Rain spoils play on first morning at Jerez
10 February, 2010
Feb.10 (YF1 & GMM) The first morning of the second official F1 pre-season test got underway at Jerez this morning. The session, which started at 9am local time, got underway with substantial cloud cover and on the hour mark rain started to fall, bringing an end to dry running for the remainder of the time.
Along with Red Bull Racing, also out for the first time at Jerez were Force India with the VJM03 and the new Virgin Racing team’s VR-01, the latter would be part of F1 official testing for the first time ever.
On driving duty for the teams were: Fernando Alonso (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro), Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber), Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso), Nico Hulkenberg (Williams), Jenson Button (McLaren), Vitaly Petrov (Renault) and Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), Mark Webber (Red Bull), Vitantonio Liuzzi (Force India) and Timo Glock (Virgin).
Also present in the Jerez paddock was Lotus F1 team’s hospitality unit, albeit without their new car which had been photographed during it’s first shakedown run at Silverstone the previous day.
Before the engines were fired up, the unveiling of the Red Bull Racing RB6 attracted a big media crowd, no doubt curious to get a glimpse of Adrian Newey’s latest creation. It was also the team’s first test of 2010, having skipped the Valencia sessions. During the unveiling Webber did not appear perturbed that his team had opted not to run at the first pre-season test of the year, saying, “Valencia is not the best track in the world for characteristics. We would have liked to be there but I don’t think we lost out too much.”
Under heavy clouds, which an about an hour into the morning session turned into rain, drivers were unleashed for the first of four days testing at the Spanish circuit. For the first half hour most drivers did installation laps with no meaningful times being set.
Around the 40 minutes mark things started getting serious and soon Rosberg, Buemi and Kobayashi were trading fastest laps with the Mercedes GP driver going into the second hour top of the timing screens.
Almost on the hour mark drizzle set in and soon the track was damp which put an end to any dry running comparisons.
Button meanwhile only ventured out five minutes before the rain started and hence had very little dry time in the MP4-25 which featured an intricate contraption strapped to the side of the cockpit which, according to the team, was in place to measure aerodynamic flow.
Dry track times after the first hour were: 1 Rosberg 1m20.927s; 2 Buemi 1m21.031s; 3 Hulkenberg 1m22.243s; 4 Alonso 1m22.895s; 5 Kobayashi 1m23.787s; 6 Button 1m24.947s; 7 Liuzzi 1m24.968s; 8 Petrov 1m25.440s; 9 Webber 1m26.502s.
By all the drivers had been out, bar Glock in the brand new Virgin VR-01 who faced delays as they waited for new parts before taking to the track two hours into the session.
Hulkenberg was making the most of his allocated seat time in the Williams, notching up the most laps, 50 before anyone else, in both dry and wet conditions. All drivers were at least half a dozen seconds slower in the early wet running and as the rain settled times got slower accordingly.
At 11.20 am the first red flag of the day came out, to stop proceedings, as Webber’s Red Bull came to a stop out on track and had to be recovered. The team said the stoppage was actually “precautionary”, and Australian Webber also played down the problem as being “nothing major”
At 12.16 am Glock finally drove out of the pitlane to give the Virgin Racing VR-01 it’s official testing debut with a one lap installation run.
Story will be updated throughout the day…