Rosberg a car he can really challenge with. I also hope Kobayashi has a car under him to get amongst the podiums too, that will make the front teams sweat with his very individual style sliding around them!"
kevin brigden on Twitter:
"I'm supposed to be working on an essay! I've written the same sentence three times now. This winter break gets longer every year!"
Timings-wise, it's all a bit quiet in Valencia at the moment but hang on, we have a red flag. It's the first one of the day and it's the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg that's stopped out on the track. And for all of you that are asking, I'm sorry to say that there is no feed of testing. For me as well!
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Valencia:
"I may be an hour ahead Orlo but R in Brighton should feel no shame with his biscuit urge. I've had two cups of tea and two mini chocolate filled pastries already. Breakfast has been on the hoof this morning. That's my excuse."For once, I actually feel quite healthy. Not a pastry or fried breakfast in sight on my desk!
math3mag1c1an on 606:
"Sadly, I don't think you can look beyond Ferrari this season. They didn't have a particularly stellar first half of 2010, which I doubt will be repeated this year."
Red Bull launched their new RB7 earlier today and world champion Sebastian Vettel had some interesting chat about the season ahead: "It's a difficult situation because last year we just said 'let's just go for the title' - now we want to defend it. Motivation is not a problem, we're focused on repeating the success of last year and I hope we can do it." Read more
Nik Hughes on Twitter:
"My heart says Jenson to get it right and take the championship, my head says Ferrari will give Alonso a winning car and he'll be WDC."
Here's a quick update of the times as they stand at the moment: Fernando Alonso (1:15.371), The Hulk (1:15.615), McLaren's Gary Paffett (1:16.256), Kobayashi (1:16.354), D'Ambrosio (1:17.991) and Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari (1:18.260).
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Valencia:
"Hello everyone. Welcome back to live Formula 1 on the BBC website. Gosh, it has been an extremely busy morning with champions Red Bull wheeling out their 2011 car, shortly following by the unveiling of sister team Toro Rosso and German giants Mercedes' new machines. Pre-season tests are a bit like one long first practice session that lasts three days but despite that sounding as unglamorous as a Tuesday night out in Tamworth the media centre is absolutely packed with journalists and TV crews from across the globe. That just goes to show how much everyone is anticipating the new F1 season, which begins in Bahrain in just 38 days' time. And there is lots and lots to do before then
the insider on Twitter:
"Is it my imagination or has the effort put into livery been stepped up. The Mercedes livery is positively stunning as is the Renault."
R in Brighton via text:
"Is it this time already? Excellent! Got any biscuits?"Bit early for that kind of behaviour surely?
Paul in Nottingham via text:
"Can't see anything other that Vettel retaining his title. The chase should be very entertaining though! I'm looking forward to the Sutil v Di Resta battle at Force India. Two very promising drivers. Also time for Kubica to step up and Kobayashi to be consistent."
It's going to be a long day and trust me, the last thing you want is for me to drone on for the duration. We won't be doing a full-on text commentary over the next few days, it will be more a lite text comm, if you will. So this is where you come in. In the words of Bonnie Tyler, I need you more than ever. Give me your predictions for 2011, your views on driver changes, the return of the Kers energy-recovery and power-boost system, Lotus-gate, moveable rear wings, the new Pirelli tyres. Anything you want really. Tweet me via the hashtag
or direct on
join the discussion on
or text in via 81111 (UK).
Right then, it's time for some times. Nico Hulkenberg, who is now the test driver for Force India after losing his drive at Williams, is quickest so far with a 1:15.948 with new
Virgin Racing driver Jerome D'Ambrosio
in second with a 1:17.991.
... and we're back. For good. I'm sure there's a song there somewhere.
I'm going to have to apologise again... earlier we had to decamp to another office in order to start working, but now we have to return to the damp, dark surrounds of the Sport department. I won't be long, promise.
Renault F1 on Twitter:
"R31 takes its first bow. The best sounding car in the pit lane thanks to our innovative exhaust system!"
Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne on Twitter:
"In the office in the truck at the paddock in Valencia. Running just started. Good to get back into action. We are not running today, but have an extra day of running here on Friday when we will also be doing filming work."
It has been a busy morning so far in Valencia, with world champions Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Mercedes already unveiling their new cars for the 2011 campaign.
Renault, Sauber and Lotus
had their launches yesterday. Cue lots of photos of beautiful and shiny vehicles with slightly awkward drivers perched on them. The black and gold livery of the new Renault car has to be my favourite so far. It reminds me of an John Player Special F1 radio I had when I was a child. Old school.
I'm jesting of course. Good morning and a very warm welcome to our coverage of the first day of the opening pre-season test in Valencia. The 2011 season starts here. It seems like only yesterday that we were in Abu Dhabi doesn't it? Apologies for the delay in getting this commentary going, we had major technical problems at the website but now a very clever person with a soldering iron, a screwdriver and a radio tuned to Magic FM has sorted everything out. Lovely.
Expectation, hope, the culmination of months of hard work, the realisation of what is to come. Yes people, it is true, Blue will be singing for Britain at the Eurovision Song Contest. Happy days. That's what you thought I was talking about, right?