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2010 Bahrain GP Review

March 25, 2010

 Sorry I haven’t really got around to doing this post, but I will make sure I make a full review post of the Australian GP coming up this week…

Anyway my thoughts on the Bahrain GP are; compared to the 2008 or 2007 season it was extremely boring, but compared to the 2009 season, I think it was quite entertaining. The revamped track was awful in my eyes, but the gathering of all the living world champions (excluding Kimi) was a real achievement. McLaren were off the pace all weekend but this should improve in Australia where they think the track will suit the car more than the hostile Sakhir curcuit in Bahrain.

2010 Bahrain Start

 

Sebastien Vettel lead the race from the beginning and I think he would have stayed there if it wasn’t for his slight glitch…

Because of this slight glitch, Alonso in the Ferrari took the lead away from the German and powered to victory with team-mate Felipe Massa impressively taking second place and Lewis Hamilton coming in third behind them both.

There was talk after the race that FOTA and the FIA might consider making two pit stops mandatory, this would be a good idea. When I was watching the race, there was a point where I thought, “If they pitted about now things would be much more interesting”. But they didn’t, and it was boring. So making two stops mandatory would be a step forward in my eyes.

But to have the season under way is the most exciting thing I can think of!

Button wins the 2009 Aussie GP For Brawn GP

 

Next is the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.

Will Button be able to come strong in his new McLaren? Or will Lewis Hamilton win again with dominance like 2008? Or will Ferrari walk the field once more like in Bahrain? Red Bull will be hoping their cars will stay in one piece this time around!

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Testing At Circuit De Catalunya – Day 3

February 28, 2010

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

Testing At Circuit De Catalunya – Day 2

February 27, 2010

It’s the second day at the Spanish circuit, the sun is still shining (THANK YOU!!) and drivers like Alonso, Alguersuari, Hulkenberg and De La Rosa will be finishing off their programmes for the last time before Bahrain.

Spaniard Fernando Alonso covered the most laps on Friday, as he tried to make up for Thursday’s technical failure, he made 133 laps and clocked a time of 1:20.637 which brought him 2nd.

Last year’s championship runner-up Vettel went fifth after making 125 laps, he clocked a time of 1:21.258.

“It was good today – we didn’t have any major problems,” Vettel explained. “We had to stop in the afternoon for a minor issue, but it’s quite normal in testing. When you’re testing, you don’t want to risk any damage so it’s best to switch the car off and stop if you don’t have to push when there’s an alert in the background.”

Sauber driver Pedro De La Rosa completed the third most laps of 114, and set a time of 1:20.973 which led him to 3rd in the standings.

“The reliability of the car was perfect and I think the performance was also good, especially in the race simulation,” explained the Spaniard. “It was a very good exercise and I feel we have now done everything possible to get ready for the first Grand Prix. It was also a big day for me because it has been a while since I last completed a race distance. I feel very well and also really confident now.”

Toro Rosso’s young star, Jaime Alguersuari made the most of his last test day by covering 104 laps and setting a time of 1:21.571 to bring him in 6th.

“Today was very useful in that it is a good confidence boost to have completed a race simulation on my last day of testing before the start of the season,” said Alguersuari. “It is still too early to talk about where we are in performance terms, but with a good mileage achieved over these four test sessions, I feel much better prepared than when I made my debut in the middle of last year.”

Young rookie Nico Hulkenberg really made the most of his last day in the seat of a Williams before Bahrain by topping the time sheet, and making 99 laps.

“We’ve had a good test here,” he said. “P1 today is nice but means nothing, to be honest. We’re not in Bahrain yet! It is positive for the team, and for me, to know what the car can do though. We did a lot of set-up work today and have found some interesting things so I feel ready and confident to go to Bahrain now.”

Lewis Hamilton kept his speed under wraps on Friday, which makes it hard to compare the likes of Schumacher and Alonso with the 2008 Champion. He covered 93 laps and set a time of 1:22.152, 8th was his position in the standings.

“Lewis took over from Jenson today,” said McLaren’s website. “Continuing the development work his team-mate began yesterday: refining set-up and evaluating tyres.
The morning was spent conducting shorter runs, attempting more experimental set-ups – changes that Lewis found beneficial to the car’s balance.
The different set-up changes caused several lengthy turnarounds in the morning before Lewis could concentrate on a single long-distance run in the afternoon – which was punctuated by several late red-flag periods.
Jenson is back in the car tomorrow, conducting further fine-tuning of MP4-25.”

