The penultimate day of F1 testing before the start of the new season, saw a number of teams trying to give both drivers a run in their cars, with heavy rain forecast for tomorrow.
The team has been bringing the new update parts to the car in stages this week with exhausts and various aerodynamic parts, including a new front wing, being added until today it ran in final spec for the first time. The results looked pretty good, not only in terms of headline speed but also on longer runs,
“We have been developing the car step-by-step this week with new parts arriving each day, ” said Schumacher. “So our focus today has been on understanding how to get the best from the car now that it is pretty much in its final configuration for the first time. The car has behaved as we expected and it’s been a very productive day.”
Red Bull finished their winter test programme without putting their cards on the table in terms of outright speed, not bothering to do a full qualifying simulation. The same is true of Ferrari. We will have to wait until Saturday in Melbourne
McLaren had another frustrating day for Jenson Button, the 2009 champion had to sit out while an engine was changed and managed just 57 laps on the day. The team once again was using its load sensor device on the front wing, to evaluate front wing flex. Unlike many of the drivers, he did not do a low fuel run today.
Ferrari did another 140 laps today with Fernando Alonso, the quickest being 1m21.614.
Hispania unveiled its new car in the Barcelona pit lane, but a problem with supply of parts prevented it from going out. The team hoped to shake it down tomorrow on the final day of running, but announced tonight that it will not be able to as parts are held up in customs.
Team principal Colin Kolles pointed to the experience of his drivers Tonio Liuzzi and Narain Kartikeyan as well as the technical partnership with Williams for gearbox, hydraulics and rear end as reasons to believe that the team will be a good step ahead of last season. He also promised a development programme on the car, which they didn’t have last year.
Apart from time to sort the basics of the car like cooling, electronics and so on, the team have not had the track time to learn about the Pirelli tyres, every time the other teams have gone out they have managed to get the tyres to last a little longer; Rubens Barrichello did two runs of 14 laps and 12 laps with only a second in drop off, although they were laps in the low 1m30s. The car later required an engine change meaning that once again, Pastor Maldonado’s mileage was restricted.
Mike Gascoyne tweeted that the Lotus almost got 20 laps out of a set of hard tyres today, a little more than before.
Lotus announced this evening that the Air Asia GP2 drivers Luiz Razia and Davide Valsecchi will also be reserve drivers for the team and will have the chance to run in Friday practice at Grands Prix.
So that’s it for testing for most of the teams, including Red Bull, leaving just Mercedes, McLaren, Ferrari, Williams and Hispania to run in the rain tomorrow.
BARCELONA TEST, DAY 4
1. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:21.268 67 laps
2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:21.614 140 laps
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:21.788 22 laps
4. Nick Heidfeld Lotus Renault 1:22.073 67 laps
5. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1:22.233 89 laps
6. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:22.315 98 laps
7. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:22.675 72 laps
8. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:22.933 63 laps
9. Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus 1:23.437 138 laps
10. Paul Di Resta Force India 1:23.653 42 laps
11. Adrian Sutil Force India 1:23.921 26 laps
12. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:24.108 11 laps
13. Jenson Button McLaren 1:25.837 57 laps
14. Jerome D’Ambrosio Marussia Virgin 1:27.375 46 laps