The final two days of testing at Jerez only saw McLaren and Williams participate, the other teams deciding they had done all they could in preparation for the season opener in Melbourne. Both teams were represented by the same driver each day; Heikki Kovalainen and Kazuki Nakajima sharing the circuit in Spain. The times set were initially off the pace from previous days, but by Thursday afternoon both drivers found speed and got the times down to a respectable 77s.
Despite not setting the track alight on the first day of his final test, Heikki Kovalainen was buoyed by the improvements made to the McLaren MP4-24. Previously, team mate Lewis Hamilton appeared to struggle in the 79s bracket, encouraging the wagging of tongues up and down the pitlane as well as in the media. The problems that are apparently facing McLaren so late in the build up to the season is certainly the talking point of the moment.
By Thursday though, the squad had found something that worked on the modifications made to the car and the young Finn finally looked to be on top of the machine. Kovalainen lapped the Jerez circuit 85 times on Wednesday, and 84 times earlier today.
Kazuki Nakajima followed suit almost identically to his rival. Wednesday saw little in the way of pace, but by Thursday the Japanese driver was on top of his car, the Williams FW31, and Kazuki finished the day ahead of Kovalainen.
Without other teams on track it is still very hard to judge the pace of these two machines, and the improvement in times that both drivers saw may be very easily put down to improvements in track conditions more than anything else. They could both be lapping in the midfield, they could both be up there with Ferrari having found something great in the final two days. To put it simply, we just don’t know. At times, Williams and McLaren have looked strong, although in recent group tests, they have looked mediocre at best.
|1.||Heikki Kovalainen McLaren||1m18.202s||85 Laps|
|2.||Kazuki Nakajima Williams||1m20.023s||103 Laps|
|1.||Kazuki Nakajima Williams||1m17.494s||102 Laps|
|2.||Heikki Kovalainen McLaren||1m17.946s||84 Laps|
why can’t the teams breakaway? get organiser company for the races, lesser ticket cost so more money for the organization, someone to police the teams with the leader chosen democratically, and since the track won’t have to pay the sultan of brunei’s fortune (err 199 mil) to hold a race, better tracks, better spectacle, money from the media, and currently no concorde agreement. I think things can’t become better than present to break away from the idiots’ clutches and give the motor racing fans a real treat!!!
Why can’t they do? money? legality? non-agreement within the teams? Maybe this could make you wear the thinking cap while we all are experiencing the ‘a crescendo as we long for it all to begin’ 🙂
For everybody who hasn’t seen the McLaren yet in action, check out this video:
Even if these are light-wet conditions, the car really seems to have a problem with finding grip for the rear. Turn-in understeer and Turn.out oversteer… a problem Toyota had in 06/07 and never managed to solve it.
I think, nevertheless, McLaren is bluffing alot, like BMW-Sauber did it last winter, releasing wrong laptimes and telling everybody they had handling problems… as McLaren does this year (and I can’t remember McLaren was ever telling anybody so clearly about their problems). Could be that they will shock the world in Melbourne…
The likely scenario. Although with FOTA, it is definitely improving. They’ve finally realised that by working together, they can actually achieve something.
They’ve definitely shocked in the past. I remember Melbourne 1998. We knew the McLaren was fast in 1997, but unreliable. Then they blew everyone away at the first race of the new year. I wasn’t following testing back then though, so I don’t know if they sandbagged or not over the winter.
I’m not sure you can tell much from that video. The much reduced down force this year will make the car harder to control in wet or damp conditions.
I think the lap times Yesterday give a hint that they have solved alot of their problems.
Only this time next week will we know who is quick and who isn’t… I can’t wait 🙂