Test driver Christian Klien put BMW Sauber atop timesheets, albeit unofficial ones, Wednesday in the final Formula One test of the season. The Austrian was not originally scheduled to test Wednesday. He filled in for Robert Kubica, who bowed out...
Test driver Christian Klien put BMW Sauber atop timesheets, albeit unofficial ones, Wednesday in the final Formula One test of the season. The Austrian was not originally scheduled to test Wednesday. He filled in for Robert Kubica, who bowed out with a tooth infection.
Running at Circuito de Jerez in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, Klien covered the 4.4-kilometer, 2.7-mile course in a fast lap of 1 minute, 19.537 seconds. Second-quick was driver of the moment Sebastian Vettel for Red Bull, who covered 60 laps with a best of 1:19.878. A gearbox problem limited his mileage. He was followed by Red Bull test driver Sebasien Buemi in the Scuderia Toro Rosso STR3 in 1:20.209. A mechanical problem cut Buemi's time in the car; he completed 88 laps.
"It was a very good first day and I really want to thank Red Bull for the opportunity to test the car," Buemi said.
Former Super Aguri driver Takuma Sato is scheduled to test for Toro Rosso on Thursday.
Vettel, winner of last weekend's Italian Grand Prix drives for 160-employee Toro Rosso, the sport's smallest team, this season but will switch to Red Bull Racing in 2009. The Wednesday test at the wheel of the RB4 was a leg up on next season, when the German will partner Australian Mark Webber. Both teams' chassis are produced by independent firm Red Bull Technologies. The RB4 this season uses a Renault engine while the Toro Rosso STR3s use Ferraris.
Conditions were sunny throughout with track temperatures ranging from 70 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
Klien worked on mechanical setup of the F1.08 and tested aerodynamic settings. He drove 84 laps.
"A whole day's testing without any problems gave me the opportunity to provide the engineers with a lot of feedback on new components," Klien said. "The new surface on parts of the track provides better grip and has smoothed out bumps that were there before."
Among drivers of eight teams at Jerez -- Ferrari tested at Mugello, Italy; Force India did not test at Jerez -- only Vettel and Kazuki Nakajima were race drivers. Test and/or reserve drivers Gary Paffett for McLaren (1:20.602), Kamui Kobayashi for Toyota (1:20.759), Lucas di Grassi for Renault (1:20.853 in 90 laps), and Alexander Wurz for Honda (1:21.123 in 71 laps) filled out time slots ahead of Williams's Nakajima (1:23.171).
Three teams, BMW Sauber, Williams and Honda, on Tuesday used the "young driver test" day allowed teams. Teams also tested the kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) to be allowed for optional use next season.
"Today we tested some new parts for the last couple of races," Di Grassi said. "Everything went well and there were no problems during the day, although we had to get used to the new track surface as they have resurfaced it since the last time we were here. It's very different as they have taken out some curbs and added some curbs in other parts of the track. It was very hot in the afternoon, but it was nice to be back in the R28 and I quickly got comfortable with the car and I'm looking forward to the rest of the week."
Said Christian Silk, Renault chief test engineer, "It's been a while since Lucas has driven the car and so we spent some time getting him used to it once again. They have resurfaced the circuit, which has changed its characteristics a little bit for the car and the tires and so we had to learn about that this morning. But overall I'm reasonably happy with the first day as we've done a bit of work for the races coming up and will continue with that tomorrow."
Renault F1 reportedly have been granted a hefty budget increase for next season.
Teams are spending this final test opportunity between setting up cars for the final four races, including the sport's first night race, in Singapore at month's end, and looking ahead to next season, when rules changes will result in major chassis innovations.
In Italy, Luca Badoer completed 66 laps at Mugello with a best time of 1:21.010 in the Ferrari F2008. Setup and aero testing were the focus.
World champion Kimi Raikkonen spent the day on his blog, filing on Ferrariworld.com that his recent points form, including eight races without victory and five races without points, is not helping his title defense. "Five times no points in the standings are really a lot. You don't have to be Einstein to understand that this is not the right way to fight for the title," he wrote. "It's not over yet but now it will take a miracle like the one that makes lightning strike twice." He detailed the team's problems with cold tires and no grip under conditions such as those offered at Monza: rain and cool temperatures. "And now it seems as if it's going to rain at every outstanding race," he wrote. "We had enough water at Monza already." The world champion went on to say he had not lost his ability to drive in the wet at Monza but that he had no grip until late in the race when it was too late.
Raikkonen is scheduled to take over testing duties in Mugello on Thursday while driving teammate Felipe Massa, two points off the championship lead, will work at the home track at Fiorano to shake down cars intended to run in Singapore.