Rain plainly dampens F1 test in Spain

Overcast skies and cool temperatures gave way to outright rain in Jerez, Spain, for Formula One testing Thursday. Few teams of eight testing were prepared to seize the chance of a damp track. "As we might have some rain during the forthcoming...

Overcast skies and cool temperatures gave way to outright rain in Jerez, Spain, for Formula One testing Thursday. Few teams of eight testing were prepared to seize the chance of a damp track. "As we might have some rain during the forthcoming races, we took this opportunity to work on the car's wet-weather setup," BMW Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld said.

Heidfeld rolled to second-quick time in 70 laps in the F1.08-06 and was one of only two drivers to complete as many. Sebastian Vettel set fast time of the day, 1 minute, 18.001 seconds, in 37 laps in a Red Bull RB4. Heidfeld's best was 1:18.167.

Honda also continued in the wet, test driver Alex Wurz adjusting to wet tires on the RA108 and putting in 79 laps, quickest of which was 1:19.499.

Teams continued testing the latest aerodynamic configurations that will take them through the remaining four races and worked on kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) ahead of the scheme's introduction next season.

Vettel's usual ride, a Scuderia Toro Rosso STR3, was in the hands of F1 veteran Takuma Sato, whose last appearance in the sport was the Spanish Grand Prix. Sato's most recent team, Super Aguri, put together just for the Japanese star, went out of business after the April race. Sato is being looked at for a ride with Toro Rosso, who lose Vettel to Red Bull altogether next season. Sato was sixth-quick; he recorded a 1:19.574 in 49 laps.

"At the start of the day we were collecting aero data," Sato said. "Then by the end of the morning we began timed runs so I could really feel the car, and I started to enjoy the laps. Unfortunately, in the afternoon it started to rain so we had to stop. That was a great shame, as I was looking forward to proper running in the afternoon. Although I couldn't complete the day due to the weather conditions, I really enjoyed driving the STR3. I would like to say a big 'thank you' to Red Bull and to the team for giving me this great opportunity."

Among restricted runners, Brazilian Lucas di Grassi was third-fastest in the Renault R28-04 with a 1:18.999 in 39 laps, and Pedro de la Rosa fourth-fast for McLaren Mercedes with a 1:19.281 in 39 laps. Kamui Kobayashi completed 47 laps for Toyota with a best of 1:19.863.

"It was quite cool today but the track conditions were good in the morning and there was definitely better grip than yesterday," Di Grassi said. "I'm also getting used to the car, and the more laps I do, the more confident I feel. We didn't do any running in the wet, but we were able to test a few more parts this morning that the team will be taking to the race next week."

Teams take off soon for Singapore and the first night race of the series, scheduled for Sept. 28. Bridgestone has announced its tire compound designations will be marked with reflective material so fans can distinguish them.

Kazuki Nakajima was well of the pace in the Williams FW30. The race driver completed 60 laps with a best of 1:21.892.

Meantime in Italy, Ferrari race drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa worked at two different tracks together. Drivers championship points runner-up Massa put the cars to be sent to Singapore through a shakedown at Fiorano. Defending world champion Raikkonen continued developing aero bits and working on the F2008's setup at Mugello. Raikkonen covered 79 laps with a best time of 1:21.079.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Pedro de la Rosa , Nick Heidfeld , Kimi Raikkonen , Alexander Wurz , Felipe Massa , Lucas di Grassi , Sebastian Vettel , Kazuki Nakajima
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Toro Rosso , Williams