Caldarelli completes Panasonic Toyota Racing test
Panasonic Toyota Racing brought the curtain down on its 2008 testing programme by introducing a new face behind the wheel of the TF108, with Italian youngster Andrea Caldarelli completing his first official Formula 1 test.
The 17th and final test of the year for Panasonic Toyota Racing saw the team continue its work at the Bahrain International Circuit, taking advantage of the good weather conditions to ensure its annual 30,000km test allowance was fully used.
Andrea is 18 years old and hails from the same Italian city as Jarno Trulli, Pescara. He was given the chance to test a TF108 thanks to the Toyota Young Drivers Programme (TDP) which has supported his career since 2007.
Andrea, who last season raced in both the Formula Renault West European Championship and Eurocup, completed 128 laps in total during Monday and Tuesday, putting in a consistent performance and ending with a best lap of 1min 33.170secs, just two seconds off Jarno's qualifying time for the Bahrain Grand Prix, despite different track conditions.
He said: "This has been a great experience for me and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. To get the chance to test a Formula 1 car when I am still only 18 is such a good opportunity and I was determined to make the most of it.
"Obviously the TF108 is a big step up compared to my usual car; the power is amazing but so are the brakes, and the grip you have going round corners takes a few laps to adjust to. I think I did a good job considering the circuit is new to me and this is my first full Formula 1 test.
"I would like to say thank you to Panasonic Toyota Racing for giving me the chance to test the TF108. This experience gives me extra motivation to fight as hard as possible to one day race a Formula 1 car."
Timo Glock was also in action in Bahrain, continuing the programme of 2009 preparation which Jarno began last week.
That meant analysing the new Bridgestone Potenza slick tyres in conjunction with a low-downforce aerodynamic configuration, while the RVX-08 engine was put through its paces with an eye on next season, when engines must last for three race weekends.
In addition, a new gearbox and other mechanical devices were tested while some work was completed to advance the team's Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) development. The team expect to test KERS for the first time on track in January.
Timo made good progress, gathering plenty of data to assist in preparations for next season. He completed a total of 258 laps with a best time of 1min 32.090s. Third driver Kamui Kobayashi used up the final kilometres of the team's 2008 testing allowance, completing 33 laps today.