The Formula One circus has descended on Circuit de Catalunya today for the start of a three day test at the Barcelona track. With the next seven grands prix being held in Europe it is a good time for the squads to ramp up the car development for a mid-season push. The only team not present in Spain today were Force India, and most outfits chose to run test drivers for today’s running as opposed to the regular pilots. And it was one such test driver who ended up setting the fastest time – Luca Badoer of Ferrari.
Completing 82 laps and hardly venturing out in the afternoon due to poor weather, Badoer set his quickest lap of the day early on and spent the morning focusing on aerodynamic developments on the F2008. Lining up in second behind the Italian-combo was Montreal winner Robert Kubica. The Pole was one of only two actual 2008 race drivers running today, the other being David Coulthard who finished in third. Kubica was just 0.2s shy of Badoer, Coulthard less a tenth behind Robert.
Sharing the Red Bull car with Coulthard was occasional runner for the team, Sebastien Buemi. Buemi ran in the morning and managed the fourth fastest lap of the day after completing 79 laps. Coulthard only completed 21 due to the aforementioned rain affecting the track. Gary Paffett ran for McLaren while Nico Hulkenberg completed an impressive 112 laps for Williams, the young Formula Three Euroseries driver going seventh fastest.
Anthony Davidson made a welcome return to a racing circuit today in the Honda. The British pilot hadn’t driven a Formula One car since the Spanish Grand Prix last April, the withdrawal of Super Aguri ending his employment with Honda’s B-team. It doesn’t go without notice that Honda have chosen to run Davidson over other Aguri refugee, Takuma Sato. However, Davidson had been a long-term tester for the squad dating right back to 2002 when they were owned by BAT. Driving around Circuit de Catalunya today, Anthony impressed with sixth and appeared overjoyed to be back at the helm of a Formula One machine.
Renault and Toyota completed the timesheet, with Romain Grosjean going eighth for the Anglo-French team and Kamui Kobayashi propping up the tables in nineth. Nelson Piquet Jr. is expected to take over from Grosjean tomorrow, the Brazilian needing all the practice he can get in the R28. And according to Autosport, Piquet is supposed to be running on the third (and currently final day) of the test, meaning Fernando Alonso won’t be getting a look-in this time.
|1.||Luca Badoer||Ferrari||1m22.412s||82 Laps|
|2.||Robert Kubica||BMW||1m22.682s||69 Laps|
|3.||David Coulthard||Red Bull Racing||1m22.724s||21 Laps|
|4.||Sebastien Buemi||Red Bull Racing||1m22.764s||79 Laps|
|5.||Gary Paffett||McLaren||1m22.938s||36 Laps|
|6.||Anthony Davidson||Honda||1m23.208s||81 Laps|
|7.||Nico Hulkenberg||Williams||1m23.619s||112 Laps|
|8.||Romain Grosjean||Renault||1m23.899s||60 Laps|
|9.||Kamui Kobayashi||Toyota||1m24.442s||82 Laps|