BMW Sauber Jerez test comes to shocking end

BMW Sauber curtailed Formula One testing Tuesday at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, after one of its mechanics suffered an electric shock and was knocked to the ground. The incident happened after test driver Christian Klien had done installation...

BMW Sauber curtailed Formula One testing Tuesday at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, after one of its mechanics suffered an electric shock and was knocked to the ground. The incident happened after test driver Christian Klien had done installation laps in an F1.07C equipped with the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) scheduled for introduction next season. Klien returned to the garage, where the mechanic touched the car and was knocked over. Injuries to his left hand and arm were called slight. Another KERS-related accident was reported at Red Bull's Milton Keynes, England, base a week ago. That incident led to a fire.

BMW Sauber stopped its test to investigate the incident.

Meantime, Sebastian Vettel produced fastest lap of the day, 1 minute, 19.844 seconds, in a Toro Rosso. The German who moves to Red Bull next year drove 94 laps in testing aerodynamic and mechanical parts as well as brake materials. He set the quick lap in the morning before the track reached more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Gary Paffett drove second-quick for McLaren Mercedes, a 1:20.179.

"Official" Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer worked on aerodynamic considerations on the F2008 after a German Grand Prix in which race driver and current world champion Kimi Raikkonen, who finished sixth, said he lacked race pace and could not control the car's rear wheels despite a week's testing on the track the week before. Badoer spent the afternoon on slick tires ahead of next year's rules change. His best lap was a 1:20.697.

"This morning it was important to go deeply into some technical elements to understand what happened last Sunday in Hockenheim," Badoer said. "We picked up a lot of data, and that will continue over the next few days when we also test some solutions for the forthcoming races."

Raikkonen, who along with teammate Felipe Massa lost ground in the drivers' championship to McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, called the German Grand Prix "the most difficult weekend of the year." Reports emerged that Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo took charge of the team's Sunday-evening debrief.

Williams, too, suffered a lackluster German Grand Prix, but Nico Hulkenberg drove a fourth-best 1:20.953 in 58 laps Tuesday. His lap count was cut by a technical problem in the afternoon. He hands over to Nico Rosberg on Wednesday.

Sebastien Buemi rolled to a 1:20.997 for Red Bull, completing the day's high lap count, 110. He concentrated on suspension and development work. He hands over the Mark Webber on Wednesday.

Romain Grosjean, like Buemi a GP2 series regular, covered 71 incident-free laps for Renault, the fastest of them in 1:21.223. The team is continuing development work on the R28.

"It was my first time here in Jerez and so I had to learn the track this morning and worked gradually with the team improving the car throughout the day," Grosjean said. "It still feels amazing to drive this car, and I was glad to have the chance to work with the team again. It was quite difficult today because of the high temperatures, but I really enjoyed driving this circuit with the mix of high- and low-speed corners. I'm now looking forward to observing the team for the next couple of days to learn as much as I can."

Grosjean hands over to Nelsinho Piquet on Wednesday.

Chief test engineer Christian Silk lamented the heat but said it will work for the team.

"A hot day's work!" Silk said. "It was the second day of running we have done with Romain, and he did a good job on a circuit that was new to him. We concentrated on getting him comfortable with the car and he coped well with the difficult track conditions caused by the heat, which made the balance of the car quite tricky. Running in the heat may have been difficult, but some of the races coming up, such as Hungary, are traditionally very hot, and some of the things we have learned today will be relevant for those races."

Jarno Trulli, one of only two race drivers present, ran a 1:21.459 in 96 laps for the team trying to hold off Red Bull and Renault in the constructors' race. The Italian spent the day on 2009 development work, primarily slick tire testing.

"We have made a good start and collected some interesting data for the development of next year's car," Trulli said. "Tomorrow I will begin work to prepare for Hungary."

Alexander Wurz drove 84 laps for Honda, posting a 1:21.596. The team is upgrading the aerodynamic package, testing a new rear suspension, and running the slick tires that will reappear in F1 next season.

Force India, working on a new gearbox, were not on track in southern Spain, where summers are typically hot and dry. As usual, all times are unofficial.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jarno Trulli , Luca Badoer , Mark Webber , Kimi Raikkonen , Luca di Montezemolo , Alexander Wurz , Lewis Hamilton , Felipe Massa , Nico Rosberg , Gary Paffett , Christian Klien , Sebastian Vettel , Sébastien Buemi , Romain Grosjean
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Force India , Toro Rosso , Williams