The second major test since the 2008 season closed started today (aside from Williams who ran Dani Clos yesterday on their own) and Scuderia Toro Rosso once again headed the timing sheets, albeit it in only a slightly modified 2008 car. As well as STR, Williams, McLaren, Ferrari, Renault and BMW all fielded cars and scrutinised drivers. But it was Sebastien Buemi who headed the tables at the end of the day, leading fellow hopeful Sebastien Bourdais in the claim for one of the 2009 STR seats.
Sebastien Buemi was 0.5s quicker than Bourdais and covered fourteen laps more than the French driver over the course of the day’s running. Also running two drivers were McLaren, and the Woking-based team chose to field testers Pedro De La Rosa and Gary Paffett. Early fog and late showers prevented some teams from getting any decent mileage in though, McLaren being one. However, Paffett and De La Rosa stated earlier in the week that they were quite pleased with the way the new car is taking shape and today the Briton was only 0.03s shy of the Spaniard’s time when they were forced to stop due to the worsening weather.
Kimi Raikkonen returned to the cockpit for his first test since loosing the coveted Number One in Brazil in last month. The Finnish driver completed 48 laps while evaluating the Ferrari engine over relatively long runs. Williams and Renault also fielded one driver each, Kazuki Nakajima and Nelson Piquet Jr. each getting a run in their respective cars. Nakajima ended the day in seventh while Piquet Jr. finished in eighth. The second BMW car was piloted by test driver Christian Klien, but his run didn’t last long before the squad made a precautionary engine change.
From the photographs I’ve seen, it looked as though Scuderia Toro Rosso and Renault were running 2008 aerodynamic-spec. cars, while BMW and Williams ran their interim cars which are much closer to the 2009 models, although Williams appeared to using a 2008 front wing. Ferrari went somewhere in between, choosing clean aerodynamics over the engine cover and sidepods, but opting for old-style wings on the front and rear. There was no bulging vent on the Ferrari’s sidepod this time either.
Testing continues tomorrow, but Toyota were once again notably absent. The Cologne-based squad were not present at the first main test in Barcelona, and I don’t think I’ve yet heard an official reason as to why. Force India and Red Bull are also yet to turn a wheel in Jerez, the former having already stated that they are unlikely to test prior to the new year as they fit the new Mercedes engine into their car.
|1.||Sebastien Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m18.742s||91 Laps|
|2.||Sebastien Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m19.288s||77 Laps|
|3.||Gary Paffett McLaren||1m20.134||26 Laps|
|4.||Pedro De La Rosa McLaren||1m20.164||21 Laps|
|5.||Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari||1m20.261||48 Laps|
|6.||Nick Heidfeld BMW||1m20.678||49 Laps|
|7.||Kazuki Nakajima Williams||1m21.338||57 Laps|
|8.||Nelson Piquet Jr. Renault||1m21.547||124 Laps|
|9.||Christian Klien BMW||1m22.098||15 Laps|