Thursday, February 28, 2008

F1 wraps up testing

In all of the excitement bubbling over merger fever, as I’ve been distracted by all of the numerous press conferences, news stories and fellow blogger’s outtake on the Tony & Kevin show…I’ve just realized that the Formula 1 circus has just completed their final winter test, prior to packing their freight in order to be shipped Down Under for the 2008 season opener in just over a fortnight from now.

While Ferrari and McLaren have consistently traded hot laps, the final day’s honours surprisingly went to Toyota’s Jarno Trulli, besting DC by a whisker. Coulthard had sat out the second day of testing after pinching a nerve in his neck, yet both teams were running their latest spec aero packages which allowed both drivers to find unknown quantities of speed upon doing light tanks qualie mode flier’s.

Nico Rosberg claimed the third quickest time, as the Williams/Toyota pairing of Nico and rookie Kazuki Nakajima has consistently run towards the top of the time sheets.

While apparently the news surrounding McLaren scuttlebutt lately has focused more upon their off track activities, with the Lewis Hamilton taunting issue in Spain and rumours that Ron Dennis could be leaving the team after Australia while Italian authorities visited the homes of several personnel as they continue their Stepney-gate witch hunt. Yet Heikki Kovalainen managed to finish fourth while Hamilton led the previous days running’s with DC’s teammate Mark Webber filling out the day’s top five runners.

After Giancarlo Fisichella teased us with a scintillating seventh fastest lap on Tuesday, Fishy-fella’s VJM01 settled back down to its proper grid position in 12th.

The Ferrari’s had an odd day out, with Felipe Massa logging the fewest laps of the day, while teammate Kimi Raikkonen also made a precautionary stop a la Massa, with both driver’s uncharacteristically finishing down the order, while arch nemesis Fernando Alonso logged the most laps of the day with 128, yet finished up behind rookie teammate Nelson Piquet Jr in 7th.

And both of the BMW Sauber’s seemed a bit off of the pace, while Honda continues to take up the tail gunner Charlie position, although the team will do a private test next week with a completely new aerodynamic package before sending it’s cars off to OZ, where hopefully Super Aguri will finally join the party!

Yet, looking thru the test times, makes me wonder if the Heavy Hitters, i.e.; Ferrari, BMW Sauber, Renault and McLaren were all focusing upon full tank race set-ups and letting the others temporarily flatter us with seeing their names adorn the top of the time sheets. We’ll soon find out as Melbourne is just around the corner…

Wednesday’s Barcelona test times:
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Trulli, Toyota, 1:20.801, 83
2. Coulthard, Red Bull-Renault, 1:21.258, 76
3. Rosberg, Williams-Toyota, 1:21.293, 77
4. Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:21.309, 87
5. Webber, Red Bull-Renault, 1:21.368, 91
6. Piquet Renault, 1:21.443, 114
7. Alonso, Renault, 1:21.454, 128
8. Nakajima, Williams-Toyota, 1:21.796, 124
9. Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:21.933, 80
10. Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:22.011, 88
11. Glock, Toyota, 1:22.155, 49
12. Fisichella, Force India-Ferrari, 1:22.233, 90
13. Massa, Ferrari, 1:22.286, 49
14. Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:22.299, 93
15. Bourdais, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:22.465, 79
16. Sutil, Force India-Ferrari, 1:22.521, 97
17. Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:22.624, 61
18. Wurz, Honda, 1:24.154, 82
19. Button, Honda, 1:24.275, 73