The only race drivers testing, Robert Kubica and David Coulthard ran second- and third-quickest, respectively, to Ferrari's Luca Badoer in Formula One testing at Barcelona, Spain, on Thursday. The experienced Italian ran a fast lap of 1 minute, ...
The only race drivers testing, Robert Kubica and David Coulthard ran second- and third-quickest, respectively, to Ferrari's Luca Badoer in Formula One testing at Barcelona, Spain, on Thursday. The experienced Italian ran a fast lap of 1 minute, 22.412 seconds on the Circuit de Catalunya, site of April's Spanish Grand Prix, as Scuderia Ferrari's official test driver experimented with aerodynamic settings and ran race setups for the F2008. Badoer completed 82 laps without technical incident.
Badoer was standing in for both Ferrari racers. Felipe Massa is at home in Sao Paolo, Brazil, this week resting, watching Euro 2008 on television, and writing his blog. World champion Kimi Raikkonen, whose Canadian weekend included a short race and a chance to play hockey in Montreal, home of the first organized indoor game.
Sunshine to start the testing day gave way to clouds then rain in the final scheduled hour. The wet brought the day's work to a premature halt.
World driving championship points leader Kubica came to testing fresh off victory at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal after establishing that BMW Sauber is on track to challenge the dominant F1 teams, Ferrari and McLaren Mercedes. No car but a Ferrari or a McLaren won a race in 2007; that trend continued through six races this season until Canada. After he finishes testing Friday, Kubica is scheduled to take part in BMW Sauber's Pit Lane Park exhibition that brings F1 racing to its fans. In a bit of nifty scheduling for the sport's first Polish driver, the park sets up in Warsaw, Poland, on Saturday.
Kubica drove a fast lap of 1:22.682 in 69 laps. He worked on aero and mechanical setups, evaluating options for the French Grand Prix in 10 days' time. A minor technical issue forced the Pole to stop on track until it was sorted. The F1.08, earning a reputation for reliability if not speed, was flawless thereafter.
Coulthard, coming off his first podium finish since Monaco 2006, shared a Red Bull RB4 with team test driver Sebastien Buemi. The veteran Scot driver posted a 1:22.724 in 21 laps of work. Buemi ran 79 laps with a 1:22.764 best.
Among nine drivers present -- only Force India was absent from the day's testing -- was England's Anthony Davidson, appearing for Honda after the collapse earlier this season of Honda-backed Super Aguri, the team that had given the veteran tester a racing job. Davidson posted a sixth-best time of 1:23.208 on unofficial charts. He stood in for Honda's regular tester Alex Wurz; the Austrian is in France preparing to race at Le Mans.
Nico Hulkenberg drove the Williams FW30 as the day's hardest-working tester. He completed 112 laps with a best lap of 1:23.619.
"He concentrated on race setups in the morning and then moved on to a race distance this afternoon," team test manager Dickie Stanford said. "We completed 112 laps with no problems before rain stopped play an hour before the end of the session. Nico Rosberg joins the test tomorrow and will focus on preparation work for Magny-Cours."
Frenchman Romain Grosjean stepped up from his GP2 series to debut as tester for Renault F1. Pointing to aero development for the French Grand Prix, his first job was to get comfortable in the car. He ran the Renault R28 for 60 laps. His best lap was a 1:23.899.
"It was a great day and I'm grateful for this opportunity to test the R28 and work with the team," Greosjean said. "It was interesting to see the difference between a GP2 car and an F1 car, which is quite incredible, especially the acceleration and the lateral grip. The team made me feel very welcome and everyone was helpful as they knew it was my first time in the car. It was a great experience for me."
Toyota's Kamui Kobayashi drove 82 laps with a best of 1:24.442 on a sad day for the team on the news that first team boss Ove Andersson, 70, died as a result of a vintage rallying accident in South Africa.
Andersson headed Toyota F1 from it inception in 2002 until he retired in 2003, after which he contributed as consultant. He was a legend in rallying, overseeing four drivers' championships and three team championships in World Rally Championship as Toyota became the dominant force in rallying in the 1990s. As a competitor in the 1970s, Andersson won Monte Carlo, San Remo, Acropolis and Safari rallies among seven world championship podiums. Under his direction, Toyota secured second place overall at the 1999 Le Mans 24 Hours.
Toyota Motorsport GmbH extended its deepest condolences to Andersson's family. A statement from chairman Todashi Yamashina read: "Everyone at Toyota is extremely shocked and truly saddened at this terrible news. Ove was an inspiration to our team and to many in motorsport. His passion for motorsport was legendary and he is a great loss to our sport. The thoughts of everyone at Toyota Motorsport are with Ove's family at this difficult time."
Andersson was instrumental in the founding of Toyota Team Europe, which grew out of his Andersson Motorsport. Toyota Team Europe later relocated to Cologne, Germany, and became Toyota Motorsport GmbH in 1993.