Being away from all things Formula One isn’t easy, despite it still being the off-season. Many things have happened in the past six days and I thought I would just quickly list all the important testing items in one easy-to-digest post. Three days of testing occurred, each with a different driver taking the fastest time. This off season is becoming hard to read, as more than the regular number of teams are seeing significant improvements. However, it is clear that Ferrari and McLaren should be leading the way in Australia in March, with Renault, Williams and BMW snapping at their heels. It is still too early to really gauge Honda and Red Bull, but I for one hope they are sand-bagging at the moment and will be up there with the rest in Albert Park.
A little later today I’ll about the main news events that have occurred over the past week, and then everything should hopefully return to relative normality.
February 8th – Jerez
Thursday saw the teams complete their final day at Jerez before heading over to Barcelona. Unsurprisingly, rain descended on the circuit again as Europe suffers in the grips of winter. This final day at Jerez saw Nick Heidfeld and his BMW at the top of the time sheets, compunded by test driver Timo Glock in third. The pace of the BMW was a surprise, and while it was clear from previous sessions that the new F1.07 wasn’t bad, few had expected the team to conquer a testing day. The BMWs sandwiched Alex Wurz in his Williams, another team that appear to have made great progress with their new challenger, the FW29. Wurz’s pace was confirmed by team mate Nico Rosberg finishing the day in sixth.
The McLaren’s were well down the order at this test, finishing in only twelfth and thirteenth. Fernando Alonso completed just nine laps and promptly left the track avoiding the media briefing. Renault chose not to run today, having expected the poor conditions and deciding that what work could be done would be unproductive.
1. Heidfeld – BMW – 1m29.497s
2. Wurz – Williams – 1m30.051s
3. Glock – BMW – 1m30.211s
4. Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1m30.565s
5. Barrichello – Honda – 1m30.687s
6. Rosberg – Williams – 1m30.690s
7. Massa – Ferrari – 1m30.689s
8. Trulli – Toyota – 1m30.981s
9. Montagny – Toyota – 1m31.027s
10. Coulthard – Red Bull Racing – 1m31.166s
11. Webber – Red Bull Racing – 1m31.405s
12. De La Rosa – McLaren – 1m31.477s
13. Alonso – McLaren – 1m31.570s
14. Andretti – Honda – 1m32.397s
15. Zonta – Renault – No time set
16. Piquet Jr – Renault – No time set
February 12th – Barcelona
Monday saw the teams move their testing duties to Barcelona at the Circuit de Catalunya, where they were joined by Spyker who tested their new car with others for the first time. McLaren again showed that they are a force to the be reckoned with for this upcoming year, with Pedro De La Rosa going fastest, and reigning World Champion Fernando Alonso placing third by the end of the day. BMW were once again in the top three with Robert Kubica sliding his car in second place and only 0.001s down on Pedro’s McLaren. The Swiss-based German team are certainly living up to the comments made by Felipe Massa being the team to beat this year!
Alex Wurz had another good day in his Williams, finishing in fourth and beating both Ferrari’s. Red Bull Racing continued to struggle along with Honda, and Spyker ran new-boy Adrian Sutil, who propped up the time sheets in last place.
1. De La Rosa – McLaren – 1m22.634s
2. Kubica – BMW – 1m22.635s
3. Alonso – McLaren – 1m22.726s
4. Wurz – Williams – 1m23.037s
5. Massa – Ferrari – 1m23.077s
6. Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1m23.215s
7. Trulli – Toyota – 1m23.239s
8. Kovalainen – Renault – 1m23.491s
9. Rosberg – Williams – 1m23.602s
10. Glock – BMW – 1m23.653s
11. Fisichella – Renault – 1m23.896s
12. Montagny – Toyota – 1m24.015s
13. Klien – Honda – 1m24.227s
14. Coulthard – Red Bull Racing – 1m24.291s
15. Webber – Red Bull Racing – 1m24.531s
16. Davidson – Super Aguri – 1m24.574s
17. Barrichello – Honda – 1m24.934s
18. Sutil – Spyker – 1m25.581s
February 13th – Barcelona
The second day of testing at Circuit de Catalunya took place yesterday, and Ferrari regained control of the time sheets by going first and second fastest of the day, Felipe Massa beating his new team mate Kimi Raikkonen to the top spot. Renault also returned to their regular form with Heikki Kovalinen lapping just 0.1s slower than Raikkonen, and team mate Giancarlo Fisichella a further tenth down again. McLaren ended the day in fourth and sixth, Fernando Alonso running with Lewis Hamilton.
Once again, Honda and Red Bull Racing trailed around somewhere near the bottom of the timings, Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button not bettering than 13th and 14th respectively. Toyota sandwiched the Williams, with Jarno Trulli starting the order in eighth, followed by Nico Rosberg, Alex Wurz and finishing with Franck Montagny.
1. Massa – Ferrari – 1m21.181s
2. Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1m21.719s
3. Kovalainen – Renault – 1m21.819s
4. Alonso – McLaren – 1m21.901s
5. Fisichella – Renault – 1m21.997s
6. Hamilton – McLaren – 1m22.078s
7. Kubica – BMW – 1m22.100s
8. Trulli – Toyota – 1m22.227s
9. Rosberg – Williams – 1m22.249s
10. Wurz – Williams – 1m22.288s
11. Montagny – Toyota – 1m22.476s
12. Heidfeld – BMW – 1m22.618s
13. Barrichello – Honda – 1m22.669s
14. Button – Honda – 1m22.816s
15. Webber – Red Bull Racing – 1m22.916s
16. Coulthard – Red Bull Racing – 1m23.322s
17. Davidson – Super Aguri – 1m23.969s
18. Albers – Spyker – 1m24.425s