Vettel quickest on day 2 at Barcelona

vettelRed Bull’s new boy flies in Barcelona

Sebastian Vettel marked his first outing as an official Red Bull Racing driver in impressive style after topping the time sheets on the second day of testing at Barcelona.

The Italian Grand Prix winner lapped 1:19.751 around the Circuit de Catalunya which was enough to see him edge out yesterday’s pacesetter Takuma Sato, Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastien Buemi, all of whom were at the helm for Toro Rosso, Vettel’s former team.

“I have really enjoyed the test and it was great to be back in the car,” said Sato. “The last test in September was a little disappointing, because I could do only 3 hours, as it rained in the afternoon.

“But this test has been great – I have now done my first full day’s driving in 7 months and completed a total of 200 laps. The car has worked really well and felt great to drive.

“I enjoyed working with the team and it was very interesting for me to see how the engineers work. It was a great experience and chance for me and so I would like to say a big thanks to Red Bull and Mr. Mateschitz, as well as to the Scuderia Toro Rosso team.”

McLaren’s test driver Gary Paffett completed the top five spending the morning in the KERS-fitted MP4-23 before an oil leak prompted him to switch the vacant MP4-23 in the afternoon.

Today’s times:

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:19.751 70
2. Sato Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:20.017 79
3. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:20.034 48
4. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:20.223 99
5. Paffett McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:21.340 31

TEST NOTES:

Red Bull Racing

Sebastien Vettel
RB4 – 05
Time: 1:19.751

Given that the teams present at this test are running a very wide range of different aerodynamic configurations, in preparation for the 2009 rules, it doesn t mean too much, but nevertheless, Sebastian Vettel s first session as an official Red Bull Racing driver got off to a good start, as he posted today s fastest time.

In fact, the top four times all came courtesy of a chassis designed by Red Bull Technology, as sister team Toro Rosso, set the next three best times. Once Sebastian was settled in, he carried on with the programme begun yesterday by Sebastien Loeb, which centred mainly on tyre data acquisition, running the softer of the two types of Bridgestone slicks available here.

A brake problem meant some track time was lost in the morning, but the programme was back on schedule come the end of the day.

McLaren-Mercedes

Gary Paffett
Laps completed 31 (MP4-23K); 46 (MP4-23A
1m21.340 at 12:07pm

Gary switched to MP4-23K – the KERS test car – but his day s work was cut short at lunchtime when a minor oil leak prompted the team to effect a precautionary switch to the vacant MP4-23. The team spent the afternoon running aero and slick tyre evaluation runs. Gary will return to MP4-23K tomorrow.

Ferrari

Luca Badoer and Marc Gené
F2008

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro s test session continued today at the Catalunya Circuit near Barcelona. For the second day, the world champion team s official test drivers, Luca Badoer and Marc Gene were on track.

The two drivers continued with the work programme initiated yesterday, which focused mainly on engine and gearbox reliability for Luca and a comparison of different set-ups for Marc. The day in figures is as follows: 127 laps for Luca (best time 1.22.425,) 31 for Marc (1.22.772.) Testing continues at this circuit tomorrow, when Luca Badoer will be the team s sole driver.

BMW Sauber

Robert Kubica
Chassis / engine: BMW Sauber F1.08B-03 / BMW 86/9
Test kilometres today: 354 km (76 laps)
Fastest lap: 1:21.521 min

Nick Heidfeld
Chassis / engine: BMW Sauber F1.08B-06 / BMW 86/9 KERS
Test kilometres today: 378 km (81 laps)
Fastest lap: 1:22.945 min

Today the BMW Sauber F1 Team again concentrated on development work with the 2009 season in sight. Both test cars were interim cars based on the F1.08 with some aerodynamic components complying with the 2009 regulations. Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld completed 76 and 81 laps (354 and 378 kms) respectively, tyres and reliability being the main focus of today’s work.

“Of course we loose a lot of downforce compared to the 2008 car,” Kubica said explaining the effect of the new rules governing aerodynamics.

“But because we are back from grooved to slick tyres, we have substantially more grip in slow corners. So with some more development I don.t think there will be too big a difference between the 2009 and 2008 cars.”

Renault

Nelson Piquet, R28-04, 85 laps, 396 km, fastest lap 1:22.348
Giedo van der Garde, R28-05, 37 laps, 172 km, fastest lap 1:23.250

The ING Renault F1 Team continued its winter testing programme today in Barcelona as the team’s regular driver Nelson Piquet was again joined by young Dutchman, Giedo van der Garde. Nelson completed a full day’s work, while Giedo drove for half the day as reward for winning the World Series by Renault earlier this year.

The team worked on a similar programme to yesterday with the main emphasis being data collection and evaluation of the slick Bridgestone tyres. There was also further running with 2009-type set-ups to give the team further information, which will be fed into next year’s car. Giedo enjoyed another strong outing with the team, completing 37 laps and building on the work he completed yesterday. He adapted well to the team’s technical programme and continued to give the engineers valuable feedback.

Nelson will remain in the car tomorrow as the team runs just a single car for the final day of testing.

Nelson Piquet: “It was a similar day to yesterday as we continued learning about the slick tyres and working on the car set-up by trying to simulate next year’s settings. It was a bit cooler than yesterday, but the track conditions were not too bad and we didn’t have any problems with the car, which allowed us to get a good number of laps in. So a positive second day, which we can build on tomorrow.”

Giedo van der Garde: “I’ve had another really enjoyable day working with the team and helping them with their preparations for next year. Towards the end of the morning I had the chance to do a couple of new tyres runs, which helped me build confidence in the car and each time I improved my lap times. We made good progress across the two half days and the team was happy with how things went so overall it has been a very positive experience. I’m grateful to the ING Renault F1 Team for giving me this opportunity.”

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Sebastien Buemi, STR3-01
Best time: 1:20.223

Takuma Sato, STR3-04
Best time: 1:20.017

Sebastien Bourdais, STR3-04
1:20.034

A busy day with two cars and three drivers: Sebastien Buemi drove all day, while Takuma Sato jumped out of the cockpit at the end of the morning, to hand over to Sebastien Bourdais. Buemi and Sato did some long runs to gather data on the new slick tyres, with the Swiss driver having an off-track excursion on his first set of new rubber. However, he recovered well to complete another high mileage day, after yesterday s performance, which is a testament to his physical condition, given that the cars are more physically demanding to drive on slick tyres.

Sato finished his programme by doing a long stint at race pace, before handing over to Bourdais. “I have really enjoyed the test and it was great to be back in the car,” commented the Japanese driver. “The last test in September was a little disappointing, because I could do only 3 hours, as it rained in the afternoon. But this test has been great – I have now done my first full day s driving in 7 months and completed a total of 200 laps. The car has worked really well and felt great to drive. I enjoyed working with the team and it was very interesting for me to see how the engineers work.

It was a great experience and chance for me and so I would like to say a big thanks to Red Bull and Mr. Mateschitz, as well as to the Scuderia Toro Rosso team.” Bourdais, no stranger to slick tyres because of his time running them in Champ Cars in the USA, commented that Bridgestone has made a step forward in tyre performance and consistency, since he tested them earlier in the year. However, it was evident that the softer of the two types of tyre had a clear advantage over the harder one. Buemi and Bourdais continue running tomorrow for the final day of this test.