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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-18-2008, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
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Barcelona Testing

(Not a bad showing for Loeb)

Barcelona day one - Sato sets test pace for Toro Rosso
Former Super Aguri racer Takuma Sato made a triumphant return to Formula One testing, setting the fastest time for Toro Rosso at a packed Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona on Monday. Sato clocked a best of 1m 20.763s to beat Sebastian Buemi, also in action for the Italian squad, to the top slot by over three-tenths of a second.

In all 17 runners were in action over the course of the test’s opening day, which saw the nine teams in attendance kick start their 2009 programmes. With sunny and dry conditions at the Spanish track, most drivers enjoyed productive days.

Full report to follow.

Unofficial Monday times from Barcelona:
1. Takuma Sato, Toro Rosso, 1:20.763
2. Sebastian Buemi, Toro Rosso, 1:21.071
3. Alexander Wurz, Honda, 1:21.198
4. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren, 1:21.417
5. Gary Paffett, McLaren, 1:21.956
6. Luca Badoer, Ferrari, 1:23.264
7. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:22.341
8. Sebastian Loeb, Red Bull, 1:22.503
9. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:22.560
10. Christian Klien, BMW Sauber, 1:22.883
11. Nico Hulkenberg, Williams, 1:23.467
12. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India, 1:23.794
13. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 1:23.832
14. Marc Gene, Ferrari, 1:24.177
15. Bruno Senna, Honda, 1:24.343
16. Giedo van der Garde, Renault, 1:24.908
17. Lucas di Grassi, Honda, 1:25.512
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-18-2008, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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Barcelona day two - Vettel fastest for Red Bull

Barcelona day two - Vettel fastest for Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel stormed to the top of the timesheets for Red Bull on Tuesday, as testing continued at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya. Vettel clocked a best time of 1m 19.751s in the RB4 at the Spanish track, to finish ahead of the Toro Rosso of Takuma Sato, who had been Monday’s quickest runner.

Full report to follow.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Barcelona:
1. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:19.751
2. Takuma Sato, Toro Rosso, 1:20.017
3. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 1:20.034
4. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 1:20.223
5. Gary Paffett, McLaren, 1:21.340
6. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:21.521
7. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:21.525
8. Jenson Button, Honda, 1:21.770
9. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 1:22.073
10. Lucas di Grassi, Honda, 1:22.283
11. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:22.348
12. Luca Badoer, Ferrari, 1:22.425
13. Marc Gene, Ferrari, 1:22.772
14. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:22.945
15. Giedo van der Garde, Renault, 1:23.250
16. Pedro de la Rosa, Force India, 1:23.499
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-18-2008, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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Interview - Sebastien Loeb thrilled with Red Bull test

18 Nov 2008
Interview - Sebastien Loeb thrilled with Red Bull test

Five-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb’s test run on Monday at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya caused a stir at the Spanish track, not least because Loeb eventually clocked the eighth-fastest time in the Red Bull. And after stepping out of the cockpit, the Frenchman was clearly thrilled with his ride in the RB4…

Q: Sebastien, how was the test for you? Driving a Formula One car is distinctively different to what you are normally used to…
Sebastien Loeb: Oh yes, it is. You have a lot of grip, your braking mode is totally different and you have these high-speed corners. It is simply not comparable with my usual racing. In Formula One you brake so much later. Finding the right braking points kept me busy throughout the morning session, but I think I improved in the afternoon. And once I got used to that, I was able to work on the speed and I think overall it worked pretty well.

Q: You completed 82 laps and you didn’t seem to have any problems, so are you satisfied with your performance?
SL: Yes, overall I am happy. When I started, I focused on understanding quickly how the car works, and over the course of the day, I tried to improve and work simultaneously on the settings. In the morning, it didn’t work so well but towards the end of the afternoon session, the times were going down - and I had the impression that I can do even better.

Q: At tests it is always difficult to judge the times of other drivers, as you never know what fuel load or set-ups the others are running. But the fact that you have been two and a half seconds quicker than Bruno Senna, someone highly rated in Formula One circles, must leave you with a pretty good feeling…
SL: Yes, indeed. When I started this morning I didn’t know where I would be in the end and a time of 1m 22.5s is a good result to go home with. We had low fuel and new tyres but when you use new tyres it is the first lap that is best, but I always need two to get in the rhythm again. So I probably lost my opportunity to do better. But I am satisfied that I consistently improved over the course of the day.

