Barcelona: Day 4 team test notes Preseason testing came to a close for many teams today in Barcelona, with the fourth day of action at the Spanish Grand Prix track. Early-morning fog meant running was delayed for over an hour at the start of the day, but the drivers soon made up for the lost time. On top of the timesheets for the second consecutive day was Brawn GP, with Barrichello clocking the week's quickest time in the afternoon on a qualifying simulation.
Driver: Rubens Barrichello (1st, 1:18.926, 110 laps)
Barrichello brought Brawn GP's inaugural test week to a successful conclusion today, completing 110 laps and running through a full race-weekend simulation. The morning saw the team complete a full race distance, complete with pitstops and using both types of Bridgestone tire, while in the afternoon Rubens undertook a series of qualifying simulations, during which he clocked his quickest time.
Rubens Barrichello: “I'm very pleased with the mileage that we have achieved today and the completion of another full race distance. The qualifying exercises were also very useful in enabling the team and I to get fully up to speed and ready for Melbourne. The car has proved fast and reliable throughout the week so we go to Jerez feeling positive and pleased with the results of our first test outing.”
Ross Brawn (Team Principal): “We are extremely pleased with the inaugural test of the BGP 001 car in Barcelona this week. The team made a very late start to our pre-season testing program with only seven days in which to run the car before the first race in Melbourne, therefore our focus has been on reliability and achieving as much mileage as possible. Both of these aims have been successfully achieved this week. That the car has run so reliably 'out of the box' is a tribute to the strong team that we have at our factory in Brackley and they have done a great job during a very difficult period. The car is performing to our expectations and the feedback from Jenson and Rubens has been positive with both drivers completing full race distances. We have three further days of testing in Jerez next week to complete our preparations for the first race and I look forward to seeing how the car progresses from here.”
Driver: Nico Rosberg (2nd, 1:19.774, 120 laps)
Set-up work was the main item on the agenda for Nico Rosberg today in Barcelona, focusing on both mechanical and aerodynamic testing. The German's time of 1m19.774s was only eclipsed by Barrichello's superb lap, but was nevertheless the third-quickest time of the week.
Nico Rosberg: “We've put in a lot of laps this week and have definitely made good progress. Our schedule has mainly focused on mechanical and aero testing, of which there was lots to learn because there are so many new concepts and designs this year. It's difficult to judge where everyone is because the times are quite close, but we have one more test next week which will be an advantage.”
Sam Michael (Technical Director): “After an initial delay due to fog this morning, we spent our last day in Barcelona completing another useful session working mainly on the optimization of set-up around the slick tires, something that will be key to this year's championship. We have made progress over the four days and now look forward to our final test in Jerez next week where we will sign off some more parts for Melbourne. The lap times are close at the moment making it difficult to predict the order - great for the sport!”
Driver: Timo Glock (3rd, 1:20.091, 128 laps)
Timo Glock concluded Toyota's final pre-season test today, working again on car set-up. He had an almost trouble-free day in the TF109, completing 128 laps, but stopped on-track on his final lap with a mechanical problem. The team will now investigate the problem before flying out to Melbourne for the season-opener at the end of the month.
Timo Glock: “This was another useful day to round off our good winter of testing. We did more work on set-up and long runs and everything went well until the very last lap! Still, overall the car feels strong and we seem to have good pace so we can look forward to Australia. Of course we'll only see the real results on Saturday in Melbourne but everyone at Toyota can be happy with our work so far. We've made fine progress so roll on the first race.”
Gerd Pfeiffer (Test Team Manager): “After the fog cleared this morning, we had another good day's work to finish our winter program. Timo made the most of the conditions, putting in a lot more laps of set-up on the TF109. He stopped on his last lap so we will now have to investigate the cause. But overall, given this year's in-season testing ban it was important that we had a positive winter and that's exactly what has happened. We have made the most of the limited time, the TF109 has been quick and consistent so we can head to Melbourne with confidence.”
Driver: Sebastian Vettel (4th, 1:20.576, 83 laps)
Similarly, it was Red Bull's final day of pre-season testing, with Sebastian Vettel on duty for the energy drinks company. The team tested some development parts, but mainly concentrated on final set-up work ahead of Melbourne.
Ian Morgan (Head of Race Engineering): “Overall this week's test has gone pretty well. We've been pleased with our reliability throughout the winter, but looking to performance it's hard to know where we stand until we get out on the track in Melbourne. We're looking forward to it and can't wait to start racing again.”
Driver: Fernando Alonso (5th, 1:20.664, 64 laps)
Fernando Alonso was on duty for his third day of the week, bringing Renault's program for the week to a close. The Spaniard worked through a program which involved evaluating components to improve the car's mechanical balance. However, he lost time during the afternoon when the R29 stopped on-track with an unspecified mechanical problem. Renault return to the test track next week in Jerez.
