Bahrain sandstorm stops test

A sandstorm over the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain has halted test proceedings this morning and has made further running look unlikely today. The weather, by no means unusual in that part of the world, has meant that the emergency helicopter is unable to fly, and under FIA rules no test can take place without such a facility. The news will frustrate Ferrari, BMW Sauber and Toyota who opted to test in Bahrain instead of at Jerez.

Tuesday’s running was also weather-disrupted, with the planned start delayed by two hours because of fog. The teams were able to get some track time in the afternoon however, and ran for the most part their 2009-spec machines. The 2009-specification cars’ best laps were very close, led by Toyota’s Timo Glock, who was followed by Felipe Massa in the new Ferrari F60. BMW’s Robert Kubica stopped on the track just after lunch with a mechanical problem, but was able to post the third-fastest time.

Meanwhile, weather today in southern Spain has markedly improved, increasing teams’ ability to test dry weather settings. The possibility of rain had worried many teams at Jerez after the test at Portimao last month was disrupted.