Ferrari’s Felipe Massa set the pace today at the first inter-season test session at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya. With slick tyres bolted onto his car, the Brazilian driver managed to set a time 2.7s faster than second-placed Alex Wurz, also on slick tyres. The running of different boots is to enable Bridgestone to gain some insight into how the tyres behave, the smooth rubber potentially making making a comeback to Formula One next year. Only nine drivers took part today, but more are expected to be on track tomorrow and Wednesday. McLaren fielded Pedro De La Rosa, who also tore around Montmelo on slicks, but could only manage the third fastest lap of the day.
As agreed by all the teams last year, the running done on slick tyres does not fall into their 30,000km mileage limit, and each team has been given nine sets to try out. The last time they were used was late 2007, so Bridgestone are hoping to get some data back from the drivers about how they felt with warmer track temperatures. It was previously mentioned by other drivers that with the prohibiting of tyre warmers next year, there could be issues with getting the tyres up to a decent temperature before they started their first full lap on them.
De La Rosa was the busiest man of the day, completing 113 tours of the circuit, while Massa was seen sporting a new nose on his F2008. As discussed previously, Ferrari have been developing an innovative new addition to their car, which essentially looks like a vent on the top side of the nose. It is quite a way back, as you can see in the photo in this Autosport article.
The idea behind the hole is so that the F2008 can make better use of the pressure that builds up between the front wing and the underside of the nose. The vent actually goes all the way through the nose, and this channels the air that collects underneath and forces it up through the hole and over the car, sending it straight to the rear wing. Thus, this adds to the downforce to the rear of the car, hopefully making it more stable. It has been suggested that the new nose may require the car to re-pass crash tests, but as of yet little has been said about this.
As soon as more information becomes available, I’ll talk further about Ferrari’s new nose and how the slick tyre testing went for the drivers today.
|1.||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||1m18.339s||77 Laps|
|2.||Alex Wurz||Honda||1m21.059s||75 Laps|
|3.||Pedro De La Rosa||McLaren||1m21.566s||113 Laps|
|4.||Nick Heidfeld||BMW||1m.21.679s||105 Laps|
|5.||Nelson Piquet Jr||Renault||1m22.125s||69 Laps|
|6.||David Coulthard||Red Bull Racing||1m22.197s||59 Laps|
|7.||Kazuki Nakajima||Williams||1m22.431s||72 Laps|
|8.||Timo Glock||Toyota||1m22.580s||92 Laps|
|9.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India||1m22.846s||91 Laps|