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Posts Tagged ‘Mugello’

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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Ferrari F60 at Launch in Mugello

Ferrari became the first to reveal their 2009 challenger, after launching the Ferrari F60 on Monday. The launch took place at Mugello, having been moved from Ferrari’s test track at Firoano due to poor weather conditions. The F60 is the first of the new generation of F1 cars launched, featuring a radically different design to last year as required by the 2009 FIA technical regulations designed to make racing more exciting.

Both Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa were present at the launch, with the 2008 runner-up taking the F60 for it’s first few laps of Mugello. Team principle Stefano Domenicali said the season will be “stimulating from all points of view” and that the drivers will play a much bigger role in their success. He was quick to play down expectations of Ferrari though, saying their project for the upcoming season is very complicated and their aim is to stay among the top teams, citing McLaren, BMW and Renualt as their rivals. Technical director Aldo Costa spoke of the shift of development from 08 to 09 saying: “It’s a completely new car, starting from a white piece of paper. Fundamentally the biggest changes come from the new rules from an aerodynamic point of view and the introduction of new technology, which is the KERS system. Because of that we had to start work pretty early and to review the main concept of the car, so it was a very very intense and long job.” Massa has said that his last-lap failure to win the championship has only made him “more eager to win”, whilst Raikkonen said he has put 2008 behind him, and is heading into this season confidently and with the aim of winning a second world title.

Another change comes in the pattern of which Ferrari’s cars are named, with the title ‘F60’ adopted in recognition of the 60 years the Italian team have been competing for. Toyota are the next team to launch their new car, the TF109.

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