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Posts Tagged ‘Algarve’

Nico Rosberg in Williams FW31 at Algarve

The rain finally backed down for the third day of testing at the Algarve. Sebastien Buemi once again used his 2008 car advantage to set the fastest lap, a 1:27.987. Nico Rosberg took over testing duties from Nico Hulkenburg and was the fastest in a 2009 car, having taken full advantage of the improved weather and completing 143 laps. His best time was 1:29.729, just 1.8 seconds shy of the modified ’08 Toro Rosso.

Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton made his first appearance in an F1 car since the final round of 2008 in Brazil. He posted the third fastest time in the ’09 McLaren. Timo Glock joined the test for Toyota and lapped just over half a second slower than Hamilton before his TF109 caught fire and brought the red flag out for half an hour. Fernando Alonso had troubles in his new Renault too, stopping at the pit entrance towards the end of the session.

Meanwhile, Ferrari’s decision to switch circuits due to rain prediction in Portugal was only getting worse. Their third day at the wet Mugello circuit saw Felipe Massa take over and set a lap of 1:33.353, fastest than Kimi Raikkonen had managed the previous two days.

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Sebastien Buemi completed the second day of testing at the Portimao Algarve circuit fastest, last Tuesday. He continued to test for Toro Rosso in a modified version of their 2008 car, which gave him a 3 second advantage ahead of the other drivers on track. Pedro de la Rosa continued the similarities from Monday as the fastest man in a 2009 car. His McLaren MP4-24 set a time of 1:37.512.

Jarno Trulli took over from Kamui Kobayashi and put Toyota third on the time sheets. Nelson Piquet Jr’s Renault suffered an engine failure, the Brazilian only managing to complete 9 laps, but Williams and Nico Rosberg rounded out the time sheets, 6 seconds down on Piquet. Once again running was limited due to rain, with a hailstorm hitting the track just after the session ended.

Ferrari continued to test at Mugello, with their plan to avoid rain not really going all that well. Kimi Raikkonen lapped a 1:33.920 in the wet conditions, half a second faster than the previous day. Felipe Massa was ready to take over on Wednesday.

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Kamui Kobayashi in Toyota TF109 at Algarve

Sebastien Buemi, recently signed to race at Toro Rosso this year, completed the first official testing day of 2009 fastest at the Algarve circuit in Portugal. He was the only man on track driving a 2008-spec car, with everyone else testing their newly launched ’09 cars, meaning Buemi was able to end the day a full 5 seconds faster than Pedro de la Rosa, who was in turn fastest of the new cars in his McLaren MP4-24.

The day began with some last-minute 2009 car launches. Renault held a low key launch for their R29, with Nelson Piquet Jr stepping in the car and managing a 1:48.907, the fourth fastest time of the day. Meanwhile, Williams held a very, very low key unveiling of the FW31, with third driver Nico Hulkenburg taking the new car to the third fastest time, a 1:46.335. The Toyota TF109 was also in action, with Kamui Kobayashi at the wheel, but they, along with everyone else, had limited testing runs due to poor weather.

Ferrari had decided to avoid the forecasted rain in Portugal and instead tested on their own at Mugello. Unfortunately for the Italian team it also rained at their own test track, so Kimi Raikkonen completed only a few laps in his first outing of the F60, with his best lap a 1:34.430. Both tests continue into Tuesday.

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Nico Hulkenburg in Williams FW31 at Algarve

Williams rolled out their 2009 contender, the FW31, at the Algarve circuit in Portugal on Monday. The hugely low-key ‘launch’ saw the car parked outside it’s pit garage with third driver, Nico Hulkenburg, also present and taking the car out for it’s first runs later that day.

Williams are hoping for the best season possible with the resources and finances they have, with the FIA’s cost-cutting plans suggesting a brighter future ahead for the once successful British team, who haven’t won a championship since 1997 and a race since 2003. Team principal Frank Williams echoes the thoughts of the other team bosses, saying “It will be a very interesting year” and also that he hopes the team will make “a significantly large step forward” with the Fw31. Technical director Sam Michael is targeting a “respectable” season, saying: “Williams have won Grands Prix before, we’ve won championships before, and everyone in the company wants to return to that level. Our target is to do the best that we can with the resources that we have, and I’m sure that we can hold the team up in a good light.”

The FW31’s 2009 livery is yet to be revealed, with the team using a winter testing livery until February.

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Nelson Piquet Jr in Renault R29 at Algarve

Renault unveiled their 2009 car, the R29, ahead of this weeks test in Portugal. Both Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet Jr will continue their role as race drivers, with the Enstone-based team hoping to carry on where they left of in 2008, with Alonso claiming three podiums at the end of the season, two of which were race wins.

The R29 features a strikingly different livery to the previous two years, and a much chunkier front nose compared to the other ’09 cars we’ve seen so far. This, along with the many other visible changes made to all of this years challengers, make it a very big development in the appearance of the French team’s cars. The launch itself wasn’t exactly a massive event, with the two race drivers Alonso and Piquet Jr, third driver Romain Grosjean and team boss Flavio Briatore revealing outside their pit garage the car they hope will be able to challenge for the world championship.

Renault also revealed the members of their 2009 driver development scheme on Monday. Davide Valsecchi, competing in Formula Renault and Formula Ford drivers Charles Pic and Marco Sorensen. Renault will test their new car alongside McLaren, Toyota, Toro Rosso and Williams in Portugal this week.

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Kazuki Nakajima in 2009 spec Williams at Jerez

The final testing day of 2008 took place on Wednesday at both Jerez and the new Algarve circuit, with all the teams in action developing or starting to develop their 2009 car in preparation for the first car launches next month.

At Jerez, Sebastian Vettel finally beat Sebastien Buemi to the fastest time for Red Bull, Buemi having sat at the top of the time sheets for 5 days. The German’s 1:16.617 lap was easily the fastest of the entire test, and beat Buemi’s time by 3 tenths of a second. Robert Kubica and Christian Klien continued their testing of the 2009 BMW and it’s KERS. Kubica’s best lap was marginally faster than Klien’s, who completed just 38 laps. Kazuki Nakajima had the most to do in his 2009 Williams spec car, three tenths of the pace of the BMWs.

Pedro de la Rosa continued at the top of the Algarve time sheets with a best lap of 1:28.993. Luca Badoer continued his duties for Ferrari as the only other man out on track. He finished the day over 1 second behind de la Rosa’s McLaren.

Formula 1 testing will now return in January at many different locations, as the teams begin to send their 2009 cars out for their first runs.

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Luca Badoer in F2008 at Algarve

Testing continued at both Jerez and the new Algarve circuit into Tuesday, with Red Bull and McLaren remaining on top as times improved from Monday.

Sebastien Buemi was once again on top in an RB4, setting a best lap of 1:17.029 during his extended running, after stepping in for the injured Mark Webber. He was joined by Sebastian Vettel, who had to settle for second behind the Red Bull tester by just under 0.3 seconds. Nick Heidfeld was a full 2 seconds further behind in his BMW fitted with slick tyres, whilst Robert Kubica drove to fourth with KERS. Kazuki Nakajima closed the gap to the BMWs, now three tenths behind.

McLaren and Ferrari continued their running at the Algarve circuit, with Pedro de la Rosa taking over from Gary Paffett. The Spaniard topped the time sheets in the cold conditions, with a 1:30.080, ahead of Ferrari testers Luca Badoer and Mark Gene.

Wednesday sees the final day of 2008 testing at both Jerez and the Algarve.

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