Testing At Jerez – Day 4

The final day of testing at Jerez came with more sun on Saturday, where Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli were some of the big names to finish.

Jarno Trulli gave his first run in a Lotus T127 yesterday after team-mate Heikki Kovalainen’s two day stint.

Everyone improved their time by at least a second since Friday’s session, but Trulli and Lotus stayed at the bottom of the list. The Italian covered an amazing 141 laps.

“It was a very positive day,” said the Italian. “I’m really happy about my first day testing with Lotus Racing and I was very lucky to have everything right today with no major issues. We were able to put a lot of mileage on the car and get a lot of information out of it. I had the chance to start developing a real feel for the car and it’s good to be here.”

Britain’s Jenson Button topped the time-sheet for the day and the whole test in Jerez with a time of 1:18.871. The previous best was set by team-mate Lewis Hamilton at last week’s test with a time of 1:19.583.

Button spent the day evaluating set-ups and assessing tyre durability in the MP4-25, and covered 108 laps.

Renault’s Robert Kubica was second just behind the McLaren with a time of 1:19.114 and covered 117 laps which contained lots of long runs.

“It was a good day and we tried a lot of different things, which has given us lots of useful information,” said the Pole. “To begin with we did some evaluation with different fuel loads to check the balance of the car and then in the afternoon we did long runs with heavy fuel to simulate a race distance. We completed most of the programme and I was pretty happy with the car.”

In 3rd place, just 7 tenths of a second behind the Pole, with a time of 1:19.188 was Kamui Kobayashi. The young Japanese driver covered the same amount of laps as the Renault man.

“I’m really happy with our final day of testing in Jerez,” said Kobayashi. “It was a perfect day for us. The conditions were ideal and the car ran trouble-free, so we were able to complete 117 laps and gather a lot of data. We made some progress with the set-up of the car. We will now analyse the data and draw the relevant conclusions for the next test in Barcelona.”

Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi tested the VJM03 for the last day and did well by setting the 4th quickest time of 1:19.650, and covered 80 laps.

“We covered 80 laps without any issues and got through our programme of test items for this week,” said Liuzzi. “Everything went pretty well – we worked on understanding the car’s performance with different fuel loads and ran through some set-up changes and the car is responding well. Overall I think we can be very satisfied with how this test has gone and can look forward to another good test next week.”

In 5th place was Nico Rosberg, who took over from team-mate Michael Schumacher. He covered a huge 130 laps and clocked a quick time of  1:20.061.

“We’ve had a very positive day today and were able to complete a lot of valuable mileage which is a great way to end the tests here in Jerez,” said the young German. “We’ve made some good progress on our set-up comparisons and learnt a lot which will be useful to prepare for the final test in Barcelona.”

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso finished 6th with a time of 1:20.436 and covered 137 laps.

“This is the best car I’ve ever had,” said the 28-year-old. “Red Bull, McLaren and Renault have been very quick and have shown their cards, while we are still hiding ours. We will analyse the data, but we are very optimistic, if I were in a different team I would be looking at Ferrari because everything is going really well. Maybe where Ferrari has to improve is the short runs with little fuel on board.”

Fellow Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari was just behind Alonso in 7th with a time of 1:21.053 and covered just two more laps of 139.

“These past two days in the car have been successful and it was good that the weather improved, so I could manage to drive in the dry,” said Alguersuari. “The most important aspect is that the car ran reliably, which was our main target here in Jerez. It puts us in good shape to tackle the final test in Barcelona.”

Time-sheet topper from Thursday, Mark Webber covered only 88 laps because of an engine failure, and clocked a time of 1:21.194.

“We did a lot of stuff with Renault and also learned about the aerodynamics and the chassis,” said the Australian. “We need a nice clear run in Barcelona. A little more reliability there and we’re ready to go racing.”

Unofficial Saturday times from Jerez:
1.    Jenson Button                McLaren                1:18.871      108     Laps
2.    Robert Kubica                Renault                  1:19.114       117     Laps
3.    Kamui Kobayashi          Sauber                   1:19.188       117     Laps
4.    Vitantonio Liuzzi           Force India         1:19.650       80       Laps
5.    Nico Rosberg                  Mercedes GP       1:20.061      130     Laps
6.     Fernando Alonso         Ferrari                   1:20.436      137     Laps
7.     Jaime Alguersuari       Toro Rosso          1:21.053      139      Laps
8.     Mark Webber                 Red Bull                 1:21.194       88        Laps
9.     Nico Hulkenberg          Williams                1:21.919       137      Laps
10.   Timo Glock                     Virgin                     1:22.433      28         Laps
11.    Jarno Trulli                    Lotus                      1:23.470     141       Laps

So the next test is at yet another Spanish track at Barcelona, from the 25th of February to the 28th of February.

Anyway, a recap on everything else going on this week. USF1 seem to continue to be going down under and Serbian team Stefan GP are close to signing ex-world champion Jacques Villeneuve and ex-Williams driver Kazuki Nakajima.

Also, Campos Meta are no long “Campos” and don’t ask me what they will call the team! Jose Ramon Carabante has taken over the team. Jose has put ex Jordan, Midland and Force India man Colin Kolles in charge.

That’s all for now, I will keep you updated throughout proceedings…

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