Mark Webber’s Japanese Grand Prix looked like a bit of a write-off; he finished last, two laps behind his team mate who won the race in the same car. But it could turn out to have been a very worthwhile afternoon.
The Australian crashed on Saturday morning, doing enough damage to his car for it to be scrapped and this meant he had to miss qualifying and start the race from the pit lane.
He was back into the pits twice in the first few laps to fix a loose headrest. From then on his race was a test session.
But it appears to have been a very valuable one.
The team had a range of front wings with it in the freight. They have promised to bring a new one to each of the final two races.
As the race went on, Webber tested out parts for the next race in Brazil and he was using the Brazil front wing when he set the fastest lap of the race in 1m 32.569s, shortly after the safety car period.
Looking through the race lap times his long run pace was not particularly good the rest of the time, but sources say that the team was very encouraged by the results of Webber’s 53 lap ‘test session’ – a rare opportunity in Formula 1 these days.