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  Hamilton and McLaren continue to struggle
Posted by: Sathish - 03-13-2009, 12:31 PM - Forum: Sports Zone - No Replies

McLaren Mercedes concluded their test programme this afternoon at Circuit de Catalunya with defending champion Lewis Hamilton back behind the wheel for the final day of running at the Spanish Grand Prix circuit.

The final day of the Barcelona test was spent focusing on mechanical set-up, developing MP4-24 and learning directions for improvement.

Hamilton was today eighth fastest of the 11 drivers on track, his best time just under two seconds off the ultimate pace and 11th fastest on the week. To underline the struggle McLaren face, team-mate Heikki Kovalainen was slowest of the 20 drivers this week, three seconds off Barrichello’s Thursday best.

The team now travels back to Jerez for the final pre-season test before heading to Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix.

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  Fastest... again!
Posted by: Sathish - 03-13-2009, 12:31 PM - Forum: Sports Zone - No Replies

Brawn GP's Rubens Barrichello headed the field in testing at the Circuit de Catalunya today, replicating the feat of teammate Jenson Button yesterday. Back at the wheel of the BGP 001 car for the fourth and final day of this week's programme, the Brazilian brought the team's first pre-season test to a successful conclusion.

Once the heavy fog which delayed the start of running around the Spanish circuit cleared, Barrichello successfully ran through a full 66-lap race distance with pit stops and using both compounds of the Bridgestone Potenza slick tyres.

The car proved reliable once again with Barrichello setting competitive lap times over the three stints. The afternoon saw him complete a series of qualifying simulations during which he set the fastest time of the week, at 1:18.926.

The team will resume testing in Jerez on 15 March for a final three-day test before the start of the 2009 Formula One season at Albert Park in Melbourne on 29 March.

Rubens Barrichello:

"I'm very pleased with the mileage that we have achieved today and the completion of another full race distance. The qualifying exercises were also very useful in enabling the team and I to get fully up to speed and ready for Melbourne. The car has proved fast and reliable throughout the week so we go to Jerez feeling positive and pleased with the results of our first test outing."

Ross Brawn:
"We are extremely pleased with the inaugural test of the BGP 001 car in Barcelona this week. The team made a very late start to our pre-season testing programme with only seven days in which to run the car before the first race in Melbourne, therefore our focus has been on reliability and achieving as much mileage as possible. Both of these aims have been successfully achieved this week."

"That the car has run so reliably 'out of the box' is a tribute to the strong team that we have at our factory in Brackley and they have done a great job during a very difficult period. The car is performing to our expectations and the feedback from Jenson and Rubens has been positive with both drivers completing full race distances. We have three further days of testing in Jerez next week to complete our preparations for the first race and I look forward to seeing how the car progresses from here."

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  Engine issue restricts Alonso's running
Posted by: Sathish - 03-13-2009, 12:29 PM - Forum: Sports Zone - No Replies

Renault wrapped up its Barcelona test this afternoon as Fernando Alonso completed his third day behind the wheel of the R29 to round off the week of work for the team.

Foggy conditions greeted the team this morning and initially delayed proceedings due to dampness and poor visibility. However, as conditions improved later in the morning the team was able to get down to its technical programme, which involved evaluating components to improve the mechanical balance of the car.

Despite losing time in the afternoon (an engine failure reportedly, but not confirmed by the team) Alonso was still able to complete 64 laps.

The team now heads south to Jerez for its final test of the season which starts on Sunday.

Fernando Alonso
“We had a problem at the beginning of the afternoon and so we lost some track time, but overall I think it was an interesting day and we improved our understanding of the car. We tried some new development solutions and so today was not about outright performance but simply exploring new ideas for developing the car into the season. We have one more test to go in Jerez, but overall I think we are ready for the first race in Melbourne.”

Christian Silk, Chief Test Engineer
“We had quite a lot to get done this week and the programme evolved as we went along, just as it always does. As we continue to get to know the car it becomes apparent what areas we need to look at and what areas we can find performance in. The car ran very well all week and the team is working well together as we had the entire race team here preparing for the first race. We’ve got one more test to go when we will introduce some final developments prior to Melbourne.”

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  The final test day for Massa and Ferrari
Posted by: Sathish - 03-13-2009, 12:27 PM - Forum: Sports Zone - No Replies

This afternoon marked the end of testing for Scuderia Ferrari at the Catalunya Circuit, near Barcelona.

Felipe Massa was again on track today, working on a programme of set-up adjustment checks on the Ferrari F60. The Brazilian driver covered a total of 92 laps, the quickest in a time of 1.20.677, sixth fastest on the day.

