kimigoforwardmate.jpgFerrari’s Kimi Raikkonen posted the fastest time of 1.21.195s in testing today at the Circuit De Catalunya near Barcelona in Spain, proving that Ferrari Technical Director Mario Almondo is not to be trifled with even if he does look grey, boring and slightly friendless.

Well actually that’s not strictly the truth, Ralf Schumacher actually set the fastest time of the day of 1:20.479s. But unfortunately skipping the odd chicane here and there does not go down well with your pitlane rivals, unless your name is Takuma Sato, in which case skipping the odd chicane is probably safer for all concerned.

Talking of which, the diminutive Japanese star of Super Aguri finished the timesheets for the day surprisingly in second place which must be a bitter blow to McLaren, Honda, Toyota, Williams, BMW-Sauber, Renault, Spyker and just about everyone else who assumed they were closely following behind the Ferrari. Apparently Super Aguri were testing new aerodynamic and gearbox upgrades…and one has to wonder at this pace, if in fact we will all be eating our Ferrari caps in astonishment when they win a race (mind you at that price can we afford to?). Or was it that old age F1 chestnut where everyone was ‘sandbagging?’.

mclarenfrontwing.jpgMcLaren were the talking point of the day and not only for having a slightly silly looking new front wing. No doubt half the field will be rushing back to their hotels tonight to try and replicate the new McLaren wing on their simulation programmes (what an exciting life they lead) only for it to probably be banned next week by the FIA.

The absence of McLaren’s two drivers Fernando ‘I’m the World Champion Here’ Alonso and Lewis ‘ITV Love Child’ Hamilton, was also notable. If rumours are correct, Lewis is back home in Stevenage playing with his Lego, Action Man and practicing his starts on his Playstation, while his Double World Champion team-mate is off assasinating any media hack within a thousand miles that brings up the subject of his slightly-toothy-ever-so-nice-humble-as-pie-must-win-a-race-soon Lordship.

Duty then for McLaren fell to Pedro Of The Rose, who completed 101 laps finishing 0.712 seconds off the pace. According to McLaren, Alonso will take over testing tomorrow, that’s if he can take time off from sticking pins in his new voodoo doll ‘Louie’ and throwing ‘Nobody loves me’ tantrums.

Ralf Schumacher managed to rack up a credible fourth place for the day, ahead of BMW-Saubers Quick Nick Heidfeld…no doubt the fear of losing his seat to a wookie has spurred the German ‘Other Schumacher’ into action. Apparently the Toyota has undergone some dramatic aerodynamic and bodywork modifications…no sign yet of more red paint or any Marlboro stickers…so ex Ferrari employees can breathe a sigh of relief tonight. And I’m left wondering why if Ralf is in the top 3 drivers, did he only get fourth spot? I may have only miraculously got a ‘C’ grade in Maths…..but…..

BMW-Sauber have also come to Barcelona with upgrades to their car, which team Boss Mario Theissen (and he is a Mario with that moustache) believes will bring the team much closer to the front runners Ferrari and McLaren. After the excitement of driving on the ‘Nordschleife’ at the Nurburgring, poor Nick Heidfeld was brought back down to earth with a bump and had to put in a days testing several new car components instead of thrashing it hell for leather and having his beard whipping round his ears.

Rubens Barrichello showed a slight improvement in form for Honda, finishing in sixth place albeit 1.46 seconds off the pace of Ferrari’s Flying Finn. However, it is too early to say whether this is because Honda have actually managed to finally get to grips with their ‘Earth Nightmare’ or because no-one else was really trying all that hard.

Nelson Piquet Junior was seventh for Renault, however the previous World Champions do not appear to have made any major aerodynamic upgrades to their car despite trailing Ferrari, McLaren and BMW-Sauber. Apparently well placed insider’s commenting that we should not expect anything different from previous races, which means Kovaleinen inspecting the grass verges as often as a school caretaker and Fisichella teaching us all slightly naughty words we didn’t know before courtesy of his team radio.

Vitantonio Liuzzi managed eighth place on the timesheets for Scuderia Torro Rosso, and had a very quiet day, surprising everyone with the fact he didn’t once bring out the safety car. Suffice to say the shock of it all has meant Team Boss Gerhard Berger has had to go lie down in a dark room to recover.

David Coulthard, F1’s resident Mr.Magoo secured ninth spot in his almost identical but different paint job car, the Red Bull….luckily Williams driver Alex Wurz was nowhere in sight and Toyota’s engineers kept hidden safely in the garage, so there was no need for former 7 times World Champion Michael Schumacher to pop up and start preaching road safety….just yet.

slightlydentedspyker.jpgSpyker test driver Adrian Valles returned to action, and nicely parked the orange monstrosity into the barriers at turn 5…our only gripe he didn’t make a better ‘write off’ of it…what a disappointment after Christian Albers. Van Der Garde was also testing for Spyker, but two seconds off the time of the pacesetter…which goes to show if you spend too much time bickering like children over a pack of smarties your never going to build a better car.

Testing resumes at Barcelona tomorrow weather permitting, where we will see if Kimi Raikkonen can stay awake for two days in a row, if Alonso can manage to keep his car away from dangerous falling lighting pods and if Chewbacca’s beard is any longer than today. Gripping.

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