Barcelona Test, March 2009
McLaren have spent most of the week at the wrong end of the timesheets, with some particularly slow times. Whilst it's not imperative to be at the top of testing all the time, it is slightly worrying to see the McLaren fighting to beat a Force India lap time. Ron Dennis has said that they aren't worried about the clock at all, and are simply concentrating on developing the car to the standard they want. Although this should calm any fears over their performance, it does raise another question. McLaren have been working on this car for a long time, before 2008 was even finished, so shouldn't they have most of the performance gremlins sorted out by now?
Toro Rosso launched their new car in Barcelona ahead of the test, and it hit the track straight away. Unfortunately, a couple of the valuable days were lost to unreliability, particularly a problem with the front suspension. Bourdais and Buemi have been sharing testing duties during the day, but both were forced to sit out one day having completed only 20 laps between them. New parts had to be brought in from the factory, but once they were fixed to the car, things started looking slightly better.
Ross Brawn's new team immediately made headlines by running at the top of the timesheets on their first day out on track. They finished the day fourth, but by the time the test finished, they had two days at the top under their belts. Brawn says he isn't surprised by this performance, as it's something they've been working on since 2007. However, you would have thought the problems over the winter had shaken the team up a little, and these impressive times straight out of the box are something to be wary of.
Last time I suggested that this Barcelona test was the last, but I have now realised there's another one in Jerez next week. The last few days of testing before the teams head to Australia for the beginning of the season.
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