Race simulation completed at Sakhir
Sakhir, 18th February - It was a very intense day at Sakhir for the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, the penultimate day of this long testing session here in Bahrain.
The morning wasn't born under a lucky star. After the first lap with timekeeping Felipe Massa, back behind the wheel of the Ferrari F60, had to come back to the box, due to a problem with the gearbox, fitted with several experimental components. The gearbox was replaced and the Brazilian went back on the track just before 11am, testing some set up solutions with the race simulations ahead in the afternoon.
The endurance test was the most satisfying part of the day. Felipe completed four runs with 15 laps each, with pit stops for refuelling. At the end of the day Massa went back on the track for a last time to verify the car's set up, but due to an electronic problem on the first lap he had to stop and the F60 was brought back to the box with the breakdown lorry. Also on this occasion the safety procedures went into effect: the mechanics close to the car wore their protective suits to prevent possible electric shocks.
The strong wind on the track didn't stop all day, which made the track much slower, as seen in today's lap times by the three drivers on the track: the fastest driver was Timo Glock (Toyota) with a lap time of 1.32.492, followed by Felipe (1.32.917) and Nick Heidfeld (BMW) in 1.32.993. The unintentional protagonist of the final race in 2008 in Brazil was the one who drove more laps than anybody else: 132 laps by Glock, 105 by Felipe and 82 by Heidfeld.
"We're coming close to the end of this long test session here in Bahrain and the days are more and more intense," Aldo Costa, Technical Director of the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, said. "We have to exploit what the rules permit in terms of tests, as far as reliability, development and research in terms of performance are concerned. There might be some problems ahead, like the ones we've had over the two days with the completely new components of the KERS or with experiments, like the ones we had on the gearbox this morning. As far as the KERS is concerned I have to say that we're quite satisfied with what we've seen so far, although there's still lots of work to do. We used a standard configuration for the aerodynamics here in Bahrain, with just some minor updates: the complete one we'll see at the next tests in Jerez and Barcelona, where we will conclude our preparation for the Australian GP."
The tests will proceed tomorrow, once more with Felipe Massa behind the wheel.