Test times are never official. Moreover, they can be meaningless. Yet we always want them. Wednesday's look-see at Bahrain International Circuit shows a mere half-second thrown over the three cars at test: Ferrari, BWM Sauber and Toyota.
Times held up against winds that blew throughout the day and cooled temperatures slightly. Track temperature fell by 5 degrees from Tuesday to nearly 90 Fahrenheit.
Timo Glock's 1 minute, 32.492 seconds led best laps on the 3.36-mile Bahrain International Circuit at Sakhir. Like his Toyota teammate Jarno Trulli did earlier this week, Glock led laps covered as well, putting in 132 in the TF109.
"This was another good day for us," Glock said. "We didn't have any major problems, and we again made it through a lot of work."
Toyota drew the reliability points of the day. First the Ferrari F60, with Felipe Massa at the wheel, then BMW Sauber's F1.09 with Nick Heidfeld aboard, stopped on track.
Massa's misery was a gearbox whose experimental parts went wrong, necessitating a change. That put the Brazilian in the garage for a couple hours before lunch. He returned to test setups. By afternoon he was onto race simulations, four 15-lap sprints at a time with refueling stops. A final run ended in another stop on course for an electronics problem. After their KERS box experience of the day before, the crew were outfitted in protective safety gear to thwart would-be shocks from the energy-capturing system.
Ferrari technical director Aldo Costa called the Bahrain sessions increasingly intense. Teams are well aware they are on reduced test days per cost cutting.
"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 the experiments, like the ones we had on the gearbox this morning," Costa said. "As far as the KERS is concerned, I have to say 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."
Massa completed the day with 105 laps covered, the best of them a 1:32.917.
Heidfeld had a smooth morning in the F1.09 with setups, practice starts, and tire evaluations, then stopped twice with mechanical problems in the afternoon.
"Obviously, that cost us some track time," Heidfeld said. "But despite this I managed to run for 444 kilometers (275 miles), and we made good progress with the development of the car. We are still learning the car and have already identified a few areas where we can make improvements."
The German hit a best lap of 1:32.993 in the 82 circuyits he made.