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Jerez day three - Button puts Brawn back on top 18 Mar 2009

Jenson Button (GBR) Brawn BGP 001 Formula One Testing, 17 March 2009, Jerez, Spain. Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams FW31 Formula One Testing, 17 March 2009, Jerez, Spain. Nelson Piquet (BRA) Renault R29 Formula One Testing, 17 March 2009, Jerez, Spain. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-24. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain. Day Three, 17 March 2009. Jenson Button (GBR) Brawn BGP 001. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain. Day Three, 17 March 2009.

The FIA formally approved the Brawn GP team’s name change on Tuesday and Jenson Button celebrated by putting them top of the timesheets in testing at Jerez. Button added another 114 laps to the BGP 001’s mileage as he clocked a best of 1m 17.844s, two-tenths clear of Williams’ Nico Rosberg.

Button concluded Brawn GP’s pre-season programme with more chassis set-up evaluations and performance development. With seven valuable days of running completed since the new car’s launch, the team will now return to their Brackley base to complete final preparations for the Australian Grand Prix on March 29.

"We have had a very useful test in Jerez this week, particularly today where we have been able to fine-tune the set-up of the car to my liking ahead of the first race,” said Button. “Even after such a short testing programme, I feel that we are ready for the challenge ahead in Melbourne, however we will still need every minute of the Friday practice sessions to make the most of our first race weekend."

Rosberg managed 66 laps in the FW31, before an accident brought his programme to a premature end. Kazuki Nakajima will take over for Williams on Wednesday.

“Today, we worked on our race starts process and mechanical set-ups with Nico,” explained technical director Sam Michael. “We then moved onto long runs in order to evaluate different aero parts. Unfortunately, Nico had an off this afternoon so preparations to turn the car around for Kazuki’s arrival tomorrow started slightly earlier than scheduled.”

Third place man Nelson Piquet covered 133 laps on what was Renault’s final day of pre-season testing. “I'm pleased that we were able to do so many laps,” said the Brazilian. “We were looking at the car's aero performance today as well as doing some set-up work in preparation for the first race and overall we found a good balance with the car.

“It was pretty windy, but the track conditions were good so we were able to get a lot done. I'm now ready for the season to start next week and I think as a team we can be happy with the work we've done over the winter."

Christian Silk, Renault’s chief test engineer, added: "We had a continuation of our aero programme, trying to find some more performance from the car and that was successful as we came here with some questions and have come away with both answers and performance. I'm also happy with the team's performance over the past few weeks - we've had a tough winter schedule but it's nice to end our final test on a high."

Lewis Hamilton rounded out the runners for McLaren, over a second down on Button after 121 laps. The world champion’s programme was a continuation of the work started on Tuesday, namely the evaluation of a series of small aerodynamic modifications to the MP4-24’s bodywork. However, progress was hampered by the strong gusty wind that limited accurate assessment of the new parts. Heikki Kovalainen takes over on Wednesday when testing continues at Jerez.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Jerez:
1. Jenson Button, Brawn BGP 001, 1:17.844
2. Nico Rosberg, Williams FW31, 1:18.071
3. Nelson Piquet, Renault R29, 1:18.382
4. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4-24, 1:19.121