Fernando Alonso: “We had a problem at the beginning of the afternoon and so we lost some track time, but overall I think it was an interesting day and we improved our understanding of the car. We tried some new development solutions and so today was not about outright performance but simply exploring new ideas for developing the car into the season. We have one more test to go in Jerez, but overall I think we are ready for the first race in Melbourne.”
Christian Silk (Chief Test Engineer): “We had quite a lot to get done this week and the program evolved as we went along, just as it always does. As we continue to get to know the car it becomes apparent what areas we need to look at and what areas we can find performance in. The car ran very well all week and the team is working well together as we had the entire race team here preparing for the first race. We've got one more test to go when we will introduce some final developments prior to Melbourne.”
Driver: Felipe Massa (6th, 1:20.677, 92 laps)
Felipe Massa was the man charged with driving Ferrari's final 2009 test day today, completing 92 laps as he worked through a program centered on set-up adjustments checks. The team now switch their focus to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 29th.
Felipe Massa: “As far as the performance is concerned I'm really satisfied with our competitiveness compared to all the others, except obviously Brawn GP, who were unreachable for all of us. Right now we're not the fastest car on the track, what I might have said before the tests here at Barcelona: we'll see how it works out in Australia. What I think about McLaren and Brawn GP? I can't reply to that, because I don't know the details. I can just look at the lap times and what we see from the outside. As far as the aerodynamic solutions are concerned I can only say that I'm not the one to comment on that.”
Driver: Robert Kubica (7th, 1:20.740, 134 laps)
Robert Kubica ended BMW Sauber's pre-season preparations today, working through a full race simulation, which included the usual start procedures and pitstops. After the lunch break, the Pole evaluated different set-up solutions for the F1.09.
Willy Rampf (Technical Coordinator): “Our final pre-season test was very productive. We worked on the mechanical set-up of the car as well as the aero configuration. In addition, we also improved our KERS. Our second goal was to prepare for the season's first Grand Prix in two weeks in Melbourne. We simulated a proper race day on Tuesday with Nick Heidfeld and today with Robert Kubica, each covering a complete race distance without any technical problems. That tells us a lot about the reliability of the BMW Sauber F1.09.”
Driver: Lewis Hamilton (8th, 1:20.869, 70 laps)
Lewis Hamilton was back on-track today to focus on the mechanical set-up of the MP4-24, amid continued paddock rumors that the car is hugely lacking in rear-end grip. According to the team, they successfully developed the MP4-24 and learned positive directions for improvement. McLaren is back on-track next week in Jerez.
Drivers: Sébastien Buemi (9th, 1:21.013, 62 laps), Sébastien Bourdais (11th, 1:21.629, 27 laps)
Like Tuesday, both Sébastiens were on duty today, with Buemi driving in the morning and Bourdais in the afternoon. The entire day's work was focused on development work of the new STR4, and given that Bourdais's days in the cockpit were hampered by teething problems, it was decided to give the Frenchman an extra half-days work. This now concludes Toro Rosso's pre-season test activities.
Driver: Giancarlo Fisichella (10th, 1:21.045, 141 laps)
A race weekend simulation was on the agenda for Giancarlo Fisichella today, as he brought Force India's testing to a close for 2009. After conducting initial set-up checks in the morning, the Italian moved on to qualifying runs before lunchtime, and then completed longer runs in the afternoon, putting in a full race distance. The team now returns to their Silverstone base to focus on the upcoming Australian Grand Prix.
Giancarlo Fisichella: “It's been a good day with 141 laps. We went in the right direction with some set-up work and the car was very reliable so we could really start to work on the balance. It's not so bad we just could do with some more aero grip. We didn't do the best lap time when the circuit was at its peak in the morning otherwise we could have improved the time, perhaps a 20.5, but overall I feel comfortable. It's quite encouraging, we now know where we need to improve.”
James Key (Technical Director): “It was a very good conclusion to the eight days of testing. Over the week we have completed more than 2,000km and have a very strong basis to start the season from. We don't have any major concerns and the car is now very reliable so we can really start to look at areas that will improve performance. Giancarlo ran a second race distance without any issues and tried both tire compounds. In more representative temperatures today they behaved very well and seemed to be good over longer runs. The drivers seem to be happy and, with this in mind, we can concentrate on seeking out the improvements that will move us forward.”
With testing in Barcelona now concluded, most teams have ended their pre-season preparations. Next week however, from Sunday to Thursday, Brawn GP, Williams, Renault and McLaren will be in action at Jerez, for what will be the final test of 2009.