sepangday1.jpgFirst day of testing started off today in Malaysia with 10 of the 11 teams on track, all except Spyker. In keeping with the 2007 testing agreement, each team ran only one car. Following BMW’s strong performance in testing today after Robert Kubica topped the timing sheets, it is rumored that McLaren is thinking of launching a protest against BMW Sauber for hiring Nick Heidfeld as racing driver. This apparently violates a hidden clause in the rulebook that stipulates that no driver under the height of 5 ft. will be allowed to drive a F1 racing car. Mercedes Motorsport Director Norbert Haug says “Our package is certainly a good one, but we have identified room for improvement”. He is speaking relatively of course, given the current performance of McLaren’s ‘Rival Team Scrutineering and Protesting’ department, it will not be long before theirs are the only cars capable of moving in the forward direction without violating any rules – and this you have to admit is an easy way to dispense with all the nuisance of competing with 10 other teams on track. With McLaren questioning the legality of just about everything starting from seatbelts, it will at least waste a lot of FIA’s time and resources if nothing else, and that is always a pleasant prospect. Who was it who said “If you can’t match them, hobble them”? Not Ron Dennis? Hmm….well, here’s thought anyway. Maybe Ferrari should haul the new super-assistant off his supposed young driver development program (or whatever else it is that Michael is supposed to be doing, bless him), arm him with the rulebook and a vernier caliper instead and set him loose in the paddock. Given Michael’s general astuteness, it is a cheaper alternative to wasting resources on car development. What say?

Kimi Raikkonen arrived at the race track fresh from his vacation in Thailand, and finished second in the timing sheets, just a tenth of a second off the BMW pace. This looks promising for Ferrari, given Kimi’s usual tendency to drive around in a stupor during testing, only springing to life on race days. Kimi is a strong believer in maximum conservation of energy, his own that is. Alex Wurz of Williams finished third, taking care to maintain a safe distance from David Coulthard on track just in case DC jumped at him with the car again and tried to take his head off. Barrichello finished fourth in what looks like an improved version of the Honda (well, after the last race, there is only one way to go), while De la Rosa finished fifth in the McLaren. He will be replaced by Lewis Hamilton tomorrow.

 Meanwhile, Renault has denied starting work on a ‘B’ version of the R27. “There is no plan for a B version of the R27” says the Renault spokesman, “But we are working hard on new components that will appear on the car soon (and hopefully stay on the car, with McLaren around you never know)”.  If there is no plan for a B version, maybe they should seriously consider it. The car continued to be plagued by mechanical issues that limited the amount of testing they could carry out, with Nelson Piquet Jr. finished ninth on the timing sheets. Only Scott Speed of STR finished lower than him, and that is hardly reassuring for Renault.

Bridgestone continues to experiment with tyre markings, and after the fiasco at Albert Park, their latest idea is to replace the one white dot with a multitude of red ones. They also tried white coloration of the outside groove of the tyre – using either paint or alternatively chalk. It is not known if any of these proved effective.