Alonso gets new Renault up to speed
Toro Rosso Ferrari said farewell to STR3 today as the car completed its final test session, having served the team since its race debut in Monte Carlo last year.
In good weather, with track temperature reaching a useful 30 degrees, Sebastien Bourdais had the honor of driving the car for the last time, working on a qualifying simulation program with three different compounds of Bridgestone tire, while also carrying out an evaluation of the front and rear suspension.
A reliability validation of the Ferrari 056 engine was also completed, with the unit doing even more laps than expected.
“We are just continuing to evaluate tires and understand how the slicks are working, as well as trying a few things on the geometry of the car. All in all, a useful working session.”
Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton shared driving duties this week in Spain for McLaren Mercedes, with Kovalainen heading up the test’s first two days and Hamilton concluding the work on Thursday and Friday.
While the opening day was briefly marred by a midday rain-shower, the remainder of the program was carried out under clear blue skies and warm sunshine, allowing the team to put some serious mileage on the new car.
The majority of the four days was spent finessing the new car’s balance and set-up on slick tires while also putting background miles on the KERS device - which proved largely trouble-free during all four days.
The team drew attention not just because of the encouraging lap times, but also because they opted to run the 2008-specification rear wing on the 2009 challenger once again. With the exception of Toro Rosso Ferrari, the other teams testing this week both at Jerez and Sakhir, ran 2009-spec rear wings.|
"The team carried out the majority of its running using a hybrid-spec 2008 rear wing in order to more effectively simulate expected downforce loads and will bring a raft of new components to next month’s test, back in Jerez." the team stated.
Hamilton's best lap of one minute 19.632 seconds, set with his McLaren fitted with a 2008 rear wing, was just faster than Fernando Alonso, who showed his slow teammate Nelson Piquet Jr. how to drive a car fast and work with the engineers to make it fast. Piquet was slow with the new car and could not make it go fast.
"After doing so many laps with the car yesterday, we concentrated more on set-up work today to get a better understanding of the car and make it easier to drive," said the Spaniard.
"Overall, we have to be very happy as we managed to do lots of laps and the car responded well to the set-up changes we made, so I think we've found some good solutions.
"Every day the drivability of the car is improving and although we still have a lot of work to do before the start of the season, we are definitely moving in the right direction."
||2008 Toro Rosso-Ferrari
||2009 Red Bull-Renault