On a day better suited to touring the aquarium or viewing Monty Python's Holy Grail, BMW Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld toughed out strong winds in his first drive of the F1.09 at Valencia, Spain.
Although track and ambient temperatures slowly crept up, reaching the 70s Fahrenheit (20s Celsius), wind gusts to 30 mph (50 km/h) prompted the team to change a planned program. Scheduled setup evaluations became reliability tests. Heidfeld made several long runs to log miles. He was able to switch back to mechanical setup when conditions abated in the afternoon. Heidfeld covered 92 laps of the 2.488-mile Ricardo Tormo circuit. No lap times were released.
"Finally, I could drive the F1.09 for the very first time," Heidfeld said. "We still have a lot of work to do, but we are making progress with each kilometer, and the reliability is already there. Overall, the F1.09 handles quite differently to last year's car. Fortunately, I managed to work on the setup in the afternoon. The most important result after my first day of testing is that the car reacts as intended to setup changes."
The team based in Hinwil, Switzerland, completes its private test Saturday.