Barcelona day two - Vettel does it again 19 Feb 2011
Red Bulls Sebastian Vettel was again the fastest man around Barcelonas Circuit de Catalunya on Saturday, as pre-season testing continued at the Spanish track. Reigning champion Vettel finished two-tenths up on Toro Rossos Jaime Alguersuari.
Ferraris Fernando Alonso made it two Spaniards in the top three on a day that also saw Vitantonio Liuzzi make his test debut for HRT as the Spanish team seek a 2011 team mate for Narain Karthikeyan. And Lotus tried out Portuguese-Angolan driver Ricardo Teixeira.
With race team personnel present, Red Bull aimed to get through simulations of a race weekend (P3, qualifying session and a race simulation). The work largely went according to plan, as head of race engineering Ian Morgan, explained: Generally it was good today and we got through almost everything we wanted to. We had a few small problems, such as an issue with a heat shield. But thats why we do these tests, to iron out any little problems, and generally the simulations went well.
Alguersuari had a busy programme with Toro Rossos STR6, all of which was completed. It included a continuation of Fridays brake system evaluation and an assessment of different set-up configurations to suit variosus conditions and fuel loads. Alguersuari also tried three of the four Pirelli compounds - hard, soft and Ssupersoft - again working on car set-up to suit each one.
Alonso completed fewer laps than the average achieved by Ferrari so far, because of a couple of problems, one electrical, the other mechanical, which meant the team did not get through all of their planned programme. Despite all this, Alonso still managed 90 laps, gathering useful data for the continued development of the car and to increase understanding of the Pirelli tyres.
Williams had a positive session, with Rubens Barrichello fourth fastest, as technical director Sam Michael explained: It has been another good day of running concentrating on KERS, set-up work, long runs and starts, and weve had no mechanical issues with the Williams-Cosworth driveline. Most of the parts on the car now have done quite a few miles so we're pushing into that zone where you can have high mileage failures. We need to do it now though to avoid failures on race weekends.
We're learning more about the Pirelli tyres and how to extract the most out of them - there's definitely going to be some tricks to that this year! Right now the rate of performance development is high for all teams, so it's not possible to put any real indicators on pace order.
Renault had a more productive day after Fridays KERS issues, with Nick Heidfeld fifth and Vitaly Petrov 11th. The R31 was fitted with some new parts to the water system, which successfully resolved the problems the team experienced in Jerez. Renault also logged some useful data from their suspension set-up programme in the afternoon, evaluating changes to the front and rear systems.
Sauber had a trouble-free session, with Kamui Kobayashi sixth fastest. Technical director James Key explained the Swiss teams day: We ran through a race set up programme this morning using all three compounds - hard, medium and soft - to get an overview of the longevity of their performance. This also allowed Kamui to work on managing the tyres from a drivers perspective.
In the afternoon we worked on the set-up and used a new package to improve mechanical grip, and this looks okay. We also worked with the different compounds, but this time with set-up changes between them to understand better their one lap performance, although it wasnt a qualifying simulation. We recovered well after a slightly tricky day yesterday, and Kamui did a very good job.
Nico Rosberg was seventh in the times, as Mercedes reported a positive day of running which saw Rosberg complete further acclimatisation work with the teams KERS system, alongside set-up comparisons and aerodynamic evaluations in the morning session. During the afternoon, the team successfully completed its second full race simulation of this week's test, including live pit stops.
Jenson Buttons final day of running in Barcelona before handing over to McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton was somewhat frustrating: a hydraulics failure after just a handful of laps of aero-mapping cost him the majority of the mornings track-time. A similar failure towards the end of the day also brought an early end to proceedings.
Were not doing as many laps as wed like, so were a little behind some of the other teams, which is a bit of a disadvantage, but thats something were addressing, said Button, who finished eighth. Over the next two days, hopefully our reliability will be better, and well be fully equipped with spare parts.
Mileage not only helps reliability, but its also useful for set-up work. Its difficult to balance the car with the front wing when youre trying a variety of tyre compounds and fuel loads. And its taken a bit of a time, especially at a circuit like this, where getting the aero balance right is important.
Theres a lot more performance still to come from this car - now we just need some proper mileage to see what it can do. Hopefully, Lewis will be able to achieve that over the next two days.
Heikki Kovalainen put Lotus 10th in the times, while Teixeira was 14th on his first real test outing for the team, having recently completed some promotional filming work for them.
"That was a much more encouraging day today with 84 laps in total on the car, reported chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. We did have a couple of minor issues with the fuel pressure and a water leak but overall it was a better day for reliability.
We were able to give Ricardo his first proper run in an F1 car after he had helped us out in Valencia with our filming and he did just the job we wanted him to. He made no mistakes and consistently brought his lap times down on the medium tyre which I think all the teams have said is probably the slowest tyre we have. With Heikki we wanted to do a race distance which was slightly hindered by the water leak but overall we definitely made progress today."
On his 12th place for HRT, former Force India racer Liuzzi commented: Today was a positive day. We made a lot of changes on the car, focusing particularly on the set-up and the tyres. It was a chance for me to get to know the new tyres and the team as it was my first day with Hispania Racing. We couldnt do a lot of laps since we had a problem with the gearbox in the afternoon, but we were able to clock a good time given the circumstances. We did long runs and short runs to test the performance of the car. Overall, I believe weve taken a step forwards with the balance of the car.
HRT team principal Colin Kolles added: It was nice to see Tonio driving for us today, our aim was none other than to have him get used to the car. We tested different settings on the car balance during both sessions and, looking at the times, we clearly improved as the day went on. We are very happy with Tonios work today.
Timo Glock joined Virgins programme for the first of his two days at the wheel of the MVR-02 and in the morning concentrated on system checks, with the cold and low-grip track making it difficult to get heat into the tyres and for them to reach optimal temperature. During a series of short runs Glock was able to try different gearbox settings and conduct pit-stop practice. In the afternoon the German, who finished 13th in the times, conducted set-up runs, in which the team worked to further understand the behaviour of the car with new and used Pirelli PZero tyres.
Testing will continue in Barcelona on Sunday.
Unofficial Saturday test times from Barcelona:
1. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:23.315, 104 laps
2. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, 1:23.519, 97
3. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 1:23.978, 90
4. Rubens Barrichello, Williams, 1:24.008, 118
5. Nick Heidfeld, Renault, 1:24.242, 41
6. Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, 1:24.243, 125
7. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP, 1:24.730, 131
8. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:24.923, 54
9. Paul di Resta, Force India, 1:25.194, 80
10. Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, 1:26.421, 58
11. Vitaly Petrov, Renault, 1:26.884, 61
12. Vitantonio Liuzzi, HRT, 1:27.044, 70
13. Timo Glock, Virgin, 1:27.242, 66
14. Ricardo Teixeira, Lotus, 1:31.584, 26
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