Wednesday, November 19, 2008

2009 Pre-Season Testing: Barcelona Summary

Teams were at the Circuit de Cataluyna this week in prepartion for the 2009 season. Today was the last day of the 3 day test where Sebastian Vettel was on top of the timesheets once again. Also, we did see some interesting car developments even as this is the first test such as the new aero package and some team running with their KERS system. Below is a team by team summary of the 3 days of testing and quickest times set from the test where a total of 23 drivers took part. Absent from this round of testing was Toyota.

Ferrari- Luca Badoer and Marc Gene were on hand using two F2008: a standard version and a version with modified aerodynamics to simulate the downforce that cars will use in 2009. Badoer started reliability testing for the engine and gearbox in the modified car and added weights to simulate a KERS install, which was only partially on the car on Day 1. Gene used an unmodified F2008 and worked on car set ups. Both drivers used slick tires. On Day 2, both drivers continued the reliability and set up work they started on Day 1. Day 3 saw Badoer go solo and continue long reliability runs on the engine. Badoer also got to sample the power adjustable front wing.

McLaren- McLaren's testers Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett were on track on Day 1 and De la Rosa began testing with the KERS system onboard; this car was designated MP4-23K. Both cars were equipped with slick tires and an aero package that simulated 2009 downforce levels. On Day 2, De la Rosa was drafted to drive the Force India VJM01 while Paffett went solo and continued work in the MP4-23K. However, he suffered an oil leak and McLaren switched him over to the other McLaren to do aerodynamic and tire evaluations. On Day 3, Pafett was again the lone driver on duty as he continued development work on the KERS as well as aerodynamics and tires.

BMW- BMW Sauber carried out testing with two F1.08B interim cars with Robert Kubica and Christian Klien. The cars were fitted with some bodywork complying to the 2009 regulations. Also, Klien’s car was fitted with a KERS system. Both drivers tried different mechanical and aerodynamic solutions as well as sampling the 2009 slick tires. Nick Heidfeld took over testing duties from Klien on Day 2 and along with Kubica, they focused on reliability and tires. On Day 3, Klien was back in action in place of Kubica and worked alongside Heidfeld. Klien worked on the set up for the KERS system while Heidfeld worked on mechanical and aerodynamic set up and got to try out the power adjustable front wing. His car was not equipped with KERS.

Renault- Nelson Piquet and Giedo van der Garde were on hand for testing duties. The team were focused on '2009 type' car set ups and evaluated the new slick tires. van der Garde managed to crash out but was able to return after some repairs. On Day 2, van der Garde completed his work and they team was pleased with his performance and feedback. They continued to focus of tire evaluations, set-up and R&D work. On Day 3, Nelson Piquet continued the solo theme as he finished slick tire evaluation and R&D work with a R28 with simulated 2009 settings.

Red Bull- 5 times WRC champion Sebastien Loeb was the lone Red Bull Racing driver on hand on Day 1. He was getting his first test with other F1 drivers in the RB4 and did well finishing less than 1.5 seconds off the pace. This test was a thank you for winning another WRC title. However, he did do some actual work evaluating the 2009 slick tires. On Day 2, new Red Bull Racing driver Sebastian Vettel took over testing duties and wasted no time in setting the top time. The team's focus again was collecting tire data. On Day 3, Vettel continued his work and quick pace as he continued to do tire work with simulated 2009 downforce levels.

Toro Rosso- The team's focus on Day 1 was to assess the new slick tires and various mechanical set ups. It also was an opportunity to evaluate potential drivers. Prospective driver, Takuma Sato accounted well for himself by setting the quickest time overall on Day 1 but not far behind was Sebastien Buemi who set the 2nd fastest time. On Day 2, Sato turned the reigns over to Sebastien Bourdais after again setting a strong time (2nd overall). Bourdais continued work on collecting data on the tires. On Day 3, both Sebastien's were on track and as yesterday were among the leaders on the timesheets. The duo continued to focus on tires trying various car set-ups.

Honda- The Japanese squad was very busy. Test driver Alex Wurz kicked off the main test program evaluating various aerodynamic components and 2009 downforce levels and running the slick tires. Honda evaluated two young Brazilian drivers, Bruno Senna and Lucas Di Grassi. On Day 2, Jenson Button took over for Wurz while Di Grassi completed his full day test program. Button focused on tire evaluations via set-up and car balance changes. Di Grassi worked on car balance and car set-up finishing .5 seconds off Button's pace. On Day 3, Button continued his work while Bruno Senna was back to complete his full day test program. He managed to finish only .3 seconds off of Button time and was .6 quicker than Di Grassi.

Williams- Williams came with one car and driver, Nico Hulkenberg, who ran the interim FW30. He concentrated on slick tires work and the 2009 rear wing. On Day 2, Nico Rosberg took over testing duties and focused on set-up and tire development work setting the 7th fastest time of the day. The team continued with some 2009 aero components. On Day 3, Hulkenberg was back behind the wheel continuing to work on development. He set the 10th fastest time out of 13 drivers on track today.

Force India- Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi were present on Day 1 of testing simulating 2009 downforce levels. The team worked on car set up and weight distribution. On Day 2, as mentioned above, McLaren tester Pedro De la Rosa was at the wheel taking advantage of the new McLaren/Force India technical partnership along side Sutil. They set the 16th and 9th fastest times respectively. On Day 3, De la Rosa continued his work, while Giancarlo Fisichella took over duties from Sutil. The pair of veteran drivers were at the bottom of the timesheets.

Fastest test times (3 day totals):

1. Vettel- 1:19.295

2. Bourdais- 1:19.839

3. Sato- 1:20.017

4. Buemi- 1:20.154

5. Paffett- 1:21.140

6. Wurz- 1:21.198

7. Button- 1:21.387

8. De la Rosa- 1:21.417

9. Kubica- 1:21.521

10. Rosberg- 1:21.525

11. Klien- 1:21.534

12. Heidfeld- 1:21.592

13. Senna- 1:21.676

14. Badoer- 1:22.038

15. Sutil- 1:22.073

16. Piquet Jr.- 1:22.148

17. Di Grassi- 1:22.283

18. Hulkenberg- 1:22.410

19. Loeb- 1:22.503

20. Gene- 1:22.772

21. Fisichella- 1:23.068

22. van der Garde- 1:23.250

23. Luizzi- 1:23.794

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