FEBRUARY 21, 2011
Ferrari finishes Barcelona test on top
Felipe Massa (1:22.625) put Ferrari on top of the Barcelona test times on the final day's action of the third pre-season F1 test at the Spanish track. With the news that the season-opening Bahrain GP and the Sakhir test have both fallen victim to the unrest in Bahrain, the final test will now also take place at Barcelona on March 8-11, with the first race of the season now the Australian GP in Melbourne on March 27.
Massa worked mainly on Pirelli tyre comparisons, running with different fuel loads and set-ups as he covered 121 laps. Mark Webber (1:23.442) was closest to the Ferrari as Red Bull evaluated development components on its RB7. "Not too bad today," Webber said. "We had a few niggles here and there but we did well and that's been the case over the whole weekend. We had a very productive test, no question about it."
The new Toro Rosso again showed good pace in the hands of Sebastian Buemi (1:23.550), his programme a mix of short and long runs today as he also conducted set-up and brake work. "This has definitely been a productive four days for us with a good number of laps completed," said technical director Giorgio Ascanelli. "We addressed all the technical issues that came to our attention in Jerez.
Nick Heidfeld (1:23.657) was fourth quickest with the Lotus-Renault R31 as the team tried a new front wing and carried out aero mapping to assess its effectiveness. First impressions were positive. The team then completed its first race distance simulation and was pleased with the feel of the car on high fuel.
"In the morning we were not able to do most of our programme because we had an issue with the KERS," Heidfeld explained, "but it's obviously better to have problems during testing before the season starts. In the afternoon we started the race simulation using different tyre compounds and tried both scrubbed and new sets. We learned a lot by running the car on high fuel and have lots of useful data about the degradation rates."
Lewis Hamilton (1:24.003) logged the new McLaren MP4-26's biggest single-day mileage as the team worked through a lengthy tyre development programme and finished up 0.05s quicker than Pastor Maldonado (1:24.057) with the Williams FW33, who ran with a disabled KERS system after some cooling issues. Adrian Sutil (1:24.177) lapped at a similar pace and tried the Supersoft Pirellis and KERS for the first time with the Force India VJM04.
Sergio Perez (1:24.515) completed Sauber's work, with Jerome D'Ambrosio recording 1:26.501 for Virgin and Michael Schumacher a 1:27.079 in 114 laps with the Mercedes.
Jarno Trulli (1:29.992) did just 18 laps before his day was cut short by an accident at Turn 9. "It was not his fault," chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne explained -- it was caused by a car failure and we were missing a part we needed to put the car back together which meant we had to cut day four short. Despite this I still think there are a great deal of positives to take from the test in terms of the pace of the car and the fact that we are on top of the reliability issues."