Thursday, December 21, 2006

F1 Testing wraps up in Jerez

Last week Formula 1 concluded its extended Jerez visit for the final official winter test of 2006. All of the F1 Constructor’s participated minus Spyker…

The three days of testing provided much entertainment with two hopeful stateside Open Wheel warriors making their F1 debuts. Champ Cars Sebastian Bourdais quickly showed his speed. Hampered by the “tail-ender” Scuderia Toro Rosso and not having driven an F1 chassis since testing for Arrows in 2002, Bourdais finished only .002 seconds behind Scott Speed on his second day of testing. On Day 3 Bourdais continued his forward march finishing only .0245 behind Ferrari’s Marc Gene and 1.2 seconds clear of Speed…

Meanwhile Marco Andretti enjoyed his day at Jerez with Honda, learning the nuances of an F1 cockpit. Andretti finished 15th out of 16 cars, nipping Speed who finished last. (Speed crashed and injured his wrist in final testing and ran only a handful of laps)

While McLaren’s rookie Lewis Hamilton topped the time sheets on the final day of testing, Hamilton was overshadowed by the “surprise” debut of Fernando Alonso aboard a McLaren. Ron Dennis had been lobbying for Alonso’s early release from Renault and Flavio Bratore finally allowed Alonso to test for his new team…

Renault’s Heikki Kovalainen continued showing his speed, finishing just .092 behind Hamilton and ahead of Alonso who ran third fastest in his McLaren debut. (-.094 seconds) Honda’s James Rossiter ran 4th with Giancarlo Fisichella rounding out the top five…

All of the “heavy hitters,” i.e.; factory backed teams ran towards the front of the grid. It will be hard for the customer teams to compete for anything other then midfield honors next year. It should be a great year with 5-6 teams competing for the championship…

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