F1 testing round-up 10: Catalunya & Jerez

Nelson Piquet Jnr, Renault, Barcelona, 2008 pre-season | Renault / LATThe final big test before the 2008 season was completed this week and it wasn’t Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen or Michael Schumacher who set the fastest time – it was Jarno Trulli. Afterwards a confident Trulli praised the new Toyota:

The TF108 is a completely different car. Last year straightaway I knew we had a huge problem, but this year I am much more confident. It’s like a real racing car. You change things and you can feel the difference. This is a very good feeling for me and the team.

Will Toyota be fighting at the sharp end this year? Here’s a round-up of how the teams fared at Barcelona.

Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Barcelona, 2008 pre-season testing, 6 | Ferrari S.p.A.Kimi Raikkonen’s ninth place overall for the week’s testing cannot be reflective of Ferrari’s true performance. If, as some have suggested, Ferrari are already happy with their Melbourne set-up and are looking further beyond the first race of the year, that is ominous news for their rivals.

Raikkonen did a race simulation on the final day, but like all the other drivers was stymied by the large number of red flags that interrupted the test. He also had to bring his car into the pits for a precautionary check at one point – the only chink in the team’s armour so far seems to be reliability.

The team deployed Michael Schumacher to test on the first day, who reported back that the new car was stronger in every area than its predecessor.

Felipe Massa’s 1’20.5 lap from last week remains the quickest lap around Catalunya from this year’s testing. For a complete breakdown of the fastest laps see this table supplied by Vittorio.

BMW

Likewise BMW seemed to be keeping something in reserve although they also suffered car problems – Nick Heidfeld stopped with a gearbox problem on Wednesday. The team did practice pit stops and starts as well.

Renault

Fernando Alonso, Renault, Barcelona, 2008 pre-season | Renault / LATRenault’s drivers ended the week with very similar times, but Nelson Piquet Jnr felt he needed more time in the car before the first race of the year.

Chief test engineer Christian Silk said the team had been “ambitious” with their testing programme and had a lot of work to do on evaluating the information gathered before the first race.

Williams-Toyota

Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota, Barcelona, 2008 pre-season testing | LAT / WilliamsWilliams consistently had at least one of their drivers in the top five times all week as they look set to make a step forward in performance in 2008.

Despite the wet weather on the first day Nico Rosberg completed a race simulation, and Kazuki Nakajima did one on the second day while Rosberg worked on set-ups. As with many other teams they spent the final day doing pre-race checks for Melbourne.

The team ran the last of its six interim liveries, this one showing lines that indicated where the elements of the definitive livery will be placed. They seem to confirm the leaked livery design seen earlier this year.

Red Bull-Renault

Sebastian Vettel stood in for David Coulthard on the second day of the test as Coulthard trapped a nerve in his back on the bumpy circuit on the first day. Coulthard returned for the final day of testing to post the third-fastest time of the week, while Mark Webber tested the latest aerodynamic developments for Melbourne.

Toyota

Even this close to the start of the season Toyota are still giving track time to test driver Kamui Kobayashi, who drove the car on the first day. Thereafter race drivers Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli took up the running, with Trulli posting the fastest time of the week on the last day of testing.

Is this a sign that the TF108 is a much faster car than many people think? Or was this a low-fuel glory run on a day when most other teams were doing systems checks ahead of the first race? Trulli was certainly encouraged by the time:

Even though this is only a test, it?s nice to see the mechanics and the guys smiling because today?s times are good motivation. There is still room for improvement but this shows the team has done a good job over the winter tests. Of course we won?t know the real running order until Melbourne but I?m quite confident for the season. It?s definitely looking much better than last year so I?m happy for the team.

Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari

Vettel’s attempts to do a race simulation on the first day were spoiled by rain and then by a car problem. He switched to Red Bull on Tuesday so Sebastien Bourdais got some extra running in and did a race distance on each of the last two days.

Honda

Honda did more laps than anyone else this week but also looked slow. On top of that their running on Tuesday was interrupted by reliability problems. The team have a private, three-day test at Jerez next week to test out their new aerodynamic package which they badly need to bring them closer to the midfield.

Force India-Ferrari

Adrian Sutil, Force India F1 Team, Barcelona, 2008 pre-season testing, 3 | Force India F1 TeamForce India had the final version of the VJM01 on the track this week. They encountered a few reliability problems and Adrian Sutil reported difficulty optimising tyre pressures on race-length distances.

