Testing At Circuit De Catalunya – Day 3

Rain arrived on Saturday to disrupt running as the teams try out race distance runs.

Glock, Button, Rosberg, Petrov, and Trulli all had their last days before the opening race in Bahrain.

Sebastien Vettel could only manage 51 laps as he had a technical failure in the morning. He set a time of 1:23.123 to bring him in 8th.

“We were late out this morning as we had a few technical issues following the overnight rebuild, which carried over into the planned programme for today,” explained Ian Morgan, Red Bull’s head of race engineering. “Once we were running in the afternoon we got three or four positive tests completed looking at set-up directions for Bahrain, which gave us some clear results – so we ended the session in much better shape.”

Vettel and Webber will share the last day.

Adrian Sutil covered 61 laps in the VJM03 as he came in 7th with a time of 1:22.606.

The German will continue on the last day.

Virgin sat the bottom once again with Timo Glock in the seat, setting a time of 1:26.305.

“A couple of assembly issues affected our programme today,” explained Virgin’s technical director Nick Wirth. “The gearbox problem delayed our start and by the time we were ready to run, the rain came along. We used the changeable conditions up to lunchtime working through a programme of control system preparation for Bahrain and we were looking forward to a more productive afternoon. However, lunchtime checks revealed a cut fuel system seal, which meant we had to pull the engine off to replace it. We used the remaining time this afternoon to complete a few more interesting tests with Timo. We’re hoping that our planets will align tomorrow to allow us a smooth final day of testing before we head into our debut Grand Prix in Bahrain in two weeks’ time.”

Virgin really need to get themselves together before Bahrain if they’re going to have any chance of a decent finish.

Lucas Di Grassi will finish off on Sunday.

Renault had a quiet day as Russian Vitaly Petrov completed 68 laps and set a time of 1:22.523 which brought him in 6th.

“Another day of changing weather so we lost some time in the morning with the rain, but fortunately it was dry in the afternoon,” said Petrov. “We had a lot planned as it was my last day in the car before Bahrain and we did some good work and we’ve improved the car quite a bit.”

Team-mate Robert Kubica will take over on Sunday.

Kamui Kobayashi got his test at Barcelona underway on Saturday as he drove the Ferrari powered C29 Sauber to 10th.

“It would have been more convenient to do the race simulation with ideal track conditions,” explained Kobayashi, who completed 105 laps in the C29. “On the other hand it was an even better practice because we had to do additional tyre changes due to the weather, and every pit stop helps to improve our skills in communications and procedures.”

The young Japanese rookie will finish on Sunday.

The T127 is showing promise as it’s starting to be faster than the Sauber and Virgin; at least they can put the car together properly!

Jarno finished 9th with a time of 1:25.059 and covered 102 laps.

“Another productive day with Jarno,” said chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. “We successfully completed our whole programme with the changeable conditions and have had two very useful days with Jarno in the car.”

Team-mate Heikki Kovalainen will take over on Sunday.

Felipe Massa finished the day with 115 laps under his belt and a time of 1:22.344 which put him in 5th.

The Brazilian will finish off the test on Sunday.

Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi drove to 2nd in the standings as he got his test at Barcelona underway.

“Despite the rain, my first day in Barcelona has gone well,” said Buemi. “Carrying out a race simulation was very useful and it was particularly interesting to see how the tyre behaviour changed depending on the fuel load. In the races, it will be important to drive smoothly, as on full tanks it is very easy to damage the tyres if you slide too much.”

The Swiss driver set a time of 1:21.413, and covered 106 laps. He will continue on Sunday.

Williams keep up their pace as veteran Barrichello comes 4th with a time of 1:21.975.

“We covered 101 laps today, which is always good,” said the Brazilian. “Unfortunately, we had some rain during the day which affected the programme a little bit. Everything that the team has brought to this test seems to be working well, so it’s been a positive day altogether.”

The Williams driver will finish on Sunday.

Jenson Button finished off his test in 3rd with a time of 1:21.450, and covered 105 laps.

Here’s an audio interview: http://ow.ly/1cdW8

But it was German Nico Rosberg who went top of the time sheet with a time of 1:20.686. He also covered the most laps of 128, and he will hand over the W01 to team-mate Michael Schumacher for the last day.

“We had a good day today and made some significant progress in terms of set-up, which was nice to see,” he explained. “We hadn’t got the most out of the car in terms of performance over the last couple of days, but we made a step in the right direction today. We went through some big changes this morning step by step and found some good improvements. The longer runs this afternoon were interesting. We learnt a lot as there were other cars running similar programmes at the same time so we were able to do some comparisons. There is still plenty of room to improve but overall we’re looking in pretty good shape.”

There’s only one more day to go with Hamilton, Massa, Schumacher, Vettel, Webber, Di Grassi, Kovalainen, Kubica, Kobayashi, Sutil, Barrichello and Buemi in the line up. The teams will be doing low fuel runs and really going for it; if it’s dry that is…

12 Days Until the New F1 Season…

Unofficial Saturday times from Barcelona:
1.     Nico Rosberg                   Mercedes GP        1:20.686          128     Laps
2.     Sebastien Buemi             Toro Rosso           1:21.413           106     Laps
3.     Jenson Button                 McLaren                1:21.450          105      Laps
4.     Rubens Barrichello       Williams                 1:21.975          101      Laps
5.     Felipe Massa                     Ferrari                   1:22.344          115       Laps
6.     Vitaly Petrov                   Renault                   1:22.523          68        Laps
7.     Adrian Sutil                      Force India           1:22.606         61         Laps
8.      Sebastian Vettel             Red Bull                  1:23.123          51         Laps
9.      Jarno Trulli                      Lotus                       1:25.059        102        Laps
10.   Kamui Kobayashi           Sauber                     1:26.216       105         Laps
11.    Timo Glock                       Virgin                       1:26.305       31           Laps

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