Formula 1 Tests: Jerez and Bahrain

Mustafa SariContributor IFebruary 14, 2009

This week, Formula 1 teams are in Jerez and Bahrain for pre-season tests. BMW, Ferrari and Toyota choose to test in Bahrain for better weather conditions. Other teams except Force India tested in Jerez.



On Monday, the new Red Bull RB5 was revealed to the public, and Sebastian Vettel drove for its shakedown on Monday. New Red Bull looks good, and all week it was very fast against rivals.

Renault R29 made a surprise on the last day of testing. Alonso did 1.19s with full 2009 spec car. Not with a hybrid car.

So for a ugly car with a two time world champion, it looks impressive anyway. Except Friday, Renault didn't have a lot mileages with the car because they had some mechanical problems and they lost some track time. Also, Williams had the same faith too.

Kazuki Nakajima drove the car for the first time and he gained experience with FW31. Also Mark Webber drove a F1 car since he had a accident in Tasmania.

In press releases, Webber and Nakajima impressed with their new cars. But both Red Bull and Williams had mechanical problems during test. But cars were fast and they were on pace in Jerez.

In McLaren's first two days, Heikki drove and learned about new tyres and KERS. Also, Heikki drove full 2009 spec MP4-24 in Jerez on Tuesday.

In full 2009 pack, the car looks a little bit slower than Red Bull and last day surprise Renault, but we never know what are the fuel loads.

Except Tuesday, McLaren used 2008 spec rear wing to test for reliability and trying KERS. Kovy said he was impressed with the car, but he added that he must change his driving style to save tyres.

Thursday, it was the time for Hamilton and he was the fastest with hybrid car, but Red Bull, Renault, and Williams weren't far away with their full 2009 spec cars.

So McLaren may be the most reliable car for now, but it is not the fastest. Lewis did the same job Kovy did at the beginning of the week.

Toro Rosso again used a full 2008 spec car and Buemi and pre-signed Bourdais were the fastest drivers in Jerez. They again concentrated on 2009 mechanical systems and tyre behaviours. Bourdais and Buemi looks match with the times.

But we will see where Toro Rosso belongs when we will see the new STR4 but RB5 impressed with its pace, so we can expect similar things for Toro Rosso.

So the Jerez highlights: Vettel shines with New Red Bull. Mclaren used a Hybrid car and media thinks they have a rear wing problem. Alonso showed what he has with R29. Webber returns.



Ferrari, BMW and Toyota choose Bahrain for better weather conditions than Europe but it seems their gamble didn't pay off. Only first day and the last day they did testing. Sandstorm hit the track for full two days, so teams were very frustrated about losing time.

First day, Glock was the fastest against Kubica and Massa. Toyota looks fast and impressed with times, but Ferrari and BMW were not far behind, only 0.1 or 0.2 slower on the first day. Massa and Kubica were also concentrated on pace and systems on cars.

Last day, Kimi Raikkonen, Jarno Trulli and Christan Klien did testing and Kimi became fastest on full dry circuit. Kimi thinks the car is impressive and they are pleased with KERS. KERS has some childhood problems also; Ferrari had a hydraulic problem in the last day so car looks fast but they must improve reliability.

In BMW, Kubica and Klien did testing and they concentrated on KERS and pace but the car was never become fastest, but it was only 0.2 slower in first and last two days. F1.09 looks reliable, but for now it looks slower.

In Bahrain, Toyota impressed with times also Ferrari had some problems but F60 was on pace. Bmw must improve pace against rivals.

Bahrain testing will continue on Monday, Feb. 16.