On Tuesday three teams took to the track a day early for the final test of the 2008 F1 season, all taking the chance to evaluate young drivers.
For BMW Sauber Fisichella Motorsport’s Marko Asmer, GP2’s sole Estonian entrant, set the fastest lap times.
This was not his F1 debut – he had previously tested for the Williams BMW team in 2003.
But with the progression between GP2 and F1 proving less clear-cut than usual this year, it was certainly an interesting development.
According to the team, he “worked on the basic set-up of the car to improve his skills as a test driver. Driving 79 laps today, Asmer stayed just inside the ‘Young Driver Day’ mileage limit of 350 kms.
“As parts of the Jerez circuit have been resurfaced recently, the team was also able to collect data on what are now different track conditions.”
In the Williams car, and second-fastest, was 19-year-old Catalonian Formula Three Euroseries driver Dani Clos, reportedly being evaluated as a future tester.
Sam Michael, the team’s technical director, said of the day: “After successful preliminary tests of the KERS flywheel today, the team will be undertaking more component testing tomorrow, part of which will include 2009 aero parts and rear wing.”
Last but not least, and of most interest to Brits on Pole readers, was Trident Racing’s Mike Conway, who has just completed a disappointing season in GP2 – a season that started with high expectations and did not see them met.
A member of Honda’s driver development programme, this is not Conway’s first time in an F1 car. However it was his first chance to try out the team’s new Kinetic Energy Recovery System, due to be introduced in 2009.
According to the team: “Mike completed four runs over 20 laps in the morning session before a sensor wiring problem brought the day’s running to an earlier than planned conclusion.”
Day one test times:
- Marko Asmer, BMW Sauber: 1:20.189 (79 laps)
- Dani Clos, Williams: 1:23.224 (75 laps)
- Mike Conway, Honda: 1:24.123 (20 laps)