F1

Winds hamper BMW Sauber final test day

BMW Sauber ends F1 test amid deadly gusts. On a day when winds gusting to more than 100 mph raked the Iberian Peninsula, beached sea birds and mammals, and killed at least nine people In Spain, including four boys who gathered to play...

BMW Sauber ends F1 test amid deadly gusts.

On a day when winds gusting to more than 100 mph raked the Iberian Peninsula, beached sea birds and mammals, and killed at least nine people In Spain, including four boys who gathered to play baseball in Barcelona, up the Mediterranean coast, and a man near Alicante to the south, BMW Sauber completed its first Formula One test of 2009 in Valencia.

Gusts reached 43 mph at Ricardo Tormo circuit, where Nick Heidfeld's program at the wheel of the F1.09-02 was changed as a result. The German concentrated on system checks early then focused on collecting data for mechanical evaluation.

"Although the test had to be interrupted once when the wind blew some debris over the track, I managed to do some long runs in the afternoon," Heidfeld said. "I finished the day with some race-start simulations on different tire compounds."

Sunshine accompanied the strong winds. Air and track temperatures reached the low 70s Fahrenheit. Heidfeld drove 226 miles or 91 laps. Per procedure for four days of private testing, the team provided no lap times.

"After Tuesday's shakedown in Valencia we went on to complete four days of testing," team managing director Walter Riedl said. "Covering a total of 1,887 kilometers (1,172 miles), the new BMW Sauber F1.09 was running without any noteworthy problems, which meant we were able to carry out a comprehensive test program on each day. At first it was a matter of testing the individual systems, after which we focused on setup work. We managed to collect a great deal of data and have already made initial progress.

"Although the strong winds made testing difficult during the last two days, we benefited from the fact that the track was dry throughout and outdoor temperatures were higher than during our tests in December, which meant we were able to glean some valuable insights concerning the tires as well. We have already used the 2009 version of the V8 engine with its rev limit of 18,000 rpm, as well as employing KERS. Overall, we are very happy with the testing, particularly with regard to the high reliability of the new car. Now we are naturally very keen to see where we stand in terms of the competition, but we will have to wait for the next test to gain a first impression."

The team next tests on two occasions in Bahrain in February.

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