• Jerez Test Report - Day Two

Kobayashi fastest in Jerez

Dan Knutson
February 11, 2010 « FIA warns against teams skipping races | »

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Kamui Kobayashi sneaked in the fastest time of the very end of the second day of testing at Jerez by setting a lap of 1:19.950 in his BMW Sauber C29.

Jenson Button caused the third and final red flag of the session when his McLaren MP4-25 stopped on track with just 11 minutes remaining in the session. The track went green again with 34 seconds remaining, which allowed Michael Schumacher, Robert Kubica and Kobayashi to snatch a couple more laps.

Sebastien Buemi had been quickest during most of the day with a time of 1:20.026 in his Toro Rosso STR5. "Our basic programme for today was evaluating a couple of new aero parts, scanning different fuel levels and comparing tyres compounds," a Toro Rosso spokesperson told ESPNF1. The team worked on understanding the hard and the medium compound Bridgestone dry weather tyres and comparing them to the soft and the super-soft tyres used in Valencia.

Unlike Wednesday when it rained virtually nonstop, the sun was out today. But it did take more than an hour for the track to dry off in the morning.

Schumacher took over the Mercedes W01 from Nico Rosberg today, and Kubica replaced Vitaly Petrov in the Renault R30. The rest of the line-up stayed the same as it was on Wednesday: Nico Hulkenberg - Williams FW32; Fernando Alonso - Ferrari F10; Tonio Liuzzi Force - India VJM03; Mark Webber - Red Bull RB6; and Timo Glock - Virgin VR-01.

Hulkenberg brought out the first red flag just 22 minutes into the session when a hydraulic leak caused his Cosworth engine shut down and stranded him on the track on his fourth lap of the day. The Williams team reported that his programme for the morning was "carrying out aero and weight distribution tests and cooling runs," but the car spent three hours in the garage being repaired.

The Williams crew got Hulkenberg back out on the track just before the midpoint of the session, and he ended the day with the fourth quickest lap at 1:20.629.

Liuzzi was fifth after setting a 1:20.754. He reported that the Force India had understeer and the front tyres were graining, but the team has been banking plenty of data.

Out on the track, Schumacher was seen to adjust his entry to some corners as the Mercedes seemed to prefer an earlier more gentle turn in rather than a late, sharp one. He ended up sixth with a time of 1:21.083

Like the rest of the drivers and teams, Kobayashi, who had been sixth with a lap of 1:21.337 until the topped the times, was pleased the track was dry today. "With the new regulations, narrower front tyre and the big fuel tank, we need to learn many things, for myself, and for data for the team as well," he said. "So if we can gain a lot of mileage it would be nice for us."

Testing in the dry also meant that the teams did not have to deal with the problem they had in the rain on Wednesday when the Bridgestone intermediate wet weather tyre wore out very quickly. "Everybody had troubles with the intermediate," Kobayashi explained. "We could do about 10 laps and then the tyres had no grip. They became like slick tyres. Maybe the narrower front tyre makes the difference. We don't know."

One of the reasons the track organisers scheduled the four day test to run through Saturday was so that they could draw in weekend spectators to watch Spanish hero Alonso drive the Ferrari. Ironically, Ferrari scheduled Alonso to test on Wednesday and Thursday, and Felipe Massa will drive Friday and Saturday. Still, over 10,000 fans came to the track on Thursday.

Massa arrived at the track on Thursday and spent some time watching the cars going through the final corner. Button is sitting too high in the McLaren while Schumacher is sitting too low in the Mercedes, Massa observed.

Alonso programme for Thursday centred on long runs, pit stops, and stressing the tyres on heavy fuel loads to simulate race conditions this season. After eight laps there was a two second drop off in his lap times as the tyres lost their optimum grip. But, after stopping for new tyres, he still did a 212 km run, which was equivalent to just over two-thirds of a grand prix distance, and set the seventh fastest time at 1:21.424. He completed 129 laps, the most of the day.

Jenson Button gives way to Robert Kubica © Sutton Images

With the track being dry, Kubica and the team decided he should test rather than Petrov who has been scheduled to drive today. Kubica clocked the eighth best time at 1:22.003.

After losing half a day's running Wednesday because of an oil leak on the Red Bull, Webber racked up 99 laps on Thursday's session. He was back in eighth with a time of 1:22.043.

"It is early but I felt pretty confident in the car straight away," Webber said. "You never, ever know where you are in terms of the competition. Obviously that is what we are here for, to race against other people. And that is what we will do in Bahrain. But up until then it will be very hard for people to know exactly what is happening. We are pretty happy with the rollout of the car, and we will learn a lot more this month. We will start to look at doing some lap times later in the month."

The second red flag came out at 11:11 am after Glock's front wing came off and he ran over it. Virgin certainly did not need anything like that to happen. The team is extremely short on spare parts for the car. A shipment of parts arrived at about 11 pm Tuesday night, and the mechanics worked through the night to build up the car for the opening day of testing on Wednesday.

But when it rained almost the entire time Wednesday the team decided to run only a few laps rather than risk breaking anything in the wet conditions. With the track dry on Thursday, Glock headed out for some serious running but only got in 11 laps before his front wing woes intervened. His car stayed in the garage for the rest of the day.

"We experienced a front wing mounting problem which caused the wing to come off the car at the beginning of a run," said technical director Nick Wirth. "The cause has already been identified. Unfortunately, we're missing one or two spare parts which will hopefully arrive this evening, so we won't be able to run for the rest of the day.

"In the short amount of running that we've achieved so far, we are very encouraged by what we've seen and we have gathered some vital aero data which is very much in the range of what we were predicting. We look forward to resuming the programme tomorrow morning."

The weather stayed fair all day, with the ambient temperature topping 15 degrees Centigrade, and the track temperature exceeding 28 degrees Centigrade.

Lap Times February 11, 2010

Pos. Driver Car Best Time Laps
1. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber C29 1:19.950 103
2. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso STR5 1:20.026 121
3. Jenson Button McLaren MP4-25 1:20.618 83
4. Nico Hulkenberg Williams FW32 1:20.629 67
5. Tonio Liuzzi Force India VJM03 1:20.754 80
6. Michael Schumacher Mercedes W01 1:21.083 124
7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari F10 1:21.424 129
8. Robert Kubica Renault R30 1:22.003 103
9. Mark Webber Red Bull RB6 1:22.043 99
10. Timo Glock Virgin VR-01 1:29.964 11