It makes no difference to Sebastian Vettel: Toro Rosso or Red Bull, the German's happy to stick a car atop a timesheet. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing. Photo by xpb.cc. So he did Tuesday in a second day of Formula One testing at...
It makes no difference to Sebastian Vettel: Toro Rosso or Red Bull, the German's happy to stick a car atop a timesheet.
So he did Tuesday in a second day of Formula One testing at Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona, Spain. Vettel was in the only Red Bull chassis running. Three Toro Rosso chassis attended and the four drinks company cars fizzed to the top of time charts, on which all times are unofficial.
Touring in chilly, overcast conditions at the 2.89-mile course, Vettel completed 70 laps and posted the only one under 1 minute, 20 seconds. His 1:19.751 was .266 seconds quicker than Takuma Sato (1:20.017), driving a second day for Vettel's old team, Scuderia Toro Rosso. Sato drove a long stint at race pace. Lead driver for Super Aguri, the struggling team that failed four races into the 2008 season, Sato is in the frame to take one of two open seats at the Dieter Mateschitz-Gerhard Berger-owned sister team to Red Bull Racing.
"I have really enjoyed the test and it was great to be back in the car," Sato said. "The last test in September was a little disappointing because I could do only three hours, as it rained in the afternoon. But this test has been great. I have now done my first full day's driving in seven months and completed a total of 200 laps. The car has worked really well and felt great to drive. I enjoyed working with the team, and it was very interesting for me to see how the engineers work. It was a great experience and chance for me, so I would like to say a big thanks to Red Bull and Mr. Mateschitz, as well as to the Scuderia Toro Rosso team."
Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso teammate of Vettel this past season, is dueling with Swiss Sebastien Buemi for the other seat. Bourdais (1:20.034) and Buemi (1:20.223) completed 48 and 99 laps, respectively, testing two compounds of slicks. Bourdais praised Bridgestone's progress.
McLaren Mercedes tester Gary Paffett followed Buemi with a best lap of 1:21.340. The Briton was limited to 31 laps in the MP4-23K, as the kinetic energry recovery systerm or KERS-equipped model has been dubbed. An oil leak forced Paffett into a less exotic MP4-23 to spend the afternoon testing slick tires and aero bits.
BMW Sauber sent the A team for adding slick tires and 2009-spec bits to '08 cars. Robert Kubica drove an F1.08 76 laps to a 1:21.521, sixth best. Teammate Nick Heidfeld landed 14th on the list with a 1:22.945 after 81 laps in the KERS car. "Of course, we lose a lot of downforce compared to the 2008 car," Kubica said. "But because we are back from grooved to slick tires, we have substantially more grip in slow corners. So with some more development, I don't think there will be too big a difference between the 2009 and 2008 cars."
Nico Rosberg appeared with the only Williams, driving the modified FW30 to 113 laps that included a 1:21.525 fast lap. "Once again we were also running components from the 2009 aero package and experienced no mechanical problems with the car," test manager Dickie Stanford said.
Jenson Button put 110 laps on the Honda RA108 with a quick lap of 1:21.770, eight-quickest. The Englishman concentrated on tires, evaluating setups and balance.
A quick Adrian Sutil landed ninth on timesheets for Force India, lapping 58 times with a quick time of 1:22.073.
Honda continued to evaluate Renault test driver Lucas di Grassi, who also put in 110 laps for Honda, following Sutil with a quick lap of 1:22.283.
"I completed 110 laps today so I have had a really productive day and I am very pleased," di Grassi said. "I ran for the first time properly with new tires, and the difference was massive compared to the used tires from yesterday. With each new tire run I was getting faster and faster. The slick tire has much more grip and compared with the grooved tire is easier to drive and more consistent over a run. I was very pleased with the performance of the car, the way the day developed, and, ultimately, my lap time. I don't think the day could have gone much better."
Nelson Piquet followed Di Grassi on timesheets with a quick lap of 1:22.348 in the Renault R28-04. The Brazilian ran 85 laps again emphasizing data collection and tire evaluation. "It was a similar day to yesterday as we continued learning about the slick tires and working on the car setup by trying to simulate next year's settings," Piquet said. "It was a bit cooler than yesterday, but the track conditions were not too bad and we didn't have any problems with the car, which allowed us to get a good number of laps in." In the Renault R28-05, Dutchman Giedo van der Garde posted 15th-best time with a 1:23.250 in a half-day's 37 laps. Van der Garde said new-tire runs in particular gave him confidence.
"Another interesting day's testing, which saw us continue with the work we did yesterday by trying to understand the tires, as well as some R&D work," chief test engineer Christian Silk said. "We had a good morning running Giedo and he was quite competitive and gave good feedback to the engineers and worked well with the team. Nelson had a busy day jumping between the cars, working on the setup and collecting basic data on the tires, so it's been another productive day for us."
Ferrari test drivers Luca Badoer and Marc Gene followed with a second day of Badoer on engine-gearbox reliability and Gene on various setups. Badoer put in the day's heavy lifting by completing 127 laps with a best of 1:22.425. Gene ran 31 with a best of 1:22.772.
Unaccustomed as he is, usual McLaren test and backup driver Pedro de la Rosa ran last on timesheets in a Force India VJM01. The Spaniard completed 86 laps with a best of 1:23.499.