F1

Toyota trims years in private Bahrain test

Lewis Hamilton's impact continues to be felt in Formula One. As Hamilton, 23, parties through the off-season to destress from two seasons of losing then winning the FIA World Drivers' Championship by the narrowest of margins, a youth-development...

Lewis Hamilton's impact continues to be felt in Formula One. As Hamilton, 23, parties through the off-season to destress from two seasons of losing then winning the FIA World Drivers' Championship by the narrowest of margins, a youth-development movement lies in his wake.

Scuderia Toro Rosso has graduated youthful winner Sebastian Vettel, 21, to senior team Red Bull Racing with a worthy successor, Sebastien Buemi, eager to step in. Buemi has made a convincing show of his talents in close-season testing last month and this week in Spain.

At the same time, Toyota has tested F3 Euroseries driver Henki Waldschmidt in Bahrain. The Dutch youngster is involved in the Toyota Young Drivers Program.

In the company of team racer Jarno Trulli, The Hague native Waldschmidt, 20, completed 128 laps and lowered his times from Wednesday to Thursday despite needing to learn the course.

His first-time experience reinforced the unique position in the sport of F1 machinery.

"It has been a fantastic experience, and I have learned a lot," Waldschmidt said. "The performance of the TF108 is incredible compared to the cars I am used to driving, and the experience of handling the power, the brakes, and the downforce will be very helpful to me in my career.

"I was very impressed to see how professional the team is, and I can understand why they have made so much progress in the last year or so. They gave me a lot of useful information to prepare me for each day and helped me to improve my understanding of the car."

Said test team manager Gerd Pfeiffer, "He has made a good impression."

In a three-day test the concluded Friday, Trulli tested the full array of changes as the sport readies for a rules shift. Trulli drove 258 laps in evaluating slicks, downforce changes, a new gearbox and an RVX-08 engine. He put in a quick lap of 1 minute, 32.463 seconds. Waldschmidt's best was 1:33.430.

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