In the best possible omen for Brawn GP’s first season in F1, Rubens Barrichello equalled Jenson Button’s feat in putting his car at the top of the timesheet on the final day of this week’s Barcelona test.
Barrichello was some eight-tenths of a second ahead of the second-placed runner, Williams’ Nico Rosberg, who followed him with a time of 1:19.774.
The Brazilian veteran said: “I’m very pleased with the mileage that we have achieved today and the completion of another full race distance.
“The qualifying exercises were also very useful in enabling the team and I to get fully up to speed and ready for Melbourne.
“The car has proved fast and reliable throughout the week so we go to Jerez feeling positive and pleased with the results of our first test outing.”
Team principal Ross Brawn added: “We are extremely pleased with the inaugural test of the BGP 001 car in Barcelona this week.
“The team made a very late start to our preseason testing program with only seven days in which to run the car before the first race in Melbourne, therefore, our focus has been on reliability and achieving as much mileage as possible.
“Both of these aims have been successfully achieved this week. That the car has run so reliably ‘out of the box’ is a tribute to the strong team that we have at our factory in Brackley, and they have done a great job during a very difficult period.”
He said that the car was performing to expectations, and that feedback from the drivers had been positive, with both completing full race distances.
“We have three further days of testing in Jerez next week to complete our preparations for the first race and I look forward to seeing how the car progresses from here.”
The team is due to spend a final week testing in Jerez before the season start.
In third place, around three-tenths of a second back from Rosberg, was Toyota’s Timo Glock with a fastest lap time of 1:20.091.
Behind him in fourth was Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel on 1:20.576 while Renault’s Fernando Alonso put in a best time of 1:20.664 to net himself fifth position on the unofficial timesheet.
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was sixth on 1:20.677 was sixth overall, around a second and a half behind compatriot Barrichello. BMW Sauber finished their winter testing programme with a seventh place on the timesheet and a fastest lap of 1:20.740 thanks to racer Robert Kubica.
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton managed to lift himself off the bottom of the timesheet with an eighth-place finish and a fastest lap of 1:20.869 in a day devoted to mechanical set-up.
The team said of the Barcelona test: “The final day was spent focusing on mechanical set-up – successfully developing MP4-24 and learning positive directions for improvement.
“The team now travels back to Jerez for the final pre-season test before heading to Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix.”
Ninth on the timesheet was Force India’s Giancarlo Fisichella, who has had less time in the car than team-mate Adrian Sutil during the off-season, and who produced a fastest lap of 1:21.045.
In the final spot was Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Bourdais, with a fastest lap of , having stood aside to allow rookie Sebastien Buemi more practice laps in the car.
Day four test times:
- Rubens Barrichello. Brawn GP: 1:18.926 (110 laps)
- Nico Rosberg, Williams: 1:19.774 (120 laps)
- Timo Glock, Toyota: 1:20.091 (128 laps)
- Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull: 1:20.576 (83 laps)
- Fernando Alonso, Renault: 1:20.664 (64 laps)
- Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 1:20.677 (92 laps)
- Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber: 1:20.740 (134 laps)
- Lewis Hamilton, McLaren: 1:20.869 (70 laps)
- Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso: 1:21.013 (62 laps)
- Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India: 1:21.045 (141 laps)
- Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso: 1:21.629 (27 laps)