The first full day of Jerez testing was like a flashback to November and Barcelona for Toro Rosso drivers Sebastien Buemi and Sebastien Bourdais after the duo comfortably topped the unofficial timesheets.
Also present were McLaren and BMW Sauber, each running two cars, Ferrari, Renault and Williams. Needless to say, Honda was not at the test, and Toyota is testing in Bahrain instead.
Williams started work on Monday in order to review the performance Formula 3 Euro Series racer Dani Clos following the Spaniard’s F1 debut with the team in September.
The weather served up just about every variation the teams could have asked for, with fog in the morning, intermittently dry and damp conditions in the afternoon and a downpour to finish off with.
The cars on the track were still distinctly 2008-spec with most teams due to unveil next year’s models in January.
Toro Rosso’s Buemi, officially still the Red Bull tester and as yet unconfirmed in the drive, was the only driver to put in a sub-1:19 lap with his time of 1:18.742. Colleague Bourdais, still waiting to hear if he will have a race seat next year, repeated the feat with the only other sub-1:20 time of 1:19.288.
Former Honda and Super Aguri racer Takuma Sato, who has already tested twice with Toro Rosso, will join the team for a third session at Jerez.
In third and fourth places, with times just a few tenths of a second apart, were the two McLaren test drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett, both of whom have recently been linked with race drives at Mercedes-backed Force India. Neither put in a high lap total after the team restricted its running thanks to the weather.
In fifth place, back in the cockpit for the first time since the Brazilian Grand Prix, was Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, while BMW’s Nick Heidfeld was sixth.
The field was rounded off by Williams’ Kazuki Nakajima, Renault’s Nelson A Piquet and BMW’s tester Christian Klien with restricted running thanks to a suspected mechanical problem on his KERS-equipped car.
Day one test times:
- Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso: 1:18.742 (91 laps)
- Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso: 1:19.288 (77 laps)
- Gary Paffett, McLaren: 1:20.134 (26 laps)
- Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren: 1:20.164 (21 laps)
- Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari: 1:20.261 (48 laps)
- Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber: 1:20.678 (49 laps)
- Kazuki Nakajima, Williams: 1:21.338 (57 laps)
- Nelson A Piquet, Renault: 1:21.547 (124 laps)
- Christian Klien, BMW Sauber: 1:22.098 (15 laps)