Jerez day four - Barrichello top for Williams on final day 13 Feb 2011
This weeks four-day Jerez test drew to a close on Sunday and ended with a damp track in the final hour, giving the teams their first chance to use Pirellis wet tyres. Of the times set in the dry earlier in the day, Williams Rubens Barrichellos was the quickest, the Brazilian finishing eight-tenths up on second-place man, Saubers Kamui Kobayashi.
We completed some long runs today and looked at trying some different things on the car, said Barrichello. This morning was also the first time we could run a few new sets of tyres and get some momentum. The car performed as it should do so I am happy with that. The day went with minor problems, but we have some good direction and it is great to get some more mileage on the car.
Kobayashi lost some track time due to a drivetrain issue and a minor off, but the team were positive about the progress made this week with the C30, and with Kobayashis new rookie team mate, Sergio Perez.
Overall we had very good track conditions in Jerez and did a lot of tyre evaluation, worked on systems and set-up, reported head of track engineering Giampaolo DallAra. While it was also good for Kamui to work with the new systems, it was even more important and a really positive experience for the team to do some proper work with our new driver, Sergio, here in Jerez. More mileage in total would have been appreciated, but there are more tests to come.
Fernando Alonso was third fastest for Ferrari at the wheel of the new F150th Italia, the Spaniard working on a comparison of various set-up options to suit the Pirelli tyres. Just behind him was Sebastien Buemi in the Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso, the Swiss driver concentrating on aero evaluations and general set-up of the new STR6.
I had my first taste of super soft and intermediate rain tyres just at the end, which is better than nothing, as I dont suppose we are likely to get much rain between now and the first race, explained Buemi. Therefore, I am satisfied with the past two days, even if we know there is a long way to go in terms of developing the car. Reliability improved throughout the test and since Valencia, so we must continue working in this direction while also beginning to think more about performance.
Bruno Senna was fifth fastest as he got his first taste of Renaults R31. The car featured a new specification of gearbox cooler, which the team evaluated with no major concerns. It was a day of firsts for Senna, who tried Pirelli tyres, KERS and the adjustable rear wing for the first time. Incidentally, it was only his second ever F1 test session.
It was an awesome day - my first chance to drive the R31 and Im pleased with how things went, said the Brazilian. It was very much a learning day for me. I had never used the adjustable wing or the KERS before, so I had to adapt to these. Its not easy at first, because there is a big workload and you are operating two factors that change the balance of the car, but by the end of the day it became more like second nature.
"I started the day pretty relaxed; gradually built up my confidence, and then by lunchtime I was feeling pretty comfortable with things. I was looking forward to doing some hard laps at the end of the day, but with the red flags and the weather, there wasnt enough time.
Heikki Kovalainen again found some strong pace from the new Lotus T128, despite a number of disruptions to the teams programme. The Finn ended the day sixth in the times.
Today was affected by a few issues on the car and the obvious change in the weather but the team has worked extremely hard over the whole test to give both Jarno (Trulli) and Heikki a chance to show what the car can do and our thanks go to them and everyone back in the factory for working so hard, said sporting director Dieter Gass. Even with these problems the car does look quick and we have a very good platform to work on in Barcelona and at the final test in Bahrain."
Nico Rosberg was seventh for Mercedes as he continued set-up and development work from the previous three days, alongside further acclimatisation to the KERS system. A precautionary engine change interrupted the teams programme but Rosberg was back out on track by mid-afternoon for a series of aerodynamic development evaluations.
"Every lap is beneficial in pre-season testing and the work that we achieved today was good, however the long stoppage was unfortunate, said the German. It's a steep learning curve and there is a lot of hard work ahead, but with the developments that we have to come, I am confident that we will continue to progress."
A second successive day in the RB7 saw world champion Sebastian Vettel eighth fastest for Red Bull. As well as tyre and set-up work, the team tested aerodynamic components and development suspension parts.
Its been a pretty solid test overall, commented Ian Morgan, Red Bulls head of race engineering. Weve got some good mileage and the car has been reliable. Our main focus during the test has been on understanding the tyres and how to get the best from them and I think weve made some good progress with that.
McLaren reported a frustrating day as Jenson Button went ninth fastest, with the windy conditions compromising the teams data gathering programme and affecting efforts to find a satisfactory set-up for the MP4-26. Button was unable to find a suitable balance with the car, and progress was brought to an early end in the middle of the afternoon following the failure of an internal component.
Jerome dAmbrosio was in the Virgin again and went tenth fastest. After a good start in the morning, the team experienced an engine problem which confined the Belgian to the garage for the middle part of the day. The problem was solved and in the afternoon the car was back out on track for a race simulation.
Overall, I am delighted with this positive first test for the MVR-02, said technical director Nick Wirth. Many of the systems that caused us problems last year have performed faultlessly and we've learned a lot. The team has gathered lots of basic aero data, pressures and loads, and conducted tests with the blown diffuser and moving rear wing and the data correlates well with our aero predictions.
As with every new car, the test has revealed a number of small issues which we'll address quickly, but the main thing is that the basic package seems reliable, which was our first priority. We're still missing some parts, which has limited our basic set-up and a bit of performance, but we'll have these for Barcelona. The car is a good step forward from last year, which is what we wanted.
Paul di Resta completed the time sheets, as the Scot got his second day in Force Indias VJM04. Another productive day with a lot more miles on the car, he said. At the moment that's what it's all about - giving ourselves a clear direction and getting as much data as we can on the performance of the new car on different fuel loads. We're not going for times, rather fine-tuning the balance and set-up, plus getting to grips with a few development items we will use at the next test, including the DRS (drag reduction system).
Towards the end of the day we found a good path for the next test and have something positive to build on next week. Unfortunately we couldn't do our final run of the day when something broke on the front of the car and I skidded into the gravel. It was a shame and the team will look at it now, but until that point we were improving with each run.
The next official F1 test takes place at Barcelonas Circuit de Catalunya on February 18-21.
Unofficial Sunday test times from Jerez:
1. Rubens Barrichello, Williams, 1:19.832, 103 laps
2. Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, 1:20.601, 86
3. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 1:21.074, 115
4. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 1:21.213, 90
5. Bruno Senna, Renault, 1:21.400, 68
6. Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, 1:21.632, 43
7. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP, 1:22.103, 45
8. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:22.222, 90
9. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:22.278, 70
10. Jerome dAmbrosio, Virgin, 1:22.985, 45
11. Paul di Resta, Force India, 1:23.111, 99
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