While some teams move on to Jerez this weekend, the Scuderia's winter testing thus came to an end today: the next time it will appear on track will be at the Australian Grand Prix, the inaugural round of the 2009 World Championship, which takes place at Melbourne's Albert Park circuit, from 27th to 29th March.

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  Buemi and Bourdais in action
Posted by: Sathish - 03-13-2009, 12:26 PM - Forum: Sports Zone - No Replies

For several teams this was the last test of the winter, while for Scuderia Toro Rosso’s new car it was both the first and the last test.

Having driven over two race distances yesterday, Sebastien Buemi completed his programme this morning, continuing with development work on the car.

The team then decided to switch drivers, putting Sebastien Bourdais back in the car for the afternoon. This was because the Frenchman had driven on the first two days, when technical problems had seriously restricted his running time. Therefore he was given this opportunity to put in more laps, now that the initial teething troubles on the car had been sorted out.

Buemi completed 62 laps and was ninth fastest with a best lap of 1:21.013 while Bourdais completed just 27 laps and was 11th on a 1:21.629s best.

The team heads back home to Italy with plenty of data to study and work to do, prior to the first race of the season in Melbourne on 29th March.

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  Fisichella encouraged as tests conclude
Posted by: Sathish - 03-13-2009, 12:25 PM - Forum: Sports Zone - No Replies

The Force India Mercedes team concluded its winter testing programme today at the Circuit de Catalunya, Spain. Giancarlo Fisichella brought the programme to a close with a simulation of a race weekend.

After a delayed start due to foggy weather Giancarlo conducted initial set-up checks before launching into qualifying runs before the lunchtime pause. In the afternoon the Italian moved onto longer runs and put in a full race distance. Over the course of the day, he completed 141 laps with a fastest lap of 1min 21.045, tenth fastest of the 11 runners.

The team will now move back to its Silverstone base to consolidate the data gained over the two tests and begin final preparations for the Australian Grand Prix in just over two weeks' time. Tonio Liuzzi will conduct a shakedown of the second chassis at Silverstone circuit on Tuesday.

Giancarlo Fisichella
"It's been a good day with 141 laps. We went in the right direction with some set-up work and the car was very reliable so we could really start to work on the balance. It's not so bad we just could do with some more aero grip. We didn't do the best lap time when the circuit was at its peak in the morning otherwise we could have improved the time, perhaps a 20.5, but overall I feel comfortable. It's quite encouraging, we now know where we need to improve."

James Key, Technical Director
"It was a very good conclusion to the eight days of testing. Over the week we have completed more than 2,000km and have a very strong basis to start the season from. We don't have any major concerns and the car is now very reliable so we can really start to look at areas that will improve performance. Giancarlo ran a second race distance without any issues and tried both tyre compounds. In more representative temperatures today they behaved very well and seemed to be good over longer runs. The drivers seem to be happy and, with this in mind, we can concentrate on seeking out the improvements that will move us forward."

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  Kubica wraps it up for BMW Sauber
Posted by: Sathish - 03-13-2009, 12:23 PM - Forum: Sports Zone - No Replies

The last day of the BMW Sauber team's pre-season testing started with a delay of more than an hour due to heavy fog. When the sun had finally burnt through Robert Kubica did a race simulation that included start procedures and pit stops.

After the lunch break Kubica continued to evaluate different solutions for the BMW Sauber F1.09’s set-up in advance of the Australian Grand Prix. Today he covered 134 laps, bringing the car's total mileage for the four Barcelona test days to 2,162 kms. He was seventh fastest on the day.

"“Our final pre-season test was very productive," stated Technical Coordinator Willy Rampf. "We worked on the mechanical set-up of the car as well as the aero configuration. In addition, we also improved our KERS. Our second goal was to prepare for the season’s first Grand Prix in two weeks in Melbourne. We simulated a proper race day on Tuesday with Nick Heidfeld and today with Robert Kubica, each covering a complete race distance without any technical problems."

"That tells us a lot about the reliability of the BMW Sauber F1.09,"
he concluded.

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  Glock concludes Toyota's programme
Posted by: Sathish - 03-13-2009, 12:22 PM - Forum: Sports Zone - No Replies

Toyota today completed its preparations for the new season at the last day of this week's test in Barcelona.

Fog delayed proceedings for an hour this morning but after that the sun came out at the Catalan circuit. Timo Glock reaped the benefits, putting in yet another full session of work on set-up. He finished third fastest overall with 128 laps, pushing the team's total for the week past the 500 mark.

On his very last lap he stopped on the circuit with a mechanical problem that the team will now investigate.

This ends Toyota's winter programme. The team's next action will be in Melbourne for the first Grand Prix of 2009 on March 29.