Force India driver Tonio Liuzzi covered 90 laps and set his best time of 1:21.056 which gave him a very good 4th. Team-mate Adrian Sutil will take over for the next two days.

“We can be quite happy about today’s programme,” he said. “We completed everything without any issues and the car showed very good reliability, even when we did the race simulation. Again it is responding very well and we are improving day by day so everything is looking positive. We still don’t know where we are relative to the others, and we will only see in Bahrain, but overall we can be really happy.”

7 time world champion Michael Schumacher also kept his speed quiet and only set a time 1 place ahead of Briton Hamilton. He covered 85 laps and made a time of 1:21.689, he focused on pit-stop practise and long runs.

“We had a positive day but it was quite stop-start with some changes on the car and then the red flags towards the end of the day,” explained the German. “We are working hard and even if the programme doesn’t run as smoothly as we would have liked, there is much more to come from the team both here and in Bahrain. We are working very well together and there is a good atmosphere within the team.”

The Lotus T127 didn’t finish at the bottom of the time sheet, for the first time! Jarno Trulli was in the cockpit on Friday, and he set a time of 1:25.524 which was faster than the Virgin of Timo Glock.

“It was a productive day in terms of set up direction with Jarno,” said chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. “We were able to identify some problems with the set up in the car and establish clear direction to improve it. We still have a long way to go, and a lot of time to come from the car. We had a couple of minor hydraulics issues which stopped the car on track, but nothing major, so all in all it was a productive day and we’re aiming to continue in the same vein on Saturday.”
Jarno will continue in the Lotus on Saturday, then team-mate Heikki Kovalainen will take over for the last day.

Ex-BMW Sauber driver Robert Kubica, covered a limited 53 laps after a suspension failure hit the Renault.

“Robert was in the car today for his first laps at Barcelona in the R30,” explained Renault’s chief engineer Alan Permane. “We spent the morning doing some set-up work, but in the afternoon we had a problem with the suspension, which limited our running. We’re still looking into the issue and will have the car fixed and ready for Saturday morning.”

Virgin found themselves back at the bottom after Thursday’s crash meant they had to fly over new parts overnight, limiting their available running time.

Timo Glock was in the seat and set a time of 1:25.942, and covered 52 laps.

Everyone will be hoping for more dry running.

Button, Massa, Rosberg, Vettel, Barrichello, Buemi, Sutil, Trulli, Petrov, Kobayashi and Glock are the drivers for Saturday.

13 Days Until the New F1 Season…

Unofficial Friday times from Barcelona:
1.     Nico Hulkenberg            Williams                1:20.614          99      Laps
2.     Fernando Alonso           Ferrari                   1:20.637        133     Laps
3.     Pedro de la Rosa             Sauber                   1:20.973        114      Laps
4.     Vitantonio Liuzzi            Force India         1:21.056         90       Laps
5.     Sebastian Vettel              Red Bull                1:21.258         125     Laps
6.     Jaime Alguersuari          Toro Rosso          1:21.571        104     Laps
7.    Michael Schumacher     Mercedes GP       1:21.689         85       Laps
8.     Lewis Hamilton               McLaren                1:22.152        93        Laps
9.     Robert Kubica                  Renault                  1:24.912        53        Laps
10.   Jarno Trulli                       Lotus                      1:25.524       70        Laps
11.   Timo Glock                        Virgin                     1:25.942        52        Laps

Testing At Jerez – Day 4

February 21, 2010

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…

Testing At Jerez – Day 1

February 18, 2010

With yet another wet test on the horizon, all the drivers and teams who make their debut want to make a positive start to their year. Lotus’ Fairuz Fauzy, Force India’s test and reserve driver Paul Di Resta, and Lotus themselves were the debutants on Wednesday.

The Red Flag flew four times during the session, which included the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton, new kid Paul Di Resta, Rubens Barrichello and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa. A very hard start for the Lotus and Virgin teams.

Even so, Lotus’ test and reserve driver Fairuz Fauzy managed to bag his super licence by driving over the 300km mark. “It’s been an excellent day for the whole team,” said chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. “Firstly I want to say a big thank you to Fairuz who did an excellent job today with the first proper day of running. With so much going on, such as doing systems checks, it can be a pretty disjointed day for the driver. When you add into that the changeable conditions, and also the fact we were running without power steering today, it could have been a tricky day for Fairuz but he didn’t put a foot wrong so well done to him and a big thank you. With the car we had no major reliability issues – a few niggles with overheating which were quickly solved and then the car ran pretty faultlessly. The power steering issue will be fixed for tomorrow so all in all a very successful first day and a busy evening ahead preparing the car for tomorrow.”

