Eight teams have finished their weekend of testing in Barcelona. Three days and three different cars on the top. Hamilton (McLaren) on Friday, Vettel (Toro Rosso) on Saturday and Mark Webber (Red Bull) on Sunday.
In absence of Ferrari it was expected that the McLarens will be topping or be very very close to the top. Hamilton topped the sheets on Friday. On Saturday however Toro Rosso’s were both quicker than both McLarens and on Sunday Mark Webber managed to beat the silver cars. Overall the McLarens look good.
Toro Rosso team will not introduce their new car until few races into the 2008 season, so what they test now is an updated version of their 2007 car. Their Saturday impressive run might a bit misleading, as they an the car very light. However they did not do too bad also on Friday and Sunday. This definitelly was an encouraging weekend for the team.
Red Bull came up with a revolutionary design - implementing an ugly fin on the engine cover. And unfortunatelly it seems to be working Mark Webber’s fastest time on Sunday shows. If other teams get the hint, we may see more cars getting ugly.
BMW seem to have overcome the problems they experienced last week and they seem to be around 0.3 off the McLaren pace now. Renault is also clawing back, either the car has seen quite an improvement from last year or Fernando Alonso brought his famous 0.6 second with him. They do not seem to be 1 second behind McLaren any more. It looks pretty even between them and BMW Sauber.
Giancarlo Fisichella impressed o Friday with the 4th fastest time. Force India only tested with 1 car and neither Liuzzi nor Sutil were able to get anywhere near the time Fisi posted on Friday.
Williams did not do much in Barcelona. After Kazuki Nakajima’s crash the team did not continue on Friday. And when they realized the problems with their front wing mounting need more thorough fix, they decided to abandon the Barcelona test completely. A bit of a turn in their fortunes after the excelent form in Valencia. But one of the purposes of the tests is also to find out what does not work.
And this leaves the poor Honda. The car simply is not good enough yet and the team has lots of job ahead to move up from the back of the field to midfield at least. According to Jenson Button the car “lacks the driveability” and the new ECU and the fact that the car is brand new are mentioned as the main reasons. The gap between Honda and the top is 1 and half second at the moment. If I was to bet on who will copy the ugly fin from Red Bull first, Honda would be my candidate.
On Sunday there were 7 teams within 1 second and if ad the impresive run of Fisi in Force India on Friday we can say the field is very tight at the moment. The only team visibly lagging behind right now is Honda. We have no comparison with Ferrari and Toyota this time, these 2 will be testing this week in Bahrain. The lack of news (other than takeover and driver rumours) from Super Aguri is a bit worrying.
Unfortunatelly it will not be the racing that will be making the headlines after the Barcelona test but the racist behaviour of some Spanish fans towards Lewis Hamilton …