Barrichello fastest in Jerez
Williams’ Rubens Barrichello has set the fastest time of all four days of the Jerez pre-season winter tests. The Brazilian driver posted a time of 1m 19.832s in the morning session on the final day in Jerez before the tests move on to Barcelona next week. This impressive time was over a second quicker than local hero Fernando Alonso, who finished third fastest on the day in the Ferrari F150th Italia. Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi was second fastest.
Barrichello also completed the longest stint of the test so far, when he completed 25 laps.
Rubens Barrichello said: "We completed some long runs today and looked at trying some different things on the car. 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."
Meanwhile, Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi, said: “For me these two days have been very interesting. Although we lost track time today, we still covered some good mileage and I have learnt a lot more about the character of the new tires. We still have to work hard but to me it was a positive test.”
The morning session, saw three red flags, one for Virgin Racing’s new guy, Jerome d'Ambrosio, who was forced to stop out on track due to a suspected oil-pressure issue, which turned out to be a more serious issue, causing a four hour delay before d’Ambrosio was able to get back out on the track in the afternoon. The red flag was waved again after Nico Rosberg stopped his Mercedes on track, with Kamui Kobayashi causing the third stoppage when he took his car into the gravel.
Red flags continued to appear in the afternoon session too, with fastest man Barrichello stopping on the back straight. Force India’s Paul di Resta also forced another red flag when the Scottish driver suffered a front suspension problem causing him to off into the gravel with just under half an hour remaining.
Once again attention was on the Lotus Renault GP garage, as it was Bruno Senna’s chance to impress team after Nick Heidfeld did such a good job yesterday. The sight of Senna in the black-and-gold livery inevitable drew comparisons with his uncle. Although, the Lotus Renault GP team played down the attention insisting that the day was not about Senna’s times but about giving the young Brazilian driver development mileage for experience rather than as an evaluation for Robert Kubica's vacant seat. Senna finished his first day in the car fifth fastest.
Heikki Kovalainen suffered a water leak with the new T128, although still put in some very respectable times for Team Lotus to finish sixth.
It was current World Champion, Sebastian Vettel’s second day testing the new RB7 for Red Bull, to which he spent the majority of the day concentrating on longer stints, with his longest being 19 laps. Vettel finished eighth fastest.
Red Bulls Head of Race Engineering, Ian Morgan said: “It’s been a pretty solid test overall. We’ve 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 we’ve made some good progress with that.”
McLaren’s Jenson Button also spent the day mostly working on longer runs, with the mass majority also being 19 laps at a time. Button finished the day ninth. In a press release from the McLaren, they described the fourth day of testing in Jerez as “a frustrating day of running” Adding that windy conditions compromised their data gathering programme, which had an effect on their efforts to find a satisfactory set-up for the MP4-26.
McLaren said “Jenson was unable to find a suitable balance with the car, and the team’s progress was brought to an early end in the middle of the afternoon following the failure of an internal component.”
F1 TEAM TESTING -T02 – JEREZ (SUNDAY)
Paul di Resta
All timing unofficial