Yesterday was the final day of the four day test at Circuito Ricardo Tormo in Valencia. The teams are in very different stages of their 2008 car development so no conclusions should be made yet, but there are already some signs of what may come.
Ferrari seems to be ready to mount another title challenge. Both Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa had good runs in the new Ferrari. Massa was fastest on Tuesday, Raikkonen on Thursday. It can be said that Ferrari is the fastest car at the moment.
McLaren did not do too bad either. Heikki Kovalainen is settling in the car pretty well and he even managed to set the new lap record on this F1 test track. He later disclosed it was on very low fuel, but nevertheless the combination of Heikki Kovalainen and McLaren car looks impressive. Lewis Hamilton was in the car on Wednesday and Thursday only, both time outpaced by his team mate. It may mean that Heikki will be formidable opponent, it may also mean each of the McLaren drivers had different test duties.
Williams, the pleasant surprise. At this stage of the testing season clearly the third fastest car, no matter whether driven by Rosberg or Nakajima. They however have to keep up their job, because there are several teams right behind them … Considering that they only came out with the new car this week in Valencia, the performance of Williams is very impressive.
Renault rolled out their new car in Valencia (ahead of the official launch). Although both Alonso and Piquet were quite far away from the top, they both were reasonably happy with the new car. The next test may give clearer picture about the quality of new Renault.
Nick Heidfeld feels there are some balance problems with the new BMW Sauber. There is still enough time for them to work the problems out. At this stage of the testing season however BMW Sauber is closer to Renault than to Ferrari McLaren duo.
Same as Renault, Honda also introduced their new RA108 in Valencia. The honours to give the new car a ride went to Rubens Barrichello. The car hasn’t exactly set the track on fire but Barrichello was not too unhappy with the RA108:
“There is not much to say. You could quite easily say it is better than the other one. That is not so difficult as the other one was tremendously bad. There are small issues like temperature here and there, the small bits we deal with in shaking down a new car. The initial feeling is okay, not bad. We will see what happens.”
The other teams testing in Valencia were Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Toyota and Force India. Mark Webber feels good about the new Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel was quite quick in the old Toro Rosso. Toyota looks like a safe bet for solid mid of the pack car. Fsichella did a decent run for Force India …
Next week the testing moves to Barcelona and I would not be surprised if Renault, BMW Sauber, Honda and Red Bull start posting times closer to those of Williams. At the moment however the best cars seems to be Ferrari, McLaren and Williams (sounds like the old times ). Toyota has lots to learn …