Barcelona day three - Webber ends test on a high 04 Feb 2008
Red Bulls Mark Webber leapt straight to the top of the timesheets on Sunday at Barcelonas Circuit de Catalunya. Webber clocked a best lap of 1m 22.385s at the Spanish track to finish just a shade ahead of McLarens Heikki Kovalainen.
Webber, who completed 65 laps in the RB4, was joined by team mate David Coulthard, who finished the final day of the three-day session in eighth. Both Red Bull drivers ran similar programmes as the squad tested new aerodynamic and mechanical items.
Its been a very positive week, the cars been reliable and weve got through everything that we came here to do, said Ian Morgan, chief test engineer. It was encouraging to see Mark at the top of the time sheet today. Were looking forward to the teams next test in Jerez.
Kovalainen was joined by McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton, who finished the day in third. The duo continued the squad's set-up and tyre programme completing over 160 laps, despite a brief shower towards the end of the day.
We have made some good progress and have gathered some useful intelligence this week, which we will take back to the McLaren Technology Centre and incorporate this into the development of the car in the 10 days until the next track test, said CEO Martin Whitmarsh. The progress we are making is quantifiable and the drive within the team to continue to push remains high.
The fastest BMW Sauber driver was fourth-placed Robert Kubica, while team mate Nick Heidfeld finished in sixth. Kubica and Heidfeld continued working on the set-up of the new F1.08, adapting their cars to their individual driving styles. The pair covered over 80 laps each.
Fifth quickest was Renaults Fernando Alonso in the R28. Alonso concentrated on set-up work and was joined by team mate Nelson Piquet Jr, who finished in ninth.
Today we concentrated on the basic set-up of the car and made good progress, commented Alonso. We were able to keep improving our understanding of the Bridgestone tyres, and also the new way of setting up the car with no traction control or engine breaking. Everyday I am happier with the car and these have been useful days here in Barcelona.
Seventh-placed Sebastien Bourdais was the quickest Toro Rosso driver, while team mate Sebastian Vettel ended the day in tenth. Vettel and Bourdais both evaluated the STR2Bs new front suspension and covered over 150 laps in total.
Five-tenths of a second adrift of Vettel was Hondas Rubens Barrichello in 11th. Barrichello was joined by Jenson Button, 13th, during the day, as the pair focused on chassis set-up options in the Japanese team's 2008 challenger.
We still have a lot of work to do on developing the set-up as the RA108 is so different aerodynamically to its predecessor that it is going to take some time over the next few tests to optimise the chassis settings, explained Steve Clark, head of race and test engineering.
We are also still working to adapt to the new ECU and this has proved particularly difficult in the low-grip conditions we have experienced. These challenges have been reflected in our speed here, especially on single fast laps, although our long run consistency is a little better.
Adrian Sutil was the only driver in action for Force India and finished the day in 12th. Sutil covered just under 90 laps before a minor mechanical issue ended his day prematurely.
Absent from the final day of testing was Williams who opted to return to their factory a day early as they attempt to solve the front wing mounting issue, which led to Kazuki Nakajimas off on Friday.
"We had a reliability issue with the front wing at Barcelona during testing," explained technical director Sam Michael. "We could not implement an appropriate short term solution so we decided to return to the factory to address it in time for the Jerez test in just over a week's time."
The majority of teams will continue their test programmes next week at the Spanish circuit of Jerez from February 12-14.
Unofficial Sunday times from Barcelona:
1. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:22.385
2. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 1:22.422
3. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:22.459
4. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:22.492
5. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:22.509
6. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:22.874
7. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 1:22.887
8. David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:23.889
9. Nelson Piquet Jr, Renault, 1:23.039
10. Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso, 1:23.232
11. Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 1:23.795
12. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 1:23.800
13. Jenson Button, Honda, 1:23.808