• Barcelona Test - Day Four

Now it is Bahrain that matters

ESPNF1 Staff
February 28, 2010 « No team has a distinct advantage - Massa | »

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The field looks incredibly tight ahead of the first race in Bahrain, after all four front-running teams clocked very similar lap times on low fuel during the final day of testing. Here is what the teams and drivers had to say about their pre-season preparations.

Michael Schumacher thinks the times did not always reflect the true picture © Sutton Images

Force India
Adrian Sutil: "I feel like this was the first proper test day for me. We did our long race simulation and I think we can be quite happy and confident. The pace was good, the tyre life was very good, and I was able to run a lot of laps on both the soft and the hard tyres without any problems so both compounds seem to be working really well for us. Also the qualifying simulation went well. Speed-wise the car is competitive and we have to show it in Bahrain now."

Chief race engineer Dominic Harlow: "This morning was very windy, and it was affecting the balance of the car quite a lot. We changed our programme because of this, completing some long run evaluations either side of lunch and some performance outings in the afternoon with Adrian. He also tested some different brake materials and some developments for the brake cooling. It was a good day to complete our 2010 winter testing programme, covering 100 laps and signing off our pre-season test objectives. The team has worked extremely hard these past four days and they deserve credit for a very intensive February of running."

Chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne: "It was a game of two halves as they say; we had a good morning where we were able to complete all our plans but a problem with the programme change on the gearbox delayed us in the afternoon, which meant we weren't able to do as much running as we wanted. Overall, however, the test has been extremely productive - in general we've had very good reliability, and the team is in very good shape going to the first race. Considering the length of time we've had to work on the project it's a fantastic effort from the whole team. Everyone has worked exceptionally hard over the two tests and we now have to work on the pace of the car and improve that, but it's been a tremendous effort from the whole team and I'm very proud of them."

Michael Schumacher: "The four testing days here in Barcelona have helped us to make significant progress with the MGP W01 and I am feeling quite confident for the start of the season. It is always difficult to read too much into testing but knowing our programme, it is fair to say that the times did not always reflect the true picture. We have worked through many set-up and development evaluations this week and gained valuable information to study before Bahrain. We are heading the first race with a good feeling and we know that we will have our upgrades there. But most of all we know that our prospects for even the first races are looking very reasonable now."

Ross Brawn: "Today brings our pre-season testing programme to its conclusion and overall we are very pleased with the progress made with the MGP W01 and the integration of Michael and Nico into our team. In performance terms, we are not quite where we want to be yet but then again we are not far off. In testing, it is always difficult to be precise about your position relative to the competition, and we have our complete upgrade package due for the first race in Bahrain which should bring further improvements. Michael and Nico have both looked very good during the tests and they are working well together to improve the car."

Red Bull
Head of race engineering Ian Morgan: "Losing a bit of time yesterday we didn't do everything we wanted to with Sebastian so we got pretty much a day and half's testing into today - which is why we've done 137 laps. It's been busy but we've got a lot done. This final test was good for us. With our limited testing in the dry at the two Jerez tests, the four days of almost completely dry weather here meant that we got back on course and we've made a lot of progress this week. It's been a very good test."

The next time the cars leave the pit lane it will be in Bahrain © Sutton Images

Robert Kubica: "In the morning we lost a lot of track time with a technical problem. In the afternoon we tried to do a race distance, which was interrupted, but we did cover a lot of laps. Afterwards we just did a couple more runs for set-up work to try and improve the car a bit more."

Chief engineer Alan Permane: "Our final day of testing was a mixed one as we suffered a problem with the gearbox on the installation lap, which limited our running. We managed to get back out at the end of the morning to evaluate some new aero parts and also worked on improving the set-up of the car. For the afternoon we tried to cover a race distance, and although it was interrupted, we did cover the desired number of laps. To end the day we returned to our set-up programme."

Kamui Kobayashi: "We didn't manage to achieve the expected mileage today because of technical issues. However, for me it was still a good day because we ran through several procedures for the first race weekend. As I said yesterday, these things are very important for me and I can see I'm improving. I feel ready for Bahrain."

Technical director Willy Rampf: "After the car ran smoothly during the earlier tests, unfortunately our final day of testing was hampered by reliability problems. In the morning it was a shifting problem, which needs to be analysed, and at the end it was a problem in the fuel system. Certainly both can be solved before Bahrain. In Barcelona we have been testing new aero parts, which confirmed the performance we expected after the wind tunnel tests. We also concentrated further on getting the best out of the mechanical set-ups. We have defined the Bahrain package now and feel ready for the season to kick off. The team has four very busy weeks behind it and we are very much looking forward to finally going racing. We are happy with the overall performance of the car, considering the conditions under which the lap times were achieved."

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi: "I am pleased with my two days here in Barcelona. Today, we concentrated on doing a scan of various mechanical set-up options as well as some aero work. Overall, I think we are in good shape and now I'm looking forward to the first race to see where we stand compared to everyone else."

Franz Tost: "Just two weeks from today, we will be racing in the Bahrain Grand Prix. It will be Scuderia Toro Rosso's first ever race with a car designed totally in-house. Thanks to an intensive and effective programme through 2009 and the enormous efforts of all our staff and suppliers we were able to get our car out on schedule and I want to thank them for a job well done. Because the car was ready on time, we have made the most of the 15 days of testing, during which STR5 has enjoyed excellent reliability. We therefore managed to complete a very respectable mileage with both our drivers, despite the bad weather at the two Jerez tests. It was also important that both Jaime and Sebastien completed a full race simulation here in Barcelona. It means we can arrive at the Sakhir circuit reasonably confident as far as reliability goes. We have also seen that our two relatively inexperienced drivers have learned a lot from these test days and that they have been diligent over the winter in their physical preparation. Never before, in its five year history has Scuderia Toro Rosso gone into a season so well prepared. It just leaves the big question - how fast will we be? And the answer to that will have to wait at least until after qualifying and the race in Bahrain."

Technical director Nick Wirth: "Once again, our running today has been heavily compromised by the reoccurrence of the hydraulic leak. We have new components designed to fix this issue on their way for the Bahrain race and we're looking forward to putting that particular story behind us. Lucas did manage to conduct some productive race work but we leave Barcelona having never run a qualifying simulation or the super soft tyres that all our competitors are likely to have set their times on. Now both Virgin Racing and Wirth Research have a busy two weeks preparing both race cars and spares for our debut in Bahrain."