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Jerez day three - Buemi completes a clean sweep 11 Dec 2008

The pitboard of Sebastien Buemi (SUI) Scuderia Toro Rosso Test Driver Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, Tuesday 9 December 2008. Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari speaks with Rob Smedley (GBR) Ferrari Race Engineer. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, Thursday 11 December 2008. Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber 2009 Interim Car. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, Thursday 11 December 2008. Williams 2009 interim car detail. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, Thursday 11 December 2008. Pedro De La Rosa (ESP) McLaren Mercedes 2009 Interim Car. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, Thursday 11 December 2008.

Red Bull test driver Sebastien Buemi made it three out of three on Thursday as he topped the times for the third day in succession at Jerez. At the wheel for Toro Rosso, he outpaced his rival for a 2009 race seat with the team, former Honda and Super Aguri star Takuma Sato.

Toro Rosso admitted topping the times was not particularly significant, given the various car configurations run by the teams present, but were happy to complete the final day in Spain without problem. Buemi ran 139 laps, Sato 119.

In the morning the team focused on performance, while the afternoon’s work centred on long runs. In both cases, the drivers were tasked with finding a good set-up on the 2009 slick tyres. In addition, Buemi did some work on the braking system.

“I am pleased with the way these three days of testing have gone,” said Buemi, “We have got through a lot of work, with a minimum of interruptions. Setting up the car to work with slick tyres and with reduced downforce was very interesting and it was also good for me to try the rain tyres on the first day. We have learnt a lot and acquired plenty of data which should be useful for the team for next season.”

Sato commented: "I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience with Toro Rosso and would like to thank the whole team for everything they have done for me. Over the three tests I have done with them, I have been made to feel so welcome and integrated into the team operations.

“Since my last race back in April I have been so hungry to race again and am so motivated to return. Now of course, I just hope that I will be given the chance to race with this great team next year.

“I feel that I am satisfied with the whole working process with engineers, mechanics and of course in the cockpit during the test - even after my long absence from F1, so hope it will be enough to convince the management for their decision.”

McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen was third fastest after 96 laps of tyre work and aero mapping in the MP4-23A. Pedro de la Rosa, in the KERS development car, had his programme limited by a number of small issues with the device and finished eighth after 47 laps.

The Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa were fourth and fifth after 82 and 72 laps respectively. Both continued work on finding the best set-up for the F2008, fitted with slick tyres and new development components aimed at next season. Raikkonen also carried on with an endurance test of the 056 engine.

At Renault, Fernando Alonso, sixth fastest after 124 laps, concentrated on acclimatising further to the 2009 slick Bridgestone tyres as the team evaluated some suspension set-up options and added further mileage to various components.

“I have already been doing a lot of physical work to get ready for next year and so spending a couple of days in the car this week was another important part of my preparation and has helped me get back up to speed,” said Alonso. “I'm now looking forward to testing the new car in January."

Seventh fastest was Williams’ Nico Rosberg. “It was a good test for the team in Jerez,” concluded the German after 130 laps. “My two days were probably more productive than those earlier in the week as the conditions were more consistent and therefore conducive to testing.

“We managed to cover a lot of ground, mainly on some important mechanical developments for ‘09, and for which we got some clear results which is good. We also spent time learning the new aero components and the slick tyres. I covered a lot of laps on both days which is always useful and we had no reliability issues, which is great considering how many new parts we’re running. Overall it was a positive test.”

Completing the timesheets were BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica and Christian Klien, who ran 134 and 101 laps respectively. Both concentrated on mechanical set-up on the interim F1.08B, as well as evaluating the different 2009 slick tyre compounds.

The final tests of 2008 takes place next week,with three-day sessions at Jerez and at the new Algarve Motor Park in Portugal both starting on Monday.

Unofficial Thursday times from Jerez:
1. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 1:17.258
2. Takuma Sato, Toro Rosso, 1:17.520
3. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 1:18.049
4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:18.782
5. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:19.050
6. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:19.319
7. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:19.388
8. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren, 1:19.499
9. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:19.559
10. Christian Klien, BMW Sauber, 1:19.738