Guest Author - Christine Blachford
A four/five day test in Jerez has been underway, with a couple of teams leaving early, but most spending the entire week in Spain. The weather has been variable, with some showers, strong winds, and the occasional burst of sunshine. Teams have been testing out their new wings, slick tyres, and KERS systems in preparation for the start of the season. Here's an update of just a few of the teams.
Force India launched their new car on the first day of the test, and went on to finish ahead of both McLaren and Renault. Testing times are hard to read though, and it doesn't look like they will be making massive steps forward when it comes to the grid. They finished the test a day earlier than everyone else. If you discount Honda, Force India have done the smallest amount of testing of all the teams. Toro Rosso still haven't launched the new car, but were quite happy testing the 2008 car previously. With the lack of in-season testing, this reduction in mileage before the 2009 races begin may not help Force India pick up points this year.
With Nelson Piquet at the wheel, the team were at the bottom of the timesheets. As soon as Alonso climbed in the cockpit, they moved up to third, and the next day Renault were the fastest car of the lot. As mentioned above, testing times can never be relied upon to display true pace, but it certainly isn't looking good for Piquet's speed. He may have been running with a different setup that meant he was much slower than both Alonso, and everyone else, but it won't be doing much for his self-esteem either.
Meanwhile, Webber returned to action and his leg is on the mend. After a particularly frustrating test session due to the weather, he said that when he's driving, the leg is absolutely no problem. It's only when he's walking that he struggles. Of course, being a racing driver, he said he much prefers it that way, and wouldn't want to be walking beautifully but unable to get in the car. Vettel managed to top the timesheets on the first day of testing, but they seemed to tail off as the days wore on.
There is one more test in Barcelona next week, before the action gets underway at the end of the month.