The final big test before the 2008 season was completed this week and it wasn’t Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen or Michael Schumacher who set the fastest time – it was Jarno Trulli. Afterwards a confident Trulli praised the new Toyota:
The TF108 is a completely different car. Last year straightaway I knew we had a huge problem, but this year I am much more confident. It’s like a real racing car. You change things and you can feel the difference. This is a very good feeling for me and the team.
Will Toyota be fighting at the sharp end this year? Here’s a round-up of how the teams fared at Barcelona.
Kimi Raikkonen’s ninth place overall for the week’s testing cannot be reflective of Ferrari’s true performance. If, as some have suggested, Ferrari are already happy with their Melbourne set-up and are looking further beyond the first race of the year, that is ominous news for their rivals.
Raikkonen did a race simulation on the final day, but like all the other drivers was stymied by the large number of red flags that interrupted the test. He also had to bring his car into the pits for a precautionary check at one point – the only chink in the team’s armour so far seems to be reliability.
The team deployed Michael Schumacher to test on the first day, who reported back that the new car was stronger in every area than its predecessor.
Felipe Massa’s 1’20.5 lap from last week remains the quickest lap around Catalunya from this year’s testing. For a complete breakdown of the fastest laps see this table supplied by Vittorio.
Likewise BMW seemed to be keeping something in reserve although they also suffered car problems – Nick Heidfeld stopped with a gearbox problem on Wednesday. The team did practice pit stops and starts as well.
Chief test engineer Christian Silk said the team had been “ambitious” with their testing programme and had a lot of work to do on evaluating the information gathered before the first race.
Despite the wet weather on the first day Nico Rosberg completed a race simulation, and Kazuki Nakajima did one on the second day while Rosberg worked on set-ups. As with many other teams they spent the final day doing pre-race checks for Melbourne.
The team ran the last of its six interim liveries, this one showing lines that indicated where the elements of the definitive livery will be placed. They seem to confirm the leaked livery design seen earlier this year.
Sebastian Vettel stood in for David Coulthard on the second day of the test as Coulthard trapped a nerve in his back on the bumpy circuit on the first day. Coulthard returned for the final day of testing to post the third-fastest time of the week, while Mark Webber tested the latest aerodynamic developments for Melbourne.
Even this close to the start of the season Toyota are still giving track time to test driver Kamui Kobayashi, who drove the car on the first day. Thereafter race drivers Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli took up the running, with Trulli posting the fastest time of the week on the last day of testing.
Is this a sign that the TF108 is a much faster car than many people think? Or was this a low-fuel glory run on a day when most other teams were doing systems checks ahead of the first race? Trulli was certainly encouraged by the time:
Even though this is only a test, it?óÔé¼Ôäós nice to see the mechanics and the guys smiling because today?óÔé¼Ôäós times are good motivation. There is still room for improvement but this shows the team has done a good job over the winter tests. Of course we won?óÔé¼Ôäót know the real running order until Melbourne but I?óÔé¼Ôäóm quite confident for the season. It?óÔé¼Ôäós definitely looking much better than last year so I?óÔé¼Ôäóm happy for the team.
Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
Vettel’s attempts to do a race simulation on the first day were spoiled by rain and then by a car problem. He switched to Red Bull on Tuesday so Sebastien Bourdais got some extra running in and did a race distance on each of the last two days.
Honda did more laps than anyone else this week but also looked slow. On top of that their running on Tuesday was interrupted by reliability problems. The team have a private, three-day test at Jerez next week to test out their new aerodynamic package which they badly need to bring them closer to the midfield.
Force India had the final version of the VJM01 on the track this week. They encountered a few reliability problems and Adrian Sutil reported difficulty optimising tyre pressures on race-length distances.
Nonetheless Mike Gascoyne professed himself happy:
Overall the race pace was very good, particularly Giancarlo?óÔé¼Ôäós, and was competitive over the three days. We have actually made a step forward and we know we have got another substantial improvement for Melbourne, so well done to all the team for its hard work. We will now go back to the factory to get ready for the first race of the season.
Lewis Hamilton was fastest on the first two days of testing, edging Raikkonen and Schumacher by a couple of hundredths on Monday, then topping the times along with Heikki Kovalainen on Tuesday.
After the test Martin Whitmarsh said:
Both the test and race teams were present in Barcelona, with the latter completing their process of familiarisation with the MP4-23. This included race simulations, qualifying runs and pit stop practices as we make our final preparations for the start of the 2008 season.
Catalunya testing times, 25-27 February
1 Jarno Trulli, Toyota – 1’20.801
2 Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes MP4/23 – 1’21.234
3 David Coulthard, Red Bull-Renault RB4 – 1’21.258
4 Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota FW30 – 1’21.293
5 Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes MP4/23 – 1’21.309
6 Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault RB4 – 1’21.368
7 Nelson Piquet Jnr, Renault – 1’21.443
8 Fernando Alonso, Renault – 1’21.454
9 Kimi R?â?ñikk?â?Ânen, Ferrari – 1’21.722
10 Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota FW30 – 1’21.796
11 Timo Glock, Toyota – 1’22.155
12 Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Ferrari VJM01 – 1’22.233
13 Felipe Massa, Ferrari – 1’22.513
14 Robert Kubica, BMW F1.08 – 1’22.299
15 Michael Schumacher, Ferrari – 1’22.428
16 S?â?®bastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso-Ferrari STR2B – 1’22.457
17 Adrian Sutil Force, India-Ferrari VJM01 – 1’22.521
18 Sebastian Vettel*, Red Bull-Renault RB4 – 1’22.558
19 Nick Heidfeld BMW, F1.08 – 1’22.624
20 Jenson Button, Honda RA108 – 1’22.659
21 Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India-Ferrari VJM01 – 1’22.942
22 Rubens Barrichello, Honda RA108 – 1’23.169
23 Sebastian Vettel*, Toro Rosso-Ferrari STR2B – 1’23.188
24 Christian Klien, BMW F1.08 – 1’23.442
25 Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota – 1’23.880
26 Alexander Wurz, Honda RA108 – 1’24.154
* Vettel drove both the Red Bull and Toro Rosso
Catalunya testing mileage
1 Honda – 563 laps, 2620km
2 Williams-Toyota – 538 laps, 2504m
3 Renault – 531 laps, 2471m
4 Force India-Ferrari – 505 laps, 2350m
5 McLaren-Mercedes – 492 laps, 2290m
6 Ferrari – 468 laps, 2178m
7 BMW – 444 laps, 2066m
8 Toyota – 424 laps, 1973m
9 Red Bull-Renault – 421 laps, 1959m
10 Toro Rosso-Ferrari – 291 laps, 1354m
More on 2008 F1 testing
- 2008 F1 testing round-up 1: Circuit de Catalunya
- 2008 F1 testing round-up 2: Circuit de Catalunya
- 2008 F1 testing round-up 3: Jerez
- 2008 F1 testing round-up 4: Valencia
- 2008 F1 testing round-up 5: Circuit de Catalunya
- 2008 F1 testing round-up 6: Bahrain
- 2008 F1 testing round-up 7: Bahrain
- 2008 F1 testing round-up 8: Jerez
- 2008 F1 testing round-up 9: Catalunya & Valencia
- Video: F1 testing in Valencia (part 1)
- Video: F1 testing in Valencia and Jerez (part 2)
- Video: F1 testing at Barcelona (part 3)
- Video: F1 testing at Bahrain (part 4)
- Video: F1 testing at Jerez (part 5)
- Video: F1 testing at Barcelona (part 6)