The Malaysian completed 76 laps and finished 11th with a time of 1:31.848.

Schumacher went well at the rain soaked track by completing 111 laps with the wet, intermediate, and finally the dry tyres.

“The weather was really changing all the time today which made it difficult to follow our planned programme and to have a clear picture of everyone’s performance,” the German explained. “From the laps that we achieved, we have again confirmed the reliability of the car, and from the impressions and data gathered, we can say that the pace and performance looks very good.”

Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi is testing the STR5 this Wednesday and Thursday.

He carried out a brake system evaluation in the STR5 and covered 79 laps and set a time of 1:23.322 which brought him 4th.

Scotsman Paul Di Resta also earned his super licence on Wednesday after completing over 300 km’s.

“Paul completed 76 laps today in unsettled conditions to get his first experience of the VJM03,” said Force India’s chief race engineer Domini Harlow. “He also carried out some control systems tests and ran wet, intermediate and dry tyres. During a very windy afternoon Adrian took over the car for a short programme in predominantly dry conditions continuing set-up development from last week’s test. The VJM03 ran reliably all day, which gives a good basis for the remaining three days.”

Felipe Massa continued his good pace by setting the 3rd fastest time of 1:23.204 over 72 laps.

Lewis Hamilton also kept up the impressive form from the last test and finished in 2nd with a time of 1:23.017 covering the same amount of laps as Massa.

But it was Sebastien Vettel in the RB6 who topped the time sheets with a time of 1:22.593 covering 104 laps.

“We got a lot of laps done and the car has been good and reliable,” explained Ian Morgan, Red Bull’s head of race engineering. “We’ve made a few small changes but we didn’t get through as much as the programme as we’d hoped because of the weather. Sebastian and the car were consistent on the long runs in the dry which is promising. We’re continuing to make steady progress; the car is better than it was last week and every time we turn a wheel we seem to be moving forward a little bit.”

Sebastien will continue to test the Red Bull on Thursday, then team-mate Mark Webber will take over for the next two days.

So with more rain coming, the driver line-up for Thursday looks like this:

Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, Heikki Kovalainen, Sebastien Vettel, Pedro De La Rosa, Rubens Barrichello, Nico Rosberg, Timo Glock, Sebastien Buemi, Vitaly Petrov and Paul Di Resta.

Unofficial Wednesday times from Jerez:
1.     Sebastian Vettel                   Red Bull                   1:22.593         104    Laps
2.     Lewis Hamilton                    McLaren                  1:23.017          72     Laps
3.     Felipe Massa                          Ferrari                     1:23.204          72      Laps
4.     Sebastien Buemi                   Toro Rosso            1:23.322          79      Laps
5.     Pedro de la Rosa                   Sauber                     1:23.367         76       Laps
6.     Michael Schumacher         Mercedes GP         1:23.803         111       Laps
7.     Adrian Sutil                            Force India           1:24.272         28        Laps
8.      Paul Di Resta                          Force India           1:25.088        74         Laps
9.      Vitaly Petrov                         Renault                   1:26.237       55          Laps
10.    Rubens Barrichello            Williams                  1:27.320     109         Laps
11.     Fairuz Fauzy                          Lotus                       1:31.848      76            Laps
12.     Timo Glock                            Virgin                       1:34.417     10             Laps

Testing Day 4 In Jerez

February 15, 2010

Saturday, the last day of the first session of testing at Jerez, once again started wet. Some drivers bothered to go out for some installation laps but apart from that the track was dead. Even Michael Schumacher was keeping himself warm!

 The teams just waited for the Spanish track to dry out, and dry out it did, so they started to brave it out, running their programmes.

Ex-Brawn GP driver Rubens Barrichello, had a good day in the seat of the Williams FW32; he kept posting fastest times throughout the day until he came across an issue with the gear-box which ended his day early, but still a good day.

“The car has performed well these past two days and we’ve discovered some interesting things which will help us move it forward,” said the Brazilian driver. “I was hoping to go for a performance run at the end of the day because the car felt good, but unfortunately my session was cut short. There’s work to do in terms of improving performance, but I’m happy with the results that are coming out.”

Kubica set out to improve the R30 on Saturday, and that’s what they did. To me, the new Renault (I know it’s early days) seems quite slow compared to the Sauber or even the Toro Rosso, but Saturday was a turning point for the wasp-like car.

