Portimao day four - a washout in the Algarve 23 Jan 2009
The five teams in action at the Algarve Motor Park this week endured a frustrating final day of testing on Thursday. With persistent rain and misty conditions grounding the medical helicopter, the Portuguese track was forced to close for all but the briefest spell in the morning, preventing any proper running.
For McLarens Heikki Kovalainen, who was due to make his debut in the new MP4-24, the closure was even more exasperating. Garage-bound for the entire day, Kovalainen will now have to wait until the start of February to sample his new charge for the first time.
Williams Kazuki Nakajima fared a little better, covering one installation lap in the FW31 ahead of the circuits closure. Toyotas Timo Glock also managed a solitary installation lap, but with the Japanese teams next test set to take place in Bahrain, Glock is confident theyll be back on schedule soon.
"It's a pity to end the test like this but there is nothing we can do about it; that's just the way it is and it is the same for all the teams here, said the German. At least at our next test in Bahrain we can expect much better weather and many more laps, which is what we need to develop the new car.
Like Kovalainen, Renaults Fernando Alonso didnt venture out at all. Luckily for Alonso, however, he had covered 86 laps during Wednesdays session and so left the Portimao circuit encouraged by the R29s progress.
It's a shame we couldn't get anything done today because at this stage of the season you need to maximise the track time available, said the Spaniard. Still, I was pleased to have a full day in the dry on Wednesday and we learnt a lot and have some valuable data.
Toro Rossos Sebastien Buemi was similarly pleased he had managed to cover some laps earlier in the week. Buemi, who has been in action for the Italian team throughout the test, completed almost 250 laps since Monday, as he prepares for his Formula One race debut in March.
With the Portimao test over, the teams will head back to their bases to analyse the data they have gleaned, ahead of their return to the track in February.