Barcelona Test, Day 1

Mark Webber

Mark Webber 

 © Grandprix.com, Photo: Andrew Hone

The final test before the start of the 2010 Formula One World Championship began today at the Circuit de Catalunya, in Barcelona, Spain, today. In a change from all the rain which plagued the test last week in Jerez, the eleven teams taking part had dry comfortable conditions on the first day, with Mark Webber setting the fastest time of the day - nearly a second quicker than his rivals.

The Australian went for some shorter runs in his Red Bull and tried all three Bridgestone tyre compounds available, but did not have a trouble-free day, as he suffered a gearbox problem.

Mark Webber said, "We had a pretty good day of testing. We did some simulations and performance items in the morning and a race simulation in the afternoon. We had a precautionary stop in the middle of the race simulation because of a gearbox oil alarm, but the guys got the car turned around pretty quickly and we finished the session, so it wasn't too bad."

Head of Race Engineering, Ian Morgan, said, "Today was always planned as a race weekend simulation day, so we did some testing along with P3 and qualifying in the morning and a race simulation in the afternoon. Everything went very well up until halfway through the race simulation, when something in the data made us decide to stop the car on track. It was nothing major though and we got the car repaired and back out until the end of the session. It went well today, apart from that small reliability issue."

Sebastian Vettel will take over the Red Bull for the next two days.

During the day Williams, Renault, Force India and Red Bull all put their drivers through a lot of pit stop practice, preparing for the upcoming races where, without refuelling this season, fast tyre changes will become essential.

Nico Hulkenberg was second quickest in his Williams, and said, "We had a good day. I did quite a lot of laps on different set-ups so we can continue to learn how the car will react. It’s my last day tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to getting lots of laps in to be in the best possible shape for Bahrain."

Technical Director Sam Michael said, "Nico spent our first day of four in Barcelona working on set-up, long runs and systems checks, like cooling. We also did some aero testing. Tomorrow, Nico will drive Chassis 02 and continue working through our programme."

Fernando Alonso suffered an electrical problem during the morning in his Ferrari which required a number of hours to fix, but was able to do some long runs in the afternoon.

World Champion Jenson Button run trouble-free for most of the day, but ended the final session early when a hydraulic problem stranded him out on the track.

Nico Rosberg, who was third quickest of the day, was also stranded out on the track when he ran out of fuel - Mercedes still struggling to fix a fuel pump problem that the team is experiencing when the tank is nearly empty.

Rosberg said, "We had a productive day today and we were able to learn a great deal from doing so many laps. We're making good use of the testing time that we have and I'm feeling quite confident and comfortable in the car. Aerodynamically the car will change quite significantly for the first race in Bahrain so we're not focusing on the details but on general set-up work and seeing how the car behaves over long runs. Working through the race weekend procedures and pit stops is also very useful in our preparations for Bahrain."

Michael Schumacher takes over the Mercedes tomorrow.

Pedro de la Rosa, who was fourth quickest in the BMW Sauber, said, "We did an aero test for Bahrain and were trying to get thecar's balance right for the Circuit de Catalunya, which is ademanding track with lots of bumps. I think we learned a lottoday and are looking forward to tomorrow."

Outgoing Technical Director Willy Rampf said, "Today we have been concentrating on different mechanicalset-ups and different downforce levels in preparation for theBahrain Grand Prix. We are not satisfied with the car'sbalance yet, but we have recorded a great deal of usefuldata which will help us further improve it."

Vitantonio Liuzzi was sixth quickest in the Force India. Luizzi said, "Once we realised the track was really green and not good enough to conduct some useful testing, we concentrated on set-up and pit stop practice to get back into the rhythm of a race weekend. Overall it was quite OK but we concentrated a lot on the pit stop practice to get the guys back up to speed. Tomorrow will be where we move to look at performance and long runs so it should be a more representative day regarding the pace of the new car."

Chief race engineer Dominic Harlow said, "The first day of our final pre-season test was concentrated on race team pitstop practice, with simulations of live race stops and various different race scenarios conducted through the day. The circuit conditions weren't particularly good today, and tomorrow will be used to continue our set-up and development programme."

Vitaly Petrov, only eighth quickest in the Renault said, "The track conditions were pretty good today and it was nice not to have to drive in the rain! The day went quite well and we did a lot of pit-stop practice to begin with and then some set-up work, which was useful."

Renault Chief Engineer Alan Permane said, "We spent part of the morning doing pit-stop practice with Vitaly, which went very well. This was the first chance for our pit crew to practice with a running car at the circuit without refuelling and there were no procedural problems. Unfortunately we had a hydraulic problem in the early afternoon, which meant we had to change part of the hydraulic system and that limited our running. But we were still able to do some set-up work as we concentrated on getting Vitaly comfortable in the car on this circuit."

Jaime Alguersuari, ninth quickest for Toro Rosso, said, "It was encouraging to have another trouble free day, completing a high mileage. We learned a lot doing long runs on the Soft compound tyre and I'm looking forward to tackling a different programme tomorrow."

Sebastien Buemi will take over the Toro Rosso tomorrow.

The other Red Flags of the day occurred when Di Grassi had an accident in his Virgin, and Fauzy had a hydraulic problem with his Lotus.

Best Times:

1. Mark Webber (Red Bull RB5-Renault), 1m21,487s (109)

2. Nico Hulkenberg (Williams FW32-Cosworth), 1m22,407s (82)

3. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes MGP W01), 1m22,514s (107)

4. Pedro de la Rosa (Sauber C29-Ferrari), 1m23,144s (73)

5. Jenson Button (McLaren MP4-25-Mercedes), 1m23,452s (101)

6. Vitantonio Liuzzi (Force India VJM03-Mercedes), 1m24,064s (65)

7. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari F10), 1m24m179s (74)

8. Vitaly Petrov (Renault R30), 1m24,173s (74)

9. Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso STR5-Ferrari), 1m24,859s (111)

10. Lucas di Grassi (Virgin VR-01-Cosworth), 1m27,057s (31)

11. Fairuz Fauzy (Lotus T127-Cosworth), 1m28,002s (76)

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Stories: FEBRUARY 25, 2010
BARCELONA TEST, DAY 1
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