As mentioned in an earlier post, testing got underway today at the Circuit de Catalunya in Southern Spain. This is one of the more important sessions as most teams are now running two new chassis and they can begin developing their cars in earnest prior to the season start in Melbourne, Australia next month. Eight teams were present, only Ferrari, Toyota and Super Aguri stayed away for the first day as McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton topped the timing sheet. Fernando Alonso and Robert Kubica followed behind in second and third respectively.
The Briton managed a fastest lap 0.6s clear of Alonso in the new Renault who stopped towards the end of the day, the only problem the Spaniard suffered in front of his adoring fans lining the track. Kubica showed some improvement in the BMW that had caused questions at the Valencia test. But this week the Swiss-German team appear to be back on form with Nick Heidfeld ending his day in fifth.
Impressing his boss no doubt was Giancarlo Fisichella, who somehow raised his Force India into fourth place, just a couple of hundredths down on Kubica and over two tenths ahead of Heidfeld. The Italian was likely to be on a low fuel-load as he set the lap, but certainly worth noting none-the-less. It was thought that the 2007 Spyker wasn’t necessarily a very bad car and if investment has allowed some components to be developed properly, the newest member of the piranha club could be moving up a grid row this season.
Gary Paffet was in the second McLaren and had an eventful day, causing three red flags on his way to sixth fastest. The strange thing about McLaren is that they clearly have a very good driver in Paffett, shown today by his lap time and only really hampered by lack of time in the car. It is a shame for his fans, but good for McLaren has Paffett helped Hamilton with the new MP4-23.
The remainder of the timing sheet is littered with Red Bulls, Scuderia Toro Rossos and Williams. Nelson Piquet Jr put his new Renault into seventh while spending much of his time getting used to the R28. Nico Rosberg went faster than his team mate Kazuki Nakajima, but both drivers were forced to sit out the afternoon running after Nakajima’s accident. The damaged FW30 should be ready for tomorrow and the team can continue with their development.
Red Bull Racing ran a new fin on the RBR4s, as discussed earlier in the day. The Australian was beaten though by David Coulthard, the Scot going ~0.05s faster around the track by close-of-day. And finally, the Honda’s went penultimate and ultimate last, Barrichello slotting his RA108 into fourteenth ahead of test driver Alex Wurz. The Honda’s are starting to worry me to say the least, as their promised improvements aren’t exactly showing yet.
Barcelona Test Times: Day One
|4.||Giancarlo Fisichella||Force India||1m23.015s||F8-VII|
|7.||Nelson Piquet Jr||Renault||1m23.367s||R28|
|8.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m23.387s||STR2|
|10.||David Coulthard||Red Bull Racing||1m23.491s||RBR4|
|11.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing||1m23.547s||RBR4|
|12.||Sebastien Bourdais||Scuderia Toro Rosso||1m23.836s||STR2|