F1: Jerez and Portimao test reports 15/12/08

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarTuesday, December 16th, 2008

 
 

F1 testing has continued at two venues this week, with five of the nine teams furthering work on their 2009-spec cars.

Despite bad weather in northern Spain, the Williams, Toyota and Red Bull teams all returned to sunny Jerez where last week’s hero, Sebastien Buemi, continued to impress.

The Red Bull tester had returned to regular duties after strutting his timesheet-topping stuff in hopes of securing a race drive with Toro Rosso – and then he served up more of the same in the A-car while carrying out brake tests.

He set a fastest time of 1:17.704, beating BMW’s Nick Heidfeld into second place by more than a second. The German was testing slick tyres on a modified 2008 car and his fastest lap was 1:19.223, narrowly faster than F1 debutant Brendon Hartley in the second Red Bull with 1:19.586.

Bringing up the rear were BMW tester Christian Klien on 1:19.655 in the KERS-equipped car and Williams tester Nico Hulkenberg on 1:20.704, driving a FW30B and evaluating setups, aerodynamics and tyres.

At the same time as Jerez testing continued, McLaren and Ferrari were conducting their own intriguing head-to-head battle at a new Portugese venue – the 2.91-mile Algarve International Motor Park, otherwise known as Portimao. The track can produce 32 different configurations and has sprinklers to simulate wet conditions.

McLaren test driver Gary Paffett drove the KERS-equipped MP4-23K for 63 laps with a best time of 1:31.788, assessing a 2009 front wing plus the new energy recovery system.

His team said of the test: “A first Formula One test at the impressive new Autodromo Internacional do Algarve facility in Portugal. Gary spent the majority of the day in the KERS-equipped 23K putting further mileage on the electrical unit and 2009-spec front wing.

“He also carried out some brief running in the 23A in a bid to more accurately assess the set-up required for this new circuit. Pedro de la Rosa takes over for the remaining two days of this single-car test.”

Felipe Massa was piloting a modified F2008 during the morning, but had to retire from the afternoon session after becoming ill. He had been continuing his team’s engine life testing as well as assessing slick tyre set-ups and completed 36 laps with a best time of 1:32.926 before his exit.

Ferrari testers Luca Badoer and Marc Gene were slated to take over for the remaining two days of the test.

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