Nonetheless Mike Gascoyne professed himself happy:

Overall the race pace was very good, particularly Giancarlo?s, and was competitive over the three days. We have actually made a step forward and we know we have got another substantial improvement for Melbourne, so well done to all the team for its hard work. We will now go back to the factory to get ready for the first race of the season.

McLaren-Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton was fastest on the first two days of testing, edging Raikkonen and Schumacher by a couple of hundredths on Monday, then topping the times along with Heikki Kovalainen on Tuesday.

After the test Martin Whitmarsh said:

Both the test and race teams were present in Barcelona, with the latter completing their process of familiarisation with the MP4-23. This included race simulations, qualifying runs and pit stop practices as we make our final preparations for the start of the 2008 season.

Catalunya testing times, 25-27 February

1 Jarno Trulli, Toyota – 1’20.801
2 Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes MP4/23 – 1’21.234
3 David Coulthard, Red Bull-Renault RB4 – 1’21.258
4 Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota FW30 – 1’21.293
5 Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes MP4/23 – 1’21.309
6 Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault RB4 – 1’21.368
7 Nelson Piquet Jnr, Renault – 1’21.443
8 Fernando Alonso, Renault – 1’21.454
9 Kimi R??ikk??nen, Ferrari – 1’21.722
10 Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota FW30 – 1’21.796
11 Timo Glock, Toyota – 1’22.155
12 Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Ferrari VJM01 – 1’22.233
13 Felipe Massa, Ferrari – 1’22.513
14 Robert Kubica, BMW F1.08 – 1’22.299
15 Michael Schumacher, Ferrari – 1’22.428
16 S??bastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso-Ferrari STR2B – 1’22.457
17 Adrian Sutil Force, India-Ferrari VJM01 – 1’22.521
18 Sebastian Vettel*, Red Bull-Renault RB4 – 1’22.558
19 Nick Heidfeld BMW, F1.08 – 1’22.624
20 Jenson Button, Honda RA108 – 1’22.659
21 Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India-Ferrari VJM01 – 1’22.942
22 Rubens Barrichello, Honda RA108 – 1’23.169
23 Sebastian Vettel*, Toro Rosso-Ferrari STR2B – 1’23.188
24 Christian Klien, BMW F1.08 – 1’23.442
25 Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota – 1’23.880
26 Alexander Wurz, Honda RA108 – 1’24.154

* Vettel drove both the Red Bull and Toro Rosso

Catalunya testing mileage

1 Honda – 563 laps, 2620km
2 Williams-Toyota – 538 laps, 2504m
3 Renault – 531 laps, 2471m
4 Force India-Ferrari – 505 laps, 2350m
5 McLaren-Mercedes – 492 laps, 2290m
6 Ferrari – 468 laps, 2178m
7 BMW – 444 laps, 2066m
8 Toyota – 424 laps, 1973m
9 Red Bull-Renault – 421 laps, 1959m
10 Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 291 laps, 1354m

More on 2008 F1 testing

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8 comments on F1 testing round-up 10: Catalunya & Jerez

  1. Any chance of a gallery showing all six interim Williams liveries, or have you already done that and I’ve missed them all?

  2. No need, just found them all, if anyone wants them they are here -http://www.f1network.net/boards/read/s107.htm?110,8974154,8986285

  3. While we’re on the subject of William’s 08 livery, the cut-out lines on the recent test livery don’t quite match the leaked shots from a couple of weeks ago. The leaked livery looks pretty nice but from the look of it they’ll be sticking with the all white nose.

    Trulli’s best laptime really throws up some interesting questions, but I’m not convinced its a genuine sign of improvement. More interesting are Coulthard and Webber in 3rd and 6th. Red Bull seemed to feature around the top of the timesheets on more than one occasion in late winter testing. Maybe the Newey effect is finally starting to kick in.

  4. oliver said on 1st March 2008, 21:07

    I was expecting a colorful feast but turned out pretty bland in the end. I mean the liveries

  5. Gman said on 1st March 2008, 22:09

    Thanks for the Williams info- i’ll check that out shortly.

    The note about Red Bull is well taken- I know they have a gial of being third in the final standings. It appears to me that BMW is slipping a bit, so perhaps they could be the enxt challenger to the top two.

  6. Lore said on 1st March 2008, 23:09

    gday guys

    yeah i find it interesting to see those Red Bulls consistantly near the top of the times… wonder why they constantly get overlooked by the commentators?

  7. No one finds Trulli’s comments amusing, if not outright laughable? I guess the guy is just grateful to have experienced a quick lap regardless of how it was derived.

  8. Pink Peril said on 2nd March 2008, 22:48

    Red Bull finally pulling their finger out – dare I hope to see Webber on the podium?

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