“We were unlucky again with the weather this morning but it was dry in the afternoon and we managed to improve the car quite a bit,” said the Pole. “Each day of testing the car feels better and the progress we have made this week confirms that we are moving in the right direction.”

Brazilian Felipe Massa focused on long runs and tyre comparisons and made the most laps of 160, a record this week.

“I never drove as many kilometres as today, either in an F1 car nor anywhere else.” said Massa.

Red Bull worked on the new RB6 with Sebastien Vettel in the seat. A fuel pump failure cost them three hours in the day, but Vettel still  made 90 laps on the way to 6th.

“It’s been a productive first week with the RB6, despite the weather and lack of dry conditions.”  said the team’s Head of Race Engineering, Ian Morgan. “We’re pleased with the car overall, it’s showing a lot of promise.”

But it was McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton who stole top spot in the last few moments in the dry. The 2008 Champion, set out with brand new dry tyres near the end of the session and posted quickest time after quickest time on the way to 1st with 113 laps under his belt.

Lewis should drive the new MP4-25 on the first two days of the next test at Jerez on 17th and 18th of February, according to McLaren’s website. Team-mate Jenson should take over on the last two days.

Virgin finally got some running without any wings falling off in the dry – did they drink any Red Bull I wonder? Anyway, GP2 graduate, Lucas Di Grassi was in the cockpit for this opportunity.

“The car was behaving much better after the work we did since yesterday and I think what we have achieved today is a very good start for our team.” said the Brazilian rookie.

Michael finished his tea and came out on track to set the 5th fastest time.

“We completed everything that we wanted and were able to increase our understanding of the car a step further so overall it’s been positive,” stated the German. “It’s very tough to understand the order of the teams just yet as everyone can play so much with the fuel loads. So there is a lot of speculation going on but it’s very interesting!”

New Sauber driver Pedro De La Rosa made a time of 1:22.134 which gave him 8th.

“In the morning we started with a long-run of 20 laps on intermediate tyres,” explained Giampaolo Dall’Ara, the team’s head of track engineering. “We then worked on the mechanical set- up of the car. Around half past two we swapped into a tyre comparison programme and in the end we carried out some aero tests. Because of the difficult weather situation this week in Jerez we are a little below expectations in terms of mileage but we still managed to cover all our topics and had no major technical problems.” The Spaniard made 105 laps.

Time sheet topper from Friday, Alguersuari, finished slowest on Saturday, but the young Spanish driver was content with the two days.

“I’m pleased with how these two days of testing went,” said Alguersuari. “It was very useful to drive the car with different fuel loads and in different track conditions, in the dry, in the wet and ‘intermediate’ conditions. Overall, it has been a positive week for me and also for the team.”

Unofficial Saturday times from Jerez:
1. Lewis Hamilton                  McLaren              1:19.583      113      Laps
2. Adrian Sutil                         Force India        1:20.180       84      Laps
3. Rubens Barrichello          Williams               1:20.341       90      Laps
4. Robert Kubica                    Renault                1:20.358       86      Laps
5. Michael Schumacher      Mercedes GP      1:20.613        84     Laps
6. Sebastian Vettel                Red Bull                1:21.203       90     Laps
7. Felipe Massa                       Ferrari                  1:21.486      160    Laps
8. Pedro de la Rosa                Sauber                  1:22.134      105    Laps
9. Lucas Di Grassi                   Virgin                    1:22.912       63      Laps
10. Jaime Alguersuari          Toro Rosso         1:24.072      98      Laps

These are my thoughts on this test session:

McLaren: Jenson seems happy with the car now that he is comfortable in the seat! Lewis is going well and stamped his foot down on Saturday.

Ferrari: Felipe Massa doesn’t look in bad shape considering his crash at the Hungaroring last year in Hungary. New team-mate Alonso seems happy enough in the F10, setting quick times and long runs.

Mercedes GP: Nico Rosberg looked quick in the Silver Arrow, when setting the quickest time on Wednesday. 7 time World Champion Michael Schumacher, looks just like he never left the sport, as he sets quick times also.

Red Bull: The team keep their bad luck with Mark Webber having a oil leak on Thursday and Vettel having a fuel pump failure on Saturday. But they are going strong with developing the new RB6.

Renault: Robert Kubica seems to be working well with the French team, after his bad season with BMW Sauber. Vitaly “Rocket” Petrov, is going well with his first taste of F1 power.

Sauber: De La Rosa and Kobayashi are both doing their team proud while setting quick and consistent times throughout the test. Watch out for the white car….