Timo Glock
"This was another useful day to round off our good winter of testing. We did more work on set-up and long runs and everything went well until the very last lap! Still, overall the car feels strong and we seem to have good pace so we can look forward to Australia. Of course we'll only see the real results on Saturday in Melbourne but everyone at Toyota can be happy with our work so far. We've made fine progress so roll on the first race."

Gerd Pfeiffer, Test Team Manager
"After the fog cleared this morning, we had another good day's work to finish our winter programme. Timo made the most of the conditions, putting in a lot more laps of set-up on the TF109. He stopped on his last lap so we will now have to investigate the cause. But overall, given this year's in-season testing ban it was important that we had a positive winter and that's exactly what has happened. We have made the most of the limited time, the TF109 has been quick and consistent so we can head to Melbourne with confidence."

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  Barrichello keeps Brawn on top!
Posted by: Sathish - 03-13-2009, 12:20 PM - Forum: Sports Zone - No Replies

The final day of the group test at Circuit de Catalunya was briefly delayed this morning due to the foggy conditions. The ten runners were however soon out on the 4.655km Spanish Grand Prix circuit, and once again it was a Brawn Mercedes that ended the day at the top of the timesheets.

Rubens Barrichello took over testing duties of the new BGP001 today from Jenson Button, the Brazilian veteran proving every bit as effective as his British team-mate. Barrichello completed 110 laps, his best time of 1:18.926s coming on his 102nd tour.

Barrichello’s time eclipses Button’s Wednesday best by just over two-tenths of a second and while undoubtedly the time was recorded on a low fuel run, it underlines the raw pace of the new challenger.

Nico Rosberg upped the pace for in his Williams Toyota, setting the second fastest time of the day eight-tenths off the ultimate pace. The time shows a big improvement with the FW31, lapping three-tenths clear of the similarly powered TF109 of Timo Glock and some 1.6 seconds quicker than yesterday.

Sebastian Vettel was back behind the wheel of the Red Bull Renault to wrap up the Milton Keynes-based team’s pre-season test programme and set the fourth fastest time ahead of Fernando Alonso in the Renault. Alonso was however restricted to just 64 laps today as the R29 suffered an engine failure mid-afternoon bringing out the red flags due to oil being laid down from the pit lane to turn five.

Felipe Massa lapped half a second of his Wednesday best in the Ferrari F60, ending the day sixth fastest ahead of Robert Kubica in the BMW Sauber.

McLaren has struggled for pace all week in Barcelona, as they did last week at Jerez. The team will be mildly encouraged by the pace today however as it lifts them from the bottom end of the timesheets to eighth, albeit almost two seconds off Barrichello’s best time.

Sebastien Buemi and Sebastien Bourdais shared the new Toro Rosso Ferrari with the former putting in 62 laps and setting the ninth fastest time and the latter just 27 laps and the 11th best time. Giancarlo Fisichella split the STR duo in tenth in the new Force India Mercedes.

While this is the end of the Barcelona group test, Brawn Mercedes, McLaren Mercedes, Renault and Williams Toyota now travel to Jerez to start another test programme commencing Sunday morning.

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  Alonso says Melbourne podium unlikely
Posted by: Sathish - 03-13-2009, 12:19 PM - Forum: Sports Zone - No Replies

Fernando Alonso has slammed the brakes on swinging speculation about the form of his Formula One employer Renault.

Following a sluggish start to the 2009 pre-season and then an apparent burst of speed, the 2005 and 2006 world champion clarified that neither interpretation of the R29 single seater is right.

"First we were really bad in Portimao and then we were the best in Jerez, but it is neither one or the other," he is quoted as saying from the final group test at Barcelona.

The Spaniard said that while he is happier with the Enstone-based team's preparations this year compared to 2008, the R29 is not leading the field with two weeks to go to Melbourne.

"To be in the first six (in Australia) is almost an impossible task," Alonso said after the Brawn, Ferrari, BMW and Toyota cars led the pace on Wednesday.

"Some of those (lap) times are unattainable at the moment for us, with or without fuel. They are a step ahead of us," he admitted.

"But we are not so far away, some tenths, and if our rate of evolution is as good as it was last year, we can have good hopes."

Alonso said victory at Albert Park is unlikely.

"Even though we have done good preparations, I expect that some other teams have a small lead, for example BMW who are about two and a half months ahead of us."

"Some teams are showing incredible speed, also like Toyota and Brawn. And on Tuesday we could not have had the times of the Ferrari, the same today (Wednesday) probably with the Brawn."

"We are going well. Last year I thought I was just going to be a tourist - seeing the tracks and the cities and nothing much else, so I am more optimistic this time,"
Alonso added.

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