Q: The most significant differences to your normal racing job were obviously the downforce and the late braking. How did you cope with those differences?
SL: I knew that there would be a braking issue and I was surprised by how quickly you get used to that. In the morning, I thought it almost impossible, but lap by lap it worked better and better. And in the last ten laps it was no longer an issue.

Q: Was it easier or more difficult than you expected?
SL: That is difficult to say. I am happy because at the end of the afternoon session I was really feeling comfortable in the car. I didn’t make any mistakes and had no big moments, I just tried to improve without taking big risks. And in the end, the time was not so bad - and I know now that I can go faster.

Q: How are you feeling? Only some of the regular Formula One guys did more laps than you…
SL: I have known for three weeks that I would do this test, so I tried to prepare myself a bit. Right now I feel very good, but probably tomorrow my neck will remind me what I did!

Q: The force on your body during this test - was it worse than during the 24 hours of Le Mans?
SL: You cannot compare. It is something completely different. It's true Le Mans is very long but I would not like to do Le Mans in a Formula One car. It is much harder.

Q: How did it feel with the slick tyres?
SL: I don’t know. I didn’t drive with the other ones so I have no experience of them to compare.

Q: Will you test a Formula One car again in the near future?
SL: That’s a good question. I would like to, but that depends on my time - and if the team doesn’t need their test slots for their own drivers in preparation for the season.

Q: Is a Formula One drive on your agenda in the future? Or was this test just a break from your normal duties?
SL: I don’t think so. I am maybe a bit too old for that. But for sure it is a very exciting experience for me. And regarding the holiday - believe me, sitting in a Formula One car is far from being relaxing!
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-19-2008, 09:39 AM Thread Starter
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Barcelona day three - Red Bull remain unbeatable in Spain

19 Nov 2008
Barcelona day three - Red Bull remain unbeatable in Spain

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel maintained his stranglehold at the top of the timesheets on Wednesday, as this week's multi-team test session at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya drew to a close. Vettel clocked a quickest lap of 1m 19.925s around the Spanish track to finish almost six-tenths ahead of former Toro Rosso team mate Sebastian Bourdais.

Full report to follow.

Unofficial Wednesday times from Barcelona:
1. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:19.295
2. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 1:19.839
3. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 1:20.154
4. Gary Paffett, McLaren, 1:21.140
5. Jenson Button, Honda, 1:21.387
6. Christian Klien, BMW Sauber, 1:21.534
7. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:21.592
8. Bruno Senna, Honda, 1:21.676
9. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:22.148
10. Nico Hulkenberg, Williams, 1:22.410
11. Luca Badoer, Ferrari, 1:22.866
12. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, 1:23.086
13. Pedro de la Rosa, Force India, 1:23.103
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-21-2008, 12:22 AM Thread Starter
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Exclusive interview - Bourdais awaits his fate

20 Nov 2008
Exclusive interview - Bourdais awaits his fate

Sebastien Bourdais is one of the most successful racing drivers of modern times - just not in Formula One. Abandoning his Stateside career to start over with Toro Rosso was a brave move - and sometimes the pressure was almost tangible. With his seat unconfirmed for 2009, he now faces competition from the likes of F1 veteran Takuma Sato and newcomer Sebastien Buemi. His times in Barcelona this week and his familiarity with the team suggest he’s in, but the right driver with the right funding could yet change all that…

Q: Sebastien, are you satisfied with the season you have delivered?
Sebastien Bourdais: Not very much. It was quite disappointing as far as I am concerned because obviously we had a good beginning with the STR2, where I was fairly close to Sebastian Vettel, and then with the STR3 it became a lot harder because I was facing balance issues which we really could not solve. So we had one happy driver and one fairly unhappy driver. The time difference was getting very big sometimes and you really don’t look good and you can’t really be satisfied with that.

Q: What was the biggest difference compared to your previous racing career outside of Formula One?
SB: The biggest difference is that I have never before been in a position where we could not fix the problems. There was always a solution. Here it is obviously very conceptual, meaning very much a design issue, and the flexibility in setting up the cars is quite narrow. So if the car has characteristics such as this year with the STR3 - not taking away anything from the potential of the car, as it is very quick as Sebastian has demonstrated and I have also been able to show from time to time, but not on a regular basis - the margin and the flexibility that a driver has to set the car up in is a lot narrower than in any other series. I had never faced that before, where I was forced to drive a car I didn’t like.