Force India: The team were looking to keep up their form from 2009, and they are doing exactly that. Liuzzi looked quite fast but was dampened by the wet conditions. Adrian Sutil made sure of 3rd place on Friday with a quick time in the dry.

Williams: The team-up of expert Rubens Barrichello and new boy Nico Hulkenberg for the new season, seems a good choice in my eyes. Barrichello was setting quick times throughout Friday and Saturday, while Nico did well with his first days in a F1 car.

Virgin: The team didn’t really get off to a good start by not making many laps on Wednesday, a front wing failure on Thursday, and some new parts didn’t arrive in time for dry running on Friday. But GP2 graduate Lucas Di Grassi got the only long runs of the four days. Ex-Toyota driver Timo Glock was unlucky and will have to wait for next week’s test on Wednesday.

Toro Rosso: Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi are doing the ex-Minardi team proud by setting quick times and topping the time sheet on Friday.

F1 Weekly Review (22nd-29th January)

January 29, 2010

Jaime Alguersuari will keep his contract with Toro Rosso for the 2010 season, he joined the former Minardi team mid way through 2009 when replacing sacked Sebastian Bourdais, who under achieved during 2008 and the first part of 2009.  He only managed to finish 3 of his 8 GP’s in 2009 but team boss Franz Tost said he deserved a second chance. (More at BBC Sport and Formula1.com http://ow.ly/11LDd – http://ow.ly/11LCK )

USF1 have finally signed their first driver for the 2010 season, and that driver is Jose Maria Lopez, and will be the 24th Argentine Formula One driver in the history of the world championship. The last Argentine driver was Gaston Mazzacane who drove Minardi and Prost in the 2000 and 2001 seasons. 

“This is a truly memorable day for me, my family and the people of Argentina,” said former Renault tester. “Some time ago it seemed a bit crazy to think an Argentine driver could race again in F1 but with the effort and help of many people we are in that position.”  (More at BBC Sport and Formula1.com http://ow.ly/11LZ5http://ow.ly/11LZq )

Jenson Button is to have a footbridge in his hometown of Frome named after him. “The bridge is going to be built anyway so we decided it would be a good idea to name it after him.” Said the Mayor, Damon Hooton. “We will put a plaque on the bridge with a suitable commemoration on it. We’re hoping the bridge will be built between now and the summer. (More at BBC News  http://ow.ly/11M5h )

Red Bull have confirmed that Brendon Hartley and Daniel Ricciardo will be their Reserves for the new season. Ricciardo recently won the British F3 championship which earned him a test in the 2009 Red Bull earlier in December. In 2007, Hartley won the Eurocup title with a round in hand, before he switched to British F3 in 2008. Last year he raced in the Formula Three Euroseries. (More At Formula1.com http://ow.ly/11NDt  )

Finland’s Valtteri Bottas has been confirmed as Nico Hulkenberg’s replacement as Williams Test and Reserve Driver for the 2010 season. In 2009 Bottas debuted in the F3 Euroseries for ART Grand Prix, in which he finished 3rd in the championship and was the highest placed rookie, and he will stay and race with the team in 2010 alongside the Test seat at Williams. (More At Formula1.com http://ow.ly/11O2w )

Bahrain, who will host the first race of the 2010 season, have announced that they have made an extension to the original track. The track will be normal up until just after turn 4, where the track the turns left to go on to 5 new turns. (Marked in red below)

Zayed R. Alzayani, Chairman of the Bahrain International Circuit, said: “The loop was completed in 2006 as part of the built-in evolution of the venue for competitors and fans. 

“We gave it its debut with the inaugural 24 Hour Race of Bahrain that same year where it proved extremely successful, and with the changes to the regulations, the teams and the driver line-ups in Formula 1 this year it is the perfect time to evolve the circuit with this new challenge and new overtaking opportunities.” (More at Auotsport.com http://ow.ly/11PHt )

Toro Rosso will Launch their 2010 contender on Monday 1st of February, the first day of Pre-Season testing. And Lotus reveal that location of their launch on the 12th of February will be in London. (Both at Formula1.com http://ow.ly/11Que – http://ow.ly/11Qtj )

Adam Carroll could be driving the second seat Campos to partner Bruno Senna, he is understood to be the choice of A1 GP Series boss Tony Teixeira, who is on the verge of buying into the cash-strapped team. Carroll won the A1 GP Title for Ireland last year, but the sport has gone bust since then. (More At BBC Sport http://ow.ly/11QIu )

Reports on Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren’s launches later…