Rain in Spain disrupts final day of F1 testing

12 March, 2011

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 150 Italia. Formula One Testing, Day 5, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday 12 March 2011.

Fernando Alonso in the wet on the final day in Spain

Mar.12 (PVM) On the fifth day of Formula 1 testing at Circuit de Catlaunya in Spain, the heavens opened up and the rain came down in torrents, disrupting meticulous plans of the last remaining teams who opted to sacrifice a day earlier in the week to extend their stay until Saturday.

Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W02. Formula One Testing, Day 5, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday 12 March 2011.

Michael Schumacher in torrential conditions

Dry running in Barcelona today (Saturday) is highly unlikely. Those affected include McLaren, Williams, Ferrari and Mercedes GP. The latter three starting a day later than the others while McLaren opted to miss the third day.

And the Woking team will be wondering when their luck will change. They have a severe lack of mileage on their apparently fragile new MP4-26, with both Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button lamenting the lack of track time in comparison to the pace setting Ferrari and Red Bull teams.

A day less of mileage is a huge blow for the team who will now begin their campaign at the opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne very much on the back foot.

Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW33. Formula One Testing, Day 5, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday 12 March 2011.

Pastor Maldonado in the Williams FW33

Ferrari on the other hand will be satisfied with what has prven to be a bullet proof ne car in their 150 Italia which has racked up more mileage than any other car in this year’s 15 days of testing.

Yesterday (Friday) Alosno amassed a massive 141 laps and the car has also been the only one to match the pace of the Red Bull RB7 which has to be the benchmark for other teams to beat, if merely because they are world champions.

Williams binned their troublesome KERS and were looking forward to a solid final day with rookie Pastor Maldonado in the hot seat. The Groove squad have also been struck by a series of reliability niggles and an extra day would have been useful.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/26. Formula One Testing, Day 5, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday 12 March 2011.

Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren MP4/26

On a high after a convincing performance are the Mercedes GP team who ended the day top of the timing screens and third fastest on the previous day (Friday) with Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg respectively.

The German pair were expected to share driving duties again on the final day and were perhaps hoping for at least some dry running to further evaluate their package.

But by lunch time Schumacher handed over the cockpit to Rosberg with only five installation laps to his credit.

It has rained too much even for meaningful wet-tyre testing “and there is no sign of improvement on the horizon”, said Ferrari.

Rain soaked pit lane. Formula One Testing, Day 5, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday 12 March 2011.

A case of rain almost stopping play in Barcelona

HRT were also down to do the final day but have had customs issues which have prevented them doing any testing with their new F111 chassis and will be the only team going to Melbourne with a totally untested car.

As the other teams head back to their respective bases, before the trip to Australia, they would not be blamed for a smiling as they watch Circuit de Catalunya disappear in the rear view mirror engulfed in rain…


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