Fernando Alonso set the fastest time on the second day at Jerez today.
His lap of 1 min 18.343 was 5/100th faster than Rubens Barrichello’s best in the Brawn. This compares with the time of 1min 19.945, he set on the final day of the last Jerez test a fortnight ago. This does not mean that Renault has suddenly vaulted ahead of Brawn, as they were some way behind in Barcelona – a second and a bit. Jerez arguably suits their car better than Barcelona at the moment, Alonso was quick there earlier this month.
Renault had a slow start to their testing programme, but they seem to be motoring now, the new front wing they added in Barcelona, among other things, helping them find more performance.
“I’m happy with the day, ” said Alonso, “As we did more than a 100 laps which was our target for my final day of winter testing. This has been the first time we have run on a really hot track and the information we have from today will be very useful for the first few races, which are usually very hot.
There was also some encouragement for McLaren. Lewis Hamilton did a lap of 1m 19.513, using aero updates and measuring devices to check the pressure of air going through the diffuser. This indicates an improvement, although again Barcelona is the track where good aero shines more.
Tomorrow is the final day of pre-season group testing, so we will see what the final reckoning is, but this has been an astonishing pre-season ‘testing world championship” already.
On another note, it’s been a eerily quiet build up to tomorrow’s FIA world council. Given that the FIA put out a statement a few weeks ago about how a drastic cut in costs was needed and veiled suggestions of budget caps rearing their heads, the €50 million budget and so on, it’s amazing that there hasn’t been much said ahead of tomorrow’s meeting. But there has been a lot going on behind the scenes as the FIA seeks to get the balance right.
The teams’ association put its ‘road map’ to the FIA last week and we will find out tomorrow how much of it is to be adopted. Remember FOTA suggested overhauling the points system this season and making the fuel strategies transparent, among other things.
The FIA wants to go further than FOTA in cutting budgets. Tomorrow promises to be a very interesting day, which is why it’s odd that the build up has been so quiet.