MARCH 9, 2009
For the first time - all the F1 teams run together
Today in Barcelona all 10 Formula 1 teams ran together for the first time this year but it is still a little early to suggest what is going to happen in Australia. The day's testing ended with Nick Heidfeld fastest in the BMW Sauber. He was six-tenths of a second ahead of the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, which is the kind of gap one can only imagine has something to do with fuel loads. BMW said that its activities were related to the race weekends ahead and so it is safe to assume that Heidfeld had a low fuel load and did his time on what was in effect a qualifying run. Normally BMW Sauber runs its tests with full fuel loads and so this would explain the huge gap. The fact that Raikkonen was second quickest was no surprise but he was only a fraction clear of Jarno Trulli's Toyota and Jenson Button was within two-tenths at the wheel of the new Brawn-Mercedes. This was a particularly interesting effort as the team did rather better than one would normally expect on the first day of running. It is probably not going to do the team any harm to look quick at this point, but nonetheless Button seemed to be able to drive the car fast all the time. Others were obviously not pushing as hard.
Nelson Piquet's Renault, which has been amongst the slowest cars thus far in testing was fifth overall, but half a second off Button's pace and 1.3secs behind Heidfeld. There was a gap of another half a second back to Sebastien Bourdais who ran the Toro Rosso-Ferrari faster than the Red Bull-Renault on its first day of running. Mark Webber was just a tenth behind and it will be interesting to see whether this is a trend that continues.
Adrian Sutil was eighth fastest in the Force India-Mercedes, two tenths behind Webber, while Kazuki Nakajima's Williams-Toyota was another four-tenths in arrears, a time which seemed very slow indeed for the Williams, based on earlier tests.
Similarly the McLaren-Mercedes of Heikki Kovalainen was lurking at the tail of the field, a full second slower than Nakajima and clearly not at full pace.