Ferrari and Toyota left the other F1 teams behind by testing in Bahrain this week – perhaps McLaren wished they’d followed them after the events at the Circuit de Catalunya?
It may prove an advantage for them as the other teams are not likely to test at Bahrain before its Grand Prix, but Ferrari and Toyota will likely make it to the Circuit de Catalunya before the Spanish Grand Prix.
Unsurprisingly, Ferrari were considerably faster – but it was the margin of the advantage that caught the attention. Kimi Raikkonen was strikingly quick on Tuesday, and even faster yesterday.
With track temperatures consistently in the high 20s, Raikkonen was quickest on all three days. After the first day’s running in windy, dusty conditions, Raikkonen posted some very quick laps on the final two days: 1’30.595 and 1’30.455 (see how they compare to last year’s Bahrain laptimes). Raikkonen did a full Grand Prix simulation on the second day including qualifying and race distances plus pit stops.
The two race drivers will resume the test at the track on Saturday for another three days. It is expected to be just Ferrari and Toyota again, the teams taking advantage of the lack of interruptions compared to testing with a large group of other teams, along with the more reliable, stable climate.
Race drivers Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli and test driver Kamui Kobayashi got two days each in the car. Trulli 1’32.145 was the fastest of the three, but that was still 1.7s slower than Ferrari.
Glock and Kobayashi both had spins on the first day – these were described as “a minor afternoon off” and “a harmless spin” respectively by Toyota. On the second day Glock and Trulli both suffered gearbox problems in the afternoon – as worrying sign as the units must last for four races at a stretch this year.
The gremlins were banished on the final day. Trulli was happier:
We completed a lot of laps which was important because we had quite a few things to test and we needed to get some information about the different mechanical set-ups. Everything went well and we are making progress but we still have to push hard to continue this improvement.
Photos copyright: Ferrari S.p.A.
More on 2008 F1 testing