F1 Teams Complete First Tests In Spain

JEREZ, Spain- Following many team launches in one single week’s time, the final test concluded Friday with Fernando Alonso finally getting used to his Ferrari, recording a 1:18:877 fastest lap of the day, despite problems that only gave the home driver completion of only 39 laps. Already Alonso’s engineer, Pat Fry, was quite disappointed after this four day test, concluding that this is where the team would not like to be.

But the test began on Tuesday this past week, right after the final F1 launch by Williams Grand Prix. Right away, even after a couple of years away from the cockpit, Kimi Raikkonen did not have any trouble with his Lotus, setting the best time of 1:19:670 while clocking 75 laps on the opening day. Kamui Kobyaschi experienced a fuel problem in the afternoon and brought his Sauber to a halt following an attempt to test the car for fuel consumption considering the Japanese already had put 106 laps for the seventh best time of the day.

By day two, another former world champion set the quickest time, but this former champion had won the title a record seven times. Michael Schumacher put in a faster time then Raikkonen’s the previous day, setting a 1:18:561 using a short run on softer tires. For Raikkonen himself, the day did not go to plan, as the Finn caused one of two red flags of the day, causing rocks to fly everywhere when the Finn ran wide on a section on the circuit.. The other stoppage occurred when there was just too much oil on the track, but considering this situation, there were no cars that stopped on the circuit during the day.

While Schumacher proved to many that his Mercedes could do a good job so early in the testing sessions, his teammate and fellow countryman Nico Rosberg carried the tradition the next day, by recording a faster 1:17:613 while completing 118 laps. Alonso took his Ferrari on the track for the first time, as many fellow Spaniards came to see him. Defending World Champion Sebastian Vettel also appeared and set the third fastest of the day. But Alonso had hydraulic issues early on, and could only manage 67 laps as the team tried to understand the new car. In the afternoon, the four day tests had the most excitement, when Williams test Guido Van der Garde spun in the gravel trap on turn ten, while Frenchman Jules Bianchi, testing the Force India entry, crashed into the barriers, heavily damaging his right rear and ending the team’s session. Because of the crash, the team had to wait for spare parts overnight, where Nico Hulkenberg will resume testing duties the next day.

While Alonso had the best time on the final day, more cars stopped out on track than any other test session all week. Bruno Senna had his Williams stop out on track, while Kobyaschi had the similar fate, which in turn, saw the session halted temporarily.

The next opportunity to test the cars again will take place up the coast at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, where February 21st to the 24th , and March 1-4 will be the final opportunity to fix the problems of pre-season testing.

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