Q: But clearly you improved towards the end of the season…
SB: Well, first you have the phase where you desperately try to find solutions and obviously we wasted quite a bit of time doing so - that is only a good thing when you find a solution, but when there aren’t any solutions it is basically purely wasting your time. But I think in some ways I helped the team to understand the car better because we tried so many different things that in the end we had a very good idea of what was the best and of what you should stay away from. That actually was a good thing and in some ways might explain why we maybe had a bit better understanding (of the car) than Red Bull Racing. Then came the second phase where we tried to optimize what we thought was the best set-up on the car in terms of potential, and the third phase was starting in Japan - or actually in Singapore, but there we did not have enough downforce and I was still struggling in the car - where we had a little update that changed a bit the sensitivity of the rear of the car in the mid-speed corners and that rebalanced the car a bit between high speed and low speed. I became not happy with the car, but a bit closer to where I wanted it to be and then I got a bit closer to Sebastian and actually delivered in two races - in Japan and China where I was a bit quicker than him in the race. That was a bit of satisfaction for sure.

Q: Would you see your performance in a different light had it not been overshadowed by that of your team mate Sebastian Vettel?
SB: It has nothing to do with my team mate but everything to do with my driving style and my window of operation where I can deliver and feel confident with the car. This obviously was a bit easier for Sebastian and that was his big chance to be able to adapt to a car and to get the best out of it. I can do this as well with a car I am quite happy with, but if that’s not the case it’s getting a bit harder.

Q: You took the risk of coming into Formula One racing on a one-year contract and now you face uncertainty over an extension. How do you cope with that?
SB: Well, it was not a one-year contract, it was a three-year deal, obviously with options. And in the end it does not matter whether you have a three-year deal or not - there is always a line in the contract which says that if they are not happy with you they can get rid of you. The fact is that there is no such thing as a sure deal in racing, whether it is Formula One or any other series. As long as it works it’s good for everyone and then it is all rosy, but if it doesn’t work out as expected, then ciao! That’s the way it is.

Q: Toro Rosso have two race seats available and this week tested three drivers – yourself included - in Barcelona. Looks pretty much like classic shoot-out…
SB: No, it’s not a shoot-out. I am here as a reference to the team because they know me quite well, and whatever they are trying, in the end it is mainly tyre comparison stuff, tyre usage. You obviously run the 2008 car with 2009 downforce, but that’s far more effective than the (actual) ‘09 car because it is the same downforce, yes, but quite a bit less drag. So it will produce some quite impressive lap times, but they have got nothing to do with the 2009 car - not yet, at least. So I am not here for a shoot-out. The problem is purely financial. The team needs some money and I think until they find a driver package which is fast enough and has got the funds - or they find a solution themselves - they won’t find a solution for their line-up.

Q: How sure are you of staying with Toro Rosso?
SB: Absolutely not at all. As far as I am concerned I don’t see a decision being made any time soon because I don’t see anybody being able to guarantee money right now, or tomorrow or the next day. I think it will drag on for quite some time and I am a professional driver and at some point I will need to make sure that I have a job for next year. And when the time comes I will have to make a decision.

Q: There were three drivers testing this week, but only two race seats are available…
SB: There have been three drivers in Barcelona, but Rubens (Barrichello) is on the list and Bruno (Senna) as well - if he doesn’t get picked up by Honda - so anybody who has got talent and money today is a potential candidate.

Q: What do you have counting in your favour? Is it that you know the team and have worked with them on developing what has become a quality car?
SB: Well, that’s the point - if nobody is able to assemble enough solid funding I guess - from what (team principal) Franz (Tost) is saying - I am number one on the list because to change two drivers in a team is always a tough thing to do, and that is not their preferred solution, for sure. Actually Franz wanted to keep both Sebastian and me, but obviously Sebastian has moved on to Red Bull and I don’t have the money, so this makes things quite difficult…

Q: So the times from this week’s test will have nothing to do with the driver line-up for next year?
SB: I cannot say ‘nothing’ because obviously you have to show that you are the one who deserves to be there and obviously I need to show again that I am quick enough and deserve to be there - but that’s not going to be enough.

Q: Did the team indicate to you when they will make a decision on their 2009 driver line-up?
SB: No, because they don’t know themselves. As long as they don’t have the money to run the team in a proper way they won’t be able to say, because it doesn’t matter whether you have talented drivers at the wheel of the car if you can’t run the car.

Q: If Formula One turns out to be a dead end for you for 2009, what is your plan B?
SB: I have no idea. As far as I am concerned right now my priority is to stay here, but at some point I will have to make up my mind and take a potentially very difficult decision. In the meantime it is scary because I don’t know what I’ll be doing next year.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-21-2008, 05:58 AM
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I'm looking forward to see the times of the new cars in January after they're all